Horse News

More on BLM new pick for the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

The BLM recently announced its new selections for the BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.

BLM’s new pick for the category of veterinary medicine is:

Julie M. Weikel, DVM

38b65a5d-8fb5-4740-8758-4169c0a1a6e6  Julie Weikel (photo Oregon Natural Desert Association)

As written about in the article “Part 2:  BLM and Fish & Wildlife Service Experimenting on Wild Horses”, Julie Weikel was asked by the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge Manager (Brian Day) to write an independent assessment of the roundups of the Sheldon horses in August, 2011.  She observed only one day of the roundups on Aug. 15th, but also observed processing (RFID chips were inserted into the horses), the field spaying of mares and the field castration of geldings.

It is interesting that she wrote in her roundup observation “Provision had been made for witnessing of the gather by credentialed reporters.  They were to be with me in a site designated for observers that would be safe and not interfere with the horses or equipment.  No reporters took advantage of the opportunity, but four local people were present who apparently had gotten permission form the helicopter gather contractor to be at the site.  They did not stay in the designated area during the gather and they left before the end of the gather that day.”

What?  The contractor’s invited friends, who were not credentialed reporters and had an opportunity that members of the public did not have, did NOT stay in the designated area?  Why weren’t they arrested?  Members of the public are usually threatened with arrest if they do not stay in the designated area at roundups.  And since the BLM’s excuse for putting people in the designated area is to keep them safe and not interfere with the horses, why was it okay with the BLM and the roundup contractor that these “select” people and wild horses weren’t safe?

Of the chemical vasectomies, Weikel wrote “The studs also received a tetanus toxoid injection which led to an unfortunate loss of one stud to anaphylaxis in spite of supportive measures.”  

She also noted in her report that “Thirty two mares were spayed on Aug. 29th with no fatalities, and released on Aug. 31st.”  And “The spaying of mares was observed by professional management and veterinary personnel from the BLM Palomino Valley facility.”

Weikel did not mention any concerns about the wild mares being released so soon after surgery, or that there was no follow up after their release in case there were any post-surgery infections or complications.  And was the field spaying of mares observed by BLM’s John Neill and Palomino Valley (and Indian Lakes Road facility) vet Richard Sanford?

Weikel’s independent assessment (received from FOIA documents) can be read here:

In fact, her report was very positive and supportive.  Weikel, who went to high school in Winemucca, NV,  was appointed to serve on the BLM’s Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council (RAC) around 2012.  Meeting minutes from April 2012 noted that Weikel was “getting oriented with how the RAC works” and the minutes from January 2013 noted “Weikel has been looking into the history of the Wild Horse and Burro Program and what is going on in the various Herd Management Areas. Weikel recently read a wonderful summary of professional statements about the wild horse and burro population issues called “Honest Horses,” put together by a writer in the Spokane, Washington area.” 

The book “Honest Horses” contains interviews with BLM roundup contractor Dave Cattoor, pro-horse slaughter (WH & B Advisory Board member) John Falen, BLM’s Tom Pogacnik (Wild Horse & Program Director in the late 90’s, who admitted that 90% of wild horses rounded up were going to slaughter), ex BLM Director Bob Abbey, Temple Grandin, and ex W H & B Advisory Board member Wayne Burkhardt, among others.

Lets hope Weikel has read some other books regarding wild horses and burros.

The Jan. 2014 minutes from the Southeast Oregon RAC state “Sterilized horses to reduce the number of heads. Each year would sterilize at a different age to control the number of heads. Each sterilized horse is branded.

The goal now is that all the horses will come off the mountain by next year • This is a very healthy horse population • In 2009, stopped surgical vasectomies because anesthesia risk. Used stronger drugs • Proposal- Spay 100 mares in Burns that go back to the range. Asking for 100 mares to avoid drastic statistics if a couple mares died. Can RAC be supportive of this proposal? Yes • Data on the chart (handout) is from Fish and Wildlife. It will be published at some point • How much does it cost to spay? $200/ head for top quality drugs for spaying mares. • $30/day mare for top quality drugs • Cons: o.   There are a few individuals with the skills to spay mares. We would need to head the trainings.  There will be a death loss. We don’t know what the long term survival rate after returning to the range. • Thriving ecological balances? Long and short term holdings are full. We have the funds to move forward, but we are waiting on Congress to allow us to hold more. • Consider 10%+ death as a failure rate (Julie’s personal failure rate).”

For one thing, the RAC seemed to be planning on how to skew the results of the field spaying of mares with “Asking for 100 mares to avoid drastic statistics if a couple mares died.”  Also, there are only a few individuals with the skills to spay mares, but are they going to “train” people to do this on our wild horses?  And this is stated in a cold, matter of fact manner:  “There will be a death loss. We don’t know what the long term survival rate after returning to the range.”

Then they shouldn’t be doing this.  I repeat:  The BLM is EXPERIMENTING ON OUR WILD HORSES & BURROS.

We are anticipating that the BLM will make a big push for the permanent sterilization of wild horses and burros at the upcoming National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting this April 22-23 in Columbus, Ohio.  It seems they may now have another sterilization supporter on the Board.

As a member of the Oregon Natural Desert Association, Julie said she likes cattle.  She’ll fit right in on the BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.



32 replies »

  1. Another heartless member on the Board. Wonder what the other new one is like? The reappointed one is a big zero IMO.


    • Of course they are going to appoint someone that agrees with them, that’s a given.
      It would be nice if they let the public know about these elections so someone else could apply, that actully has there own opinion.


  2. One more pro-slaughter, anti-wild horse member to do the bidding of livestock industry and welfare ranchers – another real genius stroke on the BLM’s part……God help anyone who utilizes her veterinary services……….sickening

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At least 30 spayed mares were found dead in Sheldon after these monsters cut them. They didn’t know how many others may have been dead as the mares spread out. What can be done now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 30 wild horse mares were found dead in the Sheldon after they field spayed them?
      30 out of how many?
      I think we can imagine the horrible pain and suffering those mares went through before they died. Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Chris, none of the FOIA documents I’ve received have indicated this. what is your source for “at least 30 spayed mares were found dead in Sheldon” and can you send it to me. Thank you. Debbie

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting, all women, and all whose names begin with J. Is this some version of sex skewing of the RAC going on, too? It would be interesting to see how many men applied, and what the gender makeup of the RAC is now.


  5. Off the top of my head, I can only think of a few people more appropriate for an ANTI wild horse and burro advisory board than most of the ones that sit on this board.


  6. I thought the selection process started with nominations from the public? Not so? Then what do they do with the nominations from the public? Use them to roast marshmallows?

    “The selections start with recommendations from a BLM-FS team and moves up from there. The White House and DOI/DOA have the final say. The BLM-FS team members change based on the needs of the team.”
    Debbie Collins
    BLM National Wild Horse & Burro Program
    Marketing and National Information Center


    • And hate to say it but Obama or whoever he delegates is just simply gonna sign off on whoever BLM picks. We don’t get a say like Congress does on appointing a new Chief Justice. Sure wish we did.

      Liked by 1 person


    Wild horse sterilisation plan “disgraceful

    “The experimental surgical procedure was tested on wild mares in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Northern Nevada with a 10 per cent mortality rate and recovery taking at least a month,” the (Cloud) foundation said.

    Veterinarian Donald Moore, of Fruita, Colorado, said: “BLM’s approval to spay wild mares living on public land lacks any humane consideration for the animal.
    “This is a very invasive procedure and most veterinarians are reluctant, at best, to even recommend it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope the BLM looks at these comments and other horse advocate sites, just to see the effects their decisions are making. Each time I send in my comments to them urging them to give serious consideration to the actual merits of reasonable, viable recommendations from horse advocates like Cloud, AWHPC, Return to Freedom vs helicopters running horses down the mountains when I learn of an impending wild horse “removal”, the cynic in me questions “is anyone with the BLM even listening? Do they even read the comments from the public or are their minds already made up? I have read posts saying there ARE employees of the BLM who do try to work with Cloud, AWHPC and others, esp when auctions are held around the country for horses removed, but are these people in the minority? Although I am not a horse owner, I have friends who have them, I just love horses, I will continue calling, emailing, donating……what I can to keep on fighting for them. Social media is helping that effort. And my prayer is that as more and more Americans learn of the plight of our nation’s horses, burros, it will force positive change – hope springs eternal.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I almost couldn’t read this post it sickened me so badly. While there might be a few good people at the local offices they are unfortunately ruled by those outside those field offices. Any agreements made at the field office level cannot be relied upon no matter how genuine the personnel might seem. Another reason why I disagree with the use of pzp=complete and continued dishonesty by blm.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. With concerns to the experimental risky and inappropriate approach of sterilization I contacted the below vet who also wrote me a recommendation for shelter. This is her input…. Where is such a protocol ?? How can it be obtained ? Someone who is in Ohio this week please bring this up and ask !!
    —–Original Message—–
    To: ‘Tcourt5096’
    Sent: Mon, Nov 4, 2013 2:54 pm
    Subject: RE: Barbaric experimental ovariectomies on wild mares – very concerning

    You need to get a copy of their protocol.
    It they are using state or federal funding, a detailed protocol with IACUC approval is warranted. In Florida, all is transparent and available to public. Not sure about other states, but I am sure they fall under strict protocol submission guidelines. You need this information for proper critique.

    Alison J. Morton, DVM, MSpVM, DACVS, DACVSMR
    Clinical Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery
    Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
    University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine
    2015 SW 16 Avenue, Box 100136
    Gainesville, FL 32610
    (352) 392-2229 – phone
    (352) 392-8289 – facsimile


  11. —–Original Message—–
    From: Diane Wagner
    To: Tcourt5096
    Sent: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 11:08 pm
    Subject: ovariectomies on wild mares

    Thanks for sending this info. I appreciate your concern and I never want these amazing horses to be mistreated either. However, I do understand that population control is necessary in the herds where no natural predators exist. Given all of our options, I won’t throw out laparoscopic ovariectomy as unacceptable.

    Ironically, I just bought a mare last fall who had her ovaries removed laparoscopically 11 years ago. I researched through past owners until I got the story – surgery due to behavioral issues (which is inappropriate, in my opinion). She has 2 small scars – about 3 cm long, one in each flank. Having never seen this done in veterinary school (I went to University of Pennsylvania – not a common surgery then), I researched the procedure.
    Ideally, you would do it in a hospital setting. Obviously, that would be much more stressful for a wild mare vs doing the surgery on the range. Yes, confinement during recovery is preferred, but removing a mare from her band for 3 weeks post surgery creates other problems. Pain meds over the days following surgery would be protocol in domestication, however time-release analgesic (topical patch) is an option for the wild mares. Infection is a concern in any surgery. The small incision sites high on the body (furthest from the ground) pose less risk. I would absolutely NOT recommend trans-vaginal or abdominal surgery – totally NOT an option here.

    Another interesting point – removing ovaries takes away the source of progesterone, but the mare still has estrogen-producing cells in her body and will still show estrus and be bred. In veterinary school, all the teaser mares in the reproduction unit were ovariectomized so they would tease a stallion at any time. This was counter-intuitive for me back then! So, what will this do for herd dynamics?? I don’t know for certain, but the stallions will still be active.
    Bottom line, given the options, a skilled surgeon performing ovariectomies on the range under standing sedation is not the worst scenario. I think it would be worth a try to see how the mares respond and whether or not it alters herd dynamics. I believe it would be best for someone who knows the herds to help choose which mares would be removed from the gene pool vs choosing at random.

    Here’s another idea – how about standing vasectomies for some of the stallions? That would be a much less invasive surgery and would not involve removing an important endocrine organ such as testicles or ovaries. This could be done when the colts are young. It would still allow them to breed and live a normal life producing hormones as usual.
    Hope that helps. I am doing my best to be objective. I love these creatures as much as I love life itself 🙂 Take care- Diane Wagner VMD
    From: Tcourt5096 Subject: Barbaric experimental ovariectomies on wild mares – very concerning
    Sent: Thu, Oct 31, 2013 3:52:15 AM
    Please, you are amongst the vets from the group of vets who supported me in the shelter campaign. Minimal shelter is up only over sick pens, and the below shows the path BLM is taking now.
    Please read the attached writing of Bonnie Kohleriter, Scientist, about the hideous experiments currently carried out on wild horse mares – it is disturbing and of great concern.
    I appreciate any input of yours in this matter. What are your thoughts ?
    I hope to hear from you.

    Monika Courtney
    —–Original Message—–
    From: Bonnie Kohleriter
    To: Tcourt5096
    Sent: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 8:22 pm
    Subject: Re: urgent from Monika
    Dean Bolstad has a contract bid out to do ovariectomies in Boyd Spratling’s spay mobile on the range. It is called research. Let’s call it experimentation on the voiceless wild horses.
    Bait and water trap the horses with no transparency allowed with the public. Once horses are in the traps spay them with no transparency allowed with the public. The NAS recommended against performing ovariectomies. The top ten veterinary schools with the surgeons who perform these procedures in the country will tell you this procedure is questionable for the mares and questionable to be done on the range rather than in a hospital setting because of potential complication and sanitary issues. We need to bring this issue to the public now with an outcry. Our country’s wild horses are not up for experimentation as being pushed by the cattlemen of this country who would be delighted to have them gone from the West. Indiscriminate spaying of the horses without knowing if they have contributed to the gene pool and bringing the population down to the ridiculously low AML is another sure fire road to extinction.
    We somehow need to get to PETA, Biological Diversity, Natural Resource, and
    Defenders of Wildlife as well to HSUS and the press to bring out this barbaric move.


  12. Better hurry if you haven’t already sent them a comment.

    “Those who would like to comment but are unable to attend may submit a written statement to: National Wild Horse and Burro Program, WO-260, Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147. Comments may also be e-mailed to the BLM (at; please include “Advisory Board Comment” in the subject line of the e-mail.”




    • There is more to the big picture when it comes to our public lands and resources … but here is a good start:

      “What can be done to address the problems associated with public lands livestock grazing? There is a simple answer: end it. Get the cows and sheep off, let the wild creatures reclaim their native habitat, and send the ranchers a bill for the cost of restoration.”
      “Ultimately, however, it is the natural world that supports us all. And if we wish to behave compassionately toward future generations-human and nonhuman alike-we must not postpone or shirk the work to be done today.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Great documentary! Sent it on to several people. Reminds me a lot of the Gasland documentaries – but this one really needs to be seen!


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