Letter requesting EPA repair error classifying iconic American wild horses as ‘pests’

Native Wild Horses (Photo © Cynthia Smalley)

Daniel T. Heggem

Acting Division Director

Environmental Protection Agency




Dear Mr. Heggem,

We respectfully request that the EPA apologize for classifying America’s legendary wild horses as ‘pests’, acknowledge the classification error and cancel approval of ZonaStat-H and any other pesticides for indigenous wild horses or American burros.

America’s wild horses and burros are an asset to the environment and humankind. Science proves they create biodiversity and heal the land—reversing damage and desertification.

The American public is uplifted knowing wild horses are roaming freely in the West. People come from around the world to catch a glimpse of wild horses because they are beloved icons of the American spirit and freedom.

Public land grazing allotment holders might call free roaming wild horses a nuisance but they have an obvious conflict of interest because they want all the grazing and water rights for their livestock, etc. They would like to eliminate the rights of the free roaming wild horses and burros. We hope the EPA will not buy into their game.

There is no scientific proof wild horses are overpopulating—only inflated estimates by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) who must invent high numbers so Congress will give them millions of taxpayer dollars to fund their broken Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Indigenous wild horses do not reproduce like rabbits—many die before the age of two. Life on the range can be hard and most wild horses do not reach the age of 17. As a wildlife species, this is normal. Left alone they will self-regulate as an integral piece of the ecosystem.

Wild horses have natural predators such as mountain lions, bears and coyotes to name a few. BLM goes to great lengths to downplay the existence of predators to foster their overpopulation estimate-based myths.

We expect the EPA to be based on science not myth.

Are you aware of the two Princeton studies proving equids heal the land for cattle to thrive?

The first study, “Facilitation Between Bovids and Equids on an African Savanna,” was published in Evolutionary Ecology Research in August 2011, and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Keller Family Trust and Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

The second study, “African Wild Ungulates Compete With or Facilitate Cattle Depending on Season,” was published in Science on Sept. 23, 2011, and supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the International Foundation for Science.

Besides the environmental hazards of using ZonaStat-H, we are concerned the iconic herds will risk ovary damage and permanent sterilization from multiple use or overdosing with PZP.

We ask that all ZonaStat-H use be put on hold immediately until your “pest” classification error has been corrected and for the EPA pesticide/drug approval be retracted.

Please reply to us via email or fax immediately with your response. Thank you.



Anne Novak

Executive Director for Protect Mustangs



EPA Pesticide Fact Sheet for ZonaStat-Hhttp://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf

Princeton reports: Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies, in search for food http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S32/93/41K10/index.xml?section=featured

NB: Faxed to numerous senators and representatives

CC: Lisa P. Jackson



Anne Novak

Executive Director

Protect Mustangs

P.O. Box 5661

Berkeley, California 94705


Twitter @ProtectMustangs

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Protect Mustangs is a Bay Area-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.

11 thoughts on “Letter requesting EPA repair error classifying iconic American wild horses as ‘pests’

  1. Our wild horses are not pests! They were here long before you were! Your job is to protect the environment, NOT destroy it! Get commercial ranchers off our public lands and wildlife may actually have a chance! It’s the cattle that are destroying our lands NOT our wild horses! Your job should be managing people, NOT wildlife…

  2. I really doubt it was an error in classification. It was convenient for them to do so.

  3. Another rogue Federal Government Agency just like the BLM. Fire those people at the EPA who think the wild horses and burros are pests. Save our HARD-EARNED taxpayer dollars in the face of mounting National DEBT.

  4. Like our mustangs really need to deal with yet another government idiot!

  5. Pingback: EPA Calls Wild Horses Pests | Wild Horse Annie

  6. Dear Anne Novak and Protect Mustangs, your letter sums up the threat to the horses perfectly! Thank you for helping the wild horses by doing this. When I read the letter I thought, “I would definitely sign my name to this”, so I wondered whether you had thought of making a similarly-worded petition? If so, please direct me where to add my name. In the meantime, I am sharing this news story on Facebook and Twitter. I do hope there is a positive response from the EPA shortly.

  7. Please protect the wild mustangs throughout the US !!! Thank you !!

  8. We received a response to our letter to the EPA only today. Their letter avoids addressing our requests to stop calling wild horses “pests”, etc. and comes across as a brush-off. We will post the EPA letter soon as well as our response to promote transparency.

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