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Veterans for Mustangs Act Proposes To Make American Wild Horses Into Carnival Shooting Gallery

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Veterans For Mustangs Act is a misnomer given its premise is contraindicated and promoters are mostly individuals and NGOs not themselves combat veterans

American Wild Horse Campaign volunteer stalking and shooting Wild Horses with High-Powered Gas Operated Rifle. Photo courtesy of American Wild Horse Campaign

YREKA, CA, US, February 2, 2023/ —

A recently introduced bill titled the ‘Veterans For Mustangs Act’ allegedly seeks to employ Veterans suffering from PTSD to shoot wild horses using high-powered gas-operated rifles firing a heavy projectile carrying a chemical sterilization agent commonly known as ‘PZP’.

An examination of the unvarnished data about what is being cavalierly proposed in this new bill shows many compelling serious contraindications for supporting this bill:


There are no published psychological studies that prove any potential mental health benefits for combat veterans suffering from PTSD by chasing wild horses around the landscape and shooting wild horses with these powerful rifles. (SEE IMAGES)

And in many cases where combat veterans are suffering from PTSD, ownership or use of any firearms may be contraindicated according to information from a National Academy of Science’s report:

Moreover, according to a published National Institute of Health Study:

“Military veterans and individuals with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are at increased risk for aggressive behavior and suicide, compared to civilians and those without PTSD. Further, compared to other psychiatric populations, veterans with PTSD have been found to possess more firearms and to more frequently engage in potentially dangerous firearm-related behaviors. This is concerning as, compared to civilians, veterans are more likely to complete suicide with a firearm and access to firearms is associated with higher risk of suicide above and beyond the effect of psychiatric illness. Veterans with PTSD also demonstrate higher levels of anger, hostility, and aggression than those without PTSD, which may render firearm possession particularly problematic among this population.”

The key lobbyist behind this bill, Mr. Marty Irby has a background that should be carefully considered in regard to his motivation in lobbying a bill that raises many questions and serious concerns, as can be read in this published article:

In fact, the experts who pioneered and helped develop and study the technology of using gas powered rifles to shoot large animals, including wild horses with heavy chemical-filled syringes, have themselves raised some of the serious concerns and published them:

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

“Muzzle report [when a gun goes ‘bang’] 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

In fact, there is mounting scientific evidence that using PZP, also known as a ‘Genetic Poison’ by many wild horse experts and advocates, has many ‘unintended consequences‘, that are never mentioned by the promoters of PZP.

A leading researcher in the field of fertility control using PZP, Dr. Cassandra M.V. Nuñez has written extensively about the ‘unintended consequences’ of using PZP, even when administered in a less draconian manner than using combat soldiers to shoot wild horses with rifles.

More About Nuñez research here:

Keeping wild horses in areas of conflict or commingled with livestock in areas where co-evolved predators are depleted is doing them an ecological and genetic injustice that is not cured with PZP”

— Deb Ferns, MBA, President – Wild Horse Fire Brigade

Interestingly, the Bureau of Land Management has suffered from ongoing and widespread condemnation of their management of American wild horses, is offering $-millions in tax dollars as funding (grants) incentives to people and NGOs to employ the use of shooting wild horses with PZP to allegedly control control populations of wild horses where they are deemed in conflict with humans and commercial enterprises.

More Here:

According to an article by Michael Ray Harris, a law professor and litigator at Vermont Law University and the ‘Legal Advisor’ to the California-based non-profit all-volunteer organization Wild Horse Fire Brigade:

“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, founder and Executive Director of Wild Horse Fire Brigade, who is a naturalist and wild horse ethologist living-among and studying free-roaming wild horses in a mountain wilderness area on the Oregon-California border, 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.

Recently discovered insights about wild horse ecology and ethology by Simpson reveals that delicate balances in the social interactions and dynamics of family bands of wild horses and effects on survive depend upon natural social dynamics, which are interrupted by the use of PZP, aka: ‘Fertility Control’.

Some of Simpson’s new findings are documented in this Press Release:

The preamble to the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Burro and Horse Protection Act. 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 on the 1971 Act to protect American wild horses was not to have herds of wild horses and burros artificially managed as if they are livestock, let alone stalking and harassing them, while making them into a carnival shooting gallery as proposed by this new bill (Veterans For Mustangs Act):

“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 and cruelty of wild horses”, said William E. Simpson II, the author of an alternative plan to naturally manage wild horses called ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’.

‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’, a new Nature-Based plan to save wild horses via re-wilding them into appropriate wilderness areas in a humane manner that is both ecologically and economically appropriate.

In October of 2022, NPR national radio featured Simpson’s research and the Wild Horse Fire Brigade plan to their Nielsen Audience of 46-million listeners.

Here is the link to that story:

The use of any contraceptive chemicals on wild horses is unnatural and 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 for dilution and decline.

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.

Deb Ferns, president of the all-volunteer California-based 501-c-3 nonprofit organization, stated that: “Keeping (managing) wild horses in areas of conflict or in herd areas commingled with livestock where their co-evolved predators have been depleted or are missing for many decades, is doing wild horses 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. Both men have avoided any debate on the subject of PZP use.

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.

Kelsey Stangebye, J.D. – Vice President at Wild Horse Fire Brigade, who authored a legal brief titled ‘Cowboys Gone Rogue: The Bureau of Land Management’s Mismanagement of Wild Horses in Light of its Removal Procedures of ‘Excess’ Wild Horses’ provided this comment:

“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. A plan that provides that is clearly the path needed today. And the plan known as ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’ fulfills that intent”

That vision can be sustainably realized via existing law (Humane Transfer of Excess Animals Act – H.R. 1625) and also via an amendment to the existing 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

The wild horse management plan known as ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’ offers a cost-effective nature-based solution for American wild horses that is ecologically and genetically appropriate and must be undertaken as soon as possible since it also addresses wildfire fuels reductions.

More About the ‘Nature-Based Solution’ for managing American wild horses here: https://www.WildHorseFireBrigade.Org

3 replies »

  1. Gentling horses would help veterans with PTSD more than shooting them! Shooting them for any reason is wrong. Shooting them with PZP is very wrong! I don’t know how we get the powers that be to listen to scientific fact and the rest of us that want to save ALL Wild Horses & Burros, but I hope a solution is found soon. OUR horses can’t wait any longer.


  2. I agree that PZP and this Veterans PZPing wild horses and burros bill is playing into the very hands of the wild horse enemies. But I believe that we should be fighting the selfish and disrespectful monopolizers of our public lands, not caving into them, both for the animals and plants good and for our own. Let’s show some courage here and do what’s right for the wild naturally living horses and burros!

    Liked by 1 person

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