Yellow journalism in Wall Street Journal pushing pesticide as “birth control” on wild horses?

Pm PZP Darts

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.


Marybeth Devlin

 Marybeth Devlin is a member of the Protect Mustangs Advisory Board and a member of the Alliance for Wild Horses and Burros
This mare waits in the alley before being led into the chute where her age and body condition will be checked. After being treated with the PZP fertility control agent, this mare will be released back to the Owyhee HMA.

This mare waits in the alley before being led into the chute where her age and body condition will be checked. After being treated with the PZP fertility control agent, this mare will be released back to the Owyhee HMA.

Protect Mustangs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.

No excess wild horses in the Pryors

PM PZP Betrayal


PZP is a risky pesticide. Will it ruin the treasured herd?

By Marybeth Devlin

The issue underpinning the use of PZP and the continuing cycle of removals of wild horses from the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range is: Whether there are excess wild horses. No, there aren’t. BLM creates the illusion of an overpopulation by administratively setting the maximum herd-size below minimum-viable population. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature determined that, if a herd were managed carefully per a stud-book, it could sustain itself genetically at a minimum of 500 individuals. Compare that number to BLM’s maximum: 120.

In fact, according to the latest genetic analysis, the Pryor Mountain herd is evidencing “a general trend for a decline in variations levels of the herd.” The recommendation was to “increase population size.” Yet, BLM stubbornly insists on its own failed approach of artificially limiting herd-size, declaring that it disagrees with the scientific “interpretation.”

But can the range accommodate more horses? Yes. By way of comparison, BLM allots 38 acres per cow or calf when setting the stocking-rate for livestock grazing. Thus, the 33,187 acres that compose the Pryor Mountain habitat can support 500 to 873 horses. When the WHR is restored to its original configuration, 44,920 acres, the high-bound can be increased to 1,182.

As for PZP, numerous independent studies have disproved the old theory that PZP merely blocks sperm attachment. In fact, PZP’s mechanism of action is to alter ovarian function, causing inflammation of the ovaries and cyst formation. PZP provokes an auto-immune response, wherein the pig-ovary-derived PZP antibodies attack the mares’ ovaries, resulting in dystrophy of those reproductive organs. Despite being hyped as a non-hormonal contraceptive, PZP causes “markedly depressed oestrogen secretion” in mares treated for just three consecutive years. The latter finding was disclosed by Dr. Kirkpatrick himself 23 years ago. PZP-use is associated with stillbirths, altered ovarian structure and cyclicity, interference with normal ovarian function, permanent ovarian damage, prolonged breeding season, and unusually-late birthing dates. A particularly troubling finding suggests that PZP can be selective against a certain genotype in a population.

PZP is touted as reversible; however, a recent study warned that just three years of treatment, or administration of the first PZP injection before puberty, may trigger infertility in some mares. Thus, only two PZP injections could be viewed as relatively safe, but it appears that even one injection is risky. The researchers warned that inducing sterility may have unintended consequences on population dynamics by, ironically, increasing longevity while eliminating the mares’ ability to contribute genetically.

Most pertinent to the Pryor Mountain herd is a longitudinal study on three herds treated with PZP — Little Book Cliffs, McCullough Peaks, and … Pryor Mountain. The researchers found that the birthing season lasted nearly year-round: 341 days. Out-of-season births put the life of the foals and the mares at risk. That same longitudinal study found that, following suspension of PZP injections, there was a delay in the mares’ recovery of fertility that lasted 411.3 days (1.13 years) per each year of PZP treatment. Thus, mares injected for four consecutive years (per BLM’s “prescription”) would be expected to take 1,645.2 days (4.51 years) to regain reproductive capacity. If disaster were to befall the Pryor Mountain horses, even if PZP were stopped immediately, it would take years for the herd to recover, if ever.

PZP has neither stopped nor slowed the roundups. Only lack of holding space has done that. Even the Pryor Mountain herd, injected for decades with PZP, is facing removals again this summer (per the usual three-year cycle) in addition to an intensified PZP “prescription” to be administered per an “equal opportunity program” eerily similar to Communist-China’s one-child policy. What’s ironic is that, for all the interference, BLM has achieved basically the same — or worse — record as has been attained the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. ISPMB complies with the “hands-off” minimum-feasible management approach stipulated by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. ISPMB’s two wild herds grew 8.73 and 5.08 percent, respectively, without PZP and without removals. Pryor Mountain’s most recent report — reflecting management with PZP and with removals — grew by 8.26 percent.

BLM needs to get out of the way of Nature. Let the Pryor Mountain herd find its own appropriate population level.

(Note: Beware of petitions pushing PZP. Be sure to read everything you sign these days especially the fine print!)

Please donate to Protect Mustangs’ Legal Fund: to help the voiceless in court. Thank you!

Pinenuts wild horses featured in French TV documentary ~ STOP the ROUNDUP


La chasse au mustangs (2010)


“I’m grateful to have worked on this film together with the French director and cinematographer and thankful we were able to get such revealing footage. Thank you to Barbara Clarke at DreamCatcher Sanctuary and Laura Leigh who stood in for Craig Downer who was unreachable and out in the field the day we shot this. All the scenes in the wild were shot in the Pinenut Herd Management Area (HMA) near Carson City and close to Reno/Tahoe. These horrible roundups must be stopped. Contact your senators and representative and request they stop this tragedy paid for with tax dollars.” –Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs  (Video ©2010 TF1)

Now the BLM and the PZP Advocates want to roundup the Pine Nut Herd and give them the EPA restricted-use pesticide known as PZP-22 which sterilizes after multiple us. Protect Mustangs is against PZP and roundups. America’s wild horses deserve to be forever wild and free.

BLM Press Release Date: 01/20/15
Contacts: 775-885-6107
News Release No. 2015-15

BLM to Host Tour of Pine Nut Herd Management Area Gather

Carson City, Nev. – The Carson City District, Sierra Front Field Office is holding a public pre-gather tour on Friday, January 23, 2015. The public will meet at the Dayton Valley Dog Park (located at Old Como and Dayton Valley Road) in Dayton, Nevada, at 10:00 a.m. The tour is expected to last approximately three hours. Because of road conditions a four wheel-drive high clearance vehicle is required. Visitors must RSVP by calling the Gather Information Hotline at 775-861-6700, option 2 and leave a message, or call Lisa Ross, Public Affairs Specialist, at 775-885-6107, email

“This pre-gather tour is being offered to provide an opportunity for the interested public to obtain information about the Pine Nut Gather, by interacting with BLM staff as they provide an overview of gather operations,” said Sierra Front Field Manager Leon Thomas.

The BLM will gather approximately 332 wild horses and remove approximately 200 excess wild horses within and outside the Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA). As many as 132 wild horses will be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located south of Dayton and east of Carson City and Gardnerville, Nevada within Lyon, Douglas, and Carson City Counties. The gather is scheduled to begin late January 2015.

A population inventory completed in August 2014 documented 332 wild horses. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the HMA is 119-179 wild horses. Based on the inventory, and monitoring data showing impacts from an over-population of the HMA, BLM has determined that removal of the excess wild horses is necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance.
Protect Mustangs is against the BLM’s false comment here: Excessive grazing from wild horses has not only degraded the sage-grouse habitat, but has also reduced the availability of native forage grasses within the HMA, thereby decreasing the number of wild horses that can be supported by current range conditions. Wild horses are not the source of habitat degradation but off road vehicles are. It’s time for the BLM to tell the truth.
Of the approximately 132 wild horses released back to the range, an estimated 66 mares will receive a 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22) immunocontraceptive vaccine treatment prior to release. This vaccine will extend the time between gathers, and reduce the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. The sex ratio of the released animals will be dependent on the sex ratio of the gathered wild horses. [PZP is an EPA approved restricted-use pesticide as seen here:  For more information, facts and public discussion about PZP visit the PZP Forum on Facebook here:]
For more information contact Lisa Ross at 775-885-6107.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
Carson City District 5665 Morgan Mill Road Carson City, NV 89703