April 12, 2015
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Despite the protests of a rural county and rancher, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has returned some 160 wild horses to the range in central Nevada.
The agency returned the horses to the Fish Creek Herd Management Area near Eureka on Tuesday after being cleared to do so by the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
The BLM originally had planned to return some 100 mares treated with a fertility control vaccine and 80 studs to the HMA on Feb. 20. They were among 424 horses removed from the HMA during a roundup that ended earlier in February.
The bureau routinely thins what it calls overpopulated herds on public land across the West, sending horses that aren’t adopted by the public to pastures in the Midwest for the rest of their lives.
The agency also routinely releases mares treated with fertility control drugs back to the range after being rounded up. Varying numbers of studs also are released back to the range to help maintain the genetic viability of herds.
Eureka County commissioners and rancher Kevin Borba filed an appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals to block the return of any of the 424 horses to the range and to challenge the BLM’s assessment of how many horses the HMA can support.
But the board affirmed the BLM’s authority to return 162 of the horses to the range. Arguments in the case continue on the underlying claims.
Borba has said the BLM has drastically reduced his livestock allotments in the HMA while allowing well over twice as many horses in it as it can support. He and Eureka commissioners seek the removal of more horses.
Horse advocates praised the BLM’s return of the horses to the range, saying it’s in line with recommendations released in 2013 by a National Academy of Sciences panel calling for increased emphasis on fertility control to keep horse numbers down.
“Now is the time to move forward with innovative management that makes sense, keeping wild horses on their range and saving millions of tax dollars in the long term,” Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom, said in a statement. “It is time for a new direction instead of wasting time and money obstructing positive solutions that will benefit the horses, wildlife, ranchers and the range.”
But not all horse advocacy groups support the use of fertility control drugs on mares.
“We want to see drug-free holistic management used for native wild horses,” said Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “(The fertility control vaccine) PZP sterilizes after multiple use and we’re concerned that will ruin survival of the fittest.”
Borba has said he thinks the fertility control vaccine is far less effective than the BLM and horse advocates claim, and horse numbers will further explode as a result. Ranchers view wild horses as competition for scare forage in the arid West.
Cross-posted for educational purposes only from the San Francisco Chronicle.
These horses are underpopulated the way it is. Those praising the use of PZP are no better than Borba! Mr. Borba owns 300, 000 acres of land. So why does he want to run his cattle on the land that belongs to the American people? Simple, he likes those big subsidies he steals from the taxpayers and all the while, he is able to keep his private land in good condition as his cattle destroy what isn’t his. Why are these so called advo’s wanting to use PZP on already dangerously underpopulated herds? Easy….. $$$$
Turning them back to freedom would be great if it were not for the PZP being used as a contraceptive. What happenns to gthe fillies that are run and raped by the stallions. I believe it should be banned. This will just be the end of our wild horses. Horses that helped the ranchers by becoming tthe best cow ponies ever. They keep praiirie free of fires by eating the dried plants and reseeding the land. PZP WILL END THIS. OTHER COUNTRIES ARE USIING THEM AND DONKEYS FOR THAT VERY REASON. CUT THE PZP. GIVE OUR EWILD HORSES THEIR LIFE BACK.
Its great horses are returnd to wild but i say but injected with pzp is a kick in the guts ban pzp in USA AN WORLD WIDE
Ban pzp. blm needs to revue all programs
To be truthful and fair, these, and other horses actually have a “natural claim and Divine Right,to remain, as other horses on their natural grounds. All other so called claims, as welfare ranchers, government issued documents, and diminutive fracking and other such developments, should by all commen sense, be null and void. The issue is NOT the overpopulation of horses, but the continued abuse and rape of Mother Nature by profit mongers and irresponsible human beings!
any mustangs returned to the range can be routinely gathered in a few years;
returning the mustang to the range does not guarantee a “life of range freedom”;