Horse Health

Save Our Wild Horses – Stop the Sterilization


Photo of Carol’s mustang Cremosso, in the wild with his mother

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Why should you care about the BLM‘s plans to surgically sterilize 225 wild mares in a holding facility in Hines, Oregon?

They have already lost their families and their freedom, and are for the most part forgotten by the public, after the roundup ended.  Now they are slated to become experimental subjects, pawns of the BLM’s war on wild horses.  Ovariectomy via colpotomy is an outdated, cruel, dangerous and gruesome method to remove the ovaries from wild mares, and in the process of using it on mares in various stages of pregnancy, many mares will develop infections and complications, will abort their foals and even die.

Of course as compassionate human beings we should care about the unnecessary suffering of these wild mares who are powerless to protect themselves.

Here is another big reason why you should care.  The BLM has been proceeding for years along the path to eliminate America’s wild horses.  These experiments in sterilization will provide the blueprint for this systematic destruction of the remaining wild horses herds in our country.  It is not enough that wild horses have lost 19 million acres where they used to roam free.  With sterilization procedures firmly in hand, the BLM’s path to manage our wild horses to extinction has been mapped out.

I am not going to talk about PZP anymore.  I am not going to beg the BLM to do something less intrusive in hopes that at least some horses will be saved.  Birth control is not the issue here.  Most of our wild horse herds number below the numbers of adults that will sustain genetic viability anyway.  There is no overpopulation of wild horses.  There is a management problem on the part of the BLM who is blatantly disregarding the directives of the 1971 Free-Roaming horse and Burro Act, which requires that wild horses “be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”  “Range” is “the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses and burros, which does not exceed their known territorial limits, and which is devoted principally but not necessarily exclusively to their welfare, in keeping with the multiple-use management concept for public lands.”

What needs to be done?  Livestock grazing leases in Wild Horses Herd Management Areas need to be retired.  When livestock grazing consumes over 80% of the forage in a Wild Horse Herd Management Area, it is not being managed “principally” for wild horses.  If public lands are truly mixed use then one special interest group should not be allowed to influence all of the decisions made for use of the land.

We can all agree that sterilization is a bad plan, an extreme “management tool” that gives the BLM the ability to cruelly and permanently eradicate wild horses from our public lands.  So I call on everyone to speak out against sterilization.  I will not “work with” the BLM, signing gag order “memorandums of understanding” that preclude my outspoken criticism of their methods and goals as long as their goals are so far divided from my own.  I want to see wild horses continue to exist in their families in the areas where they have lived and adapted to, and to thrive and be a source of inspiration to every American.

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable.  We can never have enough of nature.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods



Eleven years ago, Carol began photographing wild horses. As she followed several herds in Wyoming, Colorado and Montana, she became aware of how precarious their situation on public lands has become. Since then, she has dedicated herself to educating people with her photographs and stories about the wild horses. She is one of the leading advocates working to keep America’s wild horses wild and free on our public lands. Her award-winning book Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses The book was released winter of 2008 and is currently in its third printing. Carol’s second book, Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers is in its second printing. Carol’s third book, Mustangs: Wild Horses at the Heart of the American Legend was published in October 2014 in France.

Carol Walker’s blog is and her books and photographs can be purchased at

30 replies »

  1. Thank you. Very well said, Carol. You see the BLM’s writing on the wall – which is managing for extinction.

    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. 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.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a research tool that the veterinary school is conducting and why not since they see these horses as “throw aways”. It would be interesting to know who contacted who first.
    I am glad you are not going to talk about PZP anymore, it seems even in places they are darting horses they are still conducting roundups. It is just a ploy to distract from the real issue that you brought forth, the land and its wildness. It seems many government agencies like USFS and wildlife management are eradicating all things wild. The numbers I read the other day for “conservation killing” was unbelievable! The only thing not being touched are animals with antlers for trophy hunters.
    We flew over the great basin area a month ago and it is unbelievable the amount of solar and wind energy farms are being built. What the cattlemen don’t realize is pretty soon their access will be gone as well when energy needs take over. There have been so many “national monument” areas put aside in the last two presidencies. I’m not convinced it is for prosterity. These solar panels could be put on roofs of homes, destroying desert lands is not the answer. It is not nothingness out there.


  3. Could somebody explain the nature of these MOU’s Carol mentions, and how the BLM has been using them in these situations? Also is it time to push for a congressional inquiry of the entire WHB program? The public at large is the largest stakeholder in this matter and it is our money that they are recklessly squandering. We are all over it! And while Carol mentions her reasons for why we ought to be concerned about the current status of affairs, I’d also like to point out that this abuse of power, and what it means in this supposed democratic system, is a GRAVE concern. Think about the current status of the wild horse and perhaps how it symbolizes what is happening with our own freedoms in this “City on a Hill.” We just might have to learn how to play hard ball better! The cattle cult has to go and
    many other non horse groups are now fighting to excise this cancer on OUR public lands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Luna. I have taken the most relevant language from a “generic” memorandum of understanding:
      . “Issuance of any statements, press releases, advertisements, public service announcements, and similar communications regarding this MOU and activities hereunder will be done jointly between BLM and (Insert appropriate abbreviation) and be approved by both Parties prior to release. Such coordination is to ensure compliance with the provisions of Executive Order 12731 and applicable regulations regarding endorsement, including 5 C.F.R. 2635.702.”
      Here is the link:
      Of course the document will change with whatever organization the agreement is made with.

      Liked by 1 person

    • What ia happening with wild horses is a clear signal that democracy has been perverted until turning it into a farce.

      Remember Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex? Well, the more I learn about realpolitik and how things actually work the more is clear to me that public lands and other issues impacting horses are ruled by an agro-extractive industrial complex that elects / votes for itself into power positions and sets the course of policy to further its agenda regardless of the sign of the party in power.

      The same applies to other sectors and economic activities, e.g. the Wall Street hedge fund financial complex… not even healthcare escapes this.

      There is even a techie name for this in economic and political sciences: CORPORATIVISM.

      And guess what is corporativism’s preferred type of government? You got it… a dictatorship…and the more rancid the better.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 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).


  5. OSU fined by EPA
    Elliott Nelson News Contributor

    Oregon State University agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $275,000 for hazardous materials violations found during a routine inspection in 2013, according to Steve Clark, OSU Vice President of University Relations and Marketing.

    “(OSU was fined) for the failure to properly analyze and manage hazardous waste in their laboratories and in their hazardous waste accumulation building,” said Kevin Schanilec, who is an EPA employee. “(The waste) was in approximately 1,900 separate containers—mostly laboratory waste.”

    OSU officials said that the overall amount of waste was not very big, and that the fine was not something that they foresaw.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know there are some petitions going around for us to sign but I would like to be sure we are being heard. What can be done? We want someone to hear us SCREAM TO STOP

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha ha and the BLM is always throwing the Taylor Grazing Act in our faces – that quote is priceless!


  7. Would you do this to a human no because it is immoral, unacceptable and inhumane. Then why do it to an animal


    • See the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness from 2012. It may be helpful to get some of the signatories (include Stephen Hawking) aware of the wild horse plight. Those already invested in the outcome will consistently dismiss other points of view unless outnumbered by those standing on higher ground.

      From the Declaration:
      “Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.”

      From Mark Bekoff:
      “Solid evolutionary theory — namely, Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolutionary continuity in which he recognized that the differences among species in anatomical, physiological and psychological traits are differences in degree rather than kind — also supports the wide-ranging acceptance of animal sentience. There are shades of gray, not black and white differences, so if people have a trait, “they” (other animals) have it too. This is called evolutionary continuity and shows that it is bad biology to rob animals of the traits they clearly possess. One telling example: humans share with other mammals and vertebrates the same areas of the brain that are important for consciousness and processing emotions.”


  8. Date: April 9, 2016 at 7:11:40 PM MDT
    To: Monika Courtney

    Below is the voice of a BLM cheerleader pushing sterilization a of wild mares. You can speak up for the innocent horses…. In support to stop this experimental madness paid by your tax dollar!!

    “”For those interested in supporting the test spay project. Here are the advisory members emails. These have to be sent to each one because there is apparently no joint email address. This is very important because some groups have been actively campaigning against it with the usual smoke and mirrors style and little or no facts. We need this project to go forward.
    Crystal Cowan –

    Here are the Board members to contact that were posted also. Please Email them to protest the spaying.
    Fred Woehl –
    R E Cope –
    June Sewing –
    Julie Weilel –
    Sue McDonald –
    Jen Sall –
    Ben Masters –
    Leslie Yardley –

    Sent from my iPhone


  9. Date: April 9, 2016 at 7:11:40 PM MDT
    From: Monika Courtney

    Below is the voice of a BLM cheerleader pushing sterilization a of wild mares. You can speak up for the innocent horses…. In support to stop this experimental madness paid by your tax dollar!!

    “”For those interested in supporting the test spay project. Here are the advisory members emails. These have to be sent to each one because there is apparently no joint email address. This is very important because some groups have been actively campaigning against it with the usual smoke and mirrors style and little or no facts. We need this project to go forward.
    Crystal Cowan –

    Board members:
    Fred Woehl –
    R E Cope –
    June Sewing –
    Julie Weilel –
    Sue McDonald –
    Jen Sall –
    Ben Masters –
    Leslie Yardley –

    Sent from my iPhone


    Review of NAS report ( a few excerpts)
    by Jaime Jackson, AANHCP Executive Director, June 9, 2013

    Not surprisingly, too, the report echoes the interminable, annoying and baseless indictment by BLM bureaucrats that wild horses have singlehandedly overpopulated public lands, stealing valuable forage from the welfare ranchers — good old boys who think wild horse country somehow belongs to them alone. Excuse the pun, but this is all “bull”. Count the dung piles in wild horse country, and cattle beat horses (and other wildlife) 1,000,000 to 1. Who is the true “overpopulator” here? The fact is, there is no credible study or other evidence, now or ever, supporting the BLM’s contention. Government “counts” defy basic math and there is no corroboration by independent observers who themselves can be trusted.
    Arguably, every one of those 51,000 wild horses now being confined in long term government corrals should be restored immediately to the HMAs where they came from and belong.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was looking for an archive of this week’s Advisory Board meeting, and linked into the report the Board had regarding the various funded sterilization experiments underway. There I found this one, which clearly indicates an intention to develop permanent sterility from a single shot:

    6. Colorado State University; The Effect of Immunization against Oocyte Specific Growth Factors in Mares. Sept. 2015-Aug. 2019; $797,932. Ft. Collins, CO.

    This project will focus on vaccination against two proteins in wild horse and burro females; the proteins may result in permanent sterility through premature oocyte depletion. The long-term goal is to develop a vaccine that can cause permanent sterility after a single does. This study is in domestic mares.

    Status: The research team has synthesized the peptides and prepared the
    two vaccines under trial. Treatment animals have received both a
    preliminary and booster dose. The team is monitoring oocyte follicle
    development and blood hormone levels frequently. They may administer a
    third dose later this spring, depending on antibody titer measurements.

    Also interesting is this from the listing labeled WEST, Inc., Contractor on testing aerial observer distances, a Wyoming project. “It is not clear how estimated population sizes will be validated, because true population size is only known in one Wyoming HMA.”


    Does the President want to be known as the President who allowed
    America’s Wild Horses & Burros to disappear from OUR Public Lands?
    Is this the legacy he wants to leave?

    Call the White House
    Comments: 202-456-1111 (TTY/TTD: 202-456-6213)
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    Visitor’s Office: 202-456-2121


  13. Horrible what they plan to do to these mares. This is animal cruelty at its worst. This has to be stopped.


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