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But it is well-known that cattle and sheep operations have wreaked more havoc on US rangelands than all other species combined over the past 5000 years, as “The most severe vegetation changes of the last 5400 years occurred during the past 200 years.The nature and timing of these changes suggest that they were primarily caused by 19th-century open-land sheep and cattle ranching.” So as we can now see, the cattle industry and others who repeat these myths and false narratives have done and continue to do a grave injustice to the reputation and the natural history of America’s wild horses, which have been a great blessing to mankind; literally a gift from the Creator.And sadly some of these methods and the resulting idiotic canards still permeate common knowledge in society today.This is tragic from the standpoint that, in order to manage any grazing animals, including wild and or domestic herbivores, a clear and precise understanding of each animal’s behavioral ecology is critical.
Generally, the cattlemen saw the sheepherders as invaders, who destroyed the public grazing lands, which they had to share on a first-come, first-served basis.Not quite as obvious are the economics that support many wild animals, such as deer and elk for instance that have economic support from the hunting industry as ‘game-animals’.On the other hand, wildlife that are not seen as ‘game animals’, such as wild horses, have no such economic value placed upon them as they did in the century past when they were a key source of transportation and logistics in America.The clear implication is that the Lakota tribes had been taming and using wild horses for buffalo hunting for at least several hundred years before the arrival of the Spaniards and the re-introduction of their horses to America. Black tail deer in western coastal areas similarly have little potential for grazing competition for foods with wild horses, hence the characterization used by wildlife biologists in regard to the co-evolutionary grazing adaptation between wild horses and cervids as being ‘commensal’; essentially Arguably one of the cattle industry’s favorite whoppers is that wild horses damage range and riparian lands.Cattle require extensive management to minimize the extensive damage they do to pastures and especially wetlands and riparian areas.
It is also important to note that cattle have an evolutionary adaptive hoof design that arguably provides extra traction in wetlands which are their preferred homesteads in a natural ecosystem.