BLM Abandons “Spay Plan,” Litigation On Hold

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(Salt Lake City, UT) The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed a partial review of the disputed Confusion Herd Management Area (HMA) Decision Record (DR) that has faces legal action by multiple groups, including Wild Horse Education (WHE). 

At this time, the “spay” portion of the decision has been set aside. The agency has not made a final determination about how they will proceed with the rest of the finalized decision. WHE has agreed to delay our litigation pending final review. 

The DR for the Confusion HMA approved ovariectomy via colpotomy. This surgery requires a veterinarian to reach into a mares’ abdominal cavity through an incision in the vaginal wall, grabbing the ovaries, then twisting and severing them. Finally the veterinarian will pull them out of the mare using a rod-and-chain tool.

After internal review, the agency decided this procedure would be cancelled. 

“We are delighted that the decision to spay these mares has been set aside by BLM,” stated Laura Leigh, President of Wild Horse Education (WHE). “However, our legal action addresses not only the archaic and inappropriate spay surgery, it addresses the inadequate process the agency used to arrive at the decision. There is no actual management plan for the Confusion HMA that would outline objectives for the herd.”

On October 28, 2020, WHE filed litigation against the Confusion decision. WHE and BLM have agreed to continue to delay any further filings until the agency makes a determination on how to proceed with the disputed EA.

“Until we have open management planning, active and current HMAP planning, the public will continue to be relegated to this constant loop of debating removals and fertility control.” Leigh continued, “Real management, of any species, involves a lot more than population suppression. It begins with resource planning the species needs for survival.”

Deficits in federal land management agency planning is a key area of ongoing discussion concerning many environmental interests. In January the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order (EO) addressing scientific integrity and science policy. The administration’s policy is intended to guide government agencies to create sound decisions and restore public trust. 

The agency has determined that ovariectomy via colpotomy is not in line with administrative policy. This was an internal decision, not a decision adjudicated by the courts. The legal action remains in what we can label a “pending” status until further review has been completed.

Sterilization is not “off the table” and there are multiple approved and pending decisions that include sterilization components. Main website http://WildHorseEducation