Wild horses require a practical solution

The Dec. 1 letter, “Wild horses in danger of extinction,” could hardly have been more inaccurate and misleading.

First and foremost, the animals protected by the referenced congressional act are feral horses and burros — not some separate species — and surely no one believes that horses or burros are in danger of extinction. These are non-native animals that have escaped or been released into the wild beginning with the Spaniards’ exploration of the 16th century and continuing until this very day.

Secondly, these animals are the only large animals on the range whose population numbers are not managed and controlled by someone on a routine basis. Big game animals are managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife through the issuance of carefully regulated tags and tightly controlled hunting. The fees from these hunting activities also pay for the management of all of Colorado’s wildlife including non-game animals and endangered species protection efforts. Livestock is privately owned and managed with grazing carefully controlled by grazing fees, quotas and animal use rotation established for sustainable use of our public lands.

Only the horse and burro exist on — and out-of-control populations often do damage to — our rangelands with no state agency tasked to establish and maintain appropriate populations in harmony with native wildlife and the habitat’s ability to sustain them. The BLM has attempted to protect land within its jurisdiction but is hamstrung by the provisions of the ill-considered Wild Horse Protection Act and efforts of well-meaning but misinformed activists.

Lastly, I believe that Mr. Stolle’s assertion that in 2018 “tens of thousands of wild mustangs from the U.S. were sent to slaughter in Mexico and Canada” is unsupported. He is, however, correct that thousands of unwanted horses sit in government-supported corrals, living out their lives on the public dole costing taxpayers millions of dollars every year. It probably would be better if these animals could be exported to countries where their meat would be welcome and culturally acceptable.

This is a serious problem on our public lands and it cries out for a practical and pragmatic solution.


Grand Junction

Hispanic mothers face barriers to health

Last year in Mesa County, pregnant Hispanic people made up a quarter of all gestational diabetes cases, despite representing less than 15% of the population. Gestational diabetes is one of many co-morbidities of obesity; both conditions are increasing in prevalence. The common assumption is that health is a result of the choices we make, but those choices can be predetermined by geography, income, language, gender, sexuality, and culture. In fact, the National Academy of Medicine estimates that, of the modifiable contributors to one’s health, half come from social, economic, and environmental factors.

We do a disservice to Hispanic mothers if we do not acknowledge that they face barriers to health that other members of our community do not. Orchard Mesa and Clifton, USDA-designated “low food access” areas, see higher rates of poverty and a higher concentration of Hispanic residents relative to the rest of the county. To reduce racial health disparities, we need policy efforts aimed at increasing access to healthy foods. A study published earlier this year suggests the burden of affordability around health food could be alleviated through 30% Medicaid subsidizations of produce. Enacted nationally, this policy could yield lifetime savings of nearly $40 billion in formal health-care costs and would revolutionize the health landscape of “low food access” areas.

However, while income can be a barrier to food access, we cannot conflate racial disparities in maternal health with socioeconomic level. To claim that racial health disparities are solely the result of socioeconomic status erases a historical system of inequity that routinely disadvantages people of color. I’ve seen this system while driving through Grand Junction, with bumper stickers reading “Speak English or Get Out.” We must acknowledge that inequity persists in our community, and radical policy solutions—not bigoted bumper stickers—are needed to fight it.


Grand Junction

Watch the anger, folks

It seems there are people who enjoy being angry and making other people angry. Democrats and Republicans currently are good at this. They write letters to the editor expressing their anger. That makes people of the other party mad. It also supports the anger of members of their own party. All of this is venting because the letters don’t persuade anyone to change.

We did some research on anger and found that is it related to depression, romantic love problems, migraines, use of alcohol, increased risk of heart attack, higher blood pressure, increased anxiety, insomnia, and mental fatigue. Anger also increases the risk of infection and cancer because the hormone that defends us against them is reduced when we are angry.

Because of what we found out, my wife and I no longer watch Fox News, MSNB, and CNN because most of their programing is aimed at making us angry or angrier. Our lives are much better as a result.

The Sentinel, thankfully, buries a few words about the political world in the middle of the paper. Meanwhile, we read the comics, list of birthdays, Tell Me About It column (so we can feel superior to the people who seek advice), the You Said It piece (particularly the items about good deeds), and obituaries all of which describe good people who had a wonderful life and in many cases a long life.

We will express our political opinions, after a long and thoughtful process, in November 2020 through our ballots.


Grand Junction

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