Off the reins

Wild horse advocates launched opposition campaign against efforts to spay wild horse populations, citing dangers to the horses and potentially unethical methods of population control.

“This cruel plan could kill many federally protected wild horses,” said Anne Novak, director of California-based organization Protect Mustangs, in a statement. “We oppose spaying wild mares in the field because it’s a high risk procedure. The BLM is charged with protecting wild horses, not putting their lives in jeopardy.”

The Wild Horse and Burro department of the BLM uses spaying and horse roundups to control horse population in several western states, including Nevada (“Running wild, Oct. 11). Protect Mustangs is asking for an audit, conducted by an independent party, to determine if spaying is a necessary procedure.

“Show us an independent headcount and then let’s talk about overpopulation—if it’s a realistic concern,” Novak said. “Right now we see the BLM inflating the population numbers to justify rampant million dollar roundups, money dumped into fertility research and funds spent to warehouse 50,000 captive wild horses. Today maybe 17,000 are left in all 10 Western states. This could be the end for America’s indigenous free roaming wild horse.”

Protect Mustangs is one of several wild horse advocacy groups filing complaints against the BLM for its treatment of horses.