Reinstating Cigarette Ads May Be Only Way To Save West’s Wild Horses

“It’s time for these lazy, indigent nags to earn their keep,” a Bureau of Land Management official says

Care of western wild horses exceeds $49M a year.

A new proposal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would reinstate cigarette advertising with the goal of employing large herds of wild horses and generating income for their care.

Jake Bowlder, the head of the BLM’s wild horse program, says bringing back tobacco print ads and TV commercials, banned in this country since 1971, would allow wild horses to once again be photographed and filmed for those brands aggressively marketed to men, like Marlboro, and could generate as much as $180 million a year.

Wild horses appear in Marlboro ad, circa 1968.

“Instead of stampeding and schtupping all day, these indigent horses can finally earn a living and pay for their feed,” said Bowlder. The cost of care now exceeds $49 million annually.

Coleen McDermott, President of the American Lung Association, physically recoiled when she heard about the BLM’s new proposal, “You can’t be serious?” McDermott commented. “This would push back our progress against lung cancer by 50 years. I think Bolstad and those buttheads over at the bureau need to seriously rethink what they’re suggesting here.”

Questioned about the wisdom of promoting cigarette smoking to impressionable young men and women, Bolstad stated that tobacco warnings in ads worked reasonably well in the past and would work again today. “We have a critical decision to make here,” snapped Bolstad. “Either we allow a few thousand people to die from smoking over an extended period of time, or we watch tens of thousands of horses starve to death or die from infectious diseases in a matter of months. I think the choice is clear.”

For more than 25 years, the BLM has struggled to find ways to manage horses in the wild, as grazing lands are being stressed across the Western states. Fertility control projects, adoption programs, proposals to reintroduce wolves, and kill options are either too costly or opposed by animal rights groups. “We are boxed in here,” said Bolstad of his controversial plan. “Either we get the tobacco companies to finance a solution to this crisis or the horses are history.”

At press time, McDermott was on a plane to Washington to convene a meeting of anti-smoking lobbyists. Bolstad was also in the nation’s capital to speak with the tobacco lobby, which says it is willing to commit as much as $15 billion to convince lawmakers that the BLM proposal is progressive and sound.

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