Horse News

Opinion: Stand against America American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) proposed Wild Horse management

Guest OpEd by William Simpson

Recently, American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) has promoted a Petition proposing to take some management role of the free-roaming native species American wild horses at Pokegama area of Oregon.

Photo: Naturalist William E. Simpson II studying native species wild horses symbiotically grazing wildfire fuels from a forest floor.

In that Petition, they state: “Speak up for the Pokegama wild horses today – There is a better way!”

 A better way to address the problems of America’s wild horses is not achieved by subjecting them to chemicals that have adverse effects on wild horses, which have been pointed out by Dr. Cassandra Nunez and many others.
 
The people at AWHC are supporters of the notion that treating native species American wild horses with chemicals, allegedly as ‘contraception’, using the chemicals PZP and/or GonaCon is acceptable.  I
 
That dogma  alone tells me that the AWHC organization fails in their understanding of the evolutionary science, biology and behavioral ecology of native species American wild horses.
 
“I stand against any proposal for any management input of the Pokegama area herd by AWHC” ~ William E. Simpson II – Naturalist
 
Unlike the people at AWHC, I actually live among some of the free-roaming native wild horses at the edge of the Pokegama HMA, and have been studying them for the past 7-years, virtually on a continuous basis.
 
That ongoing study over the past 7-years represents more than 20,000 hours of close-observational study (not through a telescopic lens or binoculars on a field trip), which has provided me with unique insights into the intimate behaviors of wild horses, some of which are unknown to the people at AWHC.
 
Being Johnny-on-the-spot is critical in the observation of wild horse behavioral ecology because some behaviors may only exist for seconds or minutes every so often. And catching these important moments requires intensive continuous on-site observation at very close range. It cannot be done with occasional field trips to HMAs or BLM holding areas, reading books, watching videos, or via wild horses already taken out of their natural ecosystems and placed into controlled environments.
 
From my perspective, AWHC simply does not have needed background and empirical experience with free-roaming native wild horses in a wilderness area, which is a critical prerequisite in order to oversee any kind of management of these treasured free-roaming native American wild horses.
 
Furthermore, as I point out in my recent article, some wild horse activist groups arguably have a ‘conflict of interest’ when it comes to wild horse advocacy.
 

Please share this press release to help inform others who should have all available information BEFORE signing or supporting any petition or initiative by AWHC, or any other organization that promotes the use of chemical treatments on America’s vanishing native free-roaming wild horses.

13 replies »

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Wild horses do not need to be managed by any artificial means, but only through nature’s mechanisms. Even the self regulating behavior that they exhibit, in reference to copulation, along with an understanding of Density Dependent and Independent Inhibition speaks of leaving hands off and allowing them to live their lives, unmanaged and untouched. Nature, again is dynamic and not static, continually adjusting numbers of all coexisting species according to its own principles. This is why a fixed number cannot be placed on the numbers of wild horses that are to exist in any area as the AML. These principles eliminate the PZP contraceptive and any other which are known to have detrimental effects. I have always seen the compromising philosophy of the AWHC and has brought alot of saddness to my heart, much more for the wild horses that are subject to the unnatural alternatives that this organization presents. The wild horses are not overpopulated but close to extinction and the use of contraceptives only encourages this move towards extinction. The Wild Horse and Burro Program of the BLM needs to be eliminated, those in holding facilities released back to the wild, ( they know where they got them) and the populations allowed to grow and fill their niche. Their numbers will stabalize, sometimes more and sometimes less but always in balance. We just have to leave our hands off and remove the restrictions that have been placed upon them, and protect

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No disrespect sir, but wild horse advocates have devoted years of study also. Any suggestions they may have are meant to avoid annihilation of the wild horse population driven by the BLM, an agency that has spent years carrying out cruel pogroms on wild horse herds. If you’re going to make a criticism try directing it towards the people who truly deserve it, the Bureau of Land Management horse eradication program.

    Contraception was conceived as an alternative to the BLM’s horse to slaughter for profit programs.

    Disclaimer: I do not belong to AWHC.

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  3. I am aware that PZP and other cintraceptives were established as an alternative to the roundups, but the negative side effects as well as the fact that it cuts back on reproduction, while mortality rates continue, 5%-25% in second year and above as well as 14%-50% in those under 2 years speaks to me of encouraging extinction. Indeed the immune systems are compromised by the use of PZP. I mean no disrespect to AWHC but it is the wrong alternative and the BLM are not going to stop the roundups because we use this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with Will Simpson, that a number of wild horse activist groups have a conflict of interest, when it comes to wild horse advocacy.

    We have the same conflict with wild horse groups in Alberta. Personally, I don’t seem much difference between rounding up horses and placing them in holding pens, and injecting them with chemicals to prevent them from reproducing.

    The weak argument for PZP is that, at least the herds remain on the lands, and in their family groups, isn’t much better than stockpiling them in dirt corrals where they have all the food and water they can eat, are protected from predators, if you have any left in the US, and get medical attention, if they need it. In both cases, they continue to live, but their natural way of life is altered by human decisions.

    Instead of forcibly injecting them with dangerous chemicals, such as PZP, etc., advocates should be fighting to take back the lands that have now been handed over to grazing lease holders, and oil & gas development, etc. Let’s not forget, the wild horse numbers began to climb, because ranchers killed off the predators that, in real life, kept numbers down.

    I also believe, there should be no public grazing leases for livestock. If you make your living selling livestock for food, you should be keeping your animals on your own land, and if you haven’t enough land to feed them, you should be buying feed. The extra cost of doing this, should be passed onto consumers. Public Lands should not be rented out to house personal livestock.

    Of course, the biggest argument for not injecting wild horses with dangerous chemicals, is that PZP has never stopped wild horses from being removed from Public Lands. Instead, the wild horses get sold out twice. Once by altering their natural behavior, bottlenecking the gene pool, selecting for a weakened immune system, eventual sterilization, and all the other negative side effects of PZP, and then again, when they are eventually rounded up and stockpiled in dirt corrals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • None of us really have any concept of exactly how a wild animal would understand human’s “saving” them only to either put them in pens without their families or injecting them with substances that change their way of living free. Honestly – IF they were given a choice? I doubt they would choose either of those. A wild animal only knows how to be wild – where they can take care of themselves AND their families. Funny how people dont comprehend that – certainly we wouldnt want to be removed from our home & have our family taken from us – parents and children, aunts & uncles – now would we? For that matter, who amonst us wants to have live around another species that eats our food, fouls our water & destroys our habitat? And the mining & drilling turmoil & dangers? Nope guess we wouldnt like that, would we?

      Liked by 2 people

    • The use of PZP has made no difference to the BLM’s “schedule” of roundups – if anything, they are rounding up MORE horses than ever. Look at the current roundup schedule! They want to spend the next 10 (!) years doing these roundups – thousands of horses taken off the range. The only numbers we are given are the BLM’s guesstimates – we only have their word ! that there are many thousands of wild horses still out there. And as Mr. Bauer said – the numbers fluctuate as in any wild herd. It doesnt take a genius to know that wild predators keep prey animals in check – thats how nature works. Removing the grazing allotments from herd management areas and herd areas & putting Wild horses back in the ones that have been “zeroed out” – sure would be worth a try. The roundups & warehousing dont work. And as for the idiotic idea of spaying mares? Thats just downright stupid.
      I hope & pray that Deb Haaland has input into the Wild Horse & Burro “program”. To be honest, hearing that the new deputy head of the BLM is a former Audobon and Wilderness Society employee doesnt fill me with excitement.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely agree with William, Robert and Maggie . PZP, etc. just help BLM cause the extinction of our wild horses. Natural selection is destroyed also .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have watched herds for years now change with use of PZP and in smaller areas that have been taken away from them , They are people friendly and the Wild is far gone from them ..Small round ups slower process and possibly better adoption rates.. I dont no all the answers but I do no the herds are changing. And you may be so into the herd with emotions, you dont really see the changes , As outsiders. who also follow herds may see the huge changes..Their eyes are more open to change ! Feelings of emotion or anger have to be set aside to really help these beautiful creatures..
    This is just what we have gathered from living with them and watching them change from when they were alone before people involvement, to a leader coming in and hindering these horses and taking away the wild…and pretty much take away their spirits and depend on people…Now this is heartbreaking! Let them Live and Die let Nature work…It has for many years till people got involved! Thank you for being open minded..

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