Mare sterilization research update

Photo | Mike Lorden


July 26, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) plans to conduct gruesome, invasive and risky sterilization experiments on wild mares held at the agency's Wild Horse Corrals near Burns, Oregon have drawn fire from veterinarians and the public alike. These experiments will subject mares to high risk of death from hemorrhage, infection, and evisceration (intestines protruding through surgical incisions). And if that isn't bad enough, most of the mares used in the experiments will be pregnant, and the procedures will cause many to abort their unborn foals.

The fight to stop these archaic experiments and prevent BLM from implementing mass sterilizations on the range has been taken up a notch with several recent developments.

Front Range Equine Rescue Files Suit to Stop BLM Mare Sterilization Experiments

On July 25, 2016, Colorado based Front Range Equine Rescue, an AWHPC coalition partner, filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC to stop the BLM from proceeding with this research. The lawsuit contends that “the BLM’s intention to conduct surgical experiments on 225 wild horses, many in various stages of pregnancy, and potentially thousands more horses over time, causes harm and suffering in violation of federal law.”

Read more about Front Range Equine Rescue’s Lawsuit here.

AWHPC & The Cloud Foundation Demand First Amendment Right to Observe Experiments, Should They Proceed

On July 20, 2016, AWHPC and The Cloud Foundation sent a demand letter to the BLM to secure the public's First Amendment right to observe the mare sterilization experiments, in the event that the agency proceeds with them. One of BLM's reasons for conducting these experiments is to determine whether or not the procedures are "socially acceptable," so it is absolutely critical that we prevent the agency from conducting this gruesome "research" behind closed doors.  We are prepared to file suit in federal court if the BLM denies our request.

Read more about our efforts to secure our First Amendment right to observe BLM’s mare sterilization experiments here.

AWHPC, Cloud Foundation & Return to Freedom Fight  BLM plan to implement sterilization on the range

Our lawsuit in Idaho to stop the BLM from surgically sterilizing every one of the wild stallions and mares living in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area continues in federal court. This litigation is critically important because it will block the terrible precedent that would be set if BLM is allowed to turn a Herd Management Area for wild free roaming horses into a holding facility for captured and sterilized mustangs.

Read more about our litigation to stop the BLM from designating the Saylor Creek HMA as a “non-reproducing herd.”

The stakes could not be higher. The BLM wants to surgically sterilize all of the 40,000 wild horses it considers to be “excess” on the range. Not only will sterilization endanger the lives of these federally protected animals, but also it will take the “wild” out of wild horses by destroying their natural behaviors – the essence of what differentiates them from domestic horses and makes them special.

Defeating this destructive plan will take smart, strategic action on the part of the entire wild horse community. We’ll stay on it, and we hope that you will too!