Wild horse advocates challenge planned sterilization research

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Wild horses in the Triple B Herd Management Area. Photo: BLM
Wild horses in the Triple B Herd Management Area in Nevada. Photo: BLM

A wild horse advocacy group has voiced its opposition to sterilization experiments to be carried out on wild mares held in captivity.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation(WHFF) says it is opposed to the plan by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to get the assistance of Oregon State University to conduct sterilization research on 225 wild mares held at federal agency’s short-term holding facility in Burns, Oregon.

The nonprofit group alleges opposition to the plan is being disregarded by the BLM and believes it will press ahead with the plan. The charity believes the BLM will post its Decision Record on the matter on April 15, after a scheduled meeting of the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.

Opponents to the BLM’s plan include veterinarian Don Moore, used as an expert by WHFF, who notes: “Wild mares will not have their surgeries performed in a sterile surgical suite. Their surgery will be performed in a non-sterile chute or standing in stocks at the local BLM facility without benefit of routine standard of care.

“Unlike domestic mares who are easily handled, the very handling of these wild mares presents additional pre-operative stressors, which cannot be mitigated.”

Moore argues that the BLM “does not possess the statutory authority to treat America’s wild free roaming mares as research test subjects to perform surgeries which are not the standard of care for domestic mares”.

He continues: “All horses should be judged the same when it concerns care. Elective, unethical treatment should not be performed on either domestic horses or wild horses.”

Moore said the BLM gave the impression that all wild horse areas were overpopulated when, in fact, most wild-horse areas did not have a genetically sustainable population without intervention.

“This is due to over manipulation of herds to promote adoption, decreasing original herd-use areas and allowing livestock to overgraze our public lands.

“Once again, BLM is exceeding the statutory authority granted by Congress in the management of our wild horses.”

WHFF’s director of field documentation, Carol Walker, said: “Our wild horses are feeling, sentient beings deserving of our care and respect.” The experiments, she argued, would be cruel and unnecessary.

The group’s founder and president, R. T. Fitch, questioned the BLM’s legal standing and authority to conduct such research on federally protected wild horses.

“It is difficult to believe that it is possible but the BLM is entering into, yet, even more extreme areas of abuse and inhumane treatment of our wild equines while dragging a public institution of higher education into the fray.”

The charity says it is organizing a public email campaign calling upon the leadership of Oregon State University to rethink its involvement with the proposal and to withdraw its support before the April 13 meeting of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.

More information on the email campaign can be found here.

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6 thoughts on “Wild horse advocates challenge planned sterilization research

  • April 4, 2016 at 4:38 am
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    “This is basically butchery”

    RADIO SHOW
    Four major wild horse and burro advocacy groups and advocates are uniting to speak out against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares (including pregnant mares). The BLM extended the Environmental Assessment comment deadline until Feb. 10th, because American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) asked for and received additional documents that the BLM had not made available to the public.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2016/02/09/wild-horse-burro-radio-stop-blm-sterilization-research-on-wild-mares

    Reply
  • April 5, 2016 at 4:16 am
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    There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that less than 20,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

    The recent National Academy of Sciences study found “no evidence” of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild
    Burros

    In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. Although wild horses and burros may not be re-located to other public lands where they were not found roaming when the law was passed, there is no law that states that wild horses and burros cannot be moved from current locations onto other legal herd lands. It is currently independently estimated that less than 20,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

    There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.

    Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 9:36 am
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    Since March 14, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price Field Office in Utah has been bait trapping and removing wild burros from the Sinbad Herd Management Area (HMA). To date, 126 burros have been captured and sent to the Axtell, Utah holding facility. As of April 6, one burro — a 3-year old jack — died due to impact with corral panels at the bait-trap site while being loaded into the trailer.
    The Sinbad HMA is located in southern Emery County, approximately 30 miles west of Green River, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell area. The Sinbad HMA is comprised of approximately 99,241 acres of public and state lands. The current herd is estimated at 220 animals as of 2014. The BLM intends to remove approximately 130 wild burros to reduce the population to the “appropriate” management level of 50 to 70 animals. Of the burros captured, 30 will be fitted with radio collars and returned back to the range, for a study of the natural ecology and behavior of wild burros. AWHPC has adamantly opposed this research, as no valid data about “natural” burro behaviors or reproductive rates can be obtained after 60 percent of the population has been removed, many via traumatic helicopter stampedes.
    The BLM has now announced that it will begin the helicopter portion of the roundup on Thursday, April 11 to capture and remove those Sinbad burros that are widely distributed across the HMA.
    Stay tuned for updates.
    More Information:
    BLM Daily Reports
    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/SinbadGather/GatherReport.html
    Wild Burros captured 126

    Wild Burros Returned to their Legal Herd Management Area 0

    Reply
    • April 7, 2016 at 2:54 pm
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      Re: collaring wild burros in the Sinbad HMA.
      In the 1980s similar collaring “research” was done on wild horses with devastating results including collars being embedded into the wild horses’ flesh and some ultimate deaths caused by this collaring procedure. No adverse effects were “anticipated”. However during this so-called “research”, a number of horses involved in the study suffered injuries to their necks and ears that were caused by the collars used to locate and identify the experimental animals. Serious questions have been raised concerning the deaths of some of these animals. The wounds caused by tight collars were unquestionably grim in appearance. In some cases, the horse grew into the collar material, so that the collar became imbedded in the animal’s neck. In other cases, the collar abraded the skin under the neck where the radio unit was attached; causing an open sore that subsequently became infected. Loose collars rode up on the animals’
      necks and over their foreheads, causing sores on the ears. Other animals with collars were found dead. One had a collar imbedded in its neck. Even the final report admits, “There is no doubt that some of the collared animals suffered large and painful wounds.”
      This BLM collaring experiment is inhumane and unnecessary and will ultimately be the death of some of these wild burros. This is another cover-up for BLM’s management for extinction … pure and simple.

      Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 10:21 am
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    BLM ADVISORY BOARD MEETING SEPT 9-11, 2013

    Dr. Lori Eggert, University of Missouri – Genetic Diversity

    Genetic diversity of burro populations well below what you would see in healthy populations.
    12 burro HMAs with populations between 2 and 49 animals.
    Burro populations do need priority for genetic management

    Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm
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    RADIO SHOW
    Karen Sussman, Pres. of International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 4/6/16)
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2016/04/07/ts-radio-wild-horse-burro-radio-guest-karen-sussman-president-ispmb
    (ISPMB).
    http://www.ispmb.org/
    https://www.facebook.com/ISPMB/?fref=ts
    Karen will talk about the history of BLM’s push for “sale authority” (so that wild horses & burros could be sent to slaughter), breaking the myth of using PZP fertility control to keep wild horses and burros on the land, and natural management as the best management for wild horses and burros.
    The International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros is the oldest wild horse and burro organization in the United States and has been innovative in the field of wild horse and burro protection. Under the leadership of our first president, Velma Johnston, affectionately known as Wild Horse Annie, ISPMB and Annie were responsible for the passage of federal legislation in 1971 that gave protection to wild horses and burros on public lands from death and harassment.

    Reply

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