by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Last month we told you that Colorado State University had withdrawn from the BLM’s planned study of spaying wild mares from the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon by using the dangerous and deadly procedure overiectomy via colpotomy. It was due to all the outcry, letters, calls and messages that you made that resulted in this victory.
But the BLM is relentless in pursuing its goal of sterilizing wild horse herds and the eventual extinction of our wild horses on our public lands. Now, the BLM is planning to use contract veterinarians to do the same procedure that CSU was going to perform, and USGS is going to do a behavioral study afterward to see if there are behavioral changes in the mares afterward. They will be suing radio collars and tags to track them. This is ridiculous – how can there be a “study” of behavior if they do not study them before the roundup, removal and procedure, and how can there possibly be an approximation of how things were before when the mares have been removed from their families, who have been rounded up and removed? Calling this a “study” is absolutely laughable. They will be paid almost $900,000 for this farce.
This the BLM’s rationale: “The BLM must continue to pursue management actions to move toward achieving and maintaining the established AML and reduce the wild horse population growth rate in order to restore and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands.”
This cannot be allowed to happen. Same sex herds and non-reproducing herds are not a management strategy that is part of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. First of all, there is no overpopulation of wild horses on our public lands. Seventy percent of wild horse and burro herds have Appropriate Management Levels of below the minimum number needed to ensure genetic viability which is 150 breeding aged adults. Wild horses and burros are not starving to death on our public lands. Wild Horses and burros are being squeezed out of lands that have been designated for their use by livestock grazing, oil and gas, mining and other uses. We need to fight to keep our wild horses and burros free and on their rightful lands rather than rounded up by helicopters and traps and placed into holding facilities, sold to slaughter, or shipped overseas to be killed or slaughtered. The House of Representatives included single sex or non-reproducing herds in their version of the 2019 Appropriations Bill as part of 4 deadly strategies Representative Chris Stewart of Utah is spearheading against our wild horses. The Senate version does not include this in their version of the Appropriations Bill, and we must continue to call and talk to our Senators and Representatives and tell them we do not support this before the final Bill is passed.
The very first question that should be asked when any action is taken by the BLM to manage our wild horses and burros should be is it safe and humane? The answer to that question for this study is absolutely not. Overiectomy via colpotomy is an outdated procedure that is no longer used on domestic mares even in sterile veterinary hospitals because there are procedures that are safer, less painful, less intrusive with less possibility of severe injury, infection and death. It involves the veterinarian inserting an arm into the mare’s vaginal cavity, making blind incisions, then inserting a long metal rod called an ecraseur with a chain attached at one end that crushes and rips out the ovaries. The Burns corrals, where the procedure will be performed is filthy and although the BLM may “try” to approximate sterile conditions, it is imply impossible in the area where the procedure will be performed and in the pens the mares will be released into post-surgery. The mares, who are wild and have never been handled by humans before will be extremely stressed, perhaps colicking from no food for 24-36 hours before surgery, and many will be pregnant and can abort their foals. So much pain and suffering that is so needless and so inhumane is absolutely unacceptable. This is torture. This must be stopped.
Here is a link to a video prepared by Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation: https://vimeo.com/274567297
Veterinarian Don Moore, DVM of Colorado has some excellent comments that you can read:
“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.”
To read his comments in full, go here: http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/DonMooreCommentsOregonSpayProposal.pdf
Please do send comments in even if you have before. We need as many voices as possible raised against this.
Here is a link to the documents:
The deadline for comments is September 2.
“If you have comments on the updated EA or unsigned FONSI, submit them postmarked by September 2, 2018, to:
Spay Project Lead,
Burns District Office 28910 Hwy 20 West
Hines, Oregon 97738
Email comments should be sent to: email@example.com
After consideration of your substantive comments, a decision outlining the action to be taken within the scope of the EA will be developed and issued. If you have already submitted comments on the draft EA of June 29, 2018, and have no additional comments, you do not need to re-submit. If you do submit comments, please include your name and mailing address and you will receive a copy of the decision. If you do not have comments but wish to receive a copy of the decision, please submit a written request, otherwise you will not receive a copy.”
To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit: www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org