Urgent: Oregon’s wild horses need your comments about BLM’s latest sterilization scheme

Urgent: Oregon’s wild horses need your comments about BLM’s latest sterilization scheme

 

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results, then the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should be considered certifiable.

The worst government agency has re-published plans to sterilize and force Oregon’s wild horses into a zoo-like setting as part of an experimental study in permanent birth control, even though a similar plan to spay wild mares was stalled by a judge in 2018.

The new plan is just as criminal and morally reprehensible as the first. The main difference between the new proposed action and the previous one is that the mares having their ovaries removed for the study would not be pregnant.

The experiments would be forced on some of the 845 wild horses who were ripped from their families and the range in October of 2018. Because of Friends of Animals’ litigation, BLM has committed to returning at least 66 horses from the October roundup.

Please submit comments postmarked by June 12, 2019 to Spay Project Lead, Burns District Office, 28910 Hwy 20 W, Hines, Oregon 97738. Comments can by sent by email to: blm_or_bu_spaystudy@blm.gov. You can also express your disdain for the plan with the U.S. Geological Service, which is also involved. Email: schoeneckerk@usgs.gov

The entire EA can be read here.

The BLM’s artificially low appropriate management level for the Warm Springs herd is a measly 96-178 wild horses plus 15-24 burros. However, 6,134 cattle are allowed to graze in the West Warm Springs and East Warm Springs grazing allotments, which are located in the Warm Springs HMA.

These are some of the gory details of the plan:

●A total of 100 mares would receive ovariectomies. Of the 100 sterilized mares, approximately 28 to 34 sterilized mares would be returned to the range approximately seven days after the surgery. The remaining sterilized mares would remain in captivity for study.

● The proposed 2019 study would begin with ovariectomies performed by BLM-contracted vets starting in August 2019. BLM would use “standing sedation” on the mares receiving ovariectomies.

●This study only includes a behavioral study. It does not include a pain and welfare study.

●BLM believes that the surgical field will not be entirely sterile (but apparently they believe it will be sterile enough).

● The study would last approximately three to four years.

BLM states that it will be monitoring the feasibility of the “spay” method which would include “quantifying the safety of the procedure for both the mare and veterinarian performing the surgery, quantifying post-surgical complication rates, quantifying costs associated with the surgical method and determining average surgery time.

“This is most certainly creating the ‘zoo-like’ HMA that Congress sought to prohibit under the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971,” said Courtney McVean, an attorney for Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “By conducting an unethical and ill-informed experiment on healthy wild horses in an area with plentiful forage for all species; by ignoring its obligations to wild horses at the minimal feasible level and by refusing to allow the wild horses within the Warm Springs HMA to maintain their wild and free-roaming behavior, BLM is once again in violation of the law. This horrific decision cannot stand.”