Horse Health

Are Some Wild Horse Non-Profit Advocates Violating the Intent of the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act?

By: William E. Simpson II as published on ValueWalk

“Let’s start by examining some facts, instead of the misleading agenda-driven narratives that are promoted by some non-profit activists who condone what are arguably violations of at least the intent of the very Act created to protect wild horses and burros…”

The Preamble to the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act assigns the intention of the Act by the will of the American people through Congress.

That Preamble states:

“Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

The intent of the 1971 Act is paramount and timeless

As outlined in its Preamble, the intent was not to have herds of wild horses and burros artificially managed as if they are livestock.

Arguably, the most important intentions of the Act were stated with these words in the Preamble:

It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death”, as well as; “as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

Wild horses being harassed by misguided activists and advocates:

Wild horse activist-advocates disturbing and chasing horses around the landscape with high-powered compressed-gas firearms, and shooting them with heavy darts filled with chemicals, is technically ‘harassing’ American wild horses!

Non-profit wild horse activist-advocates who condone or support the policy of chasing wild horses around the landscape and shooting them with chemical contraceptive darts weighing 500-grains or more, are indirectly culpable in this harassment!

Physical trauma inflicted upon wild Horses via Firearms using contraceptive darts

Comparing the projectile weight of an average contraceptive dart to that of the world’s most powerful handgun, the Smith & Wesson .500 magnum; the S&W .500 magnum shoots projectiles (bullets) weighing from 265-grains up to a 700-grain projectile.

Contraceptive (PZP and GonaCon) filled darts weigh 500-grains and heavier.

“Even on a large animal struck correctly, the dart (contraceptive PZP and GonaCon darts) can cause hemorrhage and hematoma. Misplaced shots can break bones or even kill the animal” (Thomas and Marburger 1964).

“Report–Muzzle report can cause problems in darting either captive or free-ranging animals. In captive situations, the noise can be more disturbing to animals than getting struck with a dart.”

“Disturbed animals are then more difficult to approach, or the entire group of animals may run away”. (Page 32; Overview of Delivery Systems for the Administration of Contraceptive to Wildlife”, by Terry J. Kreeger 

Selective breeding used on American wild horses:

The use of any conceptive chemicals on wild horses is in fact a form of ‘selective breeding’. Horses that are treated, cannot have foals, while the untreated do have foals. And the person pulling the trigger decides which mares (and genes) are selected.

The act of choosing which animals get to breed and which do not, is a form of ‘selective breeding’, and that is part of domestication. And in some cases, the decision is based upon a horses’ appearance in the eyes of a person engaged in darting, or which horse is a convenient target. And even with a genetic analysis of the target horse(s), it is still; a form of selective breeding.

Long-term effects of contraceptive chemicals (PZP & GonaCon) are genetically devastating:

The use of the contraceptive chemicals known as ‘PZP’ and ‘GonaCon’ have a seriously adverse effect on the gene-lines of native species American wild horses.

The results of using PZP and/or GonaCon to control populations of equids, kept in artificially managed herd areas with collapsed trophic cascades (natural predators of equids are largely missing), disintermediates the essential evolutionary process of ‘Natural Selection’, where co-evolved predators weed-out the sick, elderly and diseased animals.

So, keeping (managing) wild equids comingled with livestock in herd areas where their co-evolved predators have been depleted or are missing, is doing wild equids an ecological and genetic disservice and is actually mismanaging them.

It’s a fact that chemical contraceptives (PZP and GonaCon) cause genetic erosion over time, and social disturbances in family bands, as well as other adverse effects (aborted foals, etc.).  Dr. Cassandra Nunez PhD has many published studies outlining these issues, here:

Condoning, supporting or standing silent about such questionable conduct against wild horses, even as a so-called interim solution to arbitrarily and artificially reduce wild horse populations, is engaging in willful ignorance and harming wild horses and ecosystems.

 Wild horses and burros must be ‘wild and free’ and living naturally in a ‘natural system’ on public lands.

There is a proven, natural method for saving America’s wild horses.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade is economically and ecologically appropriate (cash-positive for taxpayers), instead of the $-Billion dollar drain over the next ten years that is proposed by the Biden administration and supported by Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Biden’s current plan (the legacy plan from President Trump’s administration), continues the abuses of wild horses and insults the intent of the 1971 Act. Their plan is also laden with potential for ongoing headaches and litigation for all stakeholders.

‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’ is a natural holistic solution:

 About:  William E. Simpson II:

William E. Simpson II is a naturalist/rancher living among and studying native species American wild horses. Simpson is a recognized expert on wild horse behavioral ecology and their management by numerous county and federal officials. Mr. Simpson is the author of two published books and more than 100 published articles on subjects related to wild horses, wildlife, wildfire, and public land (forest) management. He has appeared on NBC NEWS, ABC NEWS, theDoveTV and has been a guest on numerous talk radio shows including the Lars Larson Show, the Bill Meyer Show, and on NPR Jefferson Public Radio.

#WildHorses #WHFB #Forests #WildFires #Ecology #NaturalSelection

13 replies »

    • As opposed to “alternative facts”! The BLM has been using them for far longer than the current version! Truth has been such a novelty for far too long.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for publishing this article. I have left working with many of the groups I started with due to their turn to such strategies as PZP. We even have some advocates enticing our native wild horses away with food drops from their original territory to become some sort of zoo. I came into this fight with the very simple idea that the 1971 Act was our guiding principle and that there should be no deviation from that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Used to donate to several of the larger groups – but havent in a long time. And I agree about the PZP. The lesser of 2 evils? Well, yeah, I guess. But the RIGHT way forward for the horses? Not so much. Hope there comes a time when the livestock lobby & the fossil fuel/mining lobbies – would be really great if BEFORE the solar/wind issues become the norm – there would be thought FIRST of the many species that will be affected rather than after the fact as it has been in the past. Wildlife – all wildlife – has taken a backseat to profit and greed forever. Seems like the thought of our planet being destroyed would push more enlightenment, right?
      The current push for more & more access to Parks, Refuges, Wilderness and, I imagine to HMAs, isnt good. Humans really dont have to put their “footprint” everywhere. And no no more zoos – equine or otherwise! (a fight for another day?)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is it but our administration is being lied to and continuing to follow commercially inspired policies. They never think in Natural processes such as; when the horses have their own factors to consider they will and do self regulate their population. breeding is determined each spring based on the prior year competition, removals by man or nature, resource availability and again in the spring by factors of weather. Withholding pop. is a common mammal ecological trait and wild horses can do this quite well. But, the current management is setting low numbers to placate other interests. Each time they remove or each time they dart they create new factors that actually increase their need to populate. HMA that share with the wild horse, for instance the Heber FS that has already stabilized at 280 – 350 pop. for 15 years and shares with 965 aums be left alone? or even another HMA that has the land to increase to 2 to 3000 pop until stabilization. What is wrong with that? After all I consider HMA, HA’s land under a preservation easement. It is theirs. and like you say, it is not up to us to decide natural selection for them.


  3. This is the kind of automatic response I get from my Democratic Senator! Same old Same old! Accepting the BLM BS, obviously.

    Thank you for writing to express your opposition of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program. I share your concern regarding the care and long term health of these animals.

    In 1971, the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act created the Wild Horse and Burro Program. The program’s goal is to manage healthy wild horses and burros on healthy public rangelands. The program currently uses PZP humane, reversible fertility control to manage wild horse populations. If herd populations exceed, then forage and water resources become depleted, threatening the overall health of the public rangelands and degrading ecosystems. Without sufficient forage and water resources to support herds, the physical health of animals deteriorates, which leads to starvation, dehydration, and eventually death. I am determined to help protect these animals, and I will closely monitor any other bills that would affect them.

    Throughout my career, I have sought protections for animals and wildlife. In 2019, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act passed the Senate and was signed into law. This legislation places additional penalties on individuals who intentionally injure animals and expands the scope of the law to include more types of abuse. I will continue fighting for legislation that protects animals, such as the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2019 (S.1007), which would have established a new system for monitoring and penalizing potential horse abuse practices. This bill has not yet been reintroduced in this current Congress but I will continue to closely monitor the issue.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. Please keep in touch with your thoughts and opinions.


      • I realize you & many others have been fighting the good fight for far longer than I was even aware! It just ticks me off & frustrates me so that no matter what information is “out there” (and it is) or what info you send these people – they apparently dont even read it. I did send sort of a “sharp” reply to the other NY Senator – who, I have to say, does many good things BUT whenever I have sent comments on any subject (usually animal related) all I get is the standard 2-3 sentence reply saying how busy they are & will reply more later. Later never happens! This one above (or his staff) does at the very least mention the subject I wrote about – nothing more but at least that. For crying out loud, how many years has the PAST Act been put forward & NOTHING! Much less the SAFE Act which might actually make a difference. And I know – as you do – that there really ARE people in office that have tried & tried to get these put up for a vote. WHAT in the h—- are the nay-sayers afraid of if they do something good for animals? I know I know – their “base” & donators. Somehow SOMETHING has to change & likely has to change before 2022!


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