Mustang advocates decry contraceptive use and sterilization research

Wild horses in Wyoming.
Wild horses in Wyoming. © BLM

A range of animal advocates and groups have spoken out against sterilization research and use of the contraceptive PZP in the management of America’s wild horses and burros.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency tasked with managing the nation’s wild horses, has been taking a closer interest in PZP in recent years.

The agency has allocated funding for several studies into contraceptive and sterilization options. The BLM has enlisted the help of specialists to conduct sterilization research on captive wild mares.

Now, a string of groups have voiced their opposition, saying they are taking a stand against experiments on wild horses and burros involving PZP and sterilization.

Christine DeCarlo, PhD, an advisory board member for Protect Mustangs, argued that the BLM was usurping the caretaking role it was mandated to uphold and was subjecting mares to what she called pernicious and needless reproduction experimentation.

“The universities they are funding to do this research must acknowledge that this would never be of use or value in the domestic horse industry,” she said.

“I believe their agenda needs to be investigated before they are paid to do irrevocable harm to these horses. They have already changed the genetics and natural herd behavior.”

Protect Mustang’s executive director, Anne Novak, said America’s wild horses were underpopulated on public lands.

“Even the National Academy of Sciences states there is ‘no evidence’ of overpopulation.

“The BLM’s arbitrary management levels are way too low for genetic diversity and survival,” she said. Fertility control and sterilization at this point endangered their survival, Novak argued.

“Now, the feds and special interest groups want to sterilize them and push them off public land.

“We offered to help adopt out all the pregnant mares from the last big Oregon roundup but our offer was ignored,” she said in reference to mares to be used in research. “The BLM doesn’t want to adopt out these wild horses they want to exploit them as lab animals.”

She claimed the bureau’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board was a joke. “It’s biased towards slaughter, sterilization, pesticides for birth control and cattle as well as experiments.”

Peter Souza, the founder of the Wolf, Wildlife, Wild Horse Action Group, said public land belonged to all Americans and not the livestock industry.

“There are five million cattle and very few wild horses.

“More than 80% of the American public wants our iconic wild horses to be wild and free – unencumbered by any government experimental birth control …. ovarian ligation or other heinous sterilizations.

“Wild horses manage their own numbers and we want them left alone.”

Rudy Al James, federal tribal judge for the Tlingkit Nation, said: “We the people of the Alaskan Tlingit Nation stand against the use of PZP and the sterilization of wild mustangs. Like the buffalo, the wolf, the bear and other animals, the horse is just as sacred to our people as The Bible is to Christians, The Koran to Muslims, Buddha to Buddhists.

“The use of PZP, ovarian ligation, or any form of sterilization would be considered sacrilege and an insult to our people and the majority of native people everywhere.”

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8 thoughts on “Mustang advocates decry contraceptive use and sterilization research

  • April 16, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    must end the cruel experiments on the horses now. end the roundups now.

  • April 16, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Abolish by law the cruel and senseless round ups of wild horses and Burros . Abolish by law the cruel and unusual acts of experimentation and so called sterilization of our wild mares and stallions . This includes both our Mustangs and burros in the wild and captivity . This is inhumane and dangerous to these supposedly federal government protected animals . Stop Now !

  • April 16, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    How about 20 million cattle, not 5 million. Stop misleading people. This is a crisis that must be felt with Immediately!

  • April 16, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Who was going to adopt out this huge number of mares? They never should have been removed or had their lives threatened again with this insane and pointless inhumane idea to kill off more wild horses through these illegal operations. Movak and Soula are unable to do such a thing. They are scammers that you must avoid. They are dividing the advocates yet again with more hysteria and misinformation. They want your money for their queen bee not for wild horses.

    To say that these ignorant people could ever adopt out wild mares is insane! They have to be gentled. None of you can do that without spending scads of money! Adopting out a wild horse that cannot even be approached by a vet is irresponsible and smacks of BLM indifference to the horses.

  • April 16, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    The BLM only estimates the wild horse populations. It must prove there is an excess but cannot.
    The AML’s are set too low according to the wishes of welfare ranchers and must be increased so there are genetically viable herds. 70% are not.
    All roundups and removals must stop now. The NAS study found this was causing the increased breeding as mares try to compensate for the loss . Also when their complex society is upset by roundups and family bands destroyed more breeding occurs . This has been proven by research dome at by Karen Sussman.

  • April 17, 2016 at 5:43 am

    Abolish the scammers who are preventing any progress and think only about money and fame!

  • April 17, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Censorship and prejudice for the scammers!

  • April 17, 2016 at 11:21 am

    BLM needs to be taken down. the ranchers need to be the educated on the wild mustangs and burros this is their land not the cattle as for sterilizing these wild mustangs and burros is so barbaric to cause many nightmares for life for the ranchers to pay off the BLM is pretty bad how can you people sleep at night


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