In an article by the Associated Press (via OregonLive.com) they report:
RENO, Nevada — (AP) United in their belief wild horses should remain free to roam public rangeland across the West, groups working to protect the mustangs are increasingly at odds over whether contraception should play a role in the decades-old dispute over efforts to reign in the natural size of the herds.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign — made up of more than 60 groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Welfare Institute and In Defense of Animals — has been willing to accept treating mares with the anti-fertility drug PZP as a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping mustangs to costly holding facilities.
“The use of birth control, in the form of the PZP vaccine, was recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and is in line with public opinion and taxpayer interests,” campaign spokeswoman Deniz Bolbol said.
Leaders of two dissenting groups who recently won a court order blocking a roundup in Nevada are harshly critical of the national coalition, accusing some members of abandoning the mustangs’ best interests.
The New York-based Friends of Animals and San Francisco-based Protect Mustangs say recent studies show use of the contraceptive, which keeps the horses from reproducing for two years, is having an unnatural impact on the herds’ social structure.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in Reno agreed in February when he blocked a roundup based partly on BLM’s reliance on a 5-year-old study suggesting contraception prompts some mares unable to become pregnant to leave in search of stallions in other bands. Newer data disputes that finding.
“We champion the herd’s freedom and will prevent special interest groups from using them as pharmaceutical lab rats for drug research,” Protect Mustangs executive director Anne Novak said.
We are members of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign group and support their work.
On the PZP issue, we concur with the statement “. . . has been willing to accept treating mares with the anti-fertility drug PZP as a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping mustangs to costly holding facilities”.
In saying that, we do not favor the drug itself. We simply agree that it is a more humane alternative to gathering and shipping Mustangs to costly holding facilities. It is not mentioned, but we know historically some Mustangs are sent to slaughter. PZP is definitely preferable to that. But is it really a viable overall solution?
From the same article:
Holly Hazard, senior vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, said internal dissent is nothing new but acknowledged the “tone and tenor is ramping up.” She said the claim her group pushes PZP to raise money is “ludicrous.”
“We have been working with PZP for 20 years,” she said. “We believe it’s the best hope for getting the wild horse management challenges under control.”
Yes, 20 years of working with PZP. And look at all the destruction and empty herd areas.
The important questions are:
Has PZP actually spared any wild horses or saved a herd? Some wild horse advocates say that it has.
Are the groups espousing PZP selling out America’s wild horses and subjecting them to a harmful drug that no one truly knows the consequences of? Someone with more expertise than we have will have to answer that. We are currently canvassing experts for some answers.
We agree 100% with this remark by Hazard:
Hazard said the groups share the same “pure vision of what we’d like to see — which would be horses remaining on the range, untouched by man.”
However we disagree with this:
“But if the only argument you can make is they should be left free on the range, I say that they are not now and will not ever be — at least in the reasonable future,” she said. “We want a solution. We don’t want to rattle our saber toward a victory that will never come.”
A victory that will never come? That is totally unacceptable. And a typical welfarist response.
In the meantime, the “raging debate” about PZP among wild horse groups may be moot. The only opinion concerning PZP that matters at the moment belongs to the BLM.
The BLM doesn’t give a flip about what the National Academy of Sciences says about PZP.
The BLM claims that contraceptive efforts have failed.
In light of this “fact” the BLM states it will continue to round up America’s wild horses and dispose of them in the same fashion. And we know what that means. And the reasons for it.
It is about livestock, mining, and energy interests. It is also about keeping millions of dollars in Congressional funding coming into the Wild Horse and Burro Program making BLM contractors (and reportedly some BLM employees) very, very rich indeed.
So at the moment and for the purposes of this article the Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs have the upper hand in the PZP debate. Only one solution. The one we always have and will prefer. Total. Freedom.
• Wild horses, federal grazing and America’s billionaire welfare ranchers; Tuesday’s Horse
• The Wild Horse Conspiracy; Craig Downer