45000 Wild Horses To Be Killed By BLM

45000 Wild Horses To Be Killed By BLM
45000 Wild Horses To Be Killed By BLM

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not voted to euthanize 44,000 wild horses, but an advisory board to the BLM has recommended it.

The reversal came in the wake of extensive public opposition and three separate lawsuits, including a Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by TCF and AWHPC, seeking an injunction under the First Amendment of the Constitution to allow them to video record the proceedings.

Responding to BLM’s decision to drop the sterilization research, TCF and AWHPC attorney Nick Lawton of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks said that BLM’s withdrawal of its invasive sterilization experiments of spaying reveals, more than anything else, that the agency knows the public will not accept these inhumane sterilization practices.

“We sued to protect our clients’ First Amendment right to document the BLM’s actions and to hold them publicly accountable for their treatment of wild horses,” he said. “The litigation and advocacy efforts that led up to the lawsuits clearly demonstrate that surgically sterilizing wild horses is not socially acceptable and we are glad the BLM acknowledged this and withdrew the entire Decision Record authorizing the experiments.”

“This decision, though not made lightly, is in response to litigation that could have put the wild horses, BLM staff and our research partners at risk by requiring unnecessary persons or equipment be placed within the small confines of the space where the procedures would take place,” the BLM said in a statement released through its Portland office.

Officials with the BLM wanted to study three methods to determine whether they are safe, effective options for controlling the wild horse population. Of the three methods, the advocates were most concerned about a procedure that involves removing ovaries from sedated, pregnant mares in various gestational stages. The veterinarian reaches into the mare’s abdomen through the vagina to sever and remove the ovaries, according to a story by ABC News.

Ginger Kathrens, TCF Volunteer Executive Director states, said the serilization research was a path to destroying wild horses by destroying “the very essence of what makes them wild – their natural behaviors. Now we must remain vigilant to ensure that the agency does not pursue the ‘euthanasia’ of wild horses in holding or the castration of wild stallions, and instead works with advocates to develop wide-scale, humane PZP fertility control programs as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences three years ago.”

At the same time as the BLM informed TCF and AWHPC that it was canceling the sterilization research, the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board passed a resolution urging the “euthanasia” of wild horses currently in government holding facilities. Currently, 45,000 wild horses and burros are held in short- and long-term holding facilities, officials with the two wild horse advocacy groups said.

Humane Society of the United States Senior Vice President of Programs & Innovations Holly Hazard, said, “The decision of the BLM advisory board to recommend the destruction of the 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities is a complete abdication of responsibility for their care. The agency would not be in this situation but for their long-term mismanagement. Alternatives to this proposal have been ignored for over 20 years. The HSUS stands ready to implement these alternatives at any time.”

The HSUS has long recommended the humane and sustainable option of implementing fertility control programs throughout the West, she said.

The resolution is the culmination of decades of BLM mismanagement of wild horses and burros and the public rangelands, according to herd advocates. Livestock has historically degraded public lands and the BLM has created a crisis both on and off the range by continuing to use roundups and removals to manage wild horses and burros, instead using humane fertility control, which has been available for nearly 30 years and is recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.

Kathrens was the sole dissenting vote against the Advisory Board resolution calling for the ‘euthanasia’ of horses in holding.

“While cancellation of the sterilization experiments is a major victory, Americans will not stand by and allow the killing of tens of thousands of wild horses holding facilities,” Suzanne Roy, AWHPC executive director said. “If the agency thought the public was opposed to sterilization, wait until it sees what happens in response to the proposed mass killing of these American icons.”

On August 15, officials with TCF and AWHPC filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop the experiments unless the agency allowed public observation and videotaping of the invasive procedures. Government lawyers Friday informed the groups that that the agency did not intend to pursue the surgical sterilization of mares at this time, if ever, officials with the two advocacy groups stated in a news release.

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. Cloud is the subject of TCF Founder Ginger Kathrens’ groundbreaking PBS/Nature documentaries. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHPC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

Eileen E. White

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  1. BLM has gone too far to draw attention to themselves this time. Rioting, blocking roadways and using racism as a tactic to garner attention is one thing. Now Black Lives Matters is killing tens of thousands of horses, really Clinton will stop at noting to get a vote. Maybe all that head bobbing is due to her eating horsemeat.

    These horses are and have changed the natural landscape of the lands they live on. Native species have suffered for many decades since the need for horses as dwindled down to a less than 1% ownership by human population.

    Remember this same government took lands and paid ranchers to harvest this animal for war uses for many decades. It began out of greed and now it is coming to an end. The horses would allow many native species to return to normal levels.

    It is sad non the less but I can see the need.

  2. No one should have the right to bother these horses. they are living free and should remain so. If they can catch some like when the ranches were running, and horses were then used for riding etc. But they have a right to life free and happy.

  3. Uh, reread the article’s beginning, David Snipes. The BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management, part of the United States Department of the Interior. How in the world could anyone possibly think that Black Lives Matter has anything to do with wild horses? Or that Hillary Clinton is somehow using this to get votes? Muddle-headed, ignorant thinking like this (or deliberate attempt to smear Black Lives Matter and Clinton?) goes a long way toward explaining how Trump gets away with constantly mis-stating and making up facts (and outright lying) and gets away with it.

  4. Forget the destruction they cause to the environment and the amount of other species they remove from their natural habitats. These horses were introduced species, they have no natural predators, they do not belong on that environment’s food chain. Their numbers will continue to grow, and as their number grows they will continue to destroy the flora of the locations they live. Ecosystems are complex and when you introduce something to them it can have an adverse effect on them. These horses are allowed to stay, but in numbers in which it does not destroy the ecosystem they are living in.

    Animal activists just do not understand how destructive these horses are to the flora (which supports other animals). The destruction of this flora might kill OTHER species which are native to the region. So you pick… kill off invasive horses to keep their population controlled and the environment safe for native species. Don’t control their population and allow them to destroy the habitat and endanger other native species. Either way you’re killing something.

    • Humans are an introduced species as well, and have no natural predators. Humans destroy the flora and the very land from which it grows in all the locations where they live. Everywhere humans have been introduced, they have had an adverse effect. Guess you just can’t win once you decide to start killing!


      you just can’

  5. I don’t even understand why anyone cares about these horses. They are an invasive (non-natural) species and absolutely decimate indigenous ecosystems. They need to be culled to protect truly endangered plant and animal species.

  6. If a viable, sustanable, humane and ethical option has been on the table for years one would ask: Why hasnt it been implimented in all this time? Simple. Because our government with all it’s far reaching arms has no common sense, decency, or morals. At the end of the day maybe a handful care about humanity and fiscal responsibility. As long as their selfish goals are being met then the consequenses to others are simply not a factor. This subject and many others make me sick. Many problems with our system have simple answers that will never be allowed to come to pass because their is no power or profit to be gained by the ones in charge.

  7. One solution is for people to adopt those mustangs in the holding areas–whether as working ranch horses, trail horses, show horses, endurance horses…mustangs overall are good, tough, healthy animals, highly intelligent, usually of good character, and versatile. While they are often not as tall nor weigh as much as a domesticated horse, they can carry a full-grown person and travel long distances while doing so. Horses were a native species of North America, and they became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene, which ended approximately 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. The species was re-introduced when Europeans colonized the Americas. They are not an invasive species, but one that was absent from the ecosystem for thousands of years. If there were more predators on the range, such as wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions, that would help to keep the equine population in check. Unfortunately, because those predatory animals also prey on domestic sheep, goats, and cattle, the government sought to have the coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions killed in large numbers because they were considered to be pests preying on valuable livestock. Insofar as I understand the matter, the cattle and sheep that “share” the range with wild horses are not exactly native species–and they cause their own devastating share of damage to the open range that often seems to get blamed on the horses. I would rather see the horses and buffalo on the range than cattle, and the predator populations restored, but, sadly, I think that ignorance is likely to win out over wisdom and good land husbandry.

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