New Video Shows Brutality of BLM’s Proposed Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments
Hines, Oregon (March 17, 2016) ….The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign today released a new video depicting the reality of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) plans to “spay” wild mares. The video includes never-before-seen footage of the risky, painful, invasive and archaic sterilization (“spay”) procedures the BLM is proposing to conduct on wild mares held at its Wild Horse Corrals in Hines Oregon and on the range in Wyoming.Last month, more than 21,000 citizens submitted comments in opposition to the proposed experiments, which equine veterinarians called “barbaric” and “unconscionable.”
“The BLM’s plan to “spay” wild horses sounds benign but it’s not. Our video shows exactly what the BLM has in store for our wild horses, and it is animal abuse,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the AWHPC. “The BLM wants to subject federally-protected wild mares and their unborn foals to archaic, invasive and dangerous sterilization surgeries that the National Academy of Sciences itself warned against due to high risk of prolonged bleeding and infection.”
The BLM intends to conduct sterilization experiments on 225 mares at its Oregon Wild Horse Corrals. The majority of these horses will be pregnant and many will suffer abortions. Of most concern is the plan to use 100 of the mares in a procedure called “ ” – the procedure shown on the video. It involves a veterinarian making an incision in a mare’s vaginal wall, placing his hand and arm through the vagina into the abdominal cavity, manually (and blindly) locating the ovaries, then severing them with a rod-like chain tool (known as an “ecraseur”).
The BLM in Wyoming also wants to sterilize mares on the range, and has removed the ovaries of at least 8 wild mares through surgical incisions in the horses’ sides, a procedure also depicted in the video.
“These are America’s wild horses and Americans overwhelmingly want them protected on our public lands, not brutalized by the BLM in holding pens or on the range.” Roy concluded. “It’s especially unconscionable when a humane method of population control through the use of the proven PZP birth control vaccine is available, but the BLM continues to vastly underutilize it.”
In addition to opposing the sterilization experiments, the AWHPC is also working to defeat a provision in the BLM’s 2017 budget proposal that would open the door to slaughtering captured wild horses. The BLM is asking permission from Congress to strip captured wild horses of their protected legal status before turning them over to state and local governments, many of whom have actively lobbied for mass mustang removals and slaughter.
For more information on the sterilization experiments, please see:
President’s Interior budget request Section 110 states, “… the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals…[and] … That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act…”
BLM Budget in Brief: “The BLM will also continue expanding the use of contraceptives and the application of spay and neuter to begin to reduce program costs and help the unsustainable proliferation of wild horses and burros on public lands.”
The National Academy of Sciences, 2013 report “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burros Program: A Way Forward” stated:
A potential disadvantage of both surgical and chemical castration is loss of testosterone and consequent reduction in or complete loss of male-type behaviors necessary for maintenance of social organization, band integrity, and expression of a natural behavior repertoire. p. 142
The possibility that ovariectomy [spaying] may be followed by prolonged bleeding or peritoneal infection makes it inadvisable for field application. p. 130
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is a national organization dedicated to preserving America’s iconic wild horses and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. AWHPC’s mission and grassroots advocacy efforts are endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations.