Made with slaughterhouse pig ovaries PZP is dangerous to herd health
To: Jacob Bunge, Wall Street Journal
Dear Mr. Bunge: Regarding your article — They Shoot Horses (With Birth-Control Darts), Don’t They? — here are facts to correct the lies and disinformation you have been told.
Sting of the dart: If it were only a sting! Fact: Many wild horses develop an abscess at the dart-injection site.
Bogus ballooning population: Wild horses are a slow-growth species when it comes to reproduction. The gestation period lasts 11 months, and a mare produces just 1 foal. While an independent study of BLM’s records confirmed an almost 20% birth rate, that study also found that 50% of foals perish before their first birthday. Thus, the effective increase in population from new foals is just 10%. But adult mustangs also die. They succumb to illness, injury, and predation at a rate of at least 5% a year. So, what is a normal herd-growth rate? About 5%, probably less.
Fraudulent figures: The Big Lie of “overpopulation” is the pretext for BLM’s war against the wild horses, and the wild horses are prisoners of that war. It’s BLM’s version of the “Shock Doctrine,” wherein BLM concocted a phony crisis to push through policies antithetical to the Wild Horse Act against the will of The People. There is no overpopulation except on BLM’s falsified spreadsheets. Reviews of BLM’s population-estimates reveal biologically-impossible herd-growth rates. For instance, in Utah, BLM claimed that the Conger herd grew from 156 horses to 285 horses in one year, an 82.7% increase, to which BLM tacked on another 20% by counting the unborn foals — the fetuses. In Wyoming, BLM declared that the Salt Wells Creek herd grew from 29 horses to 616 horses in 6 months (yes, months), a 2,024% increase. BLM’s “data” is chock-full of such preposterous growth-estimates. So, when you hear talk of how the wild horses are reproducing “exponentially,” that’s a sure sign that BLM has falsified the data.
Wild horses are underpopulated: Per the guidelines of BLM’s own geneticist, 83% of the herds suffer from arbitrary management levels (AMLs) set below minimum-viable population (MVP). Low AMLs enable BLM to claim an “excess” in herds whose numbers, even if they were over AML, would still not reach MVP. So being “over AML” is meaningless as well as misleading. But the low AMLs, combined with falsified, biologically-impossible herd-growth estimates, give BLM an excuse to scapegoat those few wild horses for the range-damage done by the millions of livestock that overgraze the public lands.
Whose grass? In fact, it is the livestock who are eating the wild horses’ grass. Some background — the dedicated wild-horse habitats cover only 11% of BLM land. Cattle are allowed to graze about 5 times that much, including within all but 4 of the wild-horse herd areas. Yet in those official wild-horse habitats where livestock are given allotments, the mustangs are restricted to 18% of the forage while the cattle get 82%.
Bogus billion: The wild horses being held in captivity are the “legacy” of former Secretary Salazar’s equid cleansing era, during which he had thousands of wild horses removed from the range. However, the mortality rate of captive wild horses is about 8% a year. So, obviously, since they are not reproducing, their numbers will steadily drop, showing that BLM’s billion-dollar figure for their care is just another Lie. The Wild Horse and Burro program, if run per the minimum-feasible management-model specified by Law, would not cost much at all. BLM does not lack for resources. There are 22 million acres of legally-designated wild-horse herd areas — which BLM previously took away for expediency — that can be reopened as habitat. The horses now held captive can be released to those areas, where the cost of their upkeep will be $0.
Adoptions: Have not declined. It’s just that BLM used to count sales-for-slaughter as “adoptions.” Now, only “forever-family” placements qualify. However, wild horses are not homeless horses. They have a home — where they belong — on the range.
Persecuted predators: Contrary to BLM’s disinformation campaign, wild horses do have natural predators — mountain lions, bears, wolves, and coyotes. But those predators are persecuted mercilessly. The government exterminates what the hunters don’t shoot. However, the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros — Wild Horse Annie’s foundation — notes that even without predators, wild-horse herds self-regulate their numbers, with population-growth in the single digits.
Science and Conservation Center: Is the manufacturer and distributor of PZP / ZonaStat-H. Thus, its information is not impartial. PZP is a registered pesticide that was approved by the EPA for use on wild horses and burros “where they have become a nuisance.” However, PZP was registered without the standard testing requirements. There is currently a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the registration, especially in light of studies that have disclosed PZP’s many adverse side-effects.
Shooting wild horses: PZP is a potent weapon in BLM’s arsenal — for its biological warfare against the wild horses. But birth control for wild horses is unnecessary because there is no overpopulation. Why would we contracept herds whose population is inadequate for genetic viability? Why would we contracept herds based on falsified figures? Logically we wouldn’t and ethically we shouldn’t. Further, if PZP were going to stop the roundups, it would have done so long ago for the Pryor Mountain herd, which has been darted with PZP for nearly two decades. Yet roundups have been scheduled there like clockwork every 3 years and, in spite of intensifying the PZP treatments recently, BLM tried to implement yearly roundups until stopped by a Friends of Animals lawsuit.
PZP — the anti-vaccine: PZP causes auto-immune disease. PZP “works” by tricking the immune system into producing antibodies that target and attack the ovaries. The antibodies cause ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries), ovarian cysts, destruction of oocytes in growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles. The mare’s estrogen-levels drop markedly as PZP destroys her ovaries. Ultimately, PZP sterilizes her. Because PZP stimulates the immune system, it ironically works “best” — sterilizes faster — in mares that have strong immune-function. Such mares respond to the anti-vaccine and produce quantities of PZP antibodies that destroy their ovaries. But, conversely, PZP may not work at all in mares whose immune-function is weak or depressed. Those mares fail to respond to PZP. They keep getting pregnant and producing foals who, like their dams, suffer from weak immune-function. So, the PZP pesticide works against the very horses that Nature has best equipped for survival-against-disease while favoring and selecting for the immuno-compromised. Worse yet, radioimmunoassay tests indicated that PZP antibodies are transferred from mother to female offspring via the placenta and milk.
Health-risks to volunteers: As for the well-meaning volunteers who dart wild horses, EPA’s Pesticide Fact Sheet for PZP advises that Personal Protective Equipment requirements include long sleeved shirt and long pants, gloves and shoes plus socks to mitigate occupational exposure. EPA specifically warns that pregnant women must not be involved in handling or injecting ZonaStat-H, and that all women should be aware that accidental self-injection may cause infertility. Unfortunately, PZP’s manufacturer has misrepresented PZP as “so safe it is boring.” But research shows that PZP is a powerful hormone disruptor. Further, consider the magnitude of the risk — the PZP-in-question is a horse-size dose. If volunteers think PZP is safe, they will be less likely to protect themselves from this dangerous pesticide. Indeed, please note that in the photo accompanying your article, Ms. Bolbol is not in compliance with EPA’s safety-precautions. She is not wearing the required protective gear.
Mengelian experiments: Now, BLM wants to perform diabolical sterilization experiments on these equine POWs to develop a Final Solution to the “problem”. BLM is handing out $11 million for sterilization-studies. The grant money is surely intended to buy loyalty and silence potential criticism from academia. Plus, BLM, a corrupt agency, gets to cloak itself in respectability by affiliating with prestigious universities.
The ugly side of PZP is humane-washed by feel-good features that describe it with humor, sweetness and light. However, the true story of PZP is one of scandal, whose deceit and danger — to both horses and humans — must be exposed. That is the story that needs to be reported.
Protect Mustangs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.
Note from Protect Mustangs: If you don’t like this then: 1.) Go see your congressional representative this week and ask them to intervene to stop these horrible experiments on America’s wild horses who are being managed to extinction. 2.) Sign and share this petition and email it to everyone you know: https://www.change.org/p/defund-and-stop-the-wild-horse-burro-roundups Groups like The Cloud Foundation and the coalition led by The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign seem to be misleading the public because they have chosen pushing PZP (controlled by The Humane Society of the United States) over championing wild horse freedom on public land. They slip appeals for PZP in the bottom of their online petitions hoping the public won’t notice what they are signing. That was the beginning of this slippery slope towards experimentation and extinction. Why? Follow the money, fear mongering and the seduction to campaign for drugging wild horses and burros with a risky pesticide made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries to block fertility. . . 3.) It’s time to join Protect Mustangs to protect our national treasures. Go to www.ProtectMustangs.org to sign up. 4.) You can donate to the Wild Horse Legal Fund also. The crowd funding link is here: https://www.gofundme.com/MustangLaw2016 or donate by www.PayPal.com to Contact@ProtectMustangs.org and please mark your donation is for the “Legal Fund”. Thank you for taking action today! Together we can turn this around.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to use American tax dollars in several cruel experiments to develop methods of wild horse and burro population control–despite the fact that there is no overpopulation of wild horses or burros. The BLM anticipates the total cost of the experiments to be $11 million over 5 years.The research is being conducted by university scientists as well as scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Research with Universities results in experimenting on wild horses and burros
In its 2013 report to the BLM, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that no highly effective, easily delivered and affordable fertility-control methods were currently available for use on wild horses and burros. The most promising birth control, PZP, made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries, is limited in the duration of its effectiveness (1-2 years). At the same time, after multiple applications or if applied to young fillies it permanently sterilizes native wild horses.
The BLM released a solicitation for experimentation to develop new or improve existing population growth suppression methods for wild horses. (http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/nr_07_07_2015.html) The following seven research projects were reviewed and recommended by an NAS panel of experts and are consistent with recommendations made to the BLM by its Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board who is biased against wild horses and prefers livestock use public land for cheap grazing.
1. Evaluation of minimally invasive methods of contraception in wild horse and burro mares: tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided oviduct papilla laser ablation. This was pushed by pro-slaughter advocates who want the horses free of fertility control drugs so they can go to slaughter eventually.
Recipient: Oregon State University
Summary: A one-year experiment that will aim to develop a minimally invasive surgical sterilization method for wild horse mares that requires no incisions.
Details: In an effort to develop minimally invasive, low-risk techniques for contraception and population control in female wild horses and burros, the experiment will evaluate two procedures, tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla in standing sedated females. For tubal ligation, the research team hypothesizes that a flexible endoscope inserted through a small incision in the vaginal vault will allow visualization of each oviduct in mares. Use of a diode laser or cautery instrument will allow effective fulguration followed by bloodless sectioning of the oviduct. This procedure should allow successful sterilization of up to 100% of female wild horses and burros gathered in any particular location as a single event. For the hysteroscopic procedure, the recipients expect to endoscopically visualize each oviduct papilla in standing, sedated, non-pregnant mares. A diode laser will be used to seal the opening between the oviduct and each uterine horn, thus preventing subsequent fertilization. The proposed procedures do not involve major surgery, are expected to have minimal complications while approaching 100% effectiveness, and when applied, are expected to result in a static to decreasing population level. Additionally, tubal ligation is a technique commonly performed in humans. The development of an acceptable sterilization technique will help control the population levels of wild horses and burros.
Recipient: University of Kentucky
Summary: A two-year experiment to develop different surgical approaches for tubal ligation in mares.
Details: The overall goal of this experiment is to develop methodology for the safe, economical and effective sterilizationof mares via colpotomy (vaginal incision) to achieve: 1) ovarian necrosis / atrophy via application of a ligature to the ovarian pedicle and 2) simultaneous sterilization via tubal ligation (i.e., tubo-ovarian ligation). The project will help determine the effectiveness of a custom-designed instrument for placement of a polyamide (nylon) cable tie around the ovarian pedicle and oviduct of mares via colpotomy for tubo-ovarian ligation. The procedure, conducted in the standing animal under sedation and local anesthesia, is expected to induce permanent sterilization of treated mares. The researchers will assess any post-operative complications of the procedure in mares and the effects on the health of mares to determine long-term effects on the reproductive tract, the overall health of mares and the fertility of mares undergoing the procedure, and the feasibility of these procedures in pregnant mares.
Recipient: Oregon State University
Summary: A six-month experiment that will determine whether an existing accepted surgical sterilization procedure commonly used for domestic mares can be safely conducted on wild horses.
Details: This experiment proposes to conduct a large-scope investigation of the safety and practicality of spaying mares as a tool for wild horse population control. Specifically, the researchers will help determine whether ovariectomy via vaginal colpotomy can be safely and effectively performed on wild mares that have been selected for non-breeding status. Non-breeding horses could then be returned to the range to live out their natural lives without individually contributing to population growth. The proposed research effort is based on recent pilot studies that have suggested the potential for surgery-related health complications from ovariectomy in adult female horses is low (near 1%). When evaluating options for field techniques, spaying (ovariectomizing) mares as a population control method is not recommended unless it can be performed in a safe, practical, and effective manner. The results of this study will provide standardized, baseline outcomes for this surgical procedure which can be directly compared to other less invasive procedures being conducted and evaluated by the same research team.
Map of Western United States showing 12 current field research/pilot projects.
4. Re-immunization of Free-Ranging Horses with GonaCon Immunological Vaccine: Effects on Reproduction, Safety, and Population Performance
Recipient: Colorado State University
Summary: A two-year experiment will focus on further study of Gonocon, an approved and labeled contraceptive vaccine for equids.
Details: This experiment will focus on the effectiveness of GonaCon as an immunological vaccine, with five objectives: 1) to begin to determine the optimum and most effective re-vaccination schedule with GonaCon vaccine for suppressing reproductive rates in free-ranging horses, the duration of effectiveness, and the return to fertility following treatment; 2) to determine the safety and physiological side-effects (if any) in feral horses following re-vaccination with GonaCon including visual assessment of general health, body condition, injection site reactions, effects on current pregnancy, and neonatal health and survival; 3) to determine the effects of GonaCon vaccination on the behavioral side-effects (if any) in free-ranging horses including quantitative assessment of the effects on daily activity patterns and social interactions; 4) to develop and test a safe and effective dart configuration and injection system for remotely administering GonaCon vaccine to free-ranging horses by means of a syringe dart; and 5) to develop a Bayesian model to forecast the consequences of different GonaCon vaccine treatments on feral horse population dynamics at THRO. [Teddy Roosevelt National Park].
Recipient: Colorado State University
Summary: A two-year experiment to develop a new, permanent contraceptive vaccine for wild horse mares.
Details: This experiment will focus on vaccination against two key proteins in wild horse and burro females, either alone or in combination, which may result in permanent sterility through premature oocyte depletion. The depletion of oocytes may occur by simply causing them all to become atretic prematurely and/or accelerating the process so that after a single season the mares and jennies have depleted their oocyte reserves. To test this hypothesis, the researchers will vaccinate mares against the proteins and track their sexual behavior, follicular growth, hormonal profile and ultimately total oocyte count over a two-year period. The long-term goal is to develop a vaccine that can cause permanent sterility after a single dose.
6. Electrospun delivery to enhance the effectiveness of immunocontraception strategies in equids
Recipient: Ohio State University
Summary: A four-year experiment that will attempt to develop a new delivery vehicle for porcine zona pellucida (PZP) – a temporary contraceptive currently used in some wild horse herds – that would increase the duration of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Details: To reduce population on public lands, horse immunocontraception has largely focused on the use of PZP in free-roaming wild populations. The vaccine appears to act by stimulating anti-PZP antibodies that bind to the surface of the ovulated egg, preventing sperm attachment. While performance has been satisfactory, recent results have been associated with contraceptive efficiencies that are considerably less than 100%. The basis for this is unknown but is believed to be in part caused by delivery methods that require substantial heating during polymer vehicle fabrication, expose PZP to enzymatic fluids prior to entry into the bloodstream and allow gradual – not burst – release. Gradual release can potentially desensitize the immune system to the presence of PZP, resulting in inferior production of anti-PZP antibodies. Thus, an ideal delivery method would allow release of PZP in “bursts” at pre-determined intervals to assure constant immune stimulation. This project will seek to develop an electrospun technology that can allow long-term, ‘burst’ delivery of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccines to the intramuscular environment of horses and burros to result in prolonged suppression of reproduction. For large-scale application, free roaming horses could be gathered in the field and processed through stock chutes for aging, at which time the implants will be inserted by trocar. The experiment will also carry out parallel in vitro and in vivo experiments to examine the potential of electrospun vehicles as immunocontraceptive carriers. An electrospun “universal delivery vehicle” will be developed to provide sustained release of effective levels of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) for immunocontraception over periods of at least three years. By careful design, fabrication and testing of two different electrospun designs, the researchers will create a comprehensive evaluation of this novel method of delivery.
Recipient: Louisiana State University
Summary: A three-year experiment for the development of an injectable agent that would inactivate hormones and decrease female and male gonad viability.
Details: The experiment is a multidisciplinary effort aimed at developing novel drugs to control wild horse and burro populations. Several types of drugs consisting of conjugates of membrane disrupting peptides (such as Phor 21) with luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) currently exist. These drugs (such as LHRH-Phor 21 conjugate) effectively target, bind to and destroy prostate, testicular, breast and ovarian cancer cells, as well as testicular and ovarian cells that control reproduction. LHRH targets the cell and delivers Phor 21 to the cancer cell or the reproductive cell in the testes or ovary and destroys it. Preliminary experiments suggest that administration of this drug by a slow-release delivery system will destroy the cells that control spermatogenesis in the male and follicle growth, oocyte development, ovulation and cyclicity in the female. Preliminaryresults also show that LHRH-Phor 21 targets and destroys gonadotropic cells in the pituitary gland. This indicates that cessation of reproductive activity is the result of both central control at the level of the pituitary gland and on receptor binding cells in both male and female gonads. The experiment will also assess the effect the drugs have on pregnant mares, both in early gestation and late gestation.
Additional details about these experiments can be found in the following documents:
Detailed Summary of University-led Experiments for Fertility Control Tools for Wild Horses
Review of Proposals to the BLM on Wild Horse and Burro Sterilization or Contraception: A Letter Report
Research with the U.S. Geological Survey
Through its partnership with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the BLM is undertaking important research aimed at delivering better methods and tools for managing wild horse and burro herds on public lands. These projects build upon on-going cooperation between the BLM and USGS that is implementing new methods to estimate wild horse and burro population size.
There are nine USGS experiments that have been approved or are on-going:
Collaring & radio marking (1 year): The aim is to develop safe GPS collars for tracking animals to determine habitat selection, movement ecology, population estimation, behavior, etc. GPS tracking might also help locating animals for contraceptive treatments.
Fecal DNA (genetics/population survey) (1.5 years): The experiment involves the collection and analysis of fecal DNA as a noninvasive method to determine genetic diversity and estimate population size.
Carrying capacity modeling (1 year): This experiment’s aim is to develop a coarse model to evaluate changes in animal carrying capacity in response to changes in vegetation production. The resulting model may help BLM to adapt plans in response to climatic change.
Mare Contraception -SpayVac Pen Trial II (5 years): This experiment will help determine the efficacy of alternative SpayVac contraceptive vaccine formulations that are potentially longer acting than conventional PZP vaccines.
Evaluating Behavior of Spayed Free-Roaming Mares (4 years): The experiment will determine the effects of spaying on behavior, interactions, and movement of spayed mares among a breeding herd. The study will also determine the population level effect on herd growth.
Evaluating Behavior of Geldings among a Breeding Herd (4 years): This experiment will determine any effects of gelding on behavior, movement, interactions and changes in habitat selection.
Two Sentinel Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) Demography Studies (2 studies, each of 5 years): These experiments will provide demographic data sets for use in new population models and serve as control HMAs for gelding and spayed mare field studies.
Burro Sentinel HMA Demography Study (5 years): The experiment will involve collecting data on the survival, fertility, fecundity, recruitment, movements, range use, habitat selection and social behavior of wild burros. These data will be used in population modeling.
The BLM has requested or is reviewing proposals for the following projects with USGS:
Evaluate the Use of a Silastic O-Ring Intrauterine Device (IUD) in Mares (4 years): This experiment will determine any effects on mare health resulting from the long-term presence of the silastic O-ring IUD. This IUD has effectively prevented pregnancy in domestic mares during one breeding season.
Burro Population Survey Method Development (2.5 years): This experiment will test two new population survey methods for wild burros. The existing simultaneous double-observer method, when applied to burros, tends to lead to underestimates of true burro population size.
WinEquus II – Population Model with Cost/Benefit Outputs (1.5 years): This experiment will develop a model that compares population modeling outcomes and projects the costs, benefits and expected population growth resulting from management actions that involve PZP, removals, spaying, gelding and other population growth suppression tools.
Testing Efficacy of Contraceptives for Female Burros (3-4 years): Contraceptive vaccines have yet to be used on wild burros due to limited research and unknown effects. This study will examine the efficacy of various existing vaccines.
© Protect Mustangs, 2016
Unfortunately, the secret mandate to turn our public lands into vast oil, gas and coal fields–interspersed with millions of cattle under Bush–Cheney has continued unabated under Obama with geothermal fields, plus solar and wind farms being added to the mix of revenue generating initiatives, many on lands reserved by law for primary use by wild horses and burros.
Even as their herds diminish under constant assault by all of these special interests on public lands, wild horses continue to be scapegoats for degradation of public lands due to overpopulation, by the BLM which over-counts then by at least 200% while greatly exaggerating their rate of population increase–based on optimal conditions and zero mortality.
BLM’s solution to this fabricated overpopulation explosion of wild horses and burros has been massive roundups which are now being replaced by large-scale birth control with PZP (porcine zone pellucida) which results in sterilization after multiple applications. While their tactics have grown more sophisticated, BLM’s overall management program is much the same: Management for Extinction–only slower and less visible than before. Many herds have achieved balanced population levels with little or no management but today all the $$ is on fertility control, short-term and sterilization, long-term–not on natural population control, because this won’t eradicate the herds as ordained by the power brokers in DV. Alas if we don’t wake up, expose and oppose the lies and subterfuge re: the widespread use of PZP soon, our iconic native wild horses may join blue and bowhead whales in the waiting line for extinction–sooner than later.
Carl Mrozek’s nature clips are seen often on CBS Sunday Morning News. He is currently making a documentary on Wild Burros.
Palomino Mustangs on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/nature-wild-palomino-horses/
Pine Nut Wild Horses on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/nature-wild-horses/ (BLM tried to roundup and decimate this herd but Protect Mustangs stopped the roundup in court)
Red Rock Wild Horses on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/wild-horses-of-nevada-50087668/ (BLM removed them)
Cold Creek Wild Horses on CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/wild-horses-of-nevada/ (BLM rounded them up and took them away)
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)
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.”
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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
Update on the WY14 Rescue Mission
Boone and I saved the last of the WY41 from Dry Creek/Foster Gulch areas in the Bighorn Basin. When we jumped in, on April 2nd, 23 Wyoming wild horses had already been slaughtered. We are so grateful to have saved the remaining 14 youngsters (8 mo–2 yrs old) now called the WY14.
You can read the backstory press release here: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=6668 We will post our new press release soon.
We had to keep this rescue mission completely quiet to ensure the safety of the WY14. We hope you will understand that is why we could not answer your questions during the rescue.
Now I can share with you some of the correspondence (below) during phase one of the WY14 Rescue Mission. I will be updating it, so check back often.
We were in authentic positive negotiations with the real decision makers resulting in this outcome. We are grateful for everyone’s prayers and support because together this miracle has happened. Now there is so much to do to bring the WY14 to California, find land for a sanctuary or prepare them for adoption in pairs.
Bad news: Our funding for the second phase of the WY14 Rescue Mission appears to have fallen though.
We urgently need funds now to bring them to California to create a sanctuary for them or prepare them for adoption in pairs. Please make a donation via www.PayPal.com to Contact@ProtectMustangs.org or by mailing your check to: Protect Mustangs, P.O. Box 5661, Berkeley, Ca. 94705 We are a California nonprofit organization with a 501c3 sponsor so your donations are tax deductible.
We need your donations for interstate transportation, board, feed, corral panels, water troughs, medical, gas, supplements, a used truck and trailer, etc.
Here is our fundraiser for the used trailer: http://www.gofundme.com/WildHorseTrailer
If anyone wants a tax write-off and can donate a 3/4 ton truck with less than 90K miles and capable of hauling heavy loads of horses and/or anyone has a safe used gooseneck stock trailer tall enough for horses that they want to donate we will meet our goals quicker so we can serve the WY14 once they arrive.
Thank you for donating and sharing the update with your friends and family.
Executive Director of Protect Mustangs
Excerpt from an email on April 6th
. . .That is so great to know as we are getting closer. Very soon we will know if they are still alive. . . Please say nothing as I just want to surround this possibility with prayers and miracles. . . We are waiting to hear about their status. I learned the plant is closed on the weekend so at least they will not be killed while my contact is off work. I am relieved. Jane Velez Mitchell (CNN) called to interview me today but I was unable to speak with her because I felt it was in the best interest of the 37 horses if I kept quiet until they are safe. . .
Many blessings, Anne
Excerpt from an email on April 9th
. . .Confidential: The 14 who have not been slaughtered yet are in quarantine in Montana. . . My guess would be that they are all mares–one about to foal–except for perhaps some weanling colts maybe 9 months old. I’m going to call around to organize the haul out of Montana to Nevada so we are ready. . . There are so many rumors about this on Facebook that I want to keep this totally confidential. People have been calling the slaughterhouse and I don’t want anything to ruin this deal. Please don’t tell anyone.
Many blessings, Anne
Check back here for more posts and please donate for the WY14 Rescue Mission
“We’re so grateful Josh Fox answered our call for help and included the American wild horse crisis in his awesome film GASLAND Part 2,” says Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs. “We won’t sell out. We will continue to fight for their right to live wild and free.” www.ProtectMustangs.org
HBO released GASLAND Part 2 in 2013 to an audience of more than 40 million people. Since then the film’s audience has grown around the world.
Please sign and share the Petition for a Moratorium on Roundups for Scientific Studies before wild horses are tampered with using risky fertility control that sterilizes, are euthanized or are slaughtered. http://www.change.org/petitions/sally-jewell-urgent-grant-a-10-year-moratorium-on-wild-horse-roundups-for-scientific-research
Today America’s wild horses are underpopulated. The Spin Dr.s have released a huge campaign to fool Congress and the public into believing there are too many when the truth is the feds are managing our native wild horses to extinction.
Why? Follow the money and it leads you to Big Oil & Gas that wants to FRACK their native land and needs tons of water for fracking.
Come to the Rally to Stop Fracking in California this Saturday March 15th in Sacramento! California wild horses need you! https://www.facebook.com/events/727804507253568/
What else can you do? Email, call and meet with your senators and representative to request a moratorium on roundups for scientific studies to ensure their survival. Fertility control is premature. http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
Read the fine print, ask questions and beware of vague pledges people are asking your senators and representative to sign. Certain wild horse groups aren’t fighting for the herds’ freedom any more but are pushing for fertility control experiments and sanctuary-style management with restricted use pesticides (PZP, etc.) branded as “birth control” and without scientific studies on population when wild horses are underpopulated and are being managed to extinction by the feds.
IN THE NEWS: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=218
Are wild horses going to be sterilized due to an advocacy campaign? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=6356
The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America: http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12
Press Release: No proof of overpopulation, no need for native wild horse fertility control http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4453
Bogus Science and Profiteering Stampeding Their Way into Wild Horse Country http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4475
Protect Mustangs speaks out against the Cloud Foundation’s PARTNERSHIP with BLM using risky PZP that could terminate natural selection: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4941
Wildlife Ecologist, Craig Downer, speaks out against using PZP in the Pryors: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4178
Report unveils wild horse underpopulation on 800,000 acre Twin Peaks range: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=6278
GASLAND website: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/
(Photo of Josh Fox & Anne Novak at the Oakland Preview of GASLAND Part 2. )
Please check back as we are updating the page when the photos come in from Australia.
We welcome your comments. Please keep them clean so we can post them. Thanks for understanding.
Politely contact The Prime Minister of Australia, Honorable Tony Abbott and request he stop the killings http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm
Please help! Join the Thunderclap to Stop the Brumbie Killing: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/6098-stop-killing-brumbies?locale=en
Sign and share the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/258/184/025/stop-killing-the-brumbies/?z00m=20659573
Follow us on Facebook for updates and action to Save the Brumbies! https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMustangs
“The whole world is watching and outraged,” states Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs based in California. “Killing Australia’s heritage wild horses is shameful and needs to stop now!”
Special thanks to Libby Lovegrove and Lynette Sutton with boots on the ground across Australia working hard to save the brumbies.
RENO, NV (June 28, 2013)–With temperatures rising in the triple digits, Nevada photographer, Taylor James visited the national wild horse “processing” facility twice today for Protect Mustangs. She took photos and pointed her video camera over the fence. No sprinklers were seen at Palomino Valley Center (PVC). Surely there were sprinklers somewhere because the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced they were putting sprinklers up to appease public outcry. Why are they putting sprinklers up when the wild horses need shade?
“I witnessed wild horses at Palomino Valley who were in distress today because of the heat,” states Taylor James. “I could not see any sprinklers from my vantage point. They looked miserable without shade.”
Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs, has appealed directly to Secretary Jewell to intervene–to stop the suffering and create shade for the wild horses and burros at Palomino Valley Center. “What these captured wild horses need in sweltering triple digit heat is shade from the blistering sun,” says Novak.
“We have a state law that says dogs need proper shade, food and water, so why not those horses?” asks Mark Manendo, Nevada State Senator. “Why would the BLM not want to provide proper care for the horses–especially if they require adopters must prove the wild horses will have access to shade?”
Protect Mustangs is working with elected officials, advocates and concerned members of the public, to request the BLM give captive wild horses and burros shade and provide them with 24/7 onsite personnel.
Currently no one lives at the facility. No one is there daily after business hours. If there is an emergency, no one can ensure the safety of the more than 1,800 treasured wild horses and burros after normal business hours and on most weekends.
“We joined with Senator Mark Manendo on June 9th to officially request the BLM in Washington provide shade for the captured wild horses at Palomino Valley and elsewhere,” states Novak. “They have done nothing.”
“The BLM must think this sort of animal cruelty is acceptable–but it’s heinous,” adds Novak. “How many wild horses will perish before they finally do something? Their disregard for America’s icons shows that they just don’t care.”
In the wild, native horses can migrate to more comfortable places during heat waves. In the pens they are trapped and at the mercy of those who chased them with helicopters, tore them from their families and took them from their homes on the range.
Video © Taylor James for Protect Mustangs.org
Basic animal husbandly requires access to shelter as seen at a Nevada equine facility about 8 miles up the road. The BLM ignores horse management protocol while allegedly caring for thousands of wild horses.
For information on the crisis created by the BLM to remove the majority of wild horses and burros off their native land, cruelty towards America’s icons of freedom and no evidence of overpopulation according to the National Academy of Sciences visit www.ProtectMustangs.org
“Like” us on Facebook for updates and ways to help the wild horses: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMustangs
Read our June 9th press release requesting shade: http://
We want to thank photographer Taylor James for driving out to Palomino Valley Center during the heat wave to document and witness the ‘no shade’ fiasco.
We send a special shout out to fellow wild horse and burro advocates who are also working to get shade for our beloved wild horses and burros: Monika Courtney, Jetara Séhart, Dr. Lester Friedlander, Patty Bumgarner, Colleen Denson, Joanne Cronan-Hamoy, Debbie Catalina, Rt. Fitch, Debbie Coffey, Carl Mrozek, Jill Willis, Craig Downer and others.
We are deeply grateful to Senator Mark Manendo for his compassionate commitment to the humane treatment of America’s wild horses and burros.
Videos from June 28, 2013 Observation at Palomino Valley Center: Coming Soon
We will be updating this page with videos and photos so check back here to see them.
For immediate release:
Is it safe to use pesticides on an indigenous species?
WASHINGTON (June 7, 2013)–In light of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on wild horses and burros lacking data for an overpopulation claim, Protect Mustangs calls upon Secretary Jewell for an immediate halt to roundups and to return the 50,000 wild horses in government holding to the more than 30 million acres of herd management areas in the West to reduce costs quickly. The native wild horse conservation group calls on the Department of Interior to acknowledge wild horses are native, implement holistic land management and reserve design thus creating a win-win for wild horses to help the ecosystem and reverse desertification. Protect Mustangs requests that ‘survival of the fittest’ should be the only form of fertility control considered because indigenous wild horses must not become domesticated on the range. Artificial management such as pesticides and sterilizations should never be used on a native species such as Equus caballus.
“With the gluttony of roundups and removals, wild horses reproduce at a higher rate to prevent extinction,” explains Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We need more studies to establish what the normal reproduction rate is and discover truths about alleged overpopulation on the more than 30 million acres of public wildlands designated for their use. Today there is no scientific proof of overpopulation to merit fertility control.”
In July 2010, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) spearheaded a letter signed by members of Congress, requesting an investigation of the Wild Horse and Burro Program by the National Academy of Sciences. This was a direct result of public outcry and media exposure of roundup carnage. Three years later, the NAS report was released last Wednesday.
According to a press release from NAS released Wednesday, “The U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current practice of removing free-ranging horses from public lands promotes a high population growth rate, and maintaining them in long-term holding facilities is both economically unsustainable and incongruent with public expectations, says a new report by the National Research Council.”
“Making decisions to apply a fertility drug to wild horse herd mares would put wild horse herds in danger of a die-off if any natural or manmade disaster struck the herd management area–be it wildfire, an extreme winter, mass predation or something else,” explains Kathleen Gregg, environmental researcher. “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. Then we have a herd that is not safe on its own range. Wild horses must to be protected as the law states they shall be.”
“Unfortunately, the Academy quickly recommends fertility control as a better solution without considering the ‘do nothing’ or ‘placebo’ option which is an integral component of every credible field trial for pharmaceutical and other ‘treatment’ plans,” states Carl Mrozek, filmmaker of Saving Ass in America. “Had they searched for examples of herds with minimal or no culling in the past decade or so, they would have found multiple examples of herds which appear to have achieved homeostasis (equilibrium) or something approaching it, naturally, without BLM roundups or fertility treatments.”
“The NAS findings clearly state that the BLM has failed to provide accurate estimates of the nation’s population of wild horses and burros,” states Jesica Johnston, environmental scientist and biologist. “Therefore, the NAS cannot conclude that a state of over-population exists and or provide a recommendation for artificial management considerations such as ‘rigorous fertility controls’ to control populations for which the complex population dynamics are currently unknown.”
Recently fertility control, in the form of immunocontraceptives for wild horses, was erroneously passed by the EPA as “restricted use pesticides”. The EPA inaccurately named indigenous wild horses “pests” in order to pass the drug. Pesticides (PZP, GonaCon®, etc.) should never be used on native species such as E. caballus.
“PZP and other fertility control should not be used on non-viable herds either,” states Debbie Coffey, director of wild horse affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation. “Most of the remaining herds of wild horses are non-viable. The NAS and any advocacy groups that are pushing PZP and other fertility control have not carefully studied all of the caveats in Dr. Gus Cothran’s genetic analysis reports along with the remaining population of each herd of wild horses.”
Equus caballus originated in North America more than 2 million years ago. Equus survived extinction through migration and E.caballus could have returned to America with the Spanish unless some had remained on the continent the entire time. Today researchers question historical records–written with Inquisition censorship–that claim the Spanish brought the first horses to America. Even so, if no horses remained when the Conquistadors arrived they would not be introducing the species but “returning” E.caballus to its native land.
“It’s time for land managers to come out of the dark ages–use native wild horses to heal the land and reverse desertification,” states Novak. “We’d like to see the BLM manage the land using wild horses as a resource in partnership with the New Energy Frontier–at virtually no cost to the taxpayer.”
In 1900 there were 2 million wild horses roaming in freedom in America. Today native wild horses are underpopulated on the range. Advocates estimate there are less than 18,000 left in the ten western states combined.
Protect Mustangs is a conservation group devoted to protecting native wild horses. Their mission is to educate the public about the indigenous wild horse, protect and research American wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.
# # #
NAS Study Review
Anne Novak 415.531.8454 Anne@ProtectMustangs.org
Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913 Kerry@ProtectMustangs.org
Links of interest:
Washington Post: Independent panel: Wild horse roundups don’t work; use fertility drugs, let nature cull herds http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/independent-panel-to-recommend-changes-in-blm-wild-horse-program/2013/06/05/b65ba772-cdb3-11e2-8573-3baeea6a2647_story.html
Congressional letter requesting an NAS investigation: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxhbWVyaWNhbmhlcmRzNHxneDo1ZTFlMDQ1MzY4MzZiMzI3&pli=1
Information on native wild horses: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562
NAS Press release June 5, 2013: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=13511
NAS Report: Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program: A Way Forward http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13511
Sacramento Bee, Panel: Sterilize wild horses to cut population Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5475171/study-sterilize-horses-to-drop.html#storylink=cpy
GonaCon press release spins wild horse overpopulation myths: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2013/02/horse_vaccine_approval.shtml
ZonaStat-H EPA Pesticide Fact Sheet: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf
Princeton University: Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies, in the search for food http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S32/93/41K10/index.xml?section=featured
Gone viral~ The Associated Press, March 24, 2013: Budget axe nicks BLM wild-horse adoption center http://www.denverpost.com/colorado/ci_22862206
US property exposed to wildfire valued at $136 billion says report: http://www.artemis.bm/blog/2012/09/17/u-s-property-exposed-to-wildfire-valued-at-136-billion-says-report/
KQED Horse fossil found in Caldecott Tunnel: http://science.kqed.org/quest/2011/05/26/new-fossils-from-the-caldecott-tunnel/
Horseback Magazine: Group takes umbridge at use of the word “feral” http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/19392
Protect Mustangs in the news: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=218
Protect Mustangs’ press releases: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=125