Tag Archives: pzp

Suzanne Roy Letter: The failure of wild horse policy

Letter: The failure of wild horse policy
By Suzanne Roy /
Published Jul 15, 2016 at 12:02AM —
The Bend Oregon Bulletin

The headline for The Bulletin’s June 28 editorial is absolutely right and deserves some all-caps emphasis: “Wild horse policy is NOT working.”

This statement is true and has been for many years. The reasons for this are many but can be boiled down to a single underlying reason: We aren’t using science to determine appropriate numbers of wild horses on federal lands, nor to effectively and humanely manage them.

And this disregard for science is becoming ever more extreme. Ranchers who graze cattle on our public lands call for mass roundups of wild horses from the wild, using overblown and unsubstantiated claims about the effects wild horses have on the range.

In Nevada, a state veterinarian has suggested sterilizing ALL wild mustangs left on the range after massive roundups take place. And the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — the agency charged with protecting these iconic animals — is proposing the use of dangerous and backward sterilization surgeries on wild horses while setting the stage to overturn the federal protections that prohibit the export of wild horses to foreign slaughterhouses.

The proposal by BLM and Oregon State University to perform a barbaric procedure to remove mares’ ovaries by pulling them out with a chain is but one grim example. (italics added)

All the while, the unscientific way BLM uses to determine how many wild horses can inhabit the range goes unquestioned. As do questions about why the agency isn’t making better and more widespread use of humane fertility control.

The National Academy of Sciences in a 2013 report questioned the BLM’s system of “Appropriate Management Levels” for wild horse ranges. The notion of how many horses are appropriate in specific Herd Management Areas using the AML system appears to be arbitrary. The academy wrote that it “could not identify a science-based rationale” for how AMLs are established.

Yet, AML numbers are always used as a way to say there’s an overpopulation of wild horses on federal lands. This, despite the fact that horses inhabit just 12 percent of federal rangelands and are outnumbered on these lands 50 to 1 by livestock

The academy report also stressed that the BLM’s system of rounding up and removing horses from the range merely exacerbated population growth by “facilitating high rates of population growth on the range.”

And it emphasized that using fertility control vaccine is “a more affordable option than continuing to remove horses to long-term holding facilities.”

In areas where wildlife managers have implemented careful and detailed management plans, fertility control with the PZP vaccine has resulted in controlled herd sizes and improved health of horses. A well-documented example is the Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland.

PZP is used in several Herd Management Areas in the West, yet BLM spends only 1 percent of its $80 million wild horse budget on this approach. If more widely used, PZP could help stave off the “billion dollar” crisis BLM is forecasting due to the failed system of roundups and removals. It would also spare these cherished animals from dangerous and invasive sterilization surgeries.

Use of PZP as an alternative to roundups, removals, sterilization and slaughter is supported by more than three dozen wild horse advocacy groups.

According to public opinion polls, three out of four Americans favor protecting wild horses and burros, while 80 percent oppose horse slaughter.

It’s true: Our wild horse policy is not working. It’s wasteful for taxpayers, harmful to horse and out of step with what the public desires.

Our state and federal decision-makers need to wake up, read the science and demand a better way.

— Suzanne Roy lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and has been the campaign director of American Wild Horse Preservation.

Wild Stallion. By Randy Harris. See randyharrisphoto.com.

If you are a wild horse advocate you must read this book. —Ed. • Buy it now http://amzn.to/1O2yo34 »

Sign this to Stop the Sterilization and Slaughter of Wild Horses





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Wild horse advocates file lawsuit re BLM’s plans to sterilize Idaho Mustangs


BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Wild horse advocates have filed a lawsuit challenging a U.S. Bureau of Land Management plan to sterilize a herd of wild horses in southwestern Idaho.

The lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Idaho contends the BLM is violating federal environmental law by failing to analyze consequences of the action.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and two other groups also say the BLM is violating the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act by adopting a plan that fails to protect wild horses. Read more



Video Date: November 2015. By The Cloud Foundation.

Wild horse destruction and the question of PZP

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.

Guess what?

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