Horse News

Second Action Alert: Please Keep Writing – Stop Barbaric Sterilization Research on Our Pregnant Wild Horses



Many unborn foals will die from this cruel and inhumane procedure. Pictured: mare and newborn foal at BLM holding facility

Second Action Alert – Please Take Action and Pass it On

Tell the President and others at Oregon State University to Stop Pregnant Wild Mare Experiments

And also send your comments to the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board which meets April 13, 14, 2016.

Do you want to make a difference for our wild horses? Writing personal letters and comments is the BEST way to do that.

You can do that right now by calling or sending an email to the President of Oregon State University, telling him that we do not want wild mares to undergo cruel and barbaric sterilization experimentation by Oregon veterinarians, overseen by Oregon State University’s Veterinary School using funding from the Bureau of Land Management at BLM’s Short Term Holding Facility in Hines, Oregon. Even if the veterinarians at OSU will be observing and not doing the surgery, they do not want to be associated with and encourage and endorse this barbarity by overseeing the surgery and procedures.

If you have already sent comments to the BLM, they are NOT listening to us. In fact, when I spoke with Lisa Grant who is the BLM lead on the Mare Sterilization Research EA, and she told me that the thousands of form letters sent by AWHPC are being counted as 1 comment. That’s right – 1 comment. The only comments that are counted are those that people sent directly, separately, in their own words, and there were 670 of those.

The BLM is still planning to go ahead with this cruel and completely unnecessary sterilization research which includes dangerous experimentation on pregnant mares despite the outcry of the American public. They plan to publish their Decision Record and Findings of No Significant Impact on April 15.  This will be the plan that they will use going forward, and the BLM is going to use this sterilization research as a template for sterilizing our wild horses on the range. This needs to be stopped now.

Here is the documentation on the project:

Here is a portion of Don Moore, DVM’s comments. He is a respected Veterinarian who has extensive knowledge about wild horses and wild horse behavior. He has given permission to post his comments so that you use them in making your own comments. I encourage you to read his comments in their entirety here:

“The three surgical procedures for permanent sterilization of mares described in the mare sterilization research project, ovariectomy via colopotomy, 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.

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

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

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.”

“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.”

Please comment BEFORE the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting on April 13, 14.

Please make comments in your own words – you are welcome to use the information in this post and in Don Moore’s letter. Please be respectful in your comments to President Edward Ray of Oregon State University – we want to persuade him to do the right thing. And remember that these wild horses belong to us, the American public, not the BLM.

You may call his office at: 541-737-4133
Fax: 541-737-3033
and email here:
Here is his page:

If you have the time to reach out to more people at Oregon State University, here is a list:
Dean of the Veterinary College:
The Board of Trustees:
V.P. Relations and Marketing:
V.P. Research: link to email form at:
Alumni Association:  Alumuni Association Board Members:

You can also send your comments to the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board – please do so before the meeting!

Here is where you can comment if you cannot make it to the meeting:
“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.”
and you can watch the meeting as it is streamed live here April 13, 14:

you can watch the meeting as it is streamed live here April 13, 14:


Pregnant mare at BLM holding facility

Thank you for caring about our wild horses. They are sentient, feeling beings, and they deserve to be treated with care and respect.

Press Release Here:

Related Posts:

30 replies »

  1. Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery
    By Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C.
    “Unnecessary surgery is a type of medical malpractice. A form of medical malpractice that has become an alarming and growing problem in the U.S. is unnecessary surgery.
    This type of malpractice can lead to life-threatening complications and completely alter an individual’s life. When a surgeon performs and unnecessary surgery, it is an act of medical negligence. Doctors should take every precaution before deciding to prescribe any type of invasive surgery to a patient. When there is a failure to do this and it results in unnecessary surgery, they may be held legally liable. Unnecessary surgery can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications. Some of the risks include hemorrhaging, damage to organs, infection, amputation and anesthesia errors. Putting animals through unnecessary surgery where they face complications that could significantly alter their life is a form of medical negligence.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They don’t care – the arbitrariness of calling hundreds of comments just one! What’s the reasoning for that? So that people won’t comment. They know they can do whatever they like. I wish there was a way to get more media coverage to shame these people who deservedly need shaming. But maybe they have none, but perhaps people will think twice about their donations and endowments.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There was a recent story about wolves allegedly killing elk in WY and CNN, and several other news sources ran with it! Sterilization experiments on horses surely ought to count for more than an animal hunting its natural prey!


  4. Hmmm. I don’t think that letters to the BLM will make one (b)it of difference. I wonder tho if a respectful letter stating our concerns about these immoral (and totally unnecessary) experiments to the Board of Trustees at the University would make a difference? Once sterilization is done, it will have a harmful effect on the future of wild horses in this country. We can’t control everything with the precision we like to think we can.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wrote a letter to President Edward Ray and told him how cruel and unnecessary this was, and it fell on deaf ears:

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your questions and concerns. President Ray is tied up today in meetings and asked me to reach back to you.

    By way of background, Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded a grant from the Bureau of Land Management to research safe and effective alternative mare sterilization procedures.

    As a publicly funded research university, doctors of veterinary medicine in Oregon State’s College of Veterinary will conduct this research. Once this research is completed, the findings of the research will be provided to the BLM and shared with the public. I understand that the BLM will then make publicly-reviewed decisions about next steps.

    Oregon State’s first priority will always be the safe and humane treatment of all animals involved in research. In this case, the care of the mares will be ensured by veterinarians, who are not engaged in the actual research funded by the BLM, but who only ensure humane treatment, safety and proper care.

    I appreciate that you have concerns about how the BLM manages wild horses and burros living on open ranges. As a public university, it is not our role to enter that debate by providing our opinion on the overall matter of wild horses, but to provide research-based information for the BLM and public to be aware of.


    Steve Clark

    Steve Clark
    Vice President
    University Relations
    Oregon State University


    • “As a public university, it is not our role to enter that debate by providing our opinion on the overall matter of wild horses, but to provide research-based information for the BLM and public to be aware of.”

      Pfft, figures… It’s funny how college professors are usually highly opinionated about virtually everything, so you would expect them to state how they feel about this. Guess they decided to go silent when they realized they’re receiving a grant for this. -_-

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is disturbing double-speak:

      “Oregon State’s College of Veterinary will conduct this research.”
      “As a publicly funded research university, doctors of veterinary medicine in Oregon State’s College of Veterinary will conduct this research.”
      “In this case, the care of the mares will be ensured by veterinarians, who are not engaged in the actual research…”

      So which is it?

      It seems OSU veterinary students be doing the research, and outside (non OSU) veterinarians will provide only oversight for mare care.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Re: The Oregon State response letter from Steve Clark.
      This is the EXACT same letter that others have received – same exact words etc.
      It is a PR “canned response” …… which actually is saying
      ‘thanks for sharing and reaching out but we already made the death plans for these vermin and we will get our money from BLM no matter what you or anyone says.’

      Sorrrrrrryyyyyyy … but that is what I read in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, couldn’t even be bothered. I don’t even understand why this needs to be done. For grant money? It is disgusting, and no one should want their funds or taxes contributing to such an immoral, unethical and illegal travesty. I’d love to see the horses’ signatures on the informed consent forms. (sarcasm)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just continue to keep the pressure on them by writing to them and calling them. It makes a big difference over time, even though our efforts may seem futile at the moment. Share the information with your family and friends. Spread the word. Remember, “power in numbers.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When a Donor Becomes Tainted

    When all goes well, wealthy benefactors give, and nonprofits name things after them-a building, a school, a program or hallway-and all is well. But what happens when a benefactor gets embroiled in a scandal after the donation has been made? How should a nonprofit react?

    Consider this. On September 21, 2005, Queen’s University announced that it would return a pledged gift of $1 million from David Radler and remove Radler’s name from a wing of the business school and from the university’s benefactor wall. Why? According to the press release, “The integrity of the gift to the university had been compromised.”

    Visibility. Academic Paul Nutt notes that nonprofits “do not have the luxury of keeping strategic decisions secret.” When a previously honored benefactor becomes tainted because of an economic or social scandal, it often becomes front-page news. As such, a nonprofit cannot ignore the scandal in the hope that it will not become publicly known.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Published on Apr 6, 2016
    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is on a collision course with disaster for our wild horses and burros. The agency is set to approve barbaric and invasive sterilization experiments on wild mares, most of whom will be pregnant and will suffer abortions as a result of the procedure. (See video of the procedure above). If implemented in the field, this sterlization method (“ovariectomy” – surgical removal of the ovaries) would take the wild out of wild horses by destroying their natural free-roaming behaviors and causing social chaos on the range.

    April 13-14, the BLM national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet in Redmond, Oregon. This board is supposed to provide a voice for stakeholders to advise the BLM on wild horse and burro policy. There is no greater stakeholder in the wild horse debate than the American public, in whose interest our public lands are supposed to be managed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for posting the response letter.

    Obviously it is all about the FUNDING$$$ for Oregon State. Doesn’t anyone CARE about what they are accepting funding for these days and if their acceptance of the money includes animal abuse and unnecessary medical procedures and likely death for the animal? Disgusting.

    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, binding, and other painful and invasive procedures.

    I have questions. The response from Clark states that “doctors of the college will conduct the research” and then he goes on to say that “the care of the mares will be ensured by veterinarians who are not engaged in the actual research”.
    Question: WHO exactly is doing the surgery – the veterinarian instructors who work for the college or the veterinarian students or just exactly who?
    Question: What kind of experience do these people have with wild horses?
    Question: What kind of experience do these people have with this exact surgery on equines?
    Question: Who are these veterinarians who are not engaged in the research but who will be responsible for the care of the mares?
    Question: Will the surgeries be performed at the filthy BLM facility?
    Question: Who will be monitoring the wild horses after the surgery? If it is the wranglers … then we know how much they “care” about the wild ones – not.
    Question: Exactly who will be the responsible party for the deaths of these wild mares?
    It appears that there are way too many parts of this so-called “research” that are being hidden from the public who own these wild horses.

    This is 100% management for extinction. Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon any nonhuman animal, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.

    “Putting animals through unnecessary surgery where they face complications that could significantly alter their life is a form of medical negligence.”
    -Medical Malpractice Related to Unnecessary Surgery
    By Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C.

    Liked by 1 person

    • GG, good points. I would add a few more.

      Will the aftercare replicate field conditions? As in, will mares be corralled, say, overnight then turned loose, or stuffed into trailers and hauled out to places they may or may not be familiar with, and at what time of year?

      Since this is all publicly funded “research” will the results and range monitoring be publicly available in real time?

      If identified mares are found dead on the range post-op, will this information be made public within 24 hours, or will it take FOIA to ever learn what happens?

      How will slower deaths from infections or hemorrhaging etc. be counted as attributed to these experiments rather than poor forage, old age, lack of water etc.

      Will this funding provide webcams at watering holes on a live feed to the internet so the public can monitor the health, number, and mortality rates of these unfortunate animals?

      What criteria for success or failure are to be used as guidelines – as in how many directly dead is an acceptable outcome?

      How many fetuses aborted by pregnant mares are expected as a result of these experiments?

      Will any be mechanically aborted or will the mare and foal simply be left to deal with any trauma?

      Will aborted live foals be counted as mortalities related to these experiments?

      What will be done with the removed tissues (ovaries, dead foals)?

      What will be done with any dead mares and will their ID numbers be published immediately?


  11. Dear OSU

    Is Your Integrity For Sale?

    Look around and you will quickly notice that the integrity of many has been bought and paid for. When they were tested, they sold out.
    Their integrity was for sale and someone or something met their price. That’s a personal choice, but my advice is DON’T DO IT! Once you lose your integrity it’s a difficult thing to get back.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Buffalo Escape Capture—-

    On March 10 and 11 2016, just days after sending 100 wild Yellowstone bison to slaughter the National Park Service attempted to capture 102 more bison. The bison had other ideas and eluded the rangers.


  13. U.S. House of Representatives
    Committee on Appropriations
    Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    FY16 Budget Hearing: Bureau of Land Management
    March 19, 2015

    Questions for the Record—Director of the Bureau of Land Management

    Click to access 15-00345%20(Combined).pdf

    Answer: The BLM does not allocate separate funding for litigation costs.
    Rather, such costs are born by all of BLM’s accounts, both discretionary and mandatory, including the three annual appropriations accounts – Management of Lands and Resources, Oregon and California Grant
    Lands, and Range Improvements – and the Department’s Wildland Fire Management account, from which BLM receives an allocation. The Department’s Office of the Solicitor reported that in FY 2014, the Department made payments of slightly more than $1.0 million for BLM cases under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).


  14. Here is another place to contact the Public

    We also invite you to self-post your letter on our public blog, My Oregon. (A link to do so is at

    There is no word limit for letters posted on the blog and doing so does not negatively impact your chances for print publication. You’ll also be able to interact with readers about your posting via the comment function.

    Thanks for contributing to our community’s conversation.

    The Oregonian/OregonLive Opinion Team


  15. Leave the horses free.Let the ranchers learn to live with wild horses or scale down and stay on their own land. The public land belongs to all Americans not just ranchers ,big interests.Blm we are not going to standby let you get rid of our wild horses. We will not be like China and the way they treat animals and people.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oregon State University does NOT have permission from the owners of these animals, that is the American public, for using them in these research experiments. This would be in violation of their own legal and ethical standards for research. Must have OWNER’S consent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luna, great in theory, but we have elected Congress and given them the authority, and they assigned it to the BLM. Congress or the President could, however, intervene here to stop this. Unfortunately, this seems to be the result of the NAS report from a few years ago. Science is of course useful but not the whole story, and not all that has value can be quantified, though some models can point at measuring what is ultimately unmeasurable.

      Other universities and agencies are also involved (sterilization experiments are only one item on a long list):

      “In the late 1990s, the BLM entered into a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) to design and implement a research program that would investigate alternative approaches to address population growth as well as other management challenges faced by BLM. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the research arm of the Department of the Interior (DOI), and in 2000 the Fort Collins Science Center hosted a series of expert panels to discuss the subjects of fertility control, population estimation, herd genetics, habitat assessments, and health and handling issues. Based on reports produced by these expert panels and information from a variety of other sources, BLM, FORT, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) staff prepared a Strategic Research Plan for wild horse and burro management. The priority for management initially focused on fertility control and population estimation.

      More recently, BLM needs have expanded to include broader ecological information to support wild horse and burro management. In 2013, the National Academies of Science (NAS) published a report, (National Research Council 2013) which recommended and prioritized research for the program. In response and support of the NAS report, USGS scientists proposed a number of new studies that are currently in various stages of proposal writing, peer-review, study approval, or project initiation. Proposed research projects include:

      1. Non-invasive genetic sampling of free-roaming horses to estimate population size, genetic diversity, and consumption of invasive species.

      2. Developing a suitable radio collar or radio tag for feral horses and burros.

      3. Development of a population model and cost analysis for managing wild horses (“WinEquus II”).

      4. Population demography and ecology of wild horses in two sentinel herds in the Western United States.

      5. Demography of two wild burro populations in the western USA.

      6. Developing and testing aerial survey techniques for wild burros.

      7. Evaluating the efficacy and safety of Silicone O-ring intrauterine devices as a horse contraceptive through a captive breeding trial.

      8. Effect of spaying females on the demography, behavior and ecology of a wild horse population.

      9. Evaluating behavior and ecology of geldings among a breeding population.

      10. Modeling carrying capacity of free-roaming horses.

      11. Assessing effects of wild horses, cattle, and wildlife on sagebrush habitat and ecosystem processes.

      12. Testing efficacy of contraceptives for female burros in a captive trial.

      USGS seeks to continue the partnership and science support for BLM management of wild horses and burros. The resulting findings and products from these research studies will continue to provide BLM with the science necessary to guide decisions at the individual, population, and landscape level”.


  17. Our Wild Horses & Burros and our Public Lands belong to Future Generations

    Loving A Child, Protecting the Future (excerpts)
    by Will Falk

    Not long ago, a few hours after his birth, I held a newborn baby to my chest in the hospital. The baby is my girlfriend’s nephew. We arrived at the hospital and crowded into a maternity room with my girlfriend’s sister, brother-in-law, little niece, and mother.

    During the pregnancy, my girlfriend’s almost three-year-old niece was asked what her little brother’s name should be. She answered, quickly, matter-of-factly, “Pineapple.” He has another name, but for this essay, he will be Pineapple.

    While I was on the road in support of environmental movements, I have been asking many questions and collecting experiences, saying prayers and receiving answers (though I rarely recognize the answers when they come). I was able to write a lot about my experiences and through the writing I found new understandings. When the anxiety about where my next place to sleep was going to be got too high this summer, too high even to sit still to write very well, I decided it was time to build a community for myself.

    A side effect of leaving the front lines of environmental movements is that my writing has slowed. I’m not sure this is a bad thing, or just an opportunity to learn. One of the reasons my writing has slowed stems from the fact that I am not sure how to turn my daily experiences looking for a job and settling into a town I do not know very well, yet, into heartfelt writing that others can take something from.

    I realize that with no children of my own that maybe I am in the best position to worry about environmental issues that threaten Pineapple and to do something about them. I think about the love I feel for Pineapple and I think back to the help I offered him and his family. I hope they – and everyone who loves a Pineapple – will accept this essay as an honest attempt to work so that all children may grow to be the best expression of who they really are.

    Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender. His first passion is poetry and his work is an effort to record the way the land is speaking. He feels the largest and most pressing issue confronting us today is the destruction of natural communities. He is currently living in Utah.




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