Oppose sterilization

24 06 2011

Sterilizing wild horses is NOT management. BLM has apparently “reconsidered” spaying mares in two Wyoming herds (White Mountain and Little Colorado) but plans to continue with the gelding of stallions.

No, no and NO.


Why BLM in general *won’t* come up with sustainable management plans is beyond me. It talks about that often enough. In fact, we’ve effected change here by showing local BLM just how workable sustainable management can be. In 40 years, things have gone from bad to worse with these hare-brained ideas apparently designed to allow BLM to do little to nothing about their responsibility to wild horses and burros AND the American public for whom mustangs and burros are managed. And yet, when I talk about fertility control in the form of REVERSIBLE PZP, people invariably ask: “Why don’t they just geld the stallions and return them?”

* Horribly invasive.

* Horses must be rounded up and captured to do it.

* Horses must (?!) be held in corrals while they heal.

* Complications?? One of the introduced Spring Creek Basin stallions (three were introduced in the late 1980s or so) was later removed to a sanctuary, where he was gelded … and bled out … How often does this happen insanitary conditions? In a temporary pen full of other horses in dusty range conditions …??

* If I wanted to see a pasture – no matter the size – of geldings, I’d take a drive up the road to see ranch horses. Talk about upsetting the natural dynamic of wild and free-roaming (as much as possible) horses.

In contrast, fertility control such as PZP is reversible. By its use, we’re not trying to stop population growth, just limit it to sustainable levels. Periodic removals will still occur but with less frequency and hopefully on a much smaller scale than currently. While I fully appreciate that annual darting is not feasible or even possible in many large areas, where it IS, it should be used.

As adamantly as I support limiting population growth, I am adamantly opposed to stopping it altogether.



2 responses

25 06 2011
Linda Horn

How much more do we have to take? I remember last year a BLM bigwig said something like, “The BLM isn’t “The Department of Horses.” I TOTALLY agree! They were tasked with protection, and have done everything but!

Most WH & B documents include the word “viable” in one form or another. Since these mares aren’t going to be physically sterilized (I still wonder about repeated chemical injections.), I guess they could argue the herds’ “unique” genetics are still “viable” until the last female keels over!

25 06 2011

BLM also was tasked to “manage,” which is important to note, and the agency is doing such a poor job of it, is there any wonder many feel it is actively MISmanaging our wild horses and burros? Sterilization of herds certainly points in that direction. The very goal of having a “non-reproducing herd” is blatant disregard for its legal responsibility to manage viable herds – you’re correct. I wonder that a judge hasn’t stepped in – or been called in – and ruled thus.

I think you’re referring to PZP when you talk about “repeated chemical injections” …? PZP is a protein, designed to work naturally on a mare’s immune system (“immunocontraceptive”). Yes, it has been shown to cause sterility if used six or more consecutive years on a particular mare – which could have some benefits in certain cases (elder mares whose wisdom is still needed in a herd, even when her genetics are represented already – think Molly and/or Ceal; injuries such as a broken pelvis that don’t necessarily affect the mare’s health unless she were to become pregnant – think Bones). It’s also reversible otherwise, which makes it perfect for “management” of herds where feasible (the cost-effectiveness, I think, would prove it worth trying, if nothing else).

I wish I knew how easy – or difficult, for that matter – it would be to bait horses close enough to dart, if not trap, in some of these large ranges. It’s being done in some places? Apparently, BLM has determined it’s too difficult. Sterilization is an “easy” way out for all that it’s absolutely as incorrect as “euthanization.”

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