Legal petition filed to cancel PZP pesticide registration

It is with great pleasure to announce that Friends of Animals has filed a legal petition to cancel the EPA’s registration of wild horse fertility control pesticide, PZP http://friendsofanimals.org/foa-files-legal-petition-cancel-registration-wild-horse-fertility-control-pesticide-pzp and that Protect Mustangs’ education and outreach has culminated in this action. When Anne Novak started the PZP Forum in November she felt that through education and outreach, action would follow. Everyone’s participation in the PZP Forum has made it an educational hub while the battle wages on . . .

Our successful Pine Nut lawsuit that brought PZP to the court for the first time, when we partnered with FOA, came out of The Forum. We hope FOA’s PZP legal petition will be equally successful.

We are grateful FOA has the funding needed to employ legal staff spearheaded by Michael Harris, who rocks at wildlife law, with the awesome Jenni Barnes.

We hope someday we can afford to hire legal staff but for now, as a dynamic grassroots volunteer organization, we stretch donor’s dollars so we will be paying less on a case by case basis. We encourage wild horse supporters to donate to the Protect Mustangs’ legal fund so we can file our unique legal actions quickly to help America’s wild horses and protect them from all sides. Our Legal Fund site is here: http://www.gofundme.com/qarve8

With our boots on the ground in the West, we educate, advocate and rescue. We are dedicated to serving and protecting America’s wild horses ‘forever wild and free’™.
(BLM’s photo of mares used for PZP experiments)

PZP discussion and information

Fish Creek Mares Indian Lakes aka Broken Arrow 2015

Rebuttal of Misinformation Posted by Pro-PZP Entities
Issue # 1. Criticism of devoted scientists and advocates

Discussion: Sometimes the truth hurts, and sometimes the only way to wake misguided people out of their imaginations is to speak in the strongest of terms.
Issue # 2. Self-regulating herds.

Discussion: The pro-PZP groups parrot the BLM line that there is an insufficient number of large predators to effectively control wild horse populations. But what happened to the predators? They have been virtually exterminated due to excessive hunting by sportsmen and excessive culling by Wildlife Services, which kills on behalf of public lands ranchers. Instead of joining with conservation organizations and animal protection groups that are fighting for the predators, the PZP adherents want us to accept defeat. We won’t. We believe in a thriving natural ecological balance, which must include predators, large and small.
Issue # 3. Impact on genetics and social structure.

Discussion: The pro-PZP groups say it is too late, that the herds have already been genetically and socially disrupted by decades of roundups, removals, and relocations. Their solution? PZP. Thus, we are essentially being told that underpopulated herds suffering from genetic decline should have their numbers further reduced and their mares eventually rendered sterile. We say, “Absolutely not.” The answer is to fight for the herds, for viable populations, for genetic diversity, for normal behavior, for natural fertility.
Issue # 4. Economics.

Discussion: Pro-PZP groups want us to accept BLM’s mismanagement as a fact and learn to live with it. They say we should let wild fillies and mares be slowly sterilized. Using PZP will, “over time” reduce removals, they claim. If only that were so. A review of BLM’s population estimates for herds scheduled for gathers this year showed case after case of dizzingly inflated numbers, even for years in which PZP would have been at maximum effect. BLM is not a trusted partner! BLM is using PZP to accelerate the demise of the herds, combining slow sterilization with massive removals on any pretext. The pro-PZP groups are unwittingly playing into BLM’s nefarious schemes to wipe out the wild horses and burros.
Issue # 5. Whether PZP is a pesticide.

Discussion: The EPA classifies PZP as a pesticide for use on non-food animal pests. It exerts a contraceptive effect by inflamming the ovaries, causing ovarian dystrophy, destroying oocytes in growing follicles, and depleting resting follicles. The EPA warns that PZP is a biohazard are advises women that accidental injection could cause infertility. The EPA cautions pregnant women to avoid handling PZP, despite PZP’s supposed non-interference with a pregnancy in progress. Thus, the possibility is raised of harm to an unborn child by exposure to PZP in the womb.
Anne-Marie Pinter” The crux of this is; multiple attacks on the immune system; stress then a stimulant…..then you have the makings of “Autoimmune disease” as it is termed in today scientific world; “Autoimmune diseases are due to an overacting immune system, that starts attacking their own body”
Issue # 6. Whether PZP-22 is the best answer, if fertility control is to be used.

Discussion: No. PZP-22 has the same adverse-effects profile, except it is longer acting. Once “native” PZP opened the door to artificial population control, BLM looked for ways to make it last longer so they would have less work to do. Thus, one-year PZP is often rejected as “not feasible” and “not practical”. For the most part, BLM wants to keep holding helicopter roundups on a rotating basis every four years, as they’ve been doing. In BLM’s ideal world, they would continue conducting helicopter gathers to catch and corral the mares, shoot them up with “PZP-48″, remove most of the herd anyway based on exaggerated population estimates, and then retire to their offices to sit back for another four years.
Issue # 7. Whether “native” PZP is a sterilant.

Discussion: Ultimately, yes. But if a filly or mare has a strong immune system, even the first immuno-vaccination could provoke such a powerful immune response that she would immediately be rendered permanently sterile. With multiple consecutive injections, sterility is pretty much a certainty. Exceptions would be mares with a weak or depressed immune system, which would not respond to the PZP. That’s why some mares get pregnant in spite of PZP, and why PZP inadvertently selects for immumo-compromised horses. Over time, herd health would suffer and the population could be wiped out by an inability to fight off disease.
Issue # 8. Whether PZP is a chemical contraceptive and whether it poses a significant risk to inoculated mares and their foals.

Discussion: PZP is a chemical, classified by the EPA as a pesticide, approved for use against “feral” horses deemed to be pests. Let it be understood that our wild horses are Federal, not feral. PZP works to provoke an immune response that has been shown to target the ovaries, causing inflammation and dystrophy. PZP destroys oocytes in growing follicles and depletion of resting follicles. So, yes, it does pose a significant risk to mares injected with such a powerful and destructive “vaccine.” Because pregnant women are strictly warned against handling PZP, even though PZP is said not to interfere with a pregnancy already in existence, the possibility of ovarian or testicular degeneration in the developing embryo or fetus is of concern. Therefore, a pregnant mare’s unborn foal could potentially be affected. The cautionary principle would call for rejection, not injection, of such a substance.
http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=R96054
Issue # 9. Whether PZP causes ovarian damage and other pathologies.

Discussion: Yes, it does. The pro-PZP groups endeavor to differentiate “native” PZP from other PZP formulations and claim that “native” PZP works completely differently from the rest of the PZPs and ZPs. Not so. Recent studies have disproven the theory that ZPs block fertilization. Instead, ZP vaccines cause ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries), destruction of oocytes in all growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles. That is why, regardless of PZP type, it takes years for fertility to be restored (if ever) and why eventual sterilization occurs with certainty after multiple inoculations. Kirkpatrick, Liu, Turner, et al. (1992) found that ” … three consecutive years of PZP treatment may interfere with normal ovarian function as shown by markedly depressed oestrogen secretion.”

http://www.pubfacts.com/detail/1317449/Long-term-effects-of-porcine-zonae-pellucidae-immunocontraception-on-ovarian-function-in-feral-horse

Certainly ovarian damage should have been suspected 23 years ago and investigated, in light of “markedly depressed oestrogen secretion” in PZP-treated mares. Yet despite the developer’s own finding in 1992 that PZP appeared to “interfere with normal ovarian function,” the product was promoted as a safe vaccine that merely blocked fertilization. Recent independent studies, based on examining the reproductive organs of sacrificed experimental animals [note: whether they were “sacrificed” to determine the organ-damage has to be verified], revealed the ovarian destruction, clearly disproving the previous assumption.
Issue # 10. Whether PZP is paving the way for use in humans.

Discussion: No, it’s not. Interesting choice of argument that PZP’s 95 percent efficacy rate would be too low for human contraception. Compare PZP’s rate with that of birth control pills, which are only 91 percent effective unless perfect compliance is achieved, no conflicting medications are taken, and no conflicting health issues are present. And compare PZP’s efficacy rate to that of condoms. With typical use, 85 percent of women relying on prophylactics worn by their partners successfully prevent pregnancy. Interesting choice of argument also in comparing PZP to the influenza vaccine, whose efficacy is reportedly in the 10-60 percent range.

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20150115/flu-vaccine-effectiveness
Issue #11: Whether 150 is the lowest viable population of a wild horse herd to be genetically healthy.

Discussion: The International Union for Conservation of Nature has determined that 2,500 is the minimun viable population for a wild horse herd. A recent meta-analysis suggested that number should be doubled. Interestingly, the Pryor Mountain herd, which the pro-PZP groups cited, is in genetic decline, according to the most recent report from Dr. Cothran. His recommendation? Increase the size of the herd.
Issue #12: Whether or not the NAS recommended fertility control in Federal wild horse herds.

Discussion: The NAS researchers were prohibited by BLM from collecting their own data. They were required to base their recommendations on BLM’s wild horse population estimates, which are exaggerated by more than double. So, it was to be expected that NAS would recommend fertility control. What else could they be expected to do?

——————————

The Example of Assateague Island National Seashore
Examining PZP through the eyes of the Assateague horses themselves:

Horses have not been handled.

Reply: Right. They are shot with a dart gun, so human hands do not touch them, although the PZP causes their ovaries to become inflamed.

Mortality rates have declined significantly, especially among foals.

Reply: Nature operates by survival of the fittest, which means those that are not fit, perish. Reduced mortality may not correlate with a herd being self-sustaining because most of the herd is not reproducing.

Body condition scores have improved.

Reply: Mares in good or improving body condition have a hugely increased tendency to produce colts. This could lead to a gender imbalance. Having too many colts negatively impacts the genetic diversity of a herd.

Longevity has increased dramatically, with mares living three times longer than pre-PZP.

Reply: Longevity, combined with sterility, reduces a herd’s viability in both the short-term and the long-term. Here’s the analogy. On average, American women live about 75 years. If PZP caused them to live three times longer, for 225 years, would that be a good thing if none were allowed to have more than one child?
Discussion: Let’s take a look at another East Coast wild horse herd being managed on “native” PZP: Corolla. The low population limits imposed on that herd have led to birth defects. To increase gene pool diversity, a stallion from the Curritick herd, 150 miles south of Corolla, was translocated. However, he may never win a band and, besides, the mares are contracepted, which makes his job more difficult.

————————————–

Issue #13: Whether PZP inoculations can introduce pathogens, and whether administering PZP will cause laminitis, resulting in horses’ hooves to fall apart.

Discussion: This is a two-part issue. As for the first part, yes, it is possible for any inoculation, including PZP, to introduce pathogens. However, the second part appears to be a straw man story invented by pro-PZP parties and falsely attributed to PZP’s critics.
Issue #14: Whether PZP-mares stay in perpetual estrus, causing unrest in the herd.

Discussion: The incorrect word above is “perpetual.” Studies have found that mares on PZP have more estrus events and cycle beyond the normal breeding season. Mares in estrus give off pheromones [note: verify this], which are attractants for stallions. With more estrus events occurring in his mares, the band stallion will likely experience more challenges to his leadership. Yes, foals can get hurt when stallions do battle. A recent study by Ransom et al. showed that herds managed by PZP have a breeding season of 341 days. So, by “perpetual” we mean nearly year-round: 365 days minus 24 days.
Issue #15: Whether pharmaceutical companies are involved with the Assateague Herd project and other native PZP projects.

Discussion: This appears to be a straw man accusation. Pharmaceutical companies have no interest in PZP in any of its various iterations because of the long time it takes to restore fertility (four to eight years), the risk of irreversible sterility, and as has been pointed out, the prospect of settling bad-drug lawsuits.
Issue #16: Predation is the only viable ecological solution.

Discussion: To have a thriving, natural ecological balance (TNEB), an ecosystem must have predators.
Issue #17: The allegation that anti-PZP groups claim PZP, specifically “native” PZP, is patented.

Response: This appears to be another straw man accusation. ZonaStat-H is a proprietary product registered with the EPA by the Humane Society of the United States. It is possible that some persons confused “proprietary” with “patented.” Merck originally held the patent but let it lapse due to the adverse effects listed herein.
Issue #18: Some organizations appear to support perpetuating the problem or creating a new problem.

Response: If your income or your funding depends on there being a problem, you will do things that keep that problem going or create new problems to take its place. Once PZP has sterilized one herd after another, and once BLM zeroes out such HMAs, then these groups will surely take up a new rallying cry: Recreate the herds! They’ll say that no one knows why the herds are dying out (yes, you do; it was the PZP), but let’s sign petitions to bring in substitute horses to reinvent such and such herds. Of course the original herd and its unique genetics will be lost forever, but now these groups will have a new life with a new cause.
Issue #19: BLM is not managing wild horse HMAs according to the Law.

Response: The clear intent of the Act was that mustangs would benefit from the principal use of their dedicated range and its resources. Yet, within 98 percent of their legally designated habitats, wild horses and burros are relegated to a minority share of the forage.
Issue #20: Wild horse sanctuaries are pale imitations of real wild horse herds.

Response: The Law provides for eco-sanctuaries. They are called HMAs. The need for private sanctuaries is due to BLM’s mismanagement, to inadequate AMLs, to removals in numbers that deluge the adoption market.

————————————————————————

© Protect Mustangs, May 17, 2015

Urgent funding needed for legal action to save wild horses

MICHAELBLAKE Oscar

Please share and make a tax-deductible donation today! Protect Mustangs needs to act quickly and independently to FIGHT for America’s wild horses in court.

During the Pine Nut roundup case we brought the PZP/pesticide issue into the court room and ultimately stopped the roundup. Our Fort McDermitt case (READ Michael Blake’s declaration below) stopped sending more than a thousand wild horses to slaughter in 2013 and 2014. There are many important cases to win!

We donate our time but still need to pay the lawyer a reduced fee. Using lawyers on staff with other groups was a blessing at the time but doesn’t work anymore because there is so much to do QUICKLY! Please HELP America’s wild horses with a tax-deductible donation here: http://www.gofundme.com/qarve8 to fight for them in court today!

Did you know that Michael Blake (Dances with Wolves), RIP, joined our Fort McDermitt lawsuit in 2013 when we stopped 2 years of horrible roundups that were sending wild horses to slaughter?

This is what he wrote on August 21, 2013:

I, Michael Lennox Blake, declare and state as follows:

1. I am an author as well as a screenwriter. I have written several books and screenplays including Dances with Wolves, which was released to international acclaim in 1990. In 1991, I won every major award for my screenplay for Dances with Wolves, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Writer’s Guild Award, and the Silver Spur. I have also received public service awards including the Eleanor Roosevelt Award and the Americanism Award, in addition to many other awards during my life.

2. I reside in Sonoita, Arizona. I am a member of Protect Mustangs, and also am on the Advisory Board for Protect Mustangs. In a professional capacity I am an author and screenwriter. I support the work that Protect Mustangs does to protect wild horses and advocate for effective wild horse conservation on public lands.

3. I have visited Nevada for decades to see the wild horses, study them, and be inspired by them for my work. I have explored the lands of Nevada where the wild horses roam in freedom for inspiration and research for my work. I intend to return to these areas so I may continue to be inspired and do research for my work.

4. In 1992, I helped commission the first comprehensive aerial census of wild horses in Nevada. In almost every herd area, the horses were far less numerous than the BLM estimated. The final count in our survey was 8,324.

5. Protect Mustangs’ members are interested in wild horses, and I support their work to protect wild horses’ freedom and safety from cruel and harmful practices including but not limited to illegal roundups. Their mission is to educate the public about indigenous wild horses, protect and research American wild horses on the range, and help those who have lost their freedom. Protect Mustangs works to educate the public about the decisions and activities of the government that impact wild horses, and find solutions for wild horse conservation that does not include roundups and auctioning off wild horses for slaughter. Members of the public and horse advocates across the United States are interested in and support Protect Mustangs’ work to protect wild horses due to their recreational, scientific, spiritual, ecological, cultural, artistic, historical, iconic, and aesthetic values.

6. I wrote in my book Twelve the King:

But he and hundreds of thousand like him are gone now from this beautiful land, and for that reason alone I could not stop as I traveled over four hundred miles of Nevada roads. Something evil is still afoot in this land, and it has left its imprint everywhere. In all those miles of open, free country, the mark of evil is present in what is absent. The wild horses are missing from the land.

7. I have written extensively about the American West and find inspiration seeing and studying wild horses. If these unbranded, wild horses are rounded up and removed by the USDA Forest Service and/or the BLM on tribal land, or elsewhere by the Forest Service and/or the BLM, I will be harmed because I will no longer have the ability to study them or be inspired for my books, stories and other works.

8. Wild horses and their connection with the land in the American West inspire me to write. I have plans to spend time in the future using and enjoying these lands and studying free-roaming wild horses on public lands in the Owyhee HMAs and where the wild horses roam in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, as well as on tribal lands. The proposed gather on USDA Forest Service and tribal lands will forever remove wild and free-roaming horses that I rely upon in my professional and personal capabilities.

9. I derive significant satisfaction and happiness from the existence of native wild, free- roaming horses. Ensuring the continued existence and distribution of wildlife including wild horses in the West is of the utmost importance to me and has directly influenced my life a great deal. The West is far different than the East because the West still has wildlife—including wild horses that inspire me to write fiction and non-fiction.

10. If the Fort McDermitt Horse Gather proceeds as planned, it will prevent me and other members of Protect Mustangs from recreating, enjoying, studying, being inspired from, and writing about the wild horses in the area in the future. I am very unlikely to continue deriving benefit and inspiration concerning the wild horses in an area where they have been removed and herd numbers drastically reduced as is proposed by the Fort McDermitt Horse Gather and the 2013 Agreement between the Forest Service and Fort McDermitt Tribal Council. Our members share these views as well.

11. I have been studying and gaining inspiration from seeing wild horses in Nevada throughout my life. I have certain plans to continue visiting these wild areas of Nevada authorized for roundup, including the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, throughout my lifetime. For the aforementioned reasons I would be directly harmed should the unbranded, wild horses at issue in the Fort McDermitt Horse Gather be removed and the horses rounded up and be allowed to go to holding, auction, sale, or slaughter.

[End of Michael Lennox Blake’s declaration]

HELP build the legal fund today so Protect Mustangs can fight for wild horses in court. We are a unique group dedicated purely to the preservation of America’s wild horses. We need to act QUICKLY and independently to HELP SAVE wild horses with legal action. Please make a tax-deductible donation today and share this fundraiser: http://www.gofundme.com/qarve8

Thank you for taking action today to help save the wild horses!

Many blessings,
Anne

Anne Novak
Volunteer Executive Director
www.ProtectMustangs.org
Telephone: 415-531-8454

Pine Nut Wild Horses ©Anne Novak for Protect Mustangs

Pine Nut Wild Horses ©Anne Novak for Protect Mustangs

Don’t take the wild out of wild horses!

The truth

Associated Press reports: Groups differ on plan to help control wild horse population

May 9, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s plan to inject 50 wild horses in western Utah with contraception drugs to help control the population is being applauded by one wild horse advocacy group but derided by another.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign supports the plan, saying it is a more humane method than taking horses off their ranges, the Deseret News newspaper in Salt Lake City reports (http://bit.ly/1zCcWkw ).

“This is the best-case scenario,” campaign spokeswoman Deniz Bolbol said. “We really applaud Utah BLM for doing this for the Onaqui herd and letting these horses stay with their families, remain wild and free, and at the same time manage the number of horses born so they don’t have to do roundups into the future.”

But the group Protect Mustangs says the anti-fertility drug can lead to sterilization and wreak havoc on natural selection.

“This is an essential part of survival of the fittest. Nature knows best,” said Anne Novak, Protect Mustangs executive director. “No one should be shooting wild horses with dart guns. It’s harassment, plain and simple.”

This marks the first time this method has been used in Utah. The BLM plans to begin injecting the drugs in the horses using darts in May, said spokeswoman Lisa Reid. It will continue with the project over a five-year span.

The drug that will be used, called porcine zona pellucida, is most effective for one year, the BLM said. It is effective in preventing pregnancy in horses for one year, Reid said.

The BLM says there are 317 wild horses in the Onaqui Mountain area about 60 miles southwest of Tooele. That’s more than double the appropriate level of 120.
Statewide, there are about 4,300 wild horses and burros in Utah, above the appropriate management level of about 2,000, the agency said.

“This is a very important program. The only tool we’ve had in the past to manage herds is through removal,” Reid said. “We prefer not to round them up, so administering birth control through darting is a great tool because it’s less invasive and less stressful to the herds, and it allows us to hopefully reduce reproduction effectively.”

Roundups are also expensive, said Gus Warr, Utah director of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program. Helicopter roundups cost about $400 to $500 per horse while fertility drugs cost roughly $100 per horse, Warr said.

The issue of wild horses has been a lightning rod across the West for years. Many ranchers claim the horses are overrunning the range, causing ecological damage and reducing grazing for livestock. They want the BLM to immediately round up excess horses.

Bolbol, of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said she hopes BLM officials around the West use this method to keep herds at manageable levels.

But Warr said the contraception plan won’t work in all Utah herds because of difficult terrain and skittish horses.
___
Information from: Deseret News, http://bit.ly/1zCcWkw

Link to the Associated Press article that’s gone viral: http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Groups-differ-on-plan-to-help-control-wild-horse-6252849.php cross-posted for educational purposes

# # #

Please share the petition to bring emergency shade and shelter to wild horses & burros https://www.change.org/p/bring-emergency-shelter-and-shade-to-captive-wild-horses-and-burros

Also please share the petition to defund and stop the wild horses roundups https://www.change.org/p/defund-and-stop-the-wild-horse-burro-roundups

JOIN the Facebook Forum on PZP to learn more about forced drugging with the pesticide (PZP) made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForumPZPWildHorsesBurros/

Help Protect Mustangs continue to fight for wild horses with a donation via PayPal.com to Contact@ProtectMustangs.org or visit our website www.ProtectMustangs.org to join the organization.

You can also make a tax-deductible donation to help us keep fighting in court to protect America’s wild horses right here: http://www.gofundme.com/qarve8

Together we can keep the wild in wild horses!

Many blessings,
Anne

Anne Novak
Executive Director
www.ProtectMustangs.org

RIP Beloved Michael Blake (author of Dances with Wolves)

MICHAELBLAKE 2009 © Anne NOvak

Michael Blake with Twelve (Photo by Lori Grinker)

Michael Blake with Twelve (Photo by Lori Grinker)

MICHAEL BLAKE

(July 5, 1945 – May 2, 2015)

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of our dear friend and advisory board member, Michael Lennox Blake (Dances with Wolves).

Now you can be with the wild horses forever and roam free.

We will miss you.

 Our condolences go to his family.

 

 

 

 

Michael Blake joined our 2013 lawsuit to stop the Fort McDermitt roundup with 2 years of slaughter bound removals. Despite our success for the past years, the tribe wants to resume roundups in August 2015.

Here is his heartfelt declaration:

PM Michel Blake declaration Fort McDermitt 2013

 

PM Michel Blake declaration Fort McDermitt 2013 - 2

 

PM Michel Blake declaration Fort McDermitt 2013 - 3

 

PM Michel Blake declaration Fort McDermitt 2013 - 4

 

Lennox is a Fort Mc Dermit roundup horse who was brutally captured in 2013, injured in transport and then sold at a kill buyer auction in Fallon, Nevada where Protect Mustangs saved him. He is named after Michael Blake’s middle name with his blessing.

PM Lennox

 

“Loving horses is essential for human life on this planet. For millions of years, horses assisted humanity but after cars were invented in America, America has fully destroyed them and continues. Though humanity is similar to all animals in terms of no full perception, the killing of them all is moving the earth to destruction. If we only kill those who attack us, humanity will keep the earth real for humans who follow us. Like humanity, every horse is different but I have loved them most and have never killed one all my life.” ~Michael Blake, author of Dances with Wolves from Protect Mustangs’ Make Love not Roundups campaign.

Michael Blake, 69, Writer, Dies; Won Oscar for ‘Dances With Wolves’ (New York Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/movies/michael-blake-69-oscar-winning-screenwriter-dies.html?_r=0 

(Check back for updates)

© Protect Mustangs

Public comment extension granted for BLM’s Carson 15 to 20 year management plan

By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


BLM Extends the Public Comment Period for the Carson City District Draft Resource Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for Another 30 Days

Carson City, Nev. – Nevada Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Acting State Director John Ruhs announced today that he will extend the current public comment period for the Carson City District Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) an additional 30 days. The extended timeframe means that the comment period on the Draft RMP/EIS, which is currently set to close April 27, 2015, will now close on May 27, 2015.

This is the second 30-day extension making the full comment period an unprecedented 180 days.

“We felt that another extension was warranted to allow the public plenty of time to analyze the important resource issues considered in this plan,” said Ruhs.

Once finalized, the Carson City District RMP will provide management direction for the 4.8 million acres of public land in western Nevada and eastern California managed by the Carson City District. The five alternatives in the Draft RMP/EIS offer a range of approaches to achieve and maintain desired resource conditions in the area over the coming 15 to 20 years. The Draft RMP/EIS addresses some of the following issues: Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), lands and realty, utility corridors, wind energy, travel management, recreation, lands with wilderness characteristics, minerals, wild and scenic rivers, and visual resource management.

Written comments related to the Carson City District Draft RMP/Draft EIS may be submitted by any of the following methods:
• Website: http://on.doi.gov/1uYBNGT
• E-mail: BLM_NV_CCDO_RMP@blm.gov
• Fax: (775) 885-6147
• Mail: BLM Carson City District, Attn: CCD RMP, 5665 Morgan Mill Rd., Carson City, NV 89701.

Individuals or groups that have already submitted comments during the first 150 days may submit supplementary comments through then end of the open period.

Copies of the Carson City District Draft RMP/EIS are available in the Carson City District Office at the above address or on the following website: http://on.doi.gov/1uYBNGT.

-BLM-

Tami Hottes speaks out for wild horses at national BLM board meeting on Earth Day

PM Tami Hottes WH&B Advisory Board

 

Tami Hottes, Director of Outreach at Protect Mustangs, champions wild horses’ rights to freedom and their land. She asked for the captives to receive shade and shelter and for a moratorium on roundups. Hottes stood up against forced drugging of wild mares with PZP (a pesticide made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries) at the national Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting today.

Learn about the dangers of PZP in the Forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForumPZPWildHorsesBurros

Sign the Petition for Shade & Shelter: https://www.change.org/p/bring-emergency-shelter-and-shade-to-captive-wild-horses-and-burros

Stand up for native wild horses and JOIN www.ProtectMustangs.org

Media placement spins wild horses as scary pests to push PZP at upcoming BLM meeting?

Pine Nut Wild Horses ©Anne Novak for Protect Mustangs

Pine Nut Wild Horses ©Anne Novak for Protect Mustangs

Are the PZP PUSHERS buying CNN media placement ahead of the BLM’s Wild Horse Advisory Board Meeting April 22-23rd in Ohio to PUSH PZP, take over and control America’s wild horses that they see as “pests” deserving of a pesticide for “birth control”? Follow the money and you find millions of donor dollars that would pour in (think of who is on the top of the PZP pyramid) if they were able to claim they solved the wild horse “problem” with PZP.  (EPA Pesticide Fact Sheet: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf)

PM PZP Syringe Yearling Meme

 

Wild horses and the world’s forgotten animals
by Motez Bishara, for CNN April 21, 2015

(CNN)The Rolling Stones sang about them, and Ford named its most iconic sports car after them.

Their numbers are increasing, yet mustangs are among the ever-growing list of animals being eclipsed by the modern world.

That’s the view of Dutch artist Charlotte Dumas, who holds a particular fascination with the wild horses that populate the western U.S., together with the overall roles that animals play in society.

“Their physical presence may be growing, but what they stand for is deteriorating,” Dumas explains. “The whole idea of the wild and free horse is not sustainable anymore.”

From her observations, much of the world’s attention when it comes to animals either fixates on pets, which she says are “put on a pedestal, almost to excess,” or those consumed as part of the giant produce industry. “And then there is a big midsection that completely disappeared,” she says.

Dumas, 37, uses her medium of undirected portrait photography to humanize a largely anonymous subset of the animal population. She avoids zooms, taking photos only with portrait lenses that force her to get up close and personal with the animals — even when those subjects are wolves, wild dogs and tigers (she was safely behind a fence for the tigers).

Her two most recent bodies of work were recently on display at The Photographer’s Gallery in London. For “The Widest Prairies,” Dumas shadowed the mustangs from a trailer in Dayton, Nevada, while “Anima” is a video montage of military horses falling asleep in the stables of Arlington National Cemetery.

“Those horses make for a more appealing subject simply because they are more realistic of how most horses live, rather than in a very artificial habitat (catered to) horses that we might see in the Olympics,” says Dr. Thomas Witte, lecturer in equine surgery at the Royal Veterinary College in London.

Both projects required multiple trips from New York, where Dumas was living at the time, and countless hours behind the lens. Dumas believes taking her time is essential in order to catch the subjects in a relaxed and natural state.

The 12-minute film “Anima” was compiled from footage shot over the course of 15 nights, usually from midnight until 4 a.m.

“I encounter a lot of people in my work, and what they all find the strangest is that I stay around that long,” she explains. “(They ask), don’t you already have it by now?”

A press officer from the cemetery was assigned to accompany her during the overnights, shuffling back and forth between the stables and alerting Dumas when a horse was nodding off.

“I felt really guilty in the beginning because he had to be there for all these insane hours, but he didn’t mind at all,” she says.

The time spent allowed her to present a behind-the-scenes look at the working life of a regal animal. Known as caisson burial horses, the likes of Major and Ringo lead the procession for honored deceased servicemen up to eight times a day.

“(A working horse) is one of the few places where there is still this interaction where man and animal depend on each other,” says Dumas. “They are not as visible anymore, whereas they used to be very much part of everyday life.”

Tens of thousands of tourists go on African safari every year. Many will see the continent most beautiful beasts from the safety of a four-wheel drive vehicle, but some brave the bush on the four legs of a horse.

Witte points to an old adage in the veterinary world: that 10% of the world’s equine population receives 90% of the veterinary care.

“All those equids that are doing the grunt work and supporting their human families in developing parts of the world — the mules and donkeys — they get very little in the way of veterinary care and very little in the way of attention,” he says.

After such an intimate project, Dumas decided to profile the exact opposite type of horse for her followup — one with almost no human interaction or discipline.

“The wild horses have such a romantic connotation; I wanted to challenge myself, and see if it was possible to take a portrait of one,” she says. “I thought it was always a daring topic to go near, so it took me a while before I was ready to take that on. Practically they are very different from each other.”

Dumas spent nights in a trailer loaned by a wild horse preservationist in Nevada. The topic is controversial, since the free-roaming horses (numbering 40,815 throughout 10 states) can overpopulate and encroach on residential areas.

“They keep coming closer and closer to civilization because there is no food on the hills anymore. So (there is a question of) who’s infringing on who,” she explains.

Witte notes that overpopulation can lead to a spread of diseases between species. “Wherever you have that interface between human population and animal population, you’ve got to do something to control the situation; that is for animal welfare as much as it is for human convenience,” he says.

There are a further 16,203 horses up for adoption in holding shelters, and another 31,250 in long-term pastures. All the horses fall under the care of the Bureau of Land Management and are protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

On a gamble, Dumas took to the mountains of Nevada and befriended a local watcher who put her up in her trailer. After studying the horses up close, Dumas decided to return months later — and noticed how their personalities had changed. Oddly, the more time she spent in the mustangs’ proximity, the less comfortable she became.

“I went in early spring which, was like mating season, and then they got really wild. You really had to be careful that you didn’t get caught up between two stallions fighting for mares,” she recalls. “The more I spent time with them, in a sense I got more and more afraid of them.”

Dumas’ other projects have profiled the retired search and rescue dogs of 9/11 (only one was reportedly still alive in 2014, 13 years after the World Trade Center attacks) and stray dogs in Palermo, Italy, along with tigers and wolves living in animal sanctuaries.

“They have so much power,” she says, recalling her nervousness around the tigers, “and when you see them up close they are so much bigger.” The tigers were shot at an eccentric private animal park in Texas that housed over 250 wild cats, while the wolves were photographed at a preserve in Colorado and in upstate New York.

Now back in Amsterdam, Dumas is focusing on her next projects: the logging horses of Lapland, Sweden, along with the eight native horse breeds of Japan, which she says are in danger of extinction.

Each series is part of a collective calling, to preserve a lasting image of a place in time for an unheralded group of animals that may not be around forever.

“What is the value of something that has no real direct use anymore to society?” she asks. “If there is no economic purpose, then they are just going to go extinct. That’s just how it is.”

# # #

Cross-posted from http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/21/sport/wild-horses-photographer-charlotte-dumas/ for educational purposes

Is this CNN article another subliminal push for the registrant of PZP (The Humane Society of the United States) to take over wild horse and burro management based on using PZP?  Besides lobbying, are they buying media placements through PR firms too?

Learn more about PZP, the restricted use pesticide used as “birth control” that permanently sterilizes wild mares after multiple use on the Facebook Forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForumPZPWildHorsesBurros

 

PM PZP Betrayal

Evelyn Fox Keller: The Gendered Language of #Science

Evelyn-Fox-Keller

his episode of World of Ideas featured theoretical physicist Evelyn Fox Keller on the rhetoric of science. When she first set out to be a scientist in the 1950s, Fox wondered why the language of science itself reflected patriarchal, masculine metaphors and values, and what it meant for the discipline. Here, she talked with Bill Moyers about her work on gender and the history of science.

TRANSCRIPT

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] When Evelyn Fox Keller set out in the 1950s to be a scientist, she discovered it was a man’s world. Not only because most scientists were men, but because the language of science itself reflected masculine metaphors and values. Why is this so, she wondered? Trained since then as a theoretical physicist, she has taught mathematics and done research in mathematical biology, but it is her work on the history of science, her book, Reflections on Gender and Science, and her biography of the geneticist Barbara McClintock [A Feeling for the Organism] that brought me to the University of California at Berkeley where Dr. Keller teaches in the department of rhetoric.

[interviewing] What does rhetoric have to do with science, I thought, when I first heard about you?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right. That is a good question. Language, I think, is the mediator of human values and human expectations into our descriptions of nature. And if we want to understand how science reflects-the ways in which science is reflecting back to us particular expectations, particular values, we have to understand, we have to look at the language of science and see how that works, how the traffic between ordinary and technical language works as a carrier of, if you will, of ideology into science.

BILL MOYERS: And one of your chief contributions to this has been that gender plays a significant role in the language that scientists use to describe their work.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: It has played a very, very powerful role.

BILL MOYERS: And by gender you mean-you don’t mean sex, that-the given of nature, our biological difference, do you?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: No, I mean ideas of masculinity, ideas of femininity, that the language of sex and the language of gender have been extremely prominent in scientific discourse since the scientific revolution.

BILL MOYERS: And the dominant image has been?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Well, Henry Oldenburg said it very clearly. The purpose of the Royal Society was to establish a truly masculine philosophy. What did they mean by a truly masculine philosophy? Francis Bacon said, “Let us establish a chaste and lawful marriage between mind and nature.” The purpose of this marriage was to bind nature–bring nature and all her children to your service, bind her and make her your slave. That was the purpose of the-

BILL MOYERS: Mind/husband-nature/wife. And the purpose of science was to give the mind, the husband, mastery over nature?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right. That’s right. That the central metaphor for the scientific revolution was a marriage between the mind and nature that was modeled on a particular kind of marriage, a patriarchal marriage, the purpose of which was the domination of nature, the bride nature.

BILL MOYERS: And the Royal Society of London was founded in 1662, and didn’t admit a woman until 1945.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: [laughing] Yes.

BILL MOYERS: That’s letting the language determine your policy for a long time.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: But science had a particular commitment to the notion that there was something special about what they were doing, a special kind of thinking, a special kind of philosophy, a special kind of activity

BILL MOYERS: What was it?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: -that was, in the most general sense, was thinking like a man. It was thinking–it was the idea, it was committed to an ideal of objectivity that was from the beginning equated in a very curious way, the equation between objectivity and masculinity is a very curious equation. And in fact, it was that equation that motivated my entire inquiry. I wanted to understand what does that mean, to say “thinking objectively is thinking like a man”? What could it mean? Where did such an idea come from? And more important, what consequences has it had for science?

BILL MOYERS: There were so many examples of these first scientists, 300 years ago, founding modern science, who used this masculine language to assign masculine virtues to science. Your book is full of them. Which is your favorite?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: The best quote I can think of is Joseph Lanville. He wrote: “That Jove himself cannot be wise and in love may be understood in a larger sense than antiquity meant it. Where the will or passion hath a casting voice, the case of truth is desperate. The woman in us still prosecutes a deceit like that begun in the garden, and our understandings are wedded to an Eve as fatal as the mother of our miseries,” He concludes: “Truth has no chance when the affections wear the breeches and the female rules.”

BILL MOYERS: He was saying that we have to exclude feeling, empathy, intuition from the search for this–how the world works?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right. But he’s doing it by attaching them to the female, to the female voice. He’s saying both. Excluding female–we’re excluding affection, feeling, emotion, because it’s female, and we’re excluding females because they bring affection, they carry with them affection. By that equation, by that equation between emotion and female, he is excluding both in one move.

BILL MOYERS: Whatever their motives, the consequences have been significant for science, and for all of us, right?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right. Once you have shown how important, how prevalent these images of masculinity and femininity and domination were, the question remains, so what? Right? That’s really the question. And it is very clear-let me take the arguments that would be made. One person might say: “Yes, but that’s just in the 17th century. We’ve left that long since behind.” Well, the response to that is that we haven’t left it behind, it is still with us, and just in case-just as an example, I brought-I looked in my office this morning-

BILL MOYERS: A scientist who does her research.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: -right. I just pulled out, as an example, a quote from C.P. Snow from The Masters, in 1951. He’s describing the young scientist, Luke, who has just had a breakthrough. “It’s wonderful,” he burst out, “when you’ve got a problem that is really coming out. It’s like making love. Suddenly your unconscious takes control, and nothing can stop you. You know that you’re making old Mother Nature sit up and beg, and you say to her, ‘I’ve got you, you old bitch.’ You’ve got her just where you want her.”

BILL MOYERS: Hmm. That’s 300 years after the birth of-

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s 300, 300 years after.

BILL MOYERS: -so what happened was that this, as a consequence of that era, there was created this ideology, that mythology, that objectivity, reason and the mind are male attributes, and subjectivity, feeling and nature are female attributes. But what did that mean to the history of science?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s a question, I think, that really is the kind of question that faces all of the history and philosophy of science today, that we have learned — the hard way, I think — we have learned that the notion that science, whatever the motivations of the individual scientist, that science gives us a mirror, a reflection of nature, so that the laws of nature are in nature. We’ve learned that that picture of science just doesn’t work, that that’s a metaphor that has many functions, most of them political and social, that it really is not a very good description of the-of actually what happens, that actually, what happens is that the descriptions of nature, the theories of nature, are very complexly influenced by all kinds of social, cultural, psychological presuppositions.

BILL MOYERS: My friend at the University of Texas, a physicist, Steven Weinberg, talks about the universe as being one of overwhelming hostility. Now, do you feel the universe is hostile?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Well, how can the universe be hostile? I also quote Steven Weinberg in this same lecture. That’s another example. You know — Steven Weinberg is somebody I quoted in my book on gender and science, also, here’s a wonderful quote. He says: “The laws of nature are cold and indifferent. We didn’t want it to come out that way; it just came out that way.” Well, I think that there is a sense in which we did want it to come out that way, that there is a — that the language of hostility, of coldness, of indifference is a human language, and that that human language is written into our descriptions of nature, into what Weinberg calls the laws of nature.

BILL MOYERS: So this is what-

EVELYN FOX KELLER: It’s written into the very notion of laws of nature.

BILL MOYERS: -in what sense?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: A law of nature is a very curious construct. It is–whose law is the law of nature? Where does the idea of a law of nature come from? And what is the function of a law of nature? The law of nature, the concept of a law of nature comes originally from the civic realm. Well, first it comes from the realm of God; the laws of nature were originally God’s laws. Now, in contemporary science, we don’t believe in God’s laws, but still, the laws are–have an existence in our imagination, somehow above the phenomena, but the phenomena must conform to the laws of nature.

And this is very important when you think about-actually how physicists work, and how We develop our science. Because what in fact we do is, we-you know, Francis Bacon gave us all kinds of memorable expressions about how we have to “vex” nature, that nature only under the art of vexation will reveal her true nature. Well, we do vex nature, we vex nature quite a bit. We twist and conform–we make–it is no easy task to make nature conform to the laws of nature.

Let me tell you–as a scientist I can tell you that it is very hard work to get nature to conform to the laws of nature. Nature has to–the natural phenomena have to be structured and constrained and twisted and vexed to an astonishing degree, and then they will obey the laws of nature. So what is this telling us about the laws-what are laws of nature doing? What is their relation to other kinds of phenomena?

BILL MOYERS: So when Steven Weinberg says that the laws of nature are as impersonal and free of human value as the rules of arithmetic, you’re not objecting to the formula as much as you are to the very language, the very use of the word law to describe the operations of nature. Is that what I’m hearing?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: I’m objecting to both. I’m objecting to the language of laws and also objecting to the notion that they are as free of human value as the rules of arithmetic. I think it’s not true. I think there is nothing, it is a fantasy that any human product could be free of human values. And science is a human product. It’s a wonderful, glorious human product.

BILL MOYERS: But what about nature? Nature is not a human product. I mean, the natural world is not a human product.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Yeah, but science doesn’t give us nature. Science gives us a description of nature. Science gives us scientific theories of nature.

BILL MOYERS: And in the description of nature, we assign to that description our own subjective experience.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: There is no way of avoiding that. There is no way of–there is no magic lens that will enable us to look at–to see nature unclouded, with–uncolored by any values, hopes, fears, anxieties, desires, goals that we bring to it. There is no such magic lens. We interact with the world, we interact with the world in purposive ways, and it is very easy to see how values, whether they are values that come from an ideology of gender or ideology of class or ideology of-or commitment to militarism, it is relatively easy to see how the values will help guide the kind of question you want to ask.

BILL MOYERS: But you’re not arguing, are you, that if there were more women in science, we’d be studying acid rain instead of Star Wars? That’s-

EVELYN FOX KELLER: No, no.

BILL MOYERS: -more complicated.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: I wish that were true. I wish all we had to do was to bring more women in science, because we’re bringing more women into science now, and then it would change, you know. But no, it’s much more complicated, because these social, ideological patterns get imprinted onto the very structure of science. It’s a-you know, it has–there’s a momentum to the development of science. You don’t just come in and change it with–you come into science with a different language, first of all, you don’t come into science. I mean, that’s the first thing.

BILL MOYERS: You may came in, but leave fairly soon.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: You will leave very soon. So the first point is that in order to enter into this world, you have to become resocialized. So whether you are, you know, you may have had a different language or a different set of expectations or a different set of interests because you were socialized’ as a woman or because you were socialized as, you know, working-class, a black, or whether you were socialized as-you grew up in Japan or China. It doesn’t matter. When you enter into the world of science, if you want to be a member of this world, you have to learn its language. You have to learn the language of that world. So that’s the first point.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: And the second point is that the language and the goals and the endeavor have a dynamic of its own. If it is the case, as I believe, if it is the case that the language of science shapes the actual content of science, what it-how we employ this wonderful, this wonderful human endeavor, this wonderful human talent, then I think that is far more important in the question of women and science. The question of women and science is important; I don’t want to say it’s not important.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: But there are more–given the tremendous role that science plays in the world we live in, the idea that science could be redirected, that there could be changes in the way in which science is done and the way in which it moves, the direction in which it moves, that seems to me of even greater importance. That’s my principal argument. And my principal case, my strongest case for that argument, is the story of Barbara McClintock. I titled my biography of McClintock A Feeling for the Organism–it wasn’t for my agenda that I chose that title. The title was hers. It’s her deepest belief that you cannot do good research without a feeling for the organism. A feeling for the organism was her refrain.

BILL MOYERS: But what do you mean, Dr.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: “a feeling for the organism?”

EVELYN FOX KELLER: I mean, the ability to identify with the subject of study, to feel kinship with the subject that you are studying, instead of feeling engaged in a battle, in a struggle, in a state of opposition.

BILL MOYERS: And you really feel that’s primarily a female mode of approaching science?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: No. I believe that it’s been called a female mode of approaching science. I believe it is a human virtue, a human talent. We’re talking about empathy, the capacity for empathy. I don’t think that women have a corner on the market of empathy. I think that all of us are capable of empathy, although I do think that it’s not a talent that is very well developed in many men, because of the ways in which they’re raised. But it is precisely because it has been identified as a feminine virtue, as a feminine talent, that it has been excluded from science.

BILL MOYERS: Can you give me some specific examples? I mean, I can think of some very obvious ones. I think of the first atomic bomb was called “Fat Boy,” and it was delivered from the womb of a bomber named “Enola Gay,” a female delivering a weapon of destruction. But that’s probably too extreme an example for you.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Well, isn’t it extraordinary–that metaphor. I mean, what do you make of it? That was a metaphor that really, really plagued me.

BILL MOYERS: I make of it that men were at war, and men were the scientists who invented the atomic bomb, and they gave it the name they would give something if they were playing in a schoolyard.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Yes, except that the idea of the metaphor of bomb as baby is to me more than something a kid would do in a schoolyard. I mean, that carries, for me, far more import.

BILL MOYERS: And as you pointed out, the bombs with the thrust are called boy babies, and the bombs that were duds were called girl babies.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right, that’s right. That’s right.

BILL MOYERS: It isn’t just the 20th century, though, is it, Dr.

EVELYN FOX KELLER:? I mean, I think of Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein, carrying on that–depicting that story of the mad scientist down in his basement pursuing the secret of life, discovering the secret of life.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right.

BILL MOYERS: And then turning the secret of life into something monstrous.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: The difference, of course, is that that was a story.

BILL MOYERS: It was a story, but stories get at meanings. And here’s a–I’ve often wondered if this was a woman’s view of science, Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein as a parable about how a woman, or perhaps many women, saw science, pursuing perfection and finding instead the monster that destroys the creator.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Except that that’s a story, a fantasy that has been embraced by many men. I mean, that story, the popularity of that story, Mary Shelley wrote it, but who reads it? Who reads the story of Frankenstein? That myth, that idea, that men, in seeking the secret of life, in seeking the power to create life without women, that’s really what that story is about. It’s the-that, along with many other stories. It’s about the co-optation of the procreative function by men. Itís a story of dispensing with female procreativity. That’s what that story is about. And what does it result in? It results in a monster–not the secret of life, but a monster who becomes the secret of death. It becomes an agent of destruction. That theme is with us everywhere, that theme that-and that was my interest in the metaphor of bombs as babies, that the idea that when men succeed in discovering the secret of life, in taking it in their hands, they will produce babies that will be agents of destruction. They will be the instruments of death. That is a cultural myth. That’s a cultural motif, and not just our own. It’s a motif that you find in many, many cultures. That’s a very archetypal story. It isn’t only Mary Shelley’s story. But stories are very powerful, and they speak very deeply to our deepest anxieties, our deepest desires. Still, there’s a difference between a story and the actual construction, technological structure. And I think these stories have had a lot to do-they tell us a lot about the motivation that has led us to the moment in time when we can all but create life out of a test tube. We are engaged in this activity, in this interaction with nature, if you will, with natural phenomena. We are seeking knowledge. For what? To what end? Knowledge-we are always we are very purposive creatures. Some people will say-I think McClintock would say, many other people would say we are just in it for the understanding, for the sheer understanding. And that’s very beautiful, and it’s very nice, and I can really resonate with that. But understanding always has consequences. For example, take the human genome project. The purpose of the human genome project is to give us a complete readout of the human genome so that–it’s not just for knowledge, why you know, why do we want a complete readout of the human genome? Why not a readout of all the molecules that make up our solar system? Why do we want the human genome? Well, we-it has, it’s not just for understanding. It has a purpose. We think it will give us better control over the genetic constitution of the human race. People say, “Well, it will help us cure disease.” I think-I don’t believe it. I mean, not many people do believe it.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: The real purpose of the human genome project is to gain–is to fulfill a vision of control over the future course of evolution. I mean, that’s putting it very baldly, but that really was the vision that inspired the early development of classical genetics and molecular genetics. The idea was to get the future course of human evolution in one’s hand, and that’s a very extraordinary vision, that it speaks to a kind of control, a degree of control that one would not think of having in relation to a subject that one had a more erotic, more interactive, more reciprocal feeling–engagement with. That is control in the sense of-in the Baconian sense of domination, that nature is there to be steered, to be directed, to be-now who are we to steer and direct this-the future course of evolution?

BILL MOYERS: It’s very biblical, you know, men interpreting their mission from God to dominate the Earth.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right, it is biblical. It is exactly biblical. And scientists have inherited that mantle, that we don’t need God anymore
because we are doing it.

BILL MOYERS: But as a biologist, are you not curious about what will be learned from the human genome project?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Of course I’m curious. I think that–you know, I have no doubt that it’ll be tremendously interesting and tremendously useful. But it will not–first, I do not think it will fulfill the fantasy. I do not think you can control the course of evolution by getting your hands on the genes, because I don’t think the genes are where everything is at.

BILL MOYERS: The public at large-there are people in the general public who think of this project as giving us the power to create the perfect human being, you know, that ultimately, down the road we’ll be able to connect way back in the genetic chain the potential for a disorder in that child that’s emerging so that we’ll avoid the crippling disease.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right. It is the desire for perfection, there’s no doubt about it.

BILL MOYERS: But that’s driven us for how many centuries now?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Oh, many. And very productively, you might say. But also dangerously. I mean, that–in the 20th century, we can’t speak–any longer speak of the glories of science as an unmixed blessing. And it’s cost us and it endangers us, and it also empowers us. And the question is whether we can harness this resource or we can redeploy this wonderful creative resource in ways that would be more productive for the future survival and well-being of humankind.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] From her home in Berkeley, California, this has been a conversation with Evelyn Fox Keller, I’m Bill Moyers.

This transcript was entered on March 27, 2015.

FROM THE SHOW

Evelyn Fox Keller: The Gendered Language of Science

Cross-posted for educational purposes: http://billmoyers.com/content/evelyn-fox-keller/