Horse News

Can Wild Horse Non-Profit Advocates Save America’s Wild Horses By Drugging Them?

News Provided By
Are some wild horse nonprofit advocates violating the intent of the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act by harassing wild horses with firearms?

YREKA, CA, UNITED STATES, June 16, 2021 / — According to an article by Michael Ray Harris, the director of Wildlife Law Program for the animal advocacy organization Friends of Animals:

Genetic viability is at risk in American wild horse herds; using contraception is exacerbating that problem placing the species at risk of genetic bottleneck.

“What is ignored by the pro-PZP community is that wild horses darted with PZP to inhibit their ability to naturally reproduce aren’t really, well, “wild” anymore. “Wild,” means “living in a state of nature” as opposed to being “tamed or domesticated” to be more useful to humans. Accordingly, opposition to PZP is based on an ethical belief that wild animals should be free of human manipulation.”

William E. Simpson II, a naturalist who lives-among and studies free-roaming wild horses in a mountain wilderness area on the Oregon-California, has recently revealed information key to understanding how the use of contraceptive darting of wild horses and burros violates the intent of the preamble to the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act.

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.” [emphasis added]

Clearly, the intent was not to have herds of wild horses and burros artificially managed as if they are livestock:

Wild horses are symbiotic to forests. The photo shows a family of wild horses that is reducing wildfire fuels on the forest floor. Reduced wildfire fuels results in less heat produced during a wildfire.

“Non-profit wild horse activists and their organizations who condone or support the policy of chasing wild horses around the landscape and shooting them with high-powered firearms containing chemical contraceptive darts weighing 500-grains or more, are indirectly culpable in what is arguably harassment of wild horses”, said William E. Simpson II, the author of ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’, a new plan to save wild horses via re-wilding them in a humane manner that is both ecologically and economically appropriate.

There is no doubt that physical trauma is inflicted upon wild horses and burros via shooting them with 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).

Wild horses are natures reseeding experts, as seen in this photo of grasses and plants springing-forth from wild horse droppings. Unlike ruminants (cattle, sheep) that digest virtually all the native seeds they consume, wild horses pass a significant portion of seeds

“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

The use of any contraceptive 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 ‘selective breeding’, and that is part of domestication. In some cases, the decision is based upon a horses’ appearance in the eyes of a person engaged in shooting horses, 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.

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.

Craig Downer a wildlife ecologist and wild horse expert had this comment:

A family of wild horses that lives in a remote forest have symbiotically grazed-in a fire-break, which is protecting a forest of champion old-growth conifirs against catastrophic wildfire. Excess fuel loading causing abnormally hot wildfire kills even fire-evolved trees

“My investigation of PZP’s effects on wild horses has revealed serious harmful consequences. These include increased stress, discontent both in mares and stallions, consequent social disruption and dysfunction in the horses’ social unites, or bands, and the resulting decline in fitness and the ability to survive. Also, very serious weakening of the immune systems of PZP-treated horses, since those wild mares least affected by PZP are those with weaker immune systems, so they reproduce more. Basically, it is a very invasive form of domestication and as such, contrary to the true core intent of the 1971 Act.”

Mr. Simpson further stated that: “Keeping (managing) wild equids commingled 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.

In a recent letter (email) to pro-PZP advocates Marty Irby and Scott Beckstead of Animal Wellness Action, Mr. Simpson challenged either one or both of them to have a live public debate on the issues of PZP in regard to wild horse management.

New research suggests 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 published studies outlining the issues.

“Wild horses and burros must be allowed to live naturally ‘wild and free’ in a ‘natural system’ on public lands pursuant to the intent of the 1971 Act. That vision can still be sustainably realized via an amendment to the 1971 Act, that would allow the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service to re-wild and relocate American wild horses into defined ‘wilderness areas’ that are both ecologically and economically appropriate” said William E. Simpson II

6 replies »

  1. Reading this 4 year old article AND the comments from GG, Marybeth & Craig? Not much has changed in four years – at least not where the welfare of wild horses is concerned! And the same old talking points from the naysayers – but have you ever noticed? There NEVER is any question as to the veracity of what BLM puts out there – NEVER! And that is the problem.


    • Yes, this new policy sounds far better for our wild horses and burros than anything I have read from them before although it appears to have some possibilities for a wide interpretation which could be troubling. Thanks.


      • Wow – quite a change from their earlier statements – and yeah, I’m sure there are those possibilities, but my – quite a turnaround. Now if the Audobon Society gets with the program???

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The deaths of our horses in the holding facilities is outrageous
    Dead in pen –
    Dead after gelding procedure – hemorage or infection
    Dead after transport
    Dead after roundup
    Even after they arrive at these “facilities they are worked again and again
    Jacobs ranch weaned over 200 foals ,
    29 foals DEAD& buried within a month
    After blm told him not to, yet he is pulling in a better payment year afteryear.
    These are all cattle people know nothing of caring for equine. OKlahoma it’s all one family multi-generational .

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to grandmagregg Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.