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Terri Farley
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Counting Wild Horses : Why Statistics Don't Stack Up

How many wild horses do you see? According to BLM: 2

Babies born to mustang mothers in Federal captivity are not wild horses until they are old enough to be branded.   

The rhetoric of death is complicated. 
As an English teacher and word lover, I wonder: is this an example of oxymoron or irony? 

Maybe it's a logic problem.

Bureau of Land Management is legally required to protect and preserve America's wild horses

If records for a wild horse facility show BLM paid for disposal of 241 dead wild horses, how is it that 577 equine corpses were picked up for disposal ?

The discrepancy is made up of phantom foals.

In May 2013, BLM explained it this way: 

 "How many horses have died at the facility since Jan 1, 2013?  According to the Wild Horse and Burro Program System, the number of horses that have died at PVC from Jan. 1, 2013 through April 1, 2013, is 37. This number does not include stillbirths (aborted fetuses, animals born dead and newborn animals found dead) and young foals that died before they were freeze marked. Foals are freeze marked when they are weaned. This varies with the size and condition of the foals and the mares, but usually occurs sometime between three and six months of age."

As a stereotypical English major, I'm usually willing to take the blame for my trouble with numbers.  This time, I don't think it's me. 

BLM's statistical problems as diagnosed by the National Academy of Sciences won't clear up until fuzzy math is no longer a matter of policy.  

***Read more about Animal Angels' investigation captive mustang deaths here:  

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