Are wild horses at risk of being sterilized due to an advocacy campaign?

© Anne Novak, all rights reserved.

© Anne Novak, all rights reserved.

The public needs to stop panicking and read everything they are asking their senators and representatives to do on their behalf

Is something in that form letter you received that you don’t agree with? Do you want wild horses sterilized using EPA approved restricted use pesticides? These pesticides are not safe for domestic horses so why are they being pushed for use on wild horses? Are you giving up the fight for their freedom to live in natural family bands?

Why is an advocacy group encouraging their supporters to write members of Congress–via click and send form letter–asking them to sign on to the pledge to sterilize wild horses (already in non-viable herds) when BLM overpopulation claim is false?

We found their pitch citing a quote from the National Academy of Sciences report in their form letter being circulated around the Internet. It reads:

“. . . Considering all the current options, [porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccines and GonaCon™ vaccine for females and chemical vasectomy for males] either alone or in combination, offer the most acceptable alternative to removing animals for managing population numbers . . .”

Even worse is the pledge they are requesting members of Congress sign and return the advocacy group’s office.

Senators and representatives will take that to mean you want “[porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccines and GonaCon™ vaccine for females and chemical vasectomy for males] either alone or in combination”. Is that what you want?

Or do you want a 10-year moratorium (suspension) on roundups for scientific research to investigate what’s the best way to manage the underpopulated herds of wild horses left in the West?

Why is this group pushing an elected official “pledge” to use “available fertility control” without scientific studies on population, migration, and holistic land management? What is going on here? Who is funding this scare-tactic-based campaign to sterilize America’s wild horses?

Why isn’t the group mentioning to Congress that the National Academy of Sciences report also said there is “no evidence” of overpopulation–why omit this?

Why hasn’t the group done any independent aerial or in-the-field research on population? Is it because it would not support the BLM’s faulty overpopulation claim?

See for yourself how many wild horses are left in the 800,000 acre Twin Peaks area during a recent aerial survey:  Read the scientific report exposing an underpopulation crisis on public land:

The group appears to know wild horses are not overpopulated. Recently they were quoted in an Associated Press article debunking the BLM’s overpopulation claim in comparison with livestock on public land.

Why then are they attempting to lead the public into blindly supporting a plan lacking good science–a plan calling for permanent and temporary sterility actions against indigenous wild horses?

Is the group eluding to a false risk of all wild horses going to slaughter if they aren’t sterilized?

Why create all the panic so people will quickly click, sign and share the pledge with their senators and congressmen asking them to “take the pledge” for sterilization, etc.? Is the public reading what they are signing on to?

Why is the group pushing for “fertility control”–using sterilizants passed by the EPA as “restricted use pest control”. Wild horses are a native species. How can restricted use pesticides be used on native species? Read more here:–0511.html

Many other valid concerns about PZP were brought up in this 2010 article as well: More articles will be posted soon.

Are American wild horses becoming lab rats for immunocontraceptives for other species including humans? Read the reference section at the bottom this research paper:

How can man (BLM and others) decide which wild horses to sterilize on the range and who to breed? That would be the end of survival of the fittest and the beginning of domestication of the wild horse and burro.

Is the group’s paradigm flawed because it focuses on the individual wild horse and neglects to view the herd as most important–as the lifeblood?

Sanctuaries might need to sterilize wild horses because they have limited space but policy for native wild horses living in the wild should not be modeled after a sanctuary model–unless it is based on reserve design.

America’s native wild horses and burros are wild animals who benefit the ecosystem and fill their niche, reduce wildfire fuel, and help reverse desertification. They are not back alley cats that should be spayed and neutered because of an overpopulation problem. No offense to cats : )

The alleged overpopulation problem for wild horses and burros is a farce.

Now the question is–What do we do to save the wild horses from those who are pushing for risky temporary and permanent sterilization using EPA approved “restricted use pesticides” on non-viable herds?

1.) Sign and share widely the petition for a moratorium on roundups for scientific research. Good science will find real solutions to protect wild horses and burros on the range.

2.) Send an email to your senators and your representatives if you don’t want America’s wild horses to be sterilized. Let them know you didn’t read the fine print of the form letter you signed if that is the truth.

3.) Meet with your senator’s aides and your representative to request they intervene in the wipe-out of America’s wild horses and burros by granting a 10-year moratorium on roundups for scientific research on population, migration, reserve design, holistic land management, etc.

Remember don’t let anyone scare you into believing wild horses are going to be slaughtered if they aren’t sterilized. Fight the good fight for our symbols of freedom and our national living treasures–America’s wild horses and burros.

Links of interest:

Contact your senators and representatives:

Petition for a Moratorium on Roundups:

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America, American Journal of Life Sciences by Craig C. Downer

American wild horses are indigenous: and

January 26, 2014  Washington Post (Viral) U.S. looking for ideas to help manage wild-horse overpopulation

Ecologist Craig Downer speaks out against using PZP in the Pryors:

Why end natural selection in the Pryors?

The International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB) study of wild herds shows that functional social structures contribute to low herd growth compared to BLM managed herds:

Public outraged over the EPA approving pesticides for NATIVE wild horses

GASLAND 2, a film by Josh Fox, the plight of wild horses is featured,

Wild Horses and Renegades, a film by James Anaquad Kleinert,

EPA calls wild horses pests, Desert Independent–0511.html

Protect Mustangs’ letter requesting EPA repair error classifying iconic American wild horses “pests”

EPA Pesticide Information for ZonaStat-H

AVMA Reports: Vaccine could reduce wild horse overpopulation

Wildlife fertility vaccine approved by EPA

Oxford Journal on PZP for Humans and more
PZP research for humans

Wild horse predators:

Princeton reports: Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies, in search for food.


The star studded documentary by James Anaquad Kleinert requests a moratorium on roundups . . .



“It’s time to pick the torch back up and continue the fight. Never give up. We the people must take back the power for the voiceless wild ones we love!” ~Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs




21 thoughts on “Are wild horses at risk of being sterilized due to an advocacy campaign?

  1. Yes, it is deplorable how it manages to confuse even those who should be outrages about how the wild horses and burros are being displaced from their rightful, legal public lands. They are true natives in North America and as a different type of herbivore, they actually complement the several ruminant herbivores, precisely because of their difference. Be sure to read my article The horse and burro as positively contributing returned natives in North America that was just published. You can google this and print it out. Also check out my webpage above and my book The Wild Horse Conspiracy on amazon. Together we can turn this dreadful situation around for the wild horses and restore them to their rightful lands!

  2. WIth the confusion of some of our .orgs going off to support BLM policies the advocacy needs to know it is not a done deal and the wild ones are still very much in need of our fight for their freedom and for them to get the studies the law says they are entitled to. This means maintaining their lands and having Independent Scientists study them and create management from studies. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE! It is written specifically into the 1971 Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act! Our wild horses and burros were to have on going independent studies be the basis of their management decisions in order to avoid Conflict of Interest. Now we have HUGE issues with Conflict of Interest and this has spread to the advocacy. We should never repeat the mistakes that BLM has made by attempting to make management decisions without Independent Studies in the Field. We have all read what has been attempted upon wild horses at Sheldon Wildlife Range with in the field sterilizations of mares and stallions. The talk of using drugs which are not studied on horses is also rampant. And BLM says they want more solutions of this nature and will pay for them? The way to find the best solutions is to go into the field and study and get the data and and develop the management from there. Maybe the reason the horses have never been studied is because the public never realized it had to be involved and the law wanted us to be and BLM simply did not want that implemented because it really would have been the end of mustanging! Help us END MUSTANGING FOREVER!! Get behind the move to instate proper ongoing Independent Studies for our wild ones and their lands. Lets find out the real answers to the controversial questions!

  3. Bravo, Anne! The time to speak out against these strange calls for action is now. I agree, advocating for more population control in the form of chemical or physical (spaying and neutering) is not in the best interest of the animals. I hope that anyone loves the wild horses and burros and the lands they live on and who feels they need to participate will take your advice to heart and stand up and speak with a clear mind in their defense. We do need tihs moratorium as well. Time to send the scientists out and to take stock of where the horses and burros are; what resources are left for them after the rush to lease BLM has done; what predators remain to take up their role; account for range fees and where they are being spent; account for other species and the condition of their resources; and lastly, to locate and study those wild horses and burros that were rounded up and sent helter skelter across the land. An accounting from a scientific, professional point of view has got to be done. There has also got to be a legal analysis of the internal policies, contracting, regulations and directives issued to run the programs and expenditures made by BLM. The analysis of the BILLIONS of dollars from this program to vendors, employees and inter agency agreements will reveal much. The WHB program has been shooting from the hip for far too many years. I have also read Craig Downer’s recent paper on the horses as returned natives – it is remarkable and as welcome as any truth can be.

  4. There is no entity operating that could make these kinds of numerical assertions WITHOUT some kind of evidence of that assertion.
    The entirety of the Wild Horse and Burro Program is being based on stick figures – animals reduced to place holders or rhythms on a computer program that’s only as good as the information it’s given.
    ‘Estimating’ populations gives the Bureau of Land Management license to do their jobs from the comfort of their computers, with the only on-the-range activities occurring when an Environmental Assessment requires proof of range degradation (generally the ONLY pictures included in an EA), followed by population projections that are biologically unsupportable.
    There can be NO further funding of methods of contraception until there is equal funding given to field studies of these animals – segments currently allocated less than 3% of the total WH&B budget. And there can be NO population ‘estimates’ without visual proof of these populations.
    Wild equine advocates are expected to provide proof of their findings; the Bureau should be held at least to these same basic standards.

  5. I agree with you 100%, Anne. I am shocked at this support for sterilization using chemicals on stallions and GonaCon on mares. PZP is not needed either as there is no evidence of over-population as the NAS report found but at least it’s reversible and not permanent unless it’s used in several successive years.

  6. Over management to create zero population growth in the wild is insensitive to natural forces which will then create a negative population growth where foals will not be born to replace those horses that die of natural and environmental causes. They have no need of this artificial interference and this dangerously low reproductive rate could be and likely will be catastrophic. Making decisions to apply a fertility drug to wild horse herd mares and sterilization of stallions would put wild horse herds in danger of a die-off if any natural or man-made disaster struck the herd management area – be it wild fire or extreme weather or mass predation or other. If a majority of the mares are non-reproducing and thus zero or even just a few births, then it is easy to see that the entire herd would be in jeopardy – both genetically and physically – and would diminish their ability to survive into the future. We then have a herd that is not safe on its own range. This is completely unacceptable – per the law and per the wishes of the American people as well as the laws of nature.

  7. The International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB and Wild Horse Annie’s original organization) recently did a scientific study proving that functional social structures of wild horse herds contribute to low herd growth compared to BLM managed herds! Read about it here:

  8. People do need to read more into this and what is going on, its shocking and disgusting, using chemicals to sterilize wild horses the same chemicals that wont be used on domestic horses screams that something is wrong, the fact that a group wanting to help or so they say is saying this is ok screams that something is wrong. We need a management program to monitor wild horses and to ensure their safety and numbers are healthy and that they are not poisoned in anyway shape or form. I ask anyone who reads this to make sure that you scroll up and sign the petition and do what you can to make a change. Thank you all. Keep up the good work Anne. Peace always, James.

  9. In a world where events occur faster than we can comprehend, even the most well meaning of us can become pawns enabling the very things we deplore! Careful analyzation of plans and schemes is essential as those who oppose our views are intensely focused on “spinning” a show to manipulate public opinion.
    The fact that our Wild Ones are being denied their rightful place on public lands is the driving force behind all attempts at man-made interference in the lives of true native herbivores with their own important link in the self perpetuating design of their environment.
    The lack of an accurate population estimate derails the entire plan of “management” to a degree that renders the discussion of population control ludicrous. The suggestion of using any method considered hazardous or unproven to sterilize wild horses, proves beyond doubt, the true intent to be opposed to the well-being or preservation of sentient beings we have passed laws to protect. The annihilation of the Wild Horses is clearly the goal and the attempt to confuse this intent is ongoing and somewhat successful.
    Successful sterilization not only ensures low birth rates but denies natural selection, thus creating a creature far removed from our hardy, adapted Wild Horses. Another path to extinction, perhaps removing “management” from direct culpability. There is an overwhelming history of the devastating results of “mankind playing God”.
    The solution, however unpalatable to those driven by greed, is the renewal of accessibility to productive, hydrated, land. Land that was set aside in legal protection for these horses.

  10. GMO-ing the Wild Horses and Burros will use untested drugs.It will make our wild horses and burros into animal experiments! Drugging is a huge conflict of interest,that will profit corporate welfare. Filling corporate welfare’s pockets has been the basic of what BLM calls “management”. Drugging the wild horses & burros, is just more of the BLM’s schemes of supplying tax money into corporate welfare’s pockets. This lobbying propaganda has spread to the advocacy. The fact that the BLM has no authentic independent wild horse and burro study and recommendations, which is a requirement and is needed and yet has been ignored is a major fact of their con-scam.Ever since the round-ups were started by Bush signing the Conrad Burns Amendment with out due study, discussions, due process and votes by Congress and the people and the amendment based on here-say, not fact..The BLM has never been about authentic wild horse & burro management and not about and for the best interest of the wild horses and burros. The BLM has publicly disgraced America with its killing, lameing and maiming round-ups. Round-ups that use cruel and illegal means, where horses are over-run , over-driven for miles by air craft , in the hottest time of the day in the heat of summer, in the dead of winter over ice and slippery terrain . During foaling season heavily pregnant mares are over driven until they drop aborting in extreme pain,baby foals are run to death or separated from their mothers and not united when penned up, young tender footed horses feet are turned into bloody stumps when over run for miles over sharp rocky ground and slowly die in extreme pain, some survive and are lamed and in pain for life from being over run and develop , early calcium arthritis. No accurate count of horses is ever given, no micro-chipping is done No real vet work is given .Young horses that die in the pens deaths are not even counted.Despite us taxpayers paying (against our will) about $ 567 MILLION , (so far & counting !) building and providing hot sun shade and minimum wind breaks for brutal, freezing winters winds for the horses penned up in beef feedlots pens, IS NOT AFFORDABLE !!!!!!! Horses were COOKED to death being forced to stand on sand that reflected the over hot sun and being refused any shade of adequate supply and access to water. The whole point of this misery the BLM calls “management ” is more profit for the killer buyers as a bogus “adoption” plan is proven not to work.eventually the majority of penned up horses get sold to killer buyers for more inhumane treatment on long packed truck rides across our borders for a savage slaughter. The BLM needs to STOP the blood bath, round-ups, stop the corporate tax money welfare, over 63 million year after year, stop automatically renewing the Conrad Burns Amendment year after year and do the right thing, repeal the Conrad Burns Amendment and do what is the right thing to do for the wild horses and burros based on the findings of the “true” experts , like Craig C.Downer the author of the Wild Horse Conspiracy and other true researched experts. Until then shame on the BLM and shame on America .

  11. A certain organization is invested in PZP and other groups have been misled by BLM’s fraudulent claims of overpopulation of wild horses. This is why PZP is being pushed as an option with all manner of dire, fear mongering, all or nothing warnings if more discerning advocates won’t cooperate. PZP is a biotech investment. Here are the facts. The wild horses are now below numbers of reproductive, functioning family bands required to maintain genetic integrity. Nature requires a population for survival, not just a few individuals. There are so few intact bands left in the wild, no one is going to make millions by giving the survivors PZP. There aren’t enough wild horses remaining to use them as a scientific model for the effectiveness of PZP in population control. And PZP will not be accepted by the public health community as a means of controlling population due to the dangers of spreading attenuated Tuberculosis in populations. PZP is licensed as a pesticide, avoiding the scrutiny of public health officials for the early trials, but I have been in contact with CDC and there are already public health researchers investigating the use of PZP. I have confidence the reclassification of PZP as a biological will come soon, voiding the pesticide licensing. Anyone invested in the use of PZP will be holding a cancelled license and a stranded investment. The concern for horizontal gene transmission to Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a bad batch of PZP, creating multiple drug resistence, turning it into a superbug, is the greatest concern amomg public health professionals who are aware of this situation. Advocates who care about the wild horses should oppose PZP and organizations concerned about their finances certainly should not be invested in it.

  12. Susan, send your comments to Letters to the Editor of big newspapers. One correction, roundups were going on before the Burns amendment. The Burns amendment allows our wild horses over the age of ten and those not adopted after 3 tries to be sold. Although buyers sign a paper saying they will not sell the horses to slaughter many go there. The ones adopted can go to slaughter after one year and owners get title but many may already go before the year is up as few compliance checks are made that I know of. Lily was in the kill pen at Sugar Creek , Ohio, Gypsy was on her way to a kill auction with 1 month old Ginger . I adopted Corrina when I saw she was in foal, and a friend found out it was her 3rd try at adoption after she was rounded up in NV and hauled all over the country. She delivered Heidi just fine 1 month after I got her. Adoptions are not the answer to saving them. Only leaving them wild and free on their lawful HMA’s and increasing the AML’s will save them from extinction . Craig, Anne and others are right but those advocating using unnecessary and dangerous fertility control are only helping BLM with “managing for extinction” IMO.

  13. To even consider birth control and sterilization on our wild horses is outrageous! We already know their populations are dwindling and there must be an actual count by an independent group that has no ties to government. This is nothing more than another way to line corporate coffers and zero out our wild horses for special interest. It is a shame that some advocate groups are falling into the same ways as the BLM so they too can profit. I know that aligning with the patent holders of these drugs is NOT the way to save our wild herds. Our wild horses are becoming guinea pigs and the results will be devastating. We have to demand a moratorium on not only roundups but birth control and sterilization experiments. The NAS said that if you leave them alone they will self regulate to their environment. We also must convince well meaning people not to fall for over-exaggerated “it’s now or nothing” petitions and pledges without reading every word and the fine print. People will sign frantically thinking they are helping when in fact they are hurting the horses and burros. As in everything, you just have to follow the money to know who is really helping and who is in it for profit.

    The Jackson Mountains Wild Horses (excerpts)
    A Case Study In The Mismanagement of the
    BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.
    Written and Compiled by C.R. MacDonald

    As for what happened to those involved in the Jackson Mountains tragedy?

    As for BLM’s Winnemucca WH&B Specialist, Heidi Hopkins, it is unclear if BLM merely hung her out to dry for what was ultimately the Wild Horse and Burro Program’s more experienced supervisors responsibility or if BLM merely cut a deal to buy loyalty and continue the cover ups.

    According to Quarter Horse News, Heidi Hopkins left BLM after the Jackson Mountains round up to “take a position with Humane Society of the United States in its quest to find reliable immunocontraceptives for wild horses.”

  15. I have to say that you all need to pick your management method. Personally would prefer to see a 3 pronged method of herd management for the good of the animals and the tax payer. First would be the gathering not more than every 4 years to take those animals gathered that are adoptable off and put them in the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Second is to geld none breeding stallions (bachelor band) over 8 years old and leave them on the range. Third is to spay mares that have had 3 or more foals or are over the age of 12 and use GenaCon or PZP on all mares under the age of 4. Also, all horses with genetic defects such as parrot mouth, club foot, and cataracts would be sterilized and left on the range if over 4 and put in the adoption program or put down if 4 and under. By doing this you would clear out some of the problems that potential inbreeding has caused over the last 100 years. This would leave a breeding core for all herds but would both take the pressure off the land and remove the need to add horses that are not adoptable to either long term holding or short term. I t would also remove the need for Sale Authority horses. It is a tough choice to make but there cannot be unlimited animals on the range and this is one of the most comprehensive ideas to control both costs and yet let as many animals as possible live out their lives on the range without over crowding.

  16. Sandee, your management method is the Salazar Plan for Wild Horses and Burros. The recent flyover of the Twin Peaks HMA revealed there aren’t enough left. Genetic viability is at-risk. The Kigers are now grossly under populated as well as the Pryor Mountain horses. Adobe Town and Salt Wells almost gone and the complete removal of the Great Divide Basin horses will zero out yet another HMA. The only thing over populated on our Public Lands are welfare ranchers, mining and gas interests. This is the year that Salazar wanted them all gone and his dream is coming to fruition. He made the statement once that “Wild horses have no place on our Public Lands.” Is this what you want Sandee Force? Do you want them managed to extinction?

  17. Tami, you are SO RIGHT !!!
    The latest Action Alert from AWHPC is saying the NAS report called for an IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION of FERTILITY CONTROL. I do not think this was in the NAS report. It called for a census and said there was no indication of an over-population. Who is writing these alerts? The last one was the letter saying to use GonaCon on mares and sterilize the stallions. These all will just help BLM finish “managing for extinction”.

  18. This managed breeding program is illegal. The wild horses and burros are to be allowed their freedom, their land, and their families. If you do a 180 and use this concern for unlimited animals by reducing livestock on public land, restricting leases which include “improvements” to our public lands (access roads, fencing in particular) your perceived overpopulation problem will come into prospective. There is no way he wild horses and burros would thrive being constantly rounded up for euthanization, segregating for spaying and neutering (oh goody, can’t wait to see more bulldog type wild horses) or spiriting away to fulfill some short term or long term holding contract. With millions of livestock competing with 37000 wild horses and burros – it should be obvious where the problems originate from. And always have.

  19. Mar Wargo on March 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm said:
    I received this outrageous mass campaign email and here is my reply:

    Marilyn Wargo Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Are you kidding? You need to get behind the 10 Year Moratorium. I would never ask anyone to give birth control to wild horses without a study. Scientific method is the only way to determine what the wild ones need. You are pro BLM and BLM needs to be stopped. I will fight you every inch of the way if you try to have wild herds given PZP when they need recovery, lands returned and increased protections against the feds. You don’t know how the system works instead you delve in back room deals and you represent those who have the rights to PZP. Stop asking our representatives to do something that the majority of wild horse advocates do not want done to our horses.

    Stop this campaign. This is not what the people want. It is not what is needed and it is a death sentence to our wild herds.

    PZP natural Dart does cause sterility from one to four administrations. What are you trying to do? Help BLM destroy our herds? Stop this campaign. You are wrong to do this.


    On Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 12:15 PM, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign wrote:


    Thousands of wild horse supporters like you have asked their representatives in Washington to sign our “Keep Wild Horses Wild Pledge.”

    But your representatives still need to hear from you. Urge them to sign the pledge right now.

    With the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) own managers saying the roundup program is on the verge of “financial insolvency,” the agency is getting desperate for solutions and wild horses could be running out of time.

    We need our members of Congress to take a stand against slaughter and for alternatives to roundups. By signing the pledge, they will do just that.

    It’s time to hold the BLM accountable for its mistreatment of our iconic wild horses and burros and the misuse of our tax dollars. Please ask your representative and Senators to sign the pledge today.

    Thank you for caring about wild horses and burros.

    – The AWHPC Team

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Suzanne Roy
    Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
    Subject: Dangerous time for wild horses

    Dear Mar,

    With the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) holding space and budget maxed out, 2014 is a dangerous year for America’s wild horses and burros.

    This is why we’re embarking on a new effort to pressure more members of Congress to stand with us in our fight to Keep Wild Horses Wild.

    We’re taking the first step today by announcing the “Keep Wild Horses Wild Pledge.” By signing the pledge, members of Congress agree to oppose any initiative to slaughter federally-protected wild horses and burros and support the implementation of reforms recommended in the National Academy of Sciences report.

    Common sense, right?

    So, what are you waiting for? Tell your representatives in Washington to sign the pledge.

    With your help, we’ll expand support for our movement in the halls of Congress and give the horses the protection they need at this perilous moment.

    The timing could not be more critical. The BLM’s allies in the ranching industry have already begun to make moves to open the gates of long term holding facilities – where 50,000 wild horses and burros are stockpiled – to slaughter kill buyers.

    We need legislative support and we need it now. Contact your representatives and ask them to join us.

    We’ll be in touch with more ways you can get involved in this campaign soon. Until then, thanks for your support!

    – Suzanne Roy

    American Wild Horse Preservation

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