Horse News

EPA should reconsider wild horse birth control, judge rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unlawfully rejected an animal rights group’s request to consider banning a horse birth control drug, according to a federal judge.

photo by Carol Walker of Living Images

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon has ruled the EPA violated administrative law with its “arbitrary and capricious” decision not to conduct a special review of porcine zona pellucida, or PZP, which is used to control wild horse populations on federal lands.

However, while the EPA must reconsider its denial of a petition from the Friends of Animals nonprofit, the judge will not require the agency to suspend PZP’s registration as a pesticide, which would have halted its usage.

Though the ruling doesn’t stop PZP usage, Friends of Animals considers the decision “a big win” because the judge has effectively said the EPA must take the group’s allegations seriously, said Michael Ray Harris, the nonprofit’s attorney.

“He’s telling them there’s enough evidence here that they can’t just blow it off,” Harris said. “Whenever you get an opinion like this, it means you’ve got evidence.”

The judge would not have sent the matter back to EPA for reconsideration just to waste taxpayer dollars, so the agency won’t likely want to get “hammered” in court again for disregarding new evidence about PZP, he said.

Friends of Animals ultimately wants to stop PZP usage on wild horses, preferring that federal land managers give them more space to roam rather than rely on birth control, Harris said.

Federal managers could also discourage the killing of predators, especially cougars, which would then control wild horse populations while curbing overgrazing and overbreeding, he said…(CONTINUED)

2 replies »

  1. What is a “pesticide” versus a “vaccine”?

    By definition, a pesticide is a product designed to DESTROY organisms deemed to be undesirable or noxious.
    PZP or brand name ZonaStat-H, EPA Reg. NO. 86833-1, was approved for use in wild burros and horses by the EPA. ZonaStat-H is a PESTICIDE, registered in January 2012 by The Humane Society of the United States.
    Chemical or biological substance designed to KILL or retard the growth of pests that damage or interfere with the growth or crops, shrubs, trees, timber and other vegetation DESIRED BY HUMANS. Practically all chemical pesticides, however, are poisons and pose long-term danger to the environment and humans through their persistence in nature and body tissue. Most of the pesticides are non-specific, and may kill life forms that are harmless or useful.
    Any preparation used as a preventive inoculation to confer immunity against a specific DISEASE usually employing an innocuous form of the disease agent, as killed or weakened bacteria or viruses, to stimulate antibody production.
    PZP is NOT a vaccine … it is a PESTICIDE.


  2. Free-Living Animals on Birth Control (excerpts)
    by LEE HALL

    Why do we say there “too many” of the other animals? They all seem to balance themselves perfectly well until we intrude. Which we do, everywhere. Our population is seven billion and rising. As we spread ourselves out, we devise the cultural carrying capacity idea—introduced by the ecologist Garrett Hardin to mean the limit we declare on any animal community perceived as being in our way.

    In North America, after we killed most of the wolves because ranchers and hunters didn’t want the predators around, deer achieved a notable ability to thrive in our midst. Yet they are pressed by our incessant construction and road-building into ever smaller and fragmented green places; and so they are described, in many areas, as having a high population density. Government officials, goaded by media representations that alarm the public, advance the conception of deer as a problem requiring a solution.


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