Horse News

4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups come out against BLM’s cruel plans to do sterilization research on wild mares (Mon., Feb 8th)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoSpecial action alert.  Join us on Monday, February 8th, 2016

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.


Four major wild horse and burro advocacy groups and advocates are uniting to speak out against Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans for cruel sterilization experiments on wild mares (including pregnant mares).  The BLM extended the Environmental Assessment comment deadline until Feb. 10th, because American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) asked for and received additional documents that the BLM had not made available to the public.  READ THE DOCUMENTS HERE.  AWHPC then requested additional time to review these documents.  (Information is given below so that after listening to this show, you can add YOUR comment to save the wild mares from these barbaric experiments.)

Our guests for this show include:

Suzanne Roy, Campaign Director, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC)

Paula Todd King, Communications Director, The Cloud Foundation (Ginger Kathrens is in the Pryors, but she’ll try to call in)

Dr. Don Moore, DVM

Best-selling author Terri Farley (Wild at Heart: Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them)

Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Ginger Kathrens, Exec. Director, The Cloud Foundation

BLM’s heinous plans are to STERILIZE wild  horses, including “studies” (experimentation trials) using several methods on 225 wild mares: ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation, and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla.  The BLM is going to do this experimentation at BLM’s Wild Horse Corral Facility in Hines, Oregon, but will eventually do sterilizations out in the FIELD.


Leon Pielstick, DVM, inserting a chain ecraseur (and his arm) via colpotomy incision






A link to the Environmental Assessment is HERE.

Please submit your comments by Feb. 10th, by fax or email to the BLM Burns Office, with the heading:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
Mare Sterilization Research Project Lead
email to:
or Fax: (541) 573-4411
BLM Burns District Office:
Attention: Mare Sterilization Research
28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, Oregon 97738
(You may only want to put your name and email address on your comment, since entire comments – including personal identifying information – may be published as part of the EA and Decision Record process.)
Be sure to listen to Jonathan Ratner of Western Watersheds Project,
  on Wild Horse & Burro Radio on Wed., Feb. 10th.

Tonight’s show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us:, or call 320-281-0585


1/20/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horse and burros.  Listen HERE.

1/27/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs, on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona.  Listen HERE.

28 replies »

  1. I’ve already commented but something to keep in mind. A former advocate has on her website documents from when Fish and Wildlife (it’s one of those agencies)did this in Oregon. The numbers I’ve seen are 27-33 mares. In any event 3 mares died. That’s a 10% mortality rate. I don’t believe BLM needs to spend anymore money on this wasteful practice.

    They turned the remaining mares out the next day so there was no followup. There were no pain meds.

    No question this is a bad idea. It’s smacks of Dr. Mengele. Only this time the victims are our national treasures. One round of Hitler was enough. We don’t need to go down this path again to learn how horrid Dr. Death was.


  2. We no longer are allowed to do these things to our own kind anymore (and wow did we do a job on other humans too), so all that is left for our cruel, obsessive impulses now are poor innocent animals who cannot speak or defend themselves. Thankfully there are enough advocates out there to be thorns in their sides.


  3. A couple articles of interest:

    Below is the most shockingly blunt expression of why those ‘out of control’ wild horses need to go, according to special interests:

    In a Jan. 15 letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, Sandoval argued a more effective way to protect the chicken-sized bird is to step up wildfire restoration and reduce “out-of-control” mustang populations. He says there’s no scientific basis for the mining withdrawal, but asks that if necessary, it be limited to a maximum of five years. He also urged federal officials to clarify their “confusing” definition of “valid existing claims,” which Jewell insists are exempt.

    So if there ever was any doubt about who is behind wild horse removal, that about sums it up. I’m glad that I have less and less use for gold jewelry over time, don’t have the latest in cell and computer technology, and the only copper I need is for my Pruis!



    Symbols Of
    In 1971, due to overwhelming outcry and support by the American people, the wild free-roaming horses and burros of America became the first and last of their kind; the only two species to ever have a National law established solely for their protection and preservation.

    Regardless of the history or culture, we have always deeply connected to animals, weaving them or what they symbolize into the fabric of our daily lives. Often, these connections have been religious or spiritual in nature, as the essence of the animal was perceived as embodying a desirable trait, value, or ability that humans wished to emulate or draw from.

    So what is it about wild horses and burros that called to the spirit of the American people to declare them a National icon? Here are some thoughts…..

    Spirit of the Horse

    Much like the men and women who explored these vast and untamed lands, some wild horses would rather die than be enslaved. Wild horses exude a fierce independence that is never wholly broken and even today, a captured wild horse may break their neck or legs trying to escape a life of domesticity, restriction, and confinement.

    Despite millenniums of bondage, the wild horse’s journey back to its natural free-roaming state was a very short trip indeed. The shackles of servitude slid easily off their backs as they began to roam their native lands, returning once again to what 56 million years of North American evolution had created – total self-reliance and superior adaptation in harmony with their environment.

    Breathtakingly beautiful to behold, their wild state conveys tremendous passion, strength, courage and raw power. Embodying the very essence of freedom, they reach deep inside the human heart, invoking memories of our ancient past, resonating with our inner longing for Liberty, that inalienable right and self-evident truth that we declared would be the foundation of our Nation.

    Is it any wonder the wild horse has been subjected to such persecution, harassment and death? For those ruled by fear of the unknown, that value dominance, conformity, subordination, servitude, and security, the essence of the wild horse is a constant threat; a living, breathing reminder and symbol of our necessity for freedom to nourish and illuminate the soul.

    Spirit of the Burro-

    Gentle and humble, the burro embodies patience, perseverance, endurance and the ability to carry overwhelming burdens for great distances. Like the majority of those who came to America with a dream, hoping for a future beyond their culturally destined fate as a “common man”, it was through their labor and toil that our Nation was built, brick by brick, stone by stone, through sheer tenacity, unyielding will and continuous sacrifice.

    Incredibly intelligent and wise, the wild burro is one of the most unappreciated and discarded of all of mankind’s animal tools, much like the “common man” himself.

    What else do the wild horses and burros of America represent?


  5. Dr. Charles Mayo, of the famous Mayo Clinic, stated:
    “I abhor vivisection … it should be abolished…I know of no discovery that could not have been obtained without it….”

    What is Vivisection? Vivisection is the practice of animal experimentation. This can include administering drugs, infecting with diseases, poisoning for toxicity testing, brain damaging, maiming, blinding, and other painful and invasive procedures.


      • Some results from research on withholding feed for 36 hours (I know an overweight horse will suffer from hypolipemia in such circumstances, so the mares already overweight from confinement may face this situation).

        Mares were either fed mixed grass hay ad libitum or denied feed for 36 hours beginning at 8:00 AM. Blood samples were collected every 2 hours during the study period and analyzed for nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA), triglyceride (TG), VLDL, and glucose concentrations and composition of VLDL.
        Withholding feed significantly increased mean serum concentrations of NEFA. By 36 hours, a 16-fold increase in mean serum NEFA concentration and 2-fold increase in mean plasma VLDL concentration, compared with baseline values, were detected. Mean plasma TG concentrations significantly increased with time in feed-deprived horses. Significantly lower overall mean plasma glucose concentrations were detected in feed-deprived horses. Mean percentage of protein in VLDL was significantly lower in feed-deprived horses. Plasma VLDL concentrations varied widely among horses in response to withholding feed. Plasma TG and VLDL concentrations remained unaltered in 2 horses.
        Withholding feed significantly increases blood lipid concentrations in horses, but individual horses respond differently. Serum NEFA concentrations were increased in all 4 horses denied feed, indicating mobilization of tissue triglyceride stores. Variation in plasma VLDL concentration in response to withholding feed suggests that its metabolism is strongly influenced by other, as yet undetermined, factors in horses. Differences in the plasma VLDL concentrations among horses in response to withholding feed may be used as an indication of susceptibility to the hyperlipemic syndrome of Equidae.

        American Journal of Veterinary Research
        July 2003, Vol. 64, No. 7, Pages 823-828
        doi: 10.2460/ajvr.2003.64.823

        Effects of hypothyroidism and withholding of feed on plasma lipid concentrations, concentration and composition of very-low-density lipoprotein, and plasma lipase activity in horses
        Nicholas Frank, DVM, PhD Janice E. Sojka, VMD, MS Mickey A. Latour, PhD
        Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1248. (Frank, Sojka); Present address is Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4545. (Frank); Department of Animal Sciences, School of Agriculture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1248. (Latour)

        Objective—To evaluate selected concentrations of blood lipids and lipase activities in euthyroid and hypothyroid horses deprived of feed for 96 hours.

        Animals—4 healthy adult mares and 4 thyroidectomized adult mares.

        Procedure—Horses were deprived of feed for 96 hours. Blood samples were collected at 24-hour intervals and analyzed to determine concentrations of nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) as well as composition of VLDL. Plasma lipase activities were measured after feed was withheld for 96 hours and 12 days after resumption of feeding.

        Results—Time significantly affected plasma NEFA, VLDL, TG, and TC concentrations in both groups of horses. During the 96-hour period, mean plasma concentrations of NEFA and VLDL increased 10-fold in euthyroid horses and increased 5-fold and 9-fold, respectively, in hypothyroid horses. Mean plasma TG concentrations increased 8-fold in both groups, and plasma TC concentrations significantly increased by 33 and 30%, respectively. Composition of VLDL was significantly affected by feed deprivation in euthyroid horses. Activities of lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase were significantly higher in feed-deprived horses. Activity of hepatic lipase was significantly lower in hypothyroid horses than in euthyroid horses.

        Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hypothyroidism did not significantly alter the magnitude of the response of blood lipids to feed deprivation. Thyroid hormones may reduce variability in blood lipid concentrations but do not determine susceptibility to hyperlipemia. Hypothyroidism does not appear to be a factor in the pathogenesis of hyperlipemia in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:823–828)

        There is some published research indicating ulceration begins rapidly in empty horse stomachs (around 24 hours in some cases).


  6. Princeton University Teams up with ISPMB to Study Equine Behaviors.

    Click to access ISPMB_newsletter_June_2013.pdf


    As we complete our thirteenth year in studying the White Sands and Gila herds, two isolated herds, which live in similar habitat but represent two different horse cultures, have demonstrated much lower reproductive rates than BLM managed herds. Maintaining the “herd integrity” with a hands off management strategy (“minimal feasible management”) and no removals in 13 years has shown us that functional herds demonstrating strong social bonds and leadership of elder animals is key to the behavioral management of population growth.

    ISPMB’s president, Karen Sussman, who has monitored and studied ISPMB’s four wild herds all these years explains, “We would ascertain from our data that due to BLM’s constant roundups causing the continual disruption of the very intricate social structures of the harem bands has allowed younger stallions to take over losing the mentorship of the older wiser stallions.

    In simplistic terms Sussman makes the analogy that over time Harvard professors (elder wiser stallions) have been replaced by errant teenagers (younger bachelor stallions). We know that generally teenagers do not make good parents because they are children themselves.

    Sussman’s observations of her two stable herds show that there is tremendous respect commanded amongst the harems. Bachelor stallions learn that respect from their natal harems. Bachelors usually don’t take their own harems until they are ten years of age. Sussman has observed that stallions mature emotionally at much slower rates than mares and at age ten they appear ready to assume the awesome responsibility of becoming a harem stallion.


  7. How can a government agency charged with the protection of the wild horses \ burros even give such barbaric sterilization methods a glance let alone advocate using them? Are you in charge so sadistic? If you were to geld or vasectomize most of the males, the costs would be much less & the birth rates would fall dramatically. Not to mention no mares would lose a pregnancy, wouldn’t suffer as much pain nor risk of infection. Or is it because you secretly enjoy inflicting pain on female animals? To,what end, to provide more government land to ranchers/cattlemen? Do you remember it’s YOUR JOB to PROTECT THE HORSES & BURROS.


  8. Do not allow the BLM and USFS and Farm Bureau and the extractive and mining giants and the domestic livestock grazing associations to pull the wool over your eyes. There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. Per the 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act, the land is to be devoted PRINCIPALLY although not exclusively to the wild horses and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands.

    Definition of “principally”: First, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree, chief, mainly, largely, chiefly, especially, particularly, mostly, primarily, above all, predominantly, in the main, for the most part, first and foremost.

    There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that less than 20,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

    The recent National Academy of Sciences study found “no evidence” of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros. The recent National Academy of Sciences study found “no evidence” of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros. The recent National Academy of Sciences study found “no evidence” of overpopulation of Wild Horses and Wild Burros. Please excuse the repetition of the above statement but it can’t be said much clearer than that. Obviously the government’s actions toward the wild horses and burros needs to be closely and independently investigated and the animals left on their legally designated land.


  9. The advocacy has some of the most creative, educated, passionate, and determined people I know. I think it is time for the best and the brightest amongst us to start making some trips into DC to personally lobby for the wild herds. The abuse of these animals, and this horrific abuse of power against the citizenry of this country, must end. It is not unreasonable to posit that the movement will have one million followers/advocates by the end of 2016. I think it is time to go to Washington, start meeting with the lawmakers working on this issue, and insist we move forward on a truthful, science-based platform. We no longer believe the lies of overpopulation. We must demand a moratorium on roundups, experiments, fertility drugging,etc. It is high time everyone gets their hands off these federally protected animals until a sane, moral, scientific way forward can be sought. We need some very fearless leaders absolutely committed to the cause of keeping our horses and burros wild and free.


  10. Letter from Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva

    Thank you for writing me about the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) round ups of wild horses. I appreciate hearing from you about this about this important issue.

    The American Mustang is an iconic symbol of the American West. These wild horses are part of the cultural, historical, and natural landscape of this part of the country. As a federally protected species they, like all other wild animals on federal land, must be treated with the dignity they deserve by the government agencies responsible with their stewardship. BLM roundups that have lead to the deaths of many horses because of the methods employed and the improper consideration of climatic conditions have to be investigated. I convened a meeting of national wild horse advocates this past spring with BLM director Neil Kornze to create dialogue and seek solutions in a cooperative manner. My hope would be that we continue seek greater more open minded approach to wild horse management that uses birth control rather than sterilization to seek manageable levels of horses to remain on public lands.

    On August 5, I wrote a letter to Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth that addressed concerns related to the proposed Salt River Horse Herd roundup, which alarmed and outraged the advocacy community and general public. In the letter I outlined my critique of the round up methods used by the BLM and requested that the roundup be suspended. The letter also called for an open-minded stakeholder process to seek long term solutions. I was pleased that the BLM announced on August 6 that they would halt the roundup. We look forward to continuing to work with advocates to create a manageable approach to retaining these horses on Tonto National forest lands.

    I would like to thank you again for contacting me. Please know that my staff and I will be monitoring this issue closely to take the necessary steps to make sure your voice is heard on this issue in Congress. Democracy works best when we stay in touch, so I hope you will continue to contact me about the issues that matter most to you. Please visit, where you can sign-up for e-mail updates, send a message to me about current events or pending legislation, access my statements and press releases, request copies of legislation and government reports, and receive detailed information about the many services that I am privileged to provide for my constituents. I am honored to serve you, so please never hesitate to contact me in the future.


    Raúl M. Grijalva
    Member of Congress

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congressman Raul Grijalva
    Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee; Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC).

    Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources: Democrats and I are doing a Capitol Hill briefing on the Endangered Species Act and wildlife issues to debunk myths on Endangered Species Act’s regulatory and military impacts and provide solid facts.

    For example, did you know that the Endangered Species Act has prevented 99% of the species under its care from going extinct? ‪#‎SaveWildlife‬


  12. Letter from Veterinarian

    “This type of trial and error butchery is a violation of the least feasible management clause of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.”

    February 8, 2016

    Mare Sterilization Research Project
    BLM Burns District Office
    28910 Highway 20 West
    Hines, Oregon 97738

    Attention Project Lead:

    BLM stated it was “investing in a diverse portfolio of research projects to develop new, modern technologies and methods for wild horse and burro management”. BLM is looking to improve existing population growth suppression methods or develop new methods according to the environmental assessment. However, BLM does not need to investigate the safety and efficacy of three separate methods of surgical sterilization of wild horse mares. These three methods have been performed on domestic mares and discounted as a last and least preferred method to manage hormonal issues.

    The three surgical procedures for permanent sterilization of mares described in the mare sterilization research project, ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla all require certain pre-operative and post-operative considerations for aseptic surgical protocol and pain management. Pre-operative bloodwork and a thorough examination are always performed on the relatively few domestic mares which are spayed. Other options other than surgery are always considered first due to the risk involved with any of these procedures. Aseptic surgical protocol and pain management is the standard of care for each and every surgery or the performing veterinarian would undoubtedly be sued by the owner and reprimanded by the state veterinary board.

    Wild mares will not have their surgeries performed in a sterile surgical suite. Their surgery will be performed in a non-sterile chute or standing in stocks at the local BLM facility without benefit of routine standard of care. Unlike domestic mares who are easily handled, the very handling of these wild mares presents additional pre-operative stressors, which cannot be mitigated.

    BLM does not possess the statutory authority to treat America’s wild free roaming mares as research test subjects to perform surgeries which are not the standard of care for domestic mares.

    Case in point, is a photograph of Dr. Leon Pielstick as he was beginning to perform a surgery attired in bibs used predominately for working cattle and performing the surgery with a non-sterile plastic sleeve that is used to pregnancy check cattle. This is not acceptable for a domestic mare, why wild mares? To learn this procedures has been performed on some of the Sheldon wild mares, undoubtedly in a similar manner, is gross negligence and inhumane on the part of the Department of Interior and the veterinarians who performed the surgery in less than aseptic conditions.

    This type of trial and error butchery is a violation of the least feasible management clause of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
    In private practice, colpotomy is considered an inferior procedure with likelihood of post-surgical infections and complications (i.e., colic) especially during these unsterile conditions. Post-operative care usually lasts several days to often weeks and mares are monitored and in most cases are monitored in box stalls or cross ties, which cannot be accomplished with wild mares. Post- operative bleeding is a situation which cannot be easily remedied even in domestic mares.

    Standard of care for tubal ligation and/or ovariectomy is performed under aseptic conditions with a laparoscope and pain mitigation along with private confinement and treatment which can last days to weeks. Complications can also be colic, infection and pain mitigation is required.

    Hysteroscopically guided laser ablation is not a preferred method by board certified equine surgeons because it is considered experimental even under the best of conditions. Field veterinarians and veterinary students are woefully inadequate to perform any of these surgeries, which in my opinion should only be done by board certified equine surgeons in appropriate surgical suites and with post- operative care performed by educated and expert staff in an equine veterinary hospital setting.
    In recent conversations with Littleton Equine Medical Center veterinarians Scott Toppin, DVM, DABVP and Kelly Tisher DVM the following comments were made to me.

    Dr. Toppin stated he had serious concerns about the dangerous and inhumane conditions under which these surgeries would be performed. He also stated concerns about the sterility of the procedure and pre and post-operative pain control.

    Dr. Tisher shared that their practice equine surgeon, Dustin V. Devine DVM, MS DACVS, performs approximately six to twelve of these surgeries with a laparoscope annually. Littleton Equine is the leading equine veterinary private practice in Colorado.

    Mass experimental surgeries performed under these conditions outlined in the proposal, amounts to negligence and abuse. I believe experiments such as this proposal are unethical, inhumane and unwarranted. Any veterinarian(s) who would perform these experiments is in violation of the oath taken as a graduating veterinarian, “above all else, do no harm”. If a veterinarian in private practice performed these procedures in the manner described in this document they would most certainly be reported to and disciplined by the regulatory board of that state. Discipline would likely mean suspension of that veterinarian’s license to practice in that state.

    All horses should be judged the same when it concerns care. Elective, unethical treatment should not be performed on either domestic horses or wild horses. BLM gives the impression that all wild horse areas are overpopulated, when in fact, most wild horse areas do not have a genetically sustainable population without intervention. This is due to over manipulation of herds to promote adoption, decreasing original herd use areas and allowing livestock to over graze our public lands. Once again, BLM is exceeding the statutory authority granted by Congress in the management of our wild horses.

    Since the inception of the WHBA, BLM has practiced a management for extinction policy. It is ever so clear in the “experimental research policy” BLM is now proposing.

    Donald E. Moore, D.V.M
    1787 K 6/10 Road
    Fruita, CO 81521


    • I emailed all of the Oregon State University people shown on Carol’s earlier Wild Hoofbeats & sent them this letter! Hopefully more people will email the University with comments – might do some good!!


  13. This is genocide of the American wild horse. Things like this only happen when money and favors are involved. There should be an audit of all the BLM accounts with subpoenas of their personal records as well. This is how to stop this. No other explanation of why this is happening fits.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The BLM, Lipsky & OSU are all corrupt and have no regard for animals and no scientific integrity. I attempted many times to call and they don’t even have the academic integrity to speak to me. Lipskys proposal looks like a ten year old ( or the BLM ) and his only justification for theses barbaric experiments is that horses stomp the ground, well Horses evolved in America over the last 55 + MILLION YEARS & are good for our native grasses & ecosystem. It is the 6-8 MILLION SUBSIDIZED CATTLE that have destroyed our native grasses, soil, poisoned and destroyed all waterways, cause the explosive noxious non- native weed taking over our western lans and are causing global warming.


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