BLM halts wild horse contraceptive experiment after being threatened with lawsuit

Jim Havens, a board member of the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates, explains how he tracks mustangs to shoot them with a contraceptive dart during a presentation at the Fish Springs Fire Station in Gardnerville, Nev. (AP photo)

Good grief, the horse huggers are squabbling among themselves.

A the end of April the AP send out a feature story about a public-private partnership in which private citizens would shoot wild horses with contraceptive darts in order to reduce the serious overpopulation of the herd in the Pine Nut Range.

The Bureau of Land Management had reached an agreement in 2014 to experiment in that area with a contraceptive called PZP.

The BLM was being aided by the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates in Gardnerville and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. It was hoped that the contraceptives would eliminate the need to roundup excessive horses and put them in pens for the rest of their lives at taxpayer expense.

BLM suspended the project Monday after a group calling itself the Friends of Animals threatened to sue, claiming the drug somehow harms the horses, according to an internal email obtained by AP.

According to the AP account, the group claims research suggests PZP may have physical, behavioral and social effects on wild horses — including causing mares that cannot get pregnant to abandon the herd.
Apparently, the BLM and other federal land agencies will fight to the last dime of our tax money if a ranch, a county or a mining company challenge its arbitrary plans, but will fold at the mere threat of litigation from a self-styled environmental group.
Deniz Bolbol, one the locals working on the contraceptive effort, told the AP she hopes the project will resume once the BLM completes a review, but fears some horses may end up in corrals instead

“This is a lawsuit filed by people sitting in an office in Connecticut against the folks in Nevada doing the hard work on the ground to keep wild horses free on the range,” Bolbol was quoted as saying. “If this group wants to help wild horses they need to focus on the BLM’s current effort to conduct barbaric spaying of wild mares and the castration of stallions on the range rather than target this type of humane birth control.”

Bolbol was quoted in the earlier AP story as saying of PZP, “They maintain their natural wild and social behavior, they just can’t get pregnant.”
No one wants to hear any common sense, free market solutions.

11 comments on “BLM halts wild horse contraceptive experiment after being threatened with lawsuit

  1. Patrick says:

    You sure seem to have something against horses Thomas.

  2. I have something against silliness.

  3. ausscyn says:

    I live in the Virginia Range, adjacent to the Pine Nut Range & have witnessed what has happened to these wild herds over 30 years. I want to say to all of the “Friends;” until you’ve seen these horses rounded up & taken to from their home & either sent to a life of standing in a pen, never to be free, never to be able to gallop & roam over 100’s of acres, or taken to the Fallon Auction Yard, there to be run thru the cattle sales, slipping on the metal, covered with feces, tiny sales pen, mares yelling for their foals, foals confused & crashing into the walls, stallions screaming when they’re separated from their bands, only to be loaded on a cattle truck, where they can’t raise their heads, piled with their own excrement, for the long trip to the Canadian slaughter houses, never to get a drink along the way, or unloaded to stretch their legs – YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TALK OR INTERFERE WITH THE PZP VACCINE PROGRAM!! This birth control program is the BEST THING to happen to wild horses, & HOW DARE YOU, “FRIENDS” to TRY TO STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!! May you be cursed by the memories of all the horses whose lives YOU RUINED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Deb says:

    Thank you very much ausscyn! Thomas Mitchell, please be supportive and talk to the local BLM before saying they are spending every penny on this. There are some inaccuracies in your article.

  5. Deb says:

    Its silliness on one side and I too think you have something against the horses. This public land belongs to everyone, including people who want to see some wild horses.

  6. dee21701 says:

    Friends of Animals sure aren’t friends of the Mustangs for doing this!! The poor horses will pay for their stupidity!! Assateague has been using PZP for years & they have a healthy, stable, & viable herd that are living longer than ever before! The Pine Nut Advocates are there on the ground with & know their horses a lot better than FOA sitting back in CT!! The Pine Nut Program is a wonderful program keeping these precious Mustangs FREE on the range!!

  7. Public land belongs to everyone. Do you know what that is called?

  8. Mary says:

    The Pine Nut program is truly a wonderful program and a common sense approach to managing wild horses on the range. The program was started because many of the residents of the Carson Valley truly enjoyed seeing the wild horses in their local hills. The group was created to find ways to avoid the frequent round ups that BLM was required to do when horses would wander into neighborhoods and streets. This group has worked very hard with BLM to allow these horses (not all horses across the west)…. but ‘these’ horses they have grown to know and love. This is accomplished by providing water in the hills to divert them from continuing the pathway to homes, They educate residents on ways to keep the horses safe and ask for cooperation in not feeding or watering. They have several volunteers currently and more in training that have been certified in darting the mares with the PZP contraception. They keep careful records of each mare that has received PZP. They have not witnessed any side effects, even from mares who were darted while pregnant. After 3 years of hard work and hours in the field it is frustrating to find a group from the east coast throw a wrench in the program when they have never even spoke to one of us nor stepped foot in our hills of the Carson Valley.

    The only logical solution to our current wild horse issue is reproduction control.. not sterilization. By allowing each mare to contribute a foal to the gene pool, yet not have many foals over her life the overall population over the future years will be reduced and family lines will continue. We won’t see a major difference in a year or two…. but we will in five. It takes time and committed advocates and record make a difference over generations. The major factor in all of the wild horse issue is the control of reproduction rates. All other wild animals are controlled with hunting. Americans find hunting wild horses unacceptable. So we decide the best thing to do is nothing? Leave Mother nature in control? Or leave the political process to control the issue? In politics … solutions follow money. Friends of Animals threatens lawsuits and stops our program. Cattlemen hire lobbyist and win over the Governor of the state of Nevada. The wild horses are deemed a problem and the solution that we must deal with is population control. PZP is tried and true, organic and safe. Not perfect. They claim it disrupts natural behavior. I suggest it does not disrupt natural behavior more than round ups, spaying mares in the field, gelding stallions in the wild.. Stallions are separated from their bands and gelded at a risky age and then kept in pens with other wild stallions. Mares unnaturally separated from their foals and separated from their protectors and foals separated from their parents before they learned life’s lessons. In the wild if a mare dies, the band raises the foal. The stallions stands over it and takes over the care. In the wild a family is what their lives are all about. If we can provide birth control to keep them in the lifestyle they are comfortable with and is natural to them, well why not? It is better than other choices. I am a woman, and I chose birth control for me. In spite of minor side effects so I could modify my life path. Choices… we have choices. I don’t want people from the east coast making decisions for our local horses. To see our Blue stallion, Blondie, Socks and Shorty gelded as senior stallions to live in a holding facility for the remainder of their lives, separated from their foals and mares is not acceptable. To see their tight bodies, strong muscle tone from traveling 15 to 20 miles each day turn soft from standing around in a holding pen with no shelter is not acceptable. To see those Perfect feet grow long because they are not moving on hard ground is not acceptable Our horses in the Carson Valley belong to all of us… not just the group from the east with the time and money to assume they are looking out for the best interest of our horses. They don’t know our horses. We do.

  9. Well said Mary…and as a proud “horse hugger” I hope all this can be ironed out for the good of all involved, including the majestic and proud wild horse herds. It’s high time to get them out of the pens.

  10. dee21701 says:

    Very well said Mary….I enjoy the Pine Nut Horses from Md., I worried & prayed for Cody & Lilly, I prayed for Jack to heal & be strong again…It would kill me to see the Majestic Blue, The Sweet, Caring Blondie or Skip who is coming into his own as a band stallion being rounded up to waste away in a holding pen!! Public land is shared by all & people have to understand there’s only so much to go around. Everyone has to work together & that’s exactly what the BLM & The Pine Nut Advocates were doing and being successful!

  11. […] on fertility control. The press release, inconveniently enough, comes two days after the BLM ended a fertility control experiment in the Pine Nut Range near Gardnerville because some animal rights group threatened to […]

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