The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is on a collision course with disaster for our wild horses and burros. The agency is set to approve barbaric and invasive sterilization experiments on wild mares, most of whom will be pregnant and will suffer abortions as a result of the procedure.

If implemented in the field, this sterilization method (“ovariectomy” – surgical removal of the ovaries) would take the wild out of wild horses by destroying their natural free-roaming behaviors and causing social chaos on the range.

“The BLM’s plan to ‘spay’ wild horses sounds benign but it’s not. Our short video shows exactly what the BLM has in store for our wild horses, and it is animal abuse,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC). “The BLM wants to subject federally-protected wild mares and their unborn foals to archaic, invasive and dangerous sterilization surgeries that the National Academy of Sciences itself warned against due to high risk of prolonged bleeding and infection.” The BLM intends to conduct sterilization experiments on 225 mares at its Oregon Wild Horse Corrals.

The majority of these horses will be pregnant and many will suffer abortions. Of most concern is the plan to use 100 of the mares in a procedure called “ovariectomy via colpotomy.” It involves a veterinarian making an incision in a mare’s vaginal wall, placing his hand and arm through the vagina into the abdominal cavity, manually (and blindly) locating the ovaries, then severing them with a rod-like chain tool (known as an “ecraseur”).

The BLM in Wyoming also wants to sterilize mares on the range, and has removed the ovaries of at least eight wild mares through surgical incisions in the horses’ sides, a procedure also depicted in the video. (Warning, the footage is graphic.)


“These are America’s wild horses and Americans overwhelmingly want them protected on our public lands, not brutalized by the BLM in holding pens or on the range.” Roy concluded. “It’s especially unconscionable when a humane method of population control through the use of the proven PZP birth control vaccine is available, but the BLM continues to vastly underutilize it.”

There is Something You Can Do Right Now

On April 13-14, the BLM national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet in Redmond, Oregon. This board is supposed to provide a voice for stakeholders to advise the BLM on wild horse and burro policy. There is no greater stakeholder in the wild horse debate than the American public, in whose interest our public lands are supposed to be managed. Now is the time to weigh in with the Advisory Board to demonstrate strongly that We The People will not stand for the destruction of these cherished and iconic wild horses and burros! The signatures will be hand delivered to the BLM in just a few days, so please add yours today.

Image source: FireLizard5/Flickr