Horse News

Bureau of Land Management Once Again Threatens Wild Mares with Dangerous Spaying Experiments

by Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats

Please Comment on BLM’s Dangerous Plans to Spay Wild Mares in Oregon by June 12 

Mares and foal in Burns Corrals

Once again the BLM has announced an Environmental Assessment is now open for public comments until June 12 on its plans to spay 100 wild mares that were rounded up and removed from their homes on public lands in Warm Springs, Oregon in October, 2018.

This is now the fourth attempt that the BLM has made to use cruel, dangerous, high-risk and outdated methods of spaying wild mares, ovierectomy via colpotomy in filthy, unsterile conditions at the Burns Corrals, on wild mares. Each previous time we have stopped the BLM from proceeding using public outcry and legal challenges. We must stop them again.

The last attempt to go forward with these gruesome experiments was made by the BLM in the fall of 2018. Now in this plan, the BLM says the only change is that the mares are no longer pregnant. Most of them have given birth, so the experiments will only be done on mares that are not pregnant. We are supposed to be fine with this procedure now that the prospect of aborting pregnancies has been removed.

The problem is, ovierectomy via colpotomy still is a very dangerous procedure putting the wild mares at risk of infection, hemorrhaging, evisceration and death. I contend that since these mares are wild, and have not been handled they are also at risk of panicking and going into shock. Currently this is not a procedure used to spay even domestic mares – it is completely outdated, and domestic mares would be operated on in a sterile environment at a veterinary hospital with supervision lasting more than one week. Read the comments of Colorado veterinarian Don Moore DVM on this procedure:

The excuses used by the BLM for doing these experiments is that they have an overpopulation on the range of wild horses and absolutely no way to control it. Of course this is completely untrue. Safe, reversible and humane birth control methods that work on wild horses have been available for the past 40 years. The BLM is simply not using them in the vast majority of the herds.  Over 70% of the wild horse herds that remain in this country have below the number of 150 breeding aged adults necessary to remain genetically viable, let alone some ridiculous overpopulation. The BLM is looking for a permanent quick fix, a sterilization, an extinction of wild horses. If they can get away with sterilizing our wild herds, in 20 years we will not have any wild horses left, especially if they get away with rounding up and removing 20,000 to 30,000 wild horses from our public lands each year.

The plan requires 100 wild mares to be spayed and 100 to be used as a control group. Only 28-34 of the spayed mares will even be released back into their home in Warm Springs. The rest, 70 or so, will be offered for adoption. They can spay mares with foals as young as 2 moths old that will be separated from their mothers during the surgery then supposedly reunited after the surgery when the mares are in the recovery pen.

One of the wild mares being held had twins,  which is an extremely rare event, and she and her twins were going ot go to Skydog Sanctuary for some extra care. However, the BLM then informed Skydog Sanctuary that this mare was in the spay study so she could not be allowed to be adopted. The fact that before the EA has even been commented on by the public and the Decision Record has been issued that the BLM is already planning on this study going forward and already designated which mares will be used in a study that has not even been approved yet is extremely disturbing and possibly a violation of NEPA.

Please comment today and use your own words. The BLM counts form letters no matter how many are submitted as only 1 comment. Tell the BLM you want to use Alternative A the No Action Alternative, and that you are opposed to spaying wild mares. That as many of these mares as possible should be returned to the Warm Springs HMA, and if the mare with twins is not released to the HMA she should be sent to Skydog Sanctuary.

Not only the mares being held at the Burns Corrals are relying on you – so are all of our wild horses, who are under increasing threat of being wiped out completely from our public lands.

Please send your comments to the BLM by end of day June 12.

If mailed they must be postmarked by June 12:

BLM Burns District Office

28910 Hwy 20, Hines, OR 97738

Here is the email address:

Here is a link to the BLM’s Environmental Assessment:

10 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 an 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. Injuries from this kind of negligence could result in filing a medical malpractice claim.


  2. I’m not sure how many times I have commented on this third attempt by the BLM – I am concerned that without a public university involved this time – we, the people, wont have as much pull. Pushing back on a public school gave us more momentum. This time? I worry. And the idea that the nice little mare with her twin babies is being kept from going to a rescue? What is that – proof as to whose in charge???
    I know she’s only one of many – why is it that no one at this agency has a clue what kind of image that sends – or they just do not care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Biased decision-making is often caused by the desire for power, status and/or financial incentives. Knowing that the manager of the Burns Oregon wild horse and burro holding facility was directly involved with selling many wild horses to a person that was going to sell them to slaughter … why NOW do we think that this same person should be allowed to be a signer and decision-maker for the proposed ovariectomy via colpotomy sterilization procedure?

      “In January [2012], the manager of the agency’s corral in Burns, Oregon, emailed superiors in Washington, D.C., to ask what to do with 29 mares, almost all of which were pregnant. Spencer replied that Davis would take them.”


  3. THE TRUTH #23 – The BLM to combine sales and adoptions on the same application form, making it easier to hide how many wild horses and burros are actually being sold (into the slaughter pipeline) in their records.
    n an email below, BLM’s ROB SHARP wrote “Also, under the new IM you probably noticed the change to 25 animals purchase threshold for DC approval. This applies to each purchase, not a time period (ie. within a 6-month period). What this means is that I can come in today and buy 24 animals. Tomorrow I can buy 24 animals, and Friday I can buy another 24 animals without needing DC approval.”
    If you look at the BLM’s Instruction Memoradum (IM) 2018-066, “Guidance for the Sale of Excess Wild Horses and Burros,” you will see that Attachment 2 is not available online for the public to view. Attachment 2 is the “Application for Adoption and/or Sale of Wild Horses and burros (4 pages).” In Rob Sharp’s July 11, 2018 email on the first page below, he even states in the first sentence “…the combined adoption/sales application was released with the new sales IM.” So, since this attachment has already been distributed, along with the IM, to many BLM employees, why is the BLM withholding this new combined sale/adoption application from the public?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Louie, – that certainly tells a LOT about what is going on and just exactly which “special” BLM employee is facilitating it. I know BLM employees who facilitated selling our wild horses and burros to Tom Davis in years past got big bonuses … surprise, surprise.

      Here is the latest WH&B facility reports if anyone is interested in following them.

      Click to access wildhorse_data_May2019FacReport.pdf

      BLM’s “Regulatory Capture” status. Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.


  4. How sad the BLM online form will time out if you don’t type fast enough, and now has a 10,000 character limit (about three pages in 12 pt. font, single spaced). Just the EA is 261 pages long, making this an intentional and cynical tactic to prevent the public from providing a meaningful point-by-point response. I wonder if they have summer interns read the public comments before otherwise ignoring them.

    Liked by 1 person

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