Americans Call on Senate Appropriations to Stop Bureau of Land Management from Killing the "Wild" in Wild Horses

Senate FY21 Appropriations Must Preserve Intent of 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act
WASHINGTON - July 30, 2020 - PRLog -- Today, the Cloud Foundation (TCF), a national organization dedicated to protecting America's wild horses and burros on our public lands, is joined by thousands of Americans in calling upon the Senate Appropriations Committee to stop federal agencies from killing the "wild" in America's wild mustangs.

The House Interior Appropriations FY21 bill permits the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement surgical sterilization programs that will halt natural hormone production, which in turn destroys natural "wild" behaviors. By authorizing BLM to castrate and ovariectomize these protected animals, the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act will be destroyed through the Appropriations process.

If approved by the Senate, this is the first time the BLM will carry out a widescale program to castrate stallions and ovariectomize mares in the wild. Castration is used on stallions in domestic settings to put an end to stallion behaviors and make a horse easier to control. Ovariectomy is primarily performed on high-performance mares to reduce natural drives and ensure more consistent behavior. These are domesticating procedures, and are entirely inappropriate for managing wild animals faced with the challenges of surviving the rugged and extreme conditions in the wild.

When performed in domestic settings, ovariectomy is done through a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. The BLM, however, plans to utilize the outdated and dangerous method, ovariectomy via colpotomy – whereby a device with a chain at the end is inserted into a mare's vulva and used to blindly crush and rip out her ovaries. TCF, working with other advocate groups, has won three lawsuits preventing BLM from experimenting with this barbaric procedure on wild mares. Two well-known universities pulled out of the BLM studies due to massive public outcry. Now, BLM is poised to use this highly-controversial procedure on the range, despite the known risk and overwhelming public objection against such cruelty.

"Natural wild behaviors make up the very fabric of wild horse society and are essential to the animals' survival," said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. "If the Senate doesn't stop this, our remaining wild herds could be destroyed. It's the antithesis of what was intended in the 1971 Wild, Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. You may as well start calling it the Public Lands Pastured Horses and Burros Act…once you wipe out natural behaviors through sterilization, we can never get them back."

"Laparoscopic ovariectomy, once only used to treat medical problems such as granulosa cell tumors, is now being expanded to treat behavioral problems in mares." Journal of Equine Veterinary Sciences, 2007. 11

"Castration, as well as the elimination of hormonally driven behavior associated with a stallion, allows a male horse to be calmer and better-behaved, making the animal quieter, gentler and potentially more suitable as an everyday working animal." Cheney, Victor T., A Brief History Of Castration: Second Edition AuthorHouse, 2006.

TCF supports the humane management of America's wild horses and burros at genetically viable population levels through PZP fertility control.

The Cloud Foundation (TCF), a 501(c)3 non-profit, has been at the forefront of wild horse advocacy since its inception in 2005. TCF was founded by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, creator of three acclaimed PBS Nature series documentaries that followed the wild stallion Cloud throughout the seasons of his life. Dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our public lands, TCF advocates for protecting natural wild equid behaviors, repatriation of wild horses to zeroed-out Herd Areas, and equal allocation of forage within Congressionally-designated Herd Areas.

Lisa Friday

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