Conflict of interest, wild burros and pesticide PZP

-Wild-_Burros-credit-Rylee-Isitt-1

(Photo Credit Rylee Isitt/WikiCommons)

Deadline extended to August 22, 2016 so please get your comments in. Below is what Marybeth Devlin sent in. 

Postmarked or Received by:

August 15, 2016

To:

BLM-Arizona

State Office

Colorado River District Office

Kingman and Lake Havasu Field Offices

Copies to:

CEQ, DOI, and BLM National Office

with hard-copy via Priority Mail to:

Bureau of Land Management

Kingman Field Office

2755 Mission Boulevard

Kingman, AZ  86401

Subject: Black Mountain Wild Burros

Project: PZP Fertility-Management Pilot

Proposed by: Humane Society of the United States

Document: Environmental Assessment ( EA )

NEPA ID: DOI-BLM-AZ-C010-2016-0004-EA

This letter responds to the public-comment period currently underway regarding the management of the wild burros whose dedicated habitat is the Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA).  I submit these substantive comments — questioning the accuracy and integrity of BLM’s analysis — and new information relevant to the analysis that should have been considered but was not — as an interested party in behalf of the Black Mountain wild burros.  Please note that in all instances where text has been emphasized, either through bold and/or italics, the emphasis was added by me.  For ease of reference, below are the respective links to BLM’s press release and to the Webpage where the Dear Reader letter and the EA are posted.

http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/info/newsroom/2016/july/blm_seeking_public.html

http://bit.ly/BLM-AZ-KFO-WildBurro

BACKGROUND

The Proposal

BLM received an unsolicited proposal from Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to conduct a pilot study on the use of porcine zona pellucida (PZP), also known as ZonaStat-H, an EPA-registered pesticide that induces infertility, on as many as 165 wild jennies of the Black Mountain herd.  HSUS would endeavor to determine the effects of PZP on individual jennies and on herd-structure following treatments.  HSUS would particularly focus on whether remote “opportunistic” retreatment methods could work.  HSUS would collect and maintain data-sheets, and submit them as well as an annual progress report to BLM for review.

HSUS has requested $33,695 in funding from BLM over 3 years.  BLM reviewed the proposal and has now issued a preliminary EA, accepting public comments before issuing a decision.

Captured and Held — Injected and Re-Injected — Branded and Disfigured

The jennies would be captured via bait-trapping and then transported to a holding facility for injection with PZP.  They would be held captive for the next several weeks in order to administer a second “booster” injection of PZP.  Most (70 to 100) of the jenny-subjects would also be freeze-branded with three digits on both hips for HSUS and BLM’s convenience in identifying them.  Such permanent freeze-marks are typically 3½ or 4 inches high, and the letters are wide.  Following the injections and branding, the jennies would be transported back and released into the HMA.

Annual Roundups Probable

Although field-darting would be attempted for the annual retreatments, the EA acknowledges that it might be necessary to bait-trap the jennies again for that purpose as well as in order to freeze-brand them a second time or to allow veterinary treatment of abscesses at the injection-sites.  Thus, program funds would be spent for rounding up the test-subjects yearly, and the costs thereof would be over-and-above the grant for which HSUS has applied to conduct its study.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

HSUS — PZP’s Registrant

HSUS is a leading advocacy-organization for animal-welfare.  It provides leadership to advance the cause of humane treatment of animals.  In response to BLM’s abusive helicopter-roundups and scandals involving wild horses and burros being sold into slaughter, HSUS sought a compassionate way to manage the mustangs on the range.  It was a noble goal, and PZP was proffered as the answer.

PZP / ZonaStat-H was touted by its manufacturer as “so safe it is boring” [11] and its contraceptive effects, as reversible.  Relying on the manufacturer’s representations, HSUS applied to the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to have the product approved for use on wild horses and burros, which the EPA did — as a pesticide in cases where mustangs were deemed to have become a “nuisance.”  So highly respected was HSUS’ reputation, that EPA waived certain protocols that are normally required.  Unfortunately, HSUS failed to fully investigate the product beforehand, has not done so subsequently, and does not seem interested in knowing about any drawbacks to its use.  Consequently, HSUS is ignorant of the body of science weighing against PZP.

Now, HSUS is seeking to conduct a study of PZP on the subject herd of wild burros.  But because HSUS is the registrant of the pesticide PZP, a conflict of interest is apparent.  HSUS has a stake in the outcome of the proposed study, namely, to see it succeed and to ignore ill effects.  Lacking scientific impartiality, HSUS must be disqualified from studying its sponsored product and from using taxpayer money to experiment on America’s underpopulated wild burros.

BLM and HSUS — Rely on PZP’s Manufacturer for Safety Information

The EA relies heavily on reports issued by PZP’s manufacturer regarding product-safety and lack of adverse effects.  However, such data is suspect because the manufacturer has a stake in promoting its product.  Lacking scientific impartiality and having a financial interest in the outcome, the manufacturer has an apparent conflict of interest.  Therefore, independent studies should compose the majority of the references regarding the use of PZP; however, that is not the case.  Indeed, as will be addressed later in this letter, numerous independent studies have been conducted, and they revealed many adverse effects of PZP.

Mandate to Practice Scientific Integrity

The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct applies to all staff members as well as to contractors, partners, permittees, and volunteers.  The Code states:

Scholarly information considered in Departmental decision making must be robust, of the highest quality, and the result of as rigorous scientific and scholarly processes as can be achieved.  Most importantly, it must be trustworthy. [36]

BLM and HSUS have ignored and BLM has suppressed independent scientific findings about PZP’s adverse effects and unintended consequences.  Instead, BLM and HSUS continue to rely almost exclusively on the manufacturer’s claims regarding PZP’s safety for use on burros and horses, and for handling by humans.  In fact, independent research — and even one study by the manufacturer — disclosed that PZP is hazardous to burros, horses, and humans.  BLM and HSUS are thus non-compliant with the Policy and malfeasant in their responsibilities to protect staff, volunteers, and the wild burros and horses.

FALSE PREMISES, FRAUDULENT NUMBERS

The rationale for using birth control on the Black Mountain burros is predicated on false assumptions — “virtually no natural predators” and “herd sizes can double nearly every four years” — and fraudulent figures — reported herd-growth numbers many times over the biologically plausible.  It is wrong to proceed when the premises-for-action are counterfactual and fraudulent.  In the EA, BLM attempts to separate the premises from the proposal; however, the two are inextricably linked.

False Premise #1 — Lack of Predators

Contrary to BLM’s assertion, burros do have natural predators: Mountain lions and coyotes.  Both species are present in Black Mountain HMA.  If BLM believes that inadequate numbers of these apex predators preventing them from fulfilling their population-control function, then BLM should take action to conserve them.  Collaborate with the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AGFD) to prohibit hunting of predators in the HMA, and negotiate with Wildlife Services, to stop that agency from killing them.  Put some healing balm on that “trigger itch” — as Aldo Leopold called it. [22]

Healthy Predators, Healthy Ecosystem

To achieve a “thriving natural ecological balance,” the Black Mountain HMA should be a safe-haven for predators.  Such an approach would help the burros by favoring survival-of-the-fittest and the best genetic adaptations, and by keep the herd-population in equilibrium with minimal human-interference, just as the Act envisioned.  Predators are the “no-cost” option.  Conservation Researcher Dr. Corey Bradshaw emphasizes just how important predators are to a healthy ecosystem:

Long story short – if your predators are not doing well, chances are the rest of the ecosystem is performing poorly.

Predators keep the ecosystem in balance.  Without them, prey species decline, as do the forage-production species on which the prey-animals feed.  Dr. Bradshaw warns: “Without predators, our feeble attempts to conserve ecosystems are doomed to fail.” [4]

Predator Reintroduction

Wolves also prey on burros.  However, Arizona’s wolves had been intentionally exterminated by the Federal and State governments to placate livestock-ranchers and to please trophy-hunters.  Both groups — ranchers and hunters — continue to oppose the wolves’ right-to-exist.  However, their reasons are self-serving.

Now that wiser minds have prevailed, initiatives to reintroduce wolves are ongoing. [22]  Mohave County does not yet appear to be participating in the Mexican Wolf Restoration Project.  However, again, if BLM believes there is a dearth of apex predators in the HMA, then reintroduction of Mexican Wolves is a logical solution.  Because the Federal government played a major role in the extermination of wolves, the moral imperative is for the Federal government — via BLM — to make restitution to the species.  The Black Mountain HMA could be designated a wolf-recovery area (WRA). [41]

False Premise #2 — High Reproductive Rate

First, some background facts.  Burros are a slow-growth species when it comes to reproduction. The gestation-period lasts an average of 12 months — although it can extend as long as 14 months.  A jennet produces just 1 foal, and she typically reproduces in alternate years.  Further, the conception-rate of jennies is lower than that of mares.  Thus, in contrast to wild-horse herds, wild-burro herds grow more slowly. [1, 31 and 46]

BLM uses a standard, assumed burro birth rate — 15% — as a proxy for the herd-growth rate.  However, for a herd-growth rate to be valid, the birth rate must be adjusted by the death rate.  To wit, …

Herd-growth rate Birth rate

Herd-growth rate = Birth rate Foal death rate Adult burro death rate

As is evident, BLM incorrectly equates births with herd growth.  BLM wrongly assumes that all foals survive and that all adult burros live forever.

BLM’s assumption regarding burro-foal survival has been falsified per a recent independent review of BLM records.  Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston (2014) found a high mortality rate for newborn burro-foals.  Their study concluded that, based on survival-data from birth-to-yearling status, the effective increase in a typical burro-population attributable to new foals is just 7%. [13]

However, adult mortality must also be taken into consideration when estimating herd-growth.  Adult wild burros succumb to illness, injury, and predation.  Others are shot and killed by unethical parties.  Still others perish from stochastic events — random catastrophes such as an epidemic or a wildfire.  Adult wild burros are believed to have a mortality rate of at least 5% a year.

So, what is a normal herd-growth rate among wild burros?  A good estimate would be about 2%, probably less.  Thus, a burro herd could not double in 4 years, debunking yet another false premise held by BLM.

Fraudulent Numbers

BLM’s press release starts off by announcing that there are 5,000 wild burros in Arizona.  The inescapable purpose of citing a state-level population instead of the subject herd’s population — which is the only one under analysis for the EA — is to prejudice the public against the burros, to “build a case” that the burros are seemingly “overpopulated.”  Such manipulation of the numbers evidences lack of scientific integrity on the part of BLM staff.

Figure 2 of the EA purports to show, in visual format, how “unchecked herds double in size every 4 years.”  Figure 2 is just another fraud perpetrated by BLM at the National level and now copied at the Field Office level.  It is disinformation — propaganda, not science.  Independent research and analyses have revealed that BLM falsifies its wild-horse-and-burro population-data.

Fraudulent Estimates

A review of BLM’s population-estimates for the Black Mountain herd disclosed biologically-dubious year-to-year growth data.  The figures reflect herd-growth way beyond the normative foal-survival rate, and adult mortality was evidently ignored. [40]

The chart below tracks BLM’s reported herd-growth estimates for the Black Mountain burros since 2013, which serves as the base, the starting point — assuming it is correct, which is probably not the case.  Deviations from three norms are calculated:

(1)  From BLM’s assumption of a herd-growth rate of 15%, which does not take mortality — either foal or adult — into account;

(2)  From the Gregg et al. study of BLM records, which found a 7% increase in burro herds attributable to new surviving foals but which did not take adult-mortality into account; and

(3)  From the Gregg et al. study’s finding of a 7% increase due to new surviving foals, but adjusted to take into account a conservative annual adult-mortality rate of 5%, which yields a net herd-growth rate of 2%.

    (1)     (2)     (3)

DeviationDeviationDeviation

from 15% from 7%             from 2%

per BLMper Studyper Study

without without with 5%

Foal orAdult Adult

PopulationGrowthAdult Mortality Mortality

Year Estimate Rate Mortality

2013   800   n/a    n/a    n/a    n/a

2014 1,000   25%   67% higher 257% higher 1,150% higher

2015 1,450   45% 200% higher 543% higher 2,150% higher

2016 1,551     7%   53% lower   0% equal   250% higher

Note that the implausible growth rates compound, as each successive year is calculated per those that preceded it.  The errors compound also, leading to population-figures that are biologically impossible, given the reproductive limitations of the burro species.

Arbitrary Management Level (AML)

The AML for the Black Mountain herd was set in 1996 at 382 to 478 wild burros.  Black Mountain HMA comprises 925,425 acres, or 1,446 square miles.  Thus, per the AML, BLM implies that each burro needs 1,936 to 2,423 acres, or about 3 to 4 square miles per burro.

That idea that every little burro would need 3 or 4 square miles of range is preposterous as well as unscientific.  Therefore, the AML is arbitrary and capricious.

Minimum Viable Population (MVP) — IUCN Says ~ 2,500

The AML must be reformed to set a baseline — a starting point — of at least 2,500 burros.  Where does this number — 2,500 — originate?  It is the recommendations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization.  The IUCN is a neutral forum for practical solutions to conservation challenges and a leading authority on the preservation of genetic diversity in wild equids, including horses and burros.  The IUCN notes that the selective pressures wild equids have endured in the wild are likely shaping them genetically to be hardy stock that could prove useful as a genetic resource. [8]

Note that 2,500 is not a maximum but a minimum size.  Higher numbers would be better.  Because neither the questioned population-estimate nor the present AML reaches the minimal threshold of 2,500 individuals, the herd is under-populated.  Therefore, the Black Mountain HMA needs to have its herd-size baseline expanded accordingly.

By increasing the AML, the HMA would be brought into compliance with scientific expertise concerning adequate herd size.  The properly-set AML would be foundational to BLM’s best management practices (BMPs) relative to protecting and preserving this wild burro herd.

Minimum Viable Population (MVP) — Meta-Analysis Says ~ 5,000

Just when you think the answer to MVP has been found, a newer study is published. Traill, Bradshaw, and Brook (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of the scientific literature spanning the preceding 30 years on the topic of MVP. [35]  The researchers filtered hundreds of studies and selected 141 sources covering 212 unique species whose distribution was skewed toward heavier animals, particularly mammals. The researchers found:

Across all species, the median MVP was 4,169.  The “bootstrapped 95% confidence bounds” MVP for all species ranged from 3,577 to 5,129.

With regard to mammals, the median MVP was 3,876.  The “bootstrapped 95% confidence bounds” MVP for mammals ranged from 2,261 to 5,095.

Their conclusions:  In general, conservation practioners should aim for an MVP of approximately 5,000.  Specifically, the authors state: “… we recommend the upper 95% confidence limit of MVP ….”  For all species and for mammals specifically, a round number — a numerical threshold — of approximately 5,000 can be used to inform conservation management practices.

A 2010 article in American Scientist discussed the meta-analysis’ findings and provided some additional information gleaned from an interview with the lead author. [5]

How Would the New Levels Look?

Here are some numbers to compare and contrast.

Black Mountain HMA

Size:  925,425  total acres

Current Maximum Management Level:   478  wild burros

Acres per burro:  1,936

Current Exaggerated Population Estimate: 1,551  wild burros

Acres per burro:     597

IUCN Minimum Herd Size: 2,500  wild burros

Acres per burro:     370

Meta-Analysis Minimum Level for Mammals: 5,000  wild burros

Acres per burro:     185

Genetic Health of the Black Mountain Burros

In order to make informed decisions and to manage responsibly, BLM must have specific genetic data on each member Black Mountain burro herd.  Therefore, BLM needs to conduct a 100-percent evaluation of the Black Mountain burro-herd’s genetic health.  This would be accomplished by taking DNA samples and sending them in a timely manner to the Equine Genetics Lab.  Per the test-results, and per guidance from Dr. Gus Cothran and other equine experts, BLM must then reform the AML and develop best management practices to restore and maintain gene-pool diversity via a robust population-level.

The AML must ensure an optimal burro-population — one that can easily self-sustain its diversity and viability, and that can bounce back from random catastrophic events.

The correct sampling approach and order are:

Sample current and continuing herd members.

Sample first, before considering any actions.

Sample large — 100 percent.

Test samples.

Manage per test-results and best-available science.

PZP — ADVERSE EFFECTS

PZP — The Pesticide

Porcine zona pellucida — PZP aka ZonaStat-H or Native PZP — is an EPA-registered pesticide derived from the ovaries of slaughtered pigs.  PZP is approved for use on wild horses “in areas where they have become a nuisance ….” [38]

Some persons argue that, because PZP does not kill the mare or jenny, it is not really a “pesticide.”  Actually, PZP does kill.  As will be documented herein, PZP’s use is associated with stillborn foals.  PZP is further correlated with stolen foals and out-of-season foals, who perish as neonates.  In the long term, PZP tends to weaken a herd immunologically, which could swiftly lead to its extinction.  So, yes, PZP is a real pesticide.

PZP — an Anti-Vaccine

While touted as a “vaccine,” PZP is actually a perversion of what a true vaccine is supposed to be.  Instead of preventing disease, PZP causes disease — auto-immune disease.  Thus, PZP could be viewed as an anti-vaccine.

PZP’s Mode of Action as Stated in the Pesticide Registration Is a Disproved Hypothesis

HSUS, the registrant of PZP advised the Environmental Protection Agency that, based on information from the pesticide’s researcher-manufacturer, PZP works by generating antibodies that “block sperm attachment.”  This representation of PZP as a sort of chemical condom was not fact but merely an untested hypothesis, postulated three decades ago. The old hypothesis was disproved by subsequent research.  PZP’s manufacturer knew, or should have known, this.  The manufacturer should also have been informed and up-to-date regarding the side effects and unintended consequences of PZP.  Yet, the manufacturer continued to cite the disproved hypothesis and to deny that PZP has any adverse effects. [11 and 19]  HSUS is remiss in not investigating PZP beyond the manufacturer’s claims before touting it as the solution to the non-existent burro-overpopulation “problem.”  BLM is irresponsible in ignoring research that has disclosed PZP’s risks.

PZP’s True Mode-of-Action

So how does PZP really work?  PZP tricks the immune system into waging immunological war on the ovaries.  In a meta-analysis of ZP-type contraceptives, Kaur & Prabha (2014) reported that the infertility brought on by such products is ” … a consequence of ovarian dystrophy rather than inhibition of sperm-oocyte interaction.”  Thus, PZP’s antibodies “work” not by blocking sperm attachment but by destroying the ovaries.  Kaur & Prabha further disclosed that ” … histological examination of ovaries of immunized animals revealed the presence of atretic follicles with degenerating oocytes.” [16]  [Atretic follicles are ovarian follicles in an undeveloped state due to immaturity, poor nutrition or systemic disease; manifested by prolonged anestrus.]

Kaur & Prabha’s review concluded that PZP’s antibodies induce ovarian dystrophy, destruction of oocytes in all growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles.  The manufacturer of PZP as well as BLM should have been aware of these and other findings about the pesticide.  Yet they ignored or disregarded any information that was contrary to their personally-preferred but obsolete and false description of PZP’s mode-of-action.

Kaur & Prabha warned that “… long term studies showed that immunization with zona antigens might induce immunological attack on many eggs in the ovary which might lead to premature ovarian failure.”

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

EA Lists Older PZP Study, but not Newer One by Same Scientists Showing Ovarian Pathologies

One of the references cited in the EA was a study by Curtis, Pooler, Richmond, Miller, Matfield, and Quimby (2002) on the comparative effects of GnRH and PZP on white-tailed deer.  However, the HSUS proposal would only examine PZP, not GnRH; so the Curtis et al. (2002) study would not be the most appropriate reference to use, especially in view of the fact that lead-researcher Curtis, along with most of the same colleagues — Richmond, Miller, and Quimby — issued a newer study (2007) on PZP alone.

The Curtis et al. (2007) study disclosed that 75% of PZP-treated white-tailed deer — and 50% of re-treated deer — suffered eosinophilic oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries).  Further, the re-treated deer that did not develop oophoritis had a different problem — significantly fewer normal secondary follicles than control females.  The study-authors concluded that PZP “elicited ovarian pathologies in deer similar to those observed in other species.” [7]

PZP Manufacturer’s Own Research Found Markedly Depressed Estrogen Secretion

In a telling study, Kirkpatrick, Liu, Turner, Naugle, and Keiper (1992a), the lead author and manufacturer of Native PZP, along with colleagues, reported that ” … three consecutive years of PZP treatment may interfere with normal ovarian function as shown by markedly depressed oestrogen secretion.” [17]  So, despite all the hype about PZP being non-hormonal, the manufacturer knew that ZonaStat-H has an adverse hormonal effect, causing significantly-lowered estrogen.  Thus, PZP is an endocrine disruptor. [39]  The plummeting estrogen-levels may also reflect the ovarian dystrophy and oophoritis now known to be caused by PZP.  Despite personally discovering negative hormonal impacts 24 years ago, PZP’s manufacturer continued to cite misinformation regarding the product’s mode-of-action and hid its endocrine-disruptor side-effects.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

PZP Causes Ovarian Cysts

In their 2010 meta-analysis, Gray & Cameron cited a number of studies that found ” … alterations to ovarian function, oophoritis, and cyst formation with PZP treatment (Mahi-Brown et al.1988, Sehgal et al. 1989, Rhim et al. 1992, Stoops et al. 2006, Curtis et al. 2007).” [12]  These findings support those of Kaur & Prabha while introducing yet another adverse effect: ovarian cysts.  Gray & Cameron’s review also noted that increased irritability, aggression, and masculine behavior had been observed in females following PZP-treatment.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

PZP    Endocrine Disruptor    Elevated Testosterone    Masculinizing Effects   

Recall that PZP has endocrine-disrupting effects that result in lowered estrogen.  Per the observed masculine behavior of treated mares, PZP seems to have a testosterone-elevating effect too.  A deficit of estrogen alone would not necessarily manifest in the masculinization of treated females, but an excess of testosterone would.  So, it appears that PZP disrupts at least two hormones: estrogen — by substantially lowering it — and testosterone — by substantially elevating it.  Adverse effect: Abnormal behavior.

PZP    Ovarian Cysts    Elevated Testosterone    Masculinizing Effects

As discussed above, PZP correlates with abnormal masculine behavior on the part of treated females, a side-effect likely due to elevated testosterone.  But in addition to the endocrine-disruption caused by PZP, there could be a second way for testosterone levels to become elevated.  Recall that PZP causes ovarian cysts.  An Internet search on “ovarian cysts and testosterone” yielded results for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.  Interestingly, one of the symptoms of PCOS is high testosterone levels. [26 and 42]  The connection between ovarian cysts and elevated testosterone suggests that the ovarian cysts caused by PZP could — either alone or in combination with PZP’s endocrine-disruptor effects — lead to high testosterone levels in treated females, as evidenced by their masculinized behavior.

PZP Causes Additional Adverse Effects

Gray & Cameron’s review also disclosed that, when PZP was administered to the females of a herd, males lost body condition while the oft-claimed improvement in female body condition did not hold up.  Further, mares remained sexually active beyond the normal breeding season and had more estrus events.

PZP Selects for Weak Immune Function

Gray & Cameron’s analysis raised the possibility of PZP selecting for immuno-compromised individuals.  Here’s why.  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 dam, 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.  Thus, a herd being treated with PZP is undergoing selective breeding for weak immunity, which puts the population at risk for disease — and ultimately, for extinction.

PZP Confers Dubious “Benefit” of Increased Longevity

Gray & Cameron also cited a study that found that “… PZP treated feral horse mares lived longer, resulting in a new age class (>25 years) not present before treatment ….”  Exceptionally-long life is an ironic effect of PZP treatments.  PZP’s manufacturer actually boasted about it, as if the anomaly were a good thing.  However, Gray & Cameron questioned the supposed benefit of mares living much longer than their normal life expectancy.  Indeed, such mares take up scarce slots within size-restricted populations.  The ultra-elderly mares continue to consume resources for many years, but they no longer contribute to the gene-pool.  It is detrimental to a population’s genetic viability to carry significant numbers of sterile herd-members way-beyond their normal life-span.

Research on Wildlife Contraceptives Revealed Stillbirths and Auto-Immune Oophoritis from PZP

There was an even earlier, definitive meta-analysis on wildlife contraceptives.  Nettles (1997) reviewed 75 studies available at that time on the subject.  Among his findings regarding PZP-use across different species, including horses, were:

Stillbirths;

Altered ovarian structure and cyclicity;

Interference with normal ovarian function;

Permanent ovarian damage; and

Some cases of irreversible sterility due to auto-immune oophoritis, which suggested that PZP can be selective against a certain genotype in a population. [23]

Many of these findings were confirmed by Kaur & Prabha as well as by Gray & Cameron.  The focus now turns to certain of these key findings: Stillbirths, and auto-immune oophoritis.  However, in discussing the correlation between stillborn foals and PZP-use, a related abnormality will be addressed: Stolen foals — abducted by barren mares treated with PZP.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

Stillborn Foals — Recent Stillbirths Correlated with PZP

There is recent evidence confirming Nettles’ finding of a correlation between PZP treatments and subsequent stillbirths.  In June 2015, Karen Sussman, President of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB), reported that 7 mares previously treated with PZP at ISPMB, when taken off PZP, were able to get pregnant.  However, 6 of those 7 mares — that is, 86 percent — produced foals that were stillborn.  All other ISPMB mares that had not been injected with PZP successfully birthed healthy foals.  Thus, given that environmental and other conditions were identical, the only variable was PZP.  The dead foals have been sent to a university pathology department for autopsy. [33]

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

Stolen Foals — Dominant Mares Treated with PZP Steal Foals from Young Mares

Ms. Sussman of ISPMB further reported that several mares that are barren due to PZP treatments have stolen — and continue to steal — foals from first-time-mother mares. [34]  Although the kidnappers do care for the foals tenderly, they have no milk.  Consequently, the foals starve unless ISPMB discovers the “crime” and can intervene in time to save them.  However, when such stealing occurs on public lands, there is no one to rescue the foals. So, it is likely that PZP kills foals indirectly — by their being kidnapped by barren PZP-treated mares, further confirming its status as a pesticide.  We can also infer that PZP’s population-reduction effect is probably due, in part, to foal deaths.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

Why Do PZP-Treated Mares Steal Foals?

Ms. Sussman has observed that the PZP-treated mares appear to suffer psychologically from their barrenness.  They seem unhappy and frustrated that they don’t have foals of their own.  So, they steal foals to fulfill that unmet maternal need.

Foal-stealing is yet another behavioral abnormality associated with PZP-use.  Thus, PZP wreaks havoc beyond just the individual mares treated with it, disrupting the life of non-treated mares and threatening the life of innocent new foals. It is likely that the apparent “contraceptive” effect of PZP is due, in part, to the death of stolen foals on the range, where no one is there to save them.

Foal-Stealing — Hormonal Hypothesis

In the literature, it is noted that foal-stealing is not as common among horses as in some other species.  However, when foal-stealing does occur, Waring (2003) [44] — citing Crowell-Davis and Houpt (1986) [6] — reported that foal-stealing typically correlates with a mare …

Who is close to giving birth or

Who is separated from her own neonate or

Whose foal has recently died.

Sue McDonnell, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, states:

The explanation proposed (but not known for sure) for this in a mare just before she foals is that her hormones might be a bit misaligned, such that the hormones of bonding prevail a bit earlier than they should and maternal interest and bonding occur prematurely. [21]

However, the kidnapper-mares in question are neither pregnant, nor separated from a neonate, nor grieving the death of a foal.  If the unusual behavior is hormonally-induced, then it would seem that PZP has another endocrine-disrupting effect — and additional unintended consequences — causing social disruption and foal deaths.

Foals May Be Their Dam’s and/or Sire’s Only Offspring

In view of the fact that PZP eventually — if not immediately — causes sterility, any foal could be genetically rare and precious.  In many cases, a foal may be the only offspring of a certain jenny or jack.  By using PZP on the Black Mountain burros en masse, BLM could endanger the herd’s genetic diversity.

Autoimmune Ovarian Disease — Known to Cause Premature Ovarian Failure — Induced by PZP

Tung, Agersborg, Bagavant, Garza, and Wei (2002) found that autoimmune oophoritis (ovarian inflammation) could be induced by injecting test-animals with ZP3 peptide. [36]  The researchers noted that autoimmune ovarian disease is a known cause of human premature ovarian failure.  Here again, is causation of autoimmune disease by a ZP-type product.  Humans and horses are both mammals.  It is logical to conclude that ovarian failure also occurs in horses.  This study confirms other research cited herein.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

Autoimmune Oophoritis and Risk of Other Autoimmune Diseases

Varras, Anastasiadis, Panelos, Balassi, Demou, & Akrivis (2013) disclosed that, in humans, autoimmune oophoritis carries the risk of the patient developing other autoimmune diseases. [43]  The correlation between autoimmune oophoritis and subsequent other autoimmune disorders weighs against injecting 165 jennies with PZP.

Prolonged Breeding Season, Unusually-late Parturition Dates with PZP

Nettles’ (1997) previously-mentioned meta-analysis on PZP disclosed additional adverse effects:

A prolonged breeding season and

Unusually-late parturition dates.  (Parturition is the formal term for “giving birth.”)

These findings have recently been confirmed, as is discussed below.

Parturition-Season Extends to Nearly Year-Round When a Herd Is Treated with PZP

A longitudinal study by Ransom, Hobbs, Bruemmer (2013) of three herds currently being managed by PZP — Little Book Cliffs, McCullough Peaks, and Pryor Mountain — found a prolonged parturition-season — it lasted 341 days. [29]  Ransom et al.’s finding of a nearly year-round birthing season supports the earlier finding by Nettles (1997).  Thus, during its period of potential reversibility, PZP’s effects wear off unpredictably.  Out-of-season births put the life of both the mare and the foal in jeopardy.  Nature designed the equine birthing-season to occur in Spring, not year-round, and certainly not in the dead of Winter.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

Prolonged Delay in Recovery of Fertility

The same longitudinal study by Ransom et al. found that, after suspension of PZP, there was a delay lasting 411.3 days (1.13 years) per each year-of-treatment before mares recovered their fertility.  What this means is that it takes that long, on average, for the ovaries to heal, to clear out all those cysts, and to regain some degree of normal hormonal function.

The question is: How is the delay in recovery-of-fertility addressed by BLM management practices?  Answer: BLM ignores it.  For instance, BLM currently administers PZP to Pryor Mountain’s fillies and mares starting at age 1½  — whom BLM artfully described in  the Environmental Assessment as fillies “becoming two year olds” — through age four.  Thus, these fillies and mares receive intentional treatments for four consecutive years before being allowed the privilege of reproductive potentiality.  Per Ransom et al.’s study, the Pryor Mountain fillies and mares would be expected to need 1,645.2 days (4.51 years) to regain reproductive capacity.  But BLM gives the Pryor Mountain mares only 5 years off PZP before they are put back on it again — for the rest of their life.  Thus, these fillies and mares might have just a 6-month window — at best — in which to conceive.  Due to the unpredictable timing of PZP’s wearing off, for some mares that window of fertility will close before they get a chance to produce a foal.  Those mares’ genetic contribution will be zero.

As if the above scenario were not bad enough, PZP’s manufacturer conceded that it could take up to 8 years to recover fertility after just 3 consecutive PZP treatments. [27]

Ransom Advises Proceeding with Caution regarding PZP

The Ransom et al. study warned:

Humans are increasingly attempting to manage the planet’s wildlife and habitats with new tools that are often not fully understood.  The transient nature of the immunocontraceptive PZP can manifest into extraordinary persistence of infertility with repeated vaccinations, and ultimately can alter birth phenology in horses.  This persistence may be of benefit for managing overabundant wildlife, but also suggests caution for use in small refugia or breeding facilities maintained for repatriation of rare species.

Because BLM keeps over 80 percent of the herds — including the Black Mountain burros — at levels below minimum-viable population (MVP) per the IUCN, most herds qualify as “small refugia.”

Ransom’s Exclusion of Seven Mares Evidences PZP’s Non-Effect on Immunocompromised Mares

In the “Data Collection” methodology section of the Ransom et al. report, the authors advised:

We omitted data for one female from the Little Book Cliffs and six females from McCullough Peaks because they produced offspring in every treatment year and thus were never effectively contracepted.

This fact is important because it evidences PZP’s lack-of-efficacy on immunocompromised fillies and mares.

To review: Because PZP activates the immune system, mares with naturally-low or depressed immune function do not “respond” to the treatment.  It’s as if they had been injected with saline — their immune system is so weak that it does not react to the PZP by producing antibodies.  The good news is such mares’ ovaries are saved from PZP’s destructive effects.  The bad news is that these mares continue to become pregnant year after year, producing foals that will also tend to inherit low immune-function.  Over time, the herd will become populated with more such low-immune horses because those with strong immunity get sterilized.  Thus, PZP selects for horses with low immune function, which is bad for a herd in the long term.   Even a routine infection could spread quickly and wipe out a population of horses or burros with weak immune-function.  If the goal is to preserve a herd, the use of PZP constitutes a worst management-practice.

BLM Was Fully-Aware of the Ransom et al. (2013) Study but Suppressed the Findings

In their report, the authors of the Ransom et al. study gave a shout-out to BLM “for administrative and technical support throughout this project.”  Thus, BLM was fully aware of the multi-year study while it was in progress and even lent support to it administratively and technically.  Yet, in the case of the Pryor Mountain herd, BLM omitted this important report as a reference for the 2015 Environmental Assessment, which proposed intensifying the PZP “prescription.”  Thus, BLM pretended that there was no such report and unethicallly suppressed it.  Consequently, the public could not comment knowledgeably and appropriately on the continued use of — let alone the accelerated application of — PZP.

I note that the Black Mountain EA also omitted the Ransom et al. (2013) study as a reference but did include an earlier study by Ransom, Cade, and Hobbs (2010) on PZP’s influence on issues of lesser importance: Time budgets, social behavior, and body condition.  The 2013 study is certainly more relevant in terms of PZP’s potential impact to the very existence of the Black Mountain burros than was the 2010 report.  The 2013 study’s important scientific findings should inform the decision-making process, but were left out.  Thus, BLM did not use the best-available research.

Three PZP Injections Can Trigger Sterility in Mares, or Just One Shot in Fillies Before Puberty

Disturbingly, another recent study on PZP (Knight & Rubenstein, 2014) found that ” … three or more consecutive years of treatment or administration of the first dose before sexual maturity may have triggered infertility in some mares. [20]

These findings are particularly troubling.  They suggest that, actually, only two consecutive PZP-treatments may be reversible.  Except, that is, in the case of fillies who have not yet reached puberty — they could be sterilized by just one injection.  Recall the Pryor Mountain fillies, whose PZP treatments begin when they are just 1½ years old.  They may not have reached puberty when they are initially treated. [9]  And as we shall see later in this report, that first shot of PZP may not be their first shot of PZP.

Included as a reference to the EA?  Yes, but the EA said: “However, Knight and Rubenstein (2014) speculated that three consecutive years may trigger infertility in some mares.” (pdf-page 35)

Black Mountain’s EA Lifted Passages Wholesale from Another Fertility-Control EA

When I read the sentence referenced immediately above — that Knight and Rubenstein had “speculated” about PZP triggering infertility in as few as 3 years — it had a déjà vu quality.  I knew I had encountered just that same dismissive-to-science word-choice before.  Indeed I had.  The 2015 Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Fertility Control Environmental Assessment DOI-BLM-MT-0010-2015-0006-EA contained that same sentence, word-for-word, on pdf-page 14. [3]  In fact, the entire paragraph that ends in that sentence was lifted directly from the Pryor Mountain EA.  What’s more, most of the paragraph preceding that one was taken directly from the Pryor Mountain EA.  Continuing on, I found example after example of such copying, with minor additions and modifications here and there referencing jacks and jennies instead of stallions and mares.

Questions as to scientific integrity: The fact that the team of 9 BLM-Arizona staffers who prepared the EA copied extensively and word-for-word from another EA suggests that no true analysis was conducted.  I wonder: Did they even read the studies they cited?  Probably not.

More questions as to scientific integrity:  Pdf-page 48 of the Black Mountain EA identifies the BLM National Office staff who reviewed it.  One of the reviewers is the former Wild Horse Specialist for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, and held that position at the time that the 2015 fertility-control EA was issued.  Did the W. O. Senior Wild Horse and Burro Representative supply his old EA for the convenience of BLM-Arizona staff?  Did he essentially approve his own EA, modified slightly to reference Black Mountain wild burros instead of Pryor Mountain wild horses?

Researchers Again Express Concerns about the Abnormal Life-Spans of Sterilized Mares

Returning to the subject Knight & Rubenstein study, the researchers warned:

Inducing sterility, while relieving the mares from the energetic costs of lactation and reducing the stress from harem switching, may have unintended consequences on population dynamics by increasing longevity and eliminating the mares’ ability to contribute genetically.

Knight & Rubenstein’s concerns support those of Gray & Cameron, who also questioned the supposed benefit of sterile mares’ extended life-spans.  The abnormal numbers of aged, sterile mares count for census-purposes; but their presence disadvantages the younger horses, who become tageted for removal in order for BLM to achieve arbitrary management levels.  Further, such mares no longer belong to the viable gene-pool.  The same concern should be taken seriously with regard to jennies, especially in light of their lower fertility and alternating-year breeding cycle.

PZP’s Destructive Antibodies Are Transmitted via the Placenta and Mother’s Milk

It gets worse.  Sacco, Subramanian, Yurewicz (1981) reported that, per radioimmunoassay, PZP antibodies are transferred from mother to young via the placenta and milk.  The transferred antibodies cross-react with and bind to the zonae pellucidae of female offspring, as demonstrated by immunofluorescent techniques. [30]

These findings were disclosed in 1981 — 35 years ago.  PZP’s manufacturer must have known about this dangerous effect, and certainly BLM should have investigated on its own whether there was any risk to the unborn or the nursing foal.  Yet, the manufacturer continued to insist that there was no danger to the foal, whether born or unborn. [19]  And in fact, BLM regularly administers PZP to pregnant and lactating mares, who transfer the destructive antibodies to their fetus, via the placenta, and to their foal, via mother’s milk.

Fillies whose dams were injected with PZP while pregnant or nursing will already have PZP antibodies cross-reacted with and bound to their zonae.  Therefore, when those same fillies are injected later, it will be their second treatment, or potentially even their third.  In fact, they could already have been sterilized in utero or while nursing, the treatment having been received prior to puberty, about which Knight & Rubenstein warned.

Likewise, if the Black Mountain jennies were injected while pregnant and / or nursing, their filly-foals would have PZP antibodies inflaming their little ovaries.  Subsequent injections could easily sterilize them in one shot, especially if given prior to puberty.

Included as a reference to the EA?  No.

PZP Weakens Herd-Immunity, Posing Risk of Stochastic Events Leading to Herd-Extinction

To be self-sustaining, a herd needs to possess good immunity to withstand random catastrophes — known as stochastic events — such as contagious infections.  There was such an event recently in Kazakhstan, where 120,000 endangered Saiga antelope — half the world’s population — died off suddenly and inexplicably within a two-week period.  Scientists think a common bacterial infection was the cause of this mass-mortality event, but are unsure why the antelope were unable to fight off the disease immunologically. [28]

Imagine if such a catastrophe were to befall the Black Mountain burros, whose herd-immunity would be eroded by PZP.  Note that the Saiga deaths involved antelope-mothers and their calves.  If Black Mountain’s few fertile jennies and their foals perished all of a sudden, that would leave just jacks and sterile old jennies.  The herd would be composed of the living dead, reproductively speaking, its rare alleles extinguished.  BLM would be failing to proactively manage the Black Mountain herd with stochastic events taken into consideration.  That would constitute malfeasance.  PZP is a tool of immunological destruction, not of proper management.

PZP Continues the Use of Roundups and Removals

If the promise of PZP were true — if PZP really did eliminate the need to roundup and remove “excess” wild horses from the range — gathers and removals would have ended long ago in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, where PZP has been in use for approximately two decades.  Yet removals are scheduled there with regularity every 3 years, the latest one in 2015.

But evidently every 3 years, in BLM’s mind, wasn’t often-enough.  BLM announced plans to conduct removals every year in the Pryor Mountains despite recently-intensified PZP-treatments.  Friends of Animals, a reknowned animal-advocacy organization that opposes PZP, sued to prevent BLM from initiating the accelerated schedule of gathers.  Friends of Animals prevailed, and the annual removals were blocked.  The Court directed BLM to fulfill its commitments to reevaluate the Pryor Mountain AML. [11 and 15]

As the EA acknowledges, the Black Mountain herd would likely also be subject to annual roundups in order to re-inject the jennies, to re-brand them, and to render veterinary treatment of injection-site abscesses.  What the EA refers to as “opportunistic” field-darting would probably not be adequate to “re-booster” enough of the test-subjects.  Roundups are stressful on burros and costly to taxpayers.  The better and no-cost population-control method is predation by mountain lions, coyotes, and perhaps even reintroduced wolves.

  

Risks to Humans Who Administer PZP Injections

For BLM and HSUS staff and volunteers who inject wild horses with PZP, EPA’s Pesticide Fact Sheet 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. [38]

However, EPA’s Fact Sheet, the manufacturer’s training, and BLM’s operating procedures fail to inform …

Pregnant women of the reason why it is so important that they strictly avoid PZP — because PZP’s antibodies cross the placenta and cross-react with and bind to an unborn female child’s own little zonae pellucidae.  The baby-girl could be “anti-vaccinated” with PZP and even sterilized before birth;

EPA’s Fact Sheet, the manufacturer’s training, and BLM’s operating procedures fail to inform …

Lactating women to avoid PZP and why — because PZP’s destructive antibodies would be passed along to a nursing female child via mother’s milk.  The baby-girl could be “anti-vaccinated” with PZP and possibly sterilized simply from nursing.

EPA’s Fact Sheet, the manufacturer’s training, and BLM’s operating procedures fail to inform …

All women of the reason why to avoid PZP — due to the risk of ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis, ovarian cysts, depressed estrogen and elevated testosterone-levels — in addition to infertility and, potentially, sterility — from unintentional self-injection.

EPA’s Fact Sheet, the manufacturer’s training, and BLM’s operating procedures further fail to emphasize the magnitude of the risk — the PZP-in-question is a dose meant for a horse — or, in this case, a burro.

Mandate to Practice Scientific Integrity

Let us return to the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct, which applies to all staff members as well as to contractors, partners, permittees, and volunteers.  The Code states:

Scholarly information considered in Departmental decision making must be robust, of the highest quality, and the result of as rigorous scientific and scholarly processes as can be achieved.  Most importantly, it must be trustworthy. [37]

In the EA, BLM has omitted independent scientific findings about PZP’s adverse effects and unintended consequences.  Instead, BLM continues to rely almost exclusively on the manufacturer’s claims regarding PZP’s safety for use on horses or burros and for handling by humans.  BLM and HSUS are thus non-compliant with the Policy and malfeasant in their responsibilities to protect staff, volunteers, and the wild horses and burros.

PZP Manufacturer Violated the DOI Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct

The manufacturer of PZP — a partner to BLM — misrepresented the pesticide as safe for use on animals by humans.  The manufacturer knew or should have known that the former hypothesis regarding PZP’s mode-of-action had been disproved, and that PZP has dangerous side effects, safety-issues, and unintended consequences. Yet he hid and denied that information and failed to warn about PZP’s adverse effects.  The manufacturer cited his own research as if it were definitive, and aggressively criticized wild-horse-and-burro advocacy groups that oppose PZP, such as Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs, and independent researchers whose findings did not fully support his claims.  Indeed, he submitted an Op-ed to The Salt Lake Tribune wherein he accused Friends of Animals and Protect Mustangs of citing “dubious and distorted” data about PZP.  He belittled the research of fellow scientists whose studies on PZP yielded results somewhat different from his own. [19]  His accusations were so unreasonable that the scientists felt it necessary to submit an Op-ed in response to defend the integrity and validity of their work. [24]  The manufacturer also disparaged members of the public — one of whom was appointed to the Pennsylvania Game Commission — that expressed concerns about PZP.  He dismissively accused them of “an attempt to mislead,” of “hyperbole,” of “knowingly manipulating information,” of “attempts to frighten people,” and of indulging in an “anti-intellectual approach to debates.” [18]  By these actions, the manufacturer violated the DOI Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct.

PZP Manufacturer Misled Trainees into Believing that PZP Was Safe

BLM and HSUS staff and volunteers receive their training from PZP’s manufacturer in how to handle and administer the pesticide.  BLM and HSUS are remiss in delegating the training to the manufacturer without verifying the adequacy of the instruction and the truthfulness of it.  Two comments recorded recently in the media suggest that PZP’s manufacturer misled not just the public-at-large but those who received training therefrom in how to administer PZP.

Recall that the manufacturer claimed PZP is “so safe it is boring.” [11]  Independent research shows otherwise — that PZP is a powerful hormone disruptor that could sterilize a female with just one injection.  If trainees believe that PZP is boringly safe, they will be less likely to protect themselves adequately from this dangerous pesticide.  Indeed, many of the trainees are women and, therefore, particularly at risk.  Likewise, wild-horse-and-burro advocates are lulled into complacency, trusting that PZP is harmless.  Of course, none of that is true.

Second, a PZP supporter, who self-identified as a recent completer of the PZP-darting training program conducted by the manufacturer, said in a comment posted to a news article: “I just received my FDA certification to handle and administer Native PZP.  Would you be so kind to provide a link to the study you keep referencing?  To my knowledge, and those teaching the Native PZP certification class, there are no side effects of the PZP produced by Dr. Kirkpatrick and his team, which is Native PZP.” [10]  Key words: “no side effects.”  It is disturbing that a person who was, no doubt, motivated by a desire to help the wild horses and burros has been disinformed regarding PZP’s safety-hazards to humans as well as to horses and burros.

PZP — Conclusions about

PZP is appropriately categorized as a pesticide by the EPA.  PZP “works” by tricking the immune system into attacking and destroying the ovaries.  PZP has many adverse effects as well as unintended consequences.  PZP presents safety-hazards to humans who handle it.  PZP is a dangerous pesticide whose use is antithetical to the spirit and intent of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

ADDITIONAL CONCERNS AND INFORMATION

EA Includes a Reference that Cannot Be Verified and that Perpetrates a Fraud

The APA Publication Manual “contains the complete guidelines on how to cite research in text as well as formatting of material for publication.  It is a set of style rules that codifies the components of scientific writing in order to deliver concise and bias free information to the reader.” [2]

One of the references BLM cited in the EA is listed thusly:

Cothran.  2010.  Personal Communication.  Conversation regarding genetics and related testing.

This citation does not comply with APA standards for a proper scientific reference because a conversation is not “findable” or “retrievable” or “recoverable.” [2]  Thus, the above personal communication cannot be verified.  It should have been mentioned only in text, not in References.  It was also odd that, in the intervening 6 years, a better reference was not secured.

Evidently, the citation was intended in support of the following sentence, found on pdf-page 38.

Extended length between generations provides for lengthening generation time and slows the rate of genetic loss (Cothran, personal communication 2010).

But this sentence, too, had a déjà vu feeling to it.  Sure enough, it was taken directly, word-for-word, from pdf-page 16 of the 2015 Pryor Mountain Fertility Control EA.  In fact, the entire paragraph that contains the above sentence was lifted from the 2015 EA.

What is more troubling is that the reader is led to believe that someone from BLM-Arizona actually had a personal communication with Dr. Cothran back 6 years ago.  Surely, no such conversation happened.  Thus, a fraud is being perpetrated against the reader in violation of scholarly-integrity principles.

Bighorn Sheep — Study Shows No True Competition from Burros

Black Mountain is home to bighorn sheep, prized trophy-targets for hunters.  Extraordinary efforts have been made to translocate sheep into suitable habitat in the state and to augment their numbers.  On pdf-page 25 of the EA, BLM implies that burros compete with bighorn:

Over the very long-term (20 years or longer), if the results of the project are found to be effective in reducing jenny fertility rates (through extrapolation), there could be the potential for a reduction in competition for forage resources between ungulates (desert bighorn sheep, cattle, and burros).

BLM assumes — incorrectly — that burros disadvantage bighorn (and cattle).  That false assumption has been debunked.  Wehausen (1998) concluded that “a negative influence of burros on bighorn sheep demography has not been shown as support for true competition.” [45]  As to the alleged competition with cattle, that false assumption has been debunked too.

Facilitation and Commensalism — Equids Enhance Livestock Production

Some species thought to compete actually facilitate one another’s well-being.  They interact positively and reduce physical stress. [32]  For instance, commensals are animals that eat “at the same table” but without competing.  Such is the case for burros and bovids.  Counter-intuitive but true, research has shown that cattle gain more weight when grazed with donkeys. [25]

BLM neds to stop the range-war, pitting burros against bovids.  Forage-grazing is not a zero-sum game.

Symbiosis — Burros Graze Old Growth — Cattle Prefer New Growth

Wild burros utilize coarse, old-growth forage.  They are like lawn mowers.  They take off the top growth — the dry, unpalatable layer.  This grazing method enables the plants to put down deeper roots, and it prevents weeds from maturing to produce seeds.  Grasses are encouraged by the burros’ frequent “mowing.”  In addition, the fuel-load is reduced, helping to prevent wildfires.

Livestock, in contrast, prefer tender new growth.  They will even return to patches previously grazed — not rested — to get at that new growth. [14]  Thus, by consuming the old growth and making available the new growth, wild burros make conditions better for the range and better for livestock.  Arizona needs more burros, not fewer.

ESTHETICS UGLIFIED VISITOR-EXPERIENCE RUINED

Scarlet Letters

BLM procedures would call for the 165 jennies treated with PZP to be freeze-marked with three letters on both sides of their hips — left and right.  Each of the letters would be 3½-4 inches in size.  The purpose of these huge brands is to make it easy for HSUS researchers to spot and dart the jennies from a distance.

First, please note that the Act prohibits the branding of wild horses and burros.  The Act provides no exemption for BLM or HSUS.  The disfigurement of burros is unacceptable.  Surely, no jennies uglified with such blemishes would ever be adopted.  Their marred appearance would also spoil the wilderness experience of eco-tourists who come to see the lovely burros in their natural habitat.  Like Hester Prynne, the Black Mountain jennies would wear their prominent “scarlet letters” to announce their shameful status for the rest of their life, their only “sin” being their fertility, for which they would be punished.

With regard to tracking and locating wild horses, BLM should employ inconspicuous electronic devices, such as tracking tags.  The use of disfiguring freeze-marks must be prohibited.  It should be noted that electronic tracking can also provide a record of each burro’s personal data for longitudinal studies.  It is time for BLM to use modern methods instead of destroying the jennies’ beauty.

Recreation and Wild Burro Viewing

As it is, most wildlife-tour visitors have to search long and hard to find any wild burros to view in the Black Mountain HMA.  So, with 165 of the jennies injected with PZP, there would be fewer families, and especially, fewer darling “babies” frolicking on the range.  The presence of foals delights recreational visitors; the absence of foals disappoints them.  Forelorn, childless jennies disfigured with huge freeze brands on their rumps would be repulsive, and not what the public wants to see.  Esthetics count, and recreation is fast-becoming the predominant use of our public lands.  Please don’t ruin it for us.

Sincerely,

Marybeth Devlin


Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.




REFERENCES

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  2.  APA 6th Edition Publication Manual.  (2015 — Last Udate)  Alliant Library.  Retrieved from http://alliant.libguides.com/content.php?pid=268617&sid=2216572  and  2956230

  3.  BLM, Billings Field Office (March 2015) Environmental Assessment, Final. Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range Fertility Control.  DOI-BLM-MT-0010-2015-006-EA.  Retrieved from http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/mt/field_offices/billings/horseeas/2015.Par.28280.File.dat/PMWHR%20fertility%20EA%202015.pdf

  4.  Bradshaw, Corey J.A.  (2012, November 21)  Essential Predators.  ConservationBytes.com.  Retrieved from http://conservationbytes.com/2012/11/21/essential-predators/#more-8024

  5.  Clabby, Catherine.  (2010, January-February)  A Magic Number?  American Scientist.  Retrieved from http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/a-magic-number/

  6.  Crowell-Davis, S.L. and K.A. Houpt.  1986.  Maternal behavior.  Vet. Clin. No. Amer.: Equine Pract. 2:557–571.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3492245

  7.  Curtis PD, Richmond ME, Miller LA, Quimby FW.  (2007)  Pathophysiology of white-tailed deer vaccinated with porcine zona pellucida immunocontraceptive.  Vaccine. 2007 Jun 6;25(23):4623-30. Epub 2007 Apr 11.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17475371

  8.  Duncan, Patrick (Editor).  1992.  Zebras, Asses, and Horses: An Action Plan for the Conservation of Wild Equids.  International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  Retrieved from http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/1992-043.pdf

  9.  EquiMed staff.  (2010, March 13)  Equine Reproductive Maturity in Mares and Stallions.  Puberty in Equines.  Retrieved from http://equimed.com/health-centers/reproductive-care/articles/equine-reproductive-maturity-in-mares-and-stallions

10.  EWCS.  (2015, November 10).  Re: “Contraceptive could reduce taxpayer costs for wild horses.”  Retrieved from http://wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/contraceptive-could-reduce-taxpayer-costs-wild-horses#comment-2352628323

11.  Ferguson, Mike.  (2015, June 4)  “Police called as group protests wild horse contraceptives.”  The Billings Gazette.  Retrieved from http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/police-called-as-group-protests-wild-horse-contraceptives/article_81462303-e128-5ee8-a7ef-2c8b098450f6.html

12.  Gray, M.E. and Cameron, E.Z. (2010)  Does contraceptive treatment in wildlife result in side effects?  A review of quantitative and anecdotal evidence.  Reproduction 139, 45-55.  Online publication date: 1-Jan-2010.  Retrieved from http://www.reproduction-online.org/content/139/1/45.full

13.  Gregg, Kathleen, LeBlanc, Lisa, and Johnston, Jesica.  (2014)  Wild Horse Population Growth.  Retrieved from http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/PM-Population-Growth-4.25.14-FINAL.pdf

14.  Hanselka CW, Lyons R, and Teague R.  (2002, October)  Patch Grazing and Sustainable Rangeland Production.  AgriLIfe Communications and Marketing,  Texas A&M University System.  Retrieved from http://www1.foragebeef.ca/$Foragebeef/frgebeef.nsf/all/frg30/$FILE/rangedistributionpatch.pdf

15.  Johnson, Clair.  (2016, August 4)  “Judge rules for wild horse advocacy group in BLM suit.”  The Billings Gazette.  Retrieved from http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/judge-rules-for-wild-horse-advocacy-group-in-blm-suit/article_08c938df-2723-5d87-8d40-8ef4814a6be8.html

16.  Kaur, Kiranjeet and Prabha, Vijay. (2014)  “Immunocontraceptives: New Approaches to Fertility Control,”  BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, Article ID 868196, 15 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/868196.  Retrieved from http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/868196.pdf

17.  Kirkpatrick, J. F., I. K. M. Liu, J. W. Turner, Jr., R. Naugle, and R. Keiper.  1992a.  Long-term effects of porcine zonae pellucidae immunocontraception on ovarian function of feral horses (Equus caballus).  J. Reprod. Fert. 94:437-444.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1317449

18.  Kirkpatrick, Jay.  2007.  “Response to PA [Pennsylvania] Game Commission.”  Posted on PNC’s Wildlife Forever Home Page.  Retrieved from http://www.pzpinfo.org/home.html

19.  Kirkpatrick, Jay F.  (2015, May 16).  Op-ed: Wild-horse contraceptives are based on sound science.  The Salt Lake Tribune.  Retrieved from http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/2517266-155/op-ed-wild-horse-contraceptives-are-based-on?fullpage=1

20.  Knight, Colleen M., Rubenstein, Daniel I.  2014.  The Effects of Porcine Zona Pellucida Immunocontraception on Health and Behavior of Feral Horses (Equus caballus).  Princeton University Thesis, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Retrieved from http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp01vt150j42p

21.  McDonnell, Sue.  (2010, September 1)  “Foal ‘Stealing’.”  The Horse.  Retrieved from http://www.thehorse.com/articles/27692/foal-stealing

22.  McNamee, Gregory.  2015.  “Wolves in Arizona: The Return of El Lobo Southwestern Wolves Make Their Troubled Way Home.”  DesertUSA.  Retrieved from  http://www.desertusa.com/desert-arizona/wolf-arizona.html

23.  Nettles, Victor F.  (1997)  Potential consequences and problems with wildlife contraceptives.  Reproduction, Fertility and Development 9(1) 137 – 144.  Accessed full pdf text via purchase of a copy from Csiro Publishing.  Retrieved from http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/R96054.htm

24.  Nuñez, Cassandra, Jim Adelman and Dan Rubenstein.  (2015, July 3).  Op-ed: Wild horse contraception not without unintended consequences.  The Salt Lake Tribune.  Retrieved from http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/2653298-155/op-ed-wild-horse-contraception-not-without

25.  Odadi W, Jain M, Van Wieren S, Prins H, Rubenstein D.  (2011)  Facilitation between bovids and equids on an African savanna.  Evolutionary Ecology Research, 2011, 13: 237–252.  Retrieved from https://www.princeton.edu/~dir/pdf_dir/2011OdadiCowdonk.pdf

26.  PCOS Foundation.  (2015)  What Causes PCOS?  Retrieved from http://www.pcosfoundation.org/what-is-pcos

27.  PNC, Inc. (Pity Not Cruelty).  PZP FAQs.  (2006)  “Frequently Asked Questions on Immunocontraception.”  (Special thanks to Jay Kirkpatrick and Rick Naugle for additions and corrections).  Retrieved from http://www.pzpinfo.org/pzp_faqs.html

28.  Raab. Lauren.  (2015, May 31)  “120,000 endangered saiga antelopes die mysteriously in Kazakhstan.”  Los Angeles Times.  Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-saiga-antelope-die-off-20150531-story.html

29.  Ransom JI, Hobbs NT, Bruemmer J (2013)  Contraception Can Lead to Trophic Asynchrony between Birth Pulse and Resources.  PLoS ONE 8(1): e54972. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054972.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23383018

30.  Sacco AG, Subramanian MG, Yurewicz EC.  (1981)  Passage of zona antibodies via placenta and milk following active immunization of female mice with porcine zonae pellucidae.  J Reprod Immunol. 1981 Dec;3(6):313-22.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7328557

31.  San Diego Zoo.  (2009)  Domestic Donkey & Wild Ass Fact Sheet.  Retrieved from http://library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/donkey/donkey.htm#repro

32.  Stachowicz, John J.  (2001)  Mutualism, Facilitation, and the Structure of Ecological Communities.  BioScience (2001) 51 (3): 235-246. doi: 10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0235:MFATSO]2.0.CO;2.  Retrieved from http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/51/3/235.full

33.  Sussman, Karen.  (2015 June 6)  “Suspicious Deaths with Use of Anti-Fertility Drugs.”  International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros.  Retrieved from http://www.ispmb.org/BirthControlDeaths.html

34.  Sussman, Karen.  (2014 October)  “A Beautiful Story But Sad for the Kidnapper.”  International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros.  Retrieved from http://www.ispmb.org/sheldon_wipeout.html

35.  Traill LW, Bradshaw CJA, Brook BW.  (2007)  Minimum viable population size: A meta-analysis of 30 years of published estimates.  Elsevier Ltd.  Retrieved from https://coreybradshaw.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/traill-et-al-2007-biol-conserv.pdf

36.  Tung K, Agersborg S, Bagavant H, Garza K, Wei K.  (2002)  Autoimmune ovarian disease induced by immunization with zona pellucida (ZP3) peptide.  Curr Protoc Immunol. 2002 Aug;Chapter 15:Unit 15.17. doi:10.1002/0471142735.im1517s49.  Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gove/pubmed/18432873

37.  United States Department of the Interior.  Integrity of Scientific and Scholarly Activities Policy.  Code of Conduct.  Retrieved from https://www.doi.gov/scientificintegrity

38.  United States Environmental Protection Agency.  Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  Pesticide Fact Sheet.  Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP).  New Chemical.  Nonfood Use.  January 2012.  Retrieved from

http://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf

39.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  National Institutes of Health.  Endocrine Disruptors.  Retrieved from http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/

40.  U.S. Department of the Interior.  Bureau of Land Management.  Wild Horse and Burro Program Data.  Retrieved from   http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/Data.html

41.  U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  Ecological Services, Southwest Region.  The Mexican Wolf Recovery Program.  Retrieved from https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/BRWRP_home.cfm

42.  U.S. National Library of Medicine.  National Institutes of Health.  Ovarian overproduction of androgens.  Retrieved from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001165.htm

43.  Varras M, Anastasiadis A, Panelos J, Balassi E, Demou A, Akrivis CH.  (2013)  Autoimmune oophoritis: Clinical presentation of an unusual clinical entity.  OA Case Reports 2013 Jan 31;2(1):7.  Retrieved from http://www.oapublishinglondon.com/article/369#

44.  Waring, George H.  2003.  Horse Behavior. 2nd Ed.  Noyes Publications / William Andrew Publishing.  Norwich, NY. Retrieved from http://www2.univet.hu/users/knagy/books/Waring_Horse_Behavior.pdf

45.  Wehausen, John D.  (1998)  Nelson Bighorn Sheep.  White Mountain Research Station.  Retrieved from http://www.blm.gov/ca/pdfs/cdd_pdfs/Bighorn1.PDF

46.  World Atlas.  (2016, February 12 — Last modified)  Burro Facts: Animals of North America.  Retrieved from http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/burro-facts-animals-of-north-america.html

Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.




Despite underpopulation, does OSU have the right to experiment on federally protected wild horses and burros or are they breaking the law?

 Is Oregon State University about to embark it their biggest PR nightmare?

Vet Spaying Wild Mare at Sheldon Wildlife Refuge

 

© EquineClinic.comn shared for educational purposes

© EquineClinic.comn shared for educational purposes

Oregon State University published the Q & A below based on the false premise, when the truth is wild horses are underpopulated in America today:

 

Frequently asked questions: OSU fertility research involving wild mares and burros

I understand that Oregon State University is involved in research on wild horses and burros.  Is this true?

Yes. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) awarded Oregon State University money to help study fertility-control methods for wild horses and burros.

In 2014, the BLM asked for research proposals from a variety of scientific groups across the nation to help address the high population growth rates of wild horses and burros, including veterinarians, scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and other research entities.  Additional details can be found here.  Since then, the BLM has provided awards to support over 20 projects.

Five universities with college of veterinary medicine programs received awards. Proposals from OSU were selected based on the quality of science, the expertise of the research investigator and the potential impact of the research. Oregon State University faculty were among those that submitted proposals to the BLM to help slow and stabilize the population growth rate of wild horses and burros. The BLM announced its decision on June 27 to proceed with the research to be conducted by Oregon State faculty. Details of that announcement can be found here.

How is Oregon State University involved?

As a research university, Oregon State conducts studies on important topics, and informs public policy-makers and the general public of those research findings.

This research will evaluate minimally invasive, humane, effective, and permanent procedures that would then be reviewed by the BLM as options to maintain sustainable herd levels.

Our role is in conducting research to inform BLM policy. Oregon State University’s role is not to develop policy.

Why did BLM decide that this type of research was necessary?

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) developed the program after receiving a report with recommendations from a National Academy of Sciences committee, which had been tasked with performing a complete review of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Management Program.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) published a video summary of that report, “Using Science to Improve the Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward”.

The NAS reports that the population of wild horses and burros is growing beyond the capacity of federal lands to support the health and welfare of these animals. Animals that are not healthy are susceptible to further suffering from disease, malnutrition, dehydration, and death. The BLM is reviewing a range of options to manage the population of these horses and burros at sustainable levels.

What did the National Academy of Sciences committee find?

The NAS committee emphasized that, on average, the population of wild horses and burros across the west is increasing by 15 – 20% per year, despite ongoing fertility control vaccination programs. The NAS urged the BLM to make wider use of fertility control options that are based on rigorous research.

Why would wild horse and burro populations be a concern? 

The population of wild horses and burros on federal lands is growing beyond the capacity of local, state, and federal resources to support the health and welfare of these animals, and maintain healthy range ecosystems.

An illustrated summary of BLM concerns and challenges related to our nation’s wild horses and burros can be found here. 

What does Oregon State University have to offer?

OSU faculty who responded to the BLM’s request for additional research felt very strongly that their contributions would benefit and improve the health and welfare of our wild horses and burros.

As a land-grant institution, Oregon State University faculty members often have the expertise needed to address issues that affect Oregon and the nation.

Results from this work will be analyzed and published in peer-reviewed forums, in addition to informing the BLM.  In this way, the work performed by OSU faculty will be available to the public.

For more information about how research is conducted at Oregon State University and academic freedom, please click here. 

How is animal safety and humane care ensured during research?

University-wide commitment to animal care, safety, and welfare is a top priority. Oregon State University recognizes both the importance of animals in research and teaching, and the scientific and ethical responsibilities inherent in the care of those animals.  Research activities undertaken by OSU faculty, staff, and students are reviewed and conducted in accordance with strict ethical principles, federal and state laws and regulations, and in compliance with Oregon State institutional policies.

Oversight of animal activities associated with OSU is provided by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The IACUC’s main functions are to review, approve, and monitor research protocols, and ensure that animals are cared for according to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and Oregon State institutional policies.

Oregon State University additionally volunteers to have their animal program reviewed every three years by AAALAC, International, an independent accreditation agency for animal research programs. The accreditation process is very stringent and institutions with AAALAC accreditation are known for their commitment to excellence and humane animal care.

What methods are being studied in this research?

One study will evaluate the removal of both ovaries without the need for any external skin incisions (ovariectomy via colpotomy). Ovariectomies are commonly used by veterinarians to stop egg production and related reproductive (“heat”) cycles in animals.

Another study will evaluate two surgical methods that will interrupt fertilization.  Animals undergoing these procedures will still have heat cycles but they will not conceive.  Tubal ligation is one method, and the other is oviduct ablation.  The use of these methods also avoids the need for external skin incisions.

I have concerns about the management of our nation’s wild horses and burros, and I don’t think Oregon State University should be involved.

As a research institution, work at Oregon State sometimes involves controversial issues.  In this case, research team members have offered their areas of expertise in designing a study whose results will be used to inform policy decisions by the BLM in the management of wild horse and burro populations.

Research data provided by Oregon State researchers will be part of the larger group of studies that BLM will consider as it reviews policies and procedures to respond to the 2013 NAS report.

More information on BLM management of wild horses and burros can be found here.

Who will perform this research?

The studies will be conducted by teams of licensed, highly qualified and experienced veterinary surgeons.

Are Oregon State students involved in this research?

No.  Students are not involved in these projects.

When was this proposal submitted?

Proposals were submitted to the BLM in 2014. 

How long will this research take to be completed?

The research will take place over the next two – five years.

How much will be spent on this research? Who will fund this proposed research?

The BLM has approved two grants to OSU totaling $348,000.

Where will this research be conducted?

The research will be conducted at the BLM’s wild horse and burro facility in Hines, OR. 

How and with whom will these research findings be shared with?

Oregon State researchers will report their results to the BLM; will publish findings in other peer-reviewed forums and share the results with the public.

Who decides to accept or reject these findings? Or implement them as a standard of future practice?

The BLM will make any decisions on future policies and practices. For more information click here.

Cross-posted for discussion from: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/blm-research-faq

Stay tuned for the backlash

PM Lennox meme

Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.




Does PZP result in wild herds with lower immune systems and potential for die-offs?

PM Tule Elk Males FIghting by austlee

PZP is an immunocontraceptive and pesticide which causes an immune reaction to reject fertilization, while the females still come into estrus. Besides wrecking havoc on the immune system, injecting herds with PZP results in more fighting between males and many other behavior abnormalities.

Tule elk in Pt. Ryes National Seashore (Marin County, California) were part of a PZP (Porcine Zona Pellucida) experiment. Several years later there was a strange die-off.

Wildlife groups blamed park service management for leaving the elk fenced in during a drought–claiming that was the reason for the die-off.

Park service officials said the tule elk had water during the die-off.

“Some wildlife advocates have termed the situation a “die-off” and accuse the park service of allowing the elk to perish behind the fence that prevents them from finding enough food and water. Park service officials have a different view of what caused the population drop, and are hoping that new data will help address these concerns, especially as visitor interest peaks during the fall rutting season.” from: https://baynature.org/articles/on-the-fence/

Listen to Wildlife Ecologist Dave Press Discusses Tomales Point Elk and mention “there was water in the pond up there . . .” at 2:18.

 

It’s time to connect the dots and ask the obvious question: Did PZP lower the herds’ immune system and genetic diversity to the point of making them vulnerable to a die-off?

With suspect data regarding the long-term use of PZP on wild herds, more questions and answers are needed to prevent a similar die-off in America’s wild horses & burros.

With regards to wild horses, keep in mind what Marybeth Devlin wrote about PZP:

“PZP is a registered pesticide whose mechanism-of-action is to cause auto-immune disease. PZP tricks the immune system into producing antibodies that target and attack the ovaries. PZP’s antibodies cause the mare to suffer ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries), ovarian cysts, destruction of oocytes in growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles. Not surprisingly, estrogen levels drop markedly as the ovaries are slowly destroyed. But PZP’s adverse effects are not limited to the individual animal. As a recent study — which included the Little Book Cliffs, Colorado herd and the McCullough Peaks, Wyoming herd — found, PZP extends the birthing season to nearly year-round. Out-of-season births put the life of the foals and the mares at risk. Further, the same study disclosed that the pesticide causes a delay lasting 411.3 days (1.13 years) per each year-of-treatment before mares recover their fertility after suspension of PZP. However, some mares never recover — they are left permanently sterile, and quickly too. Indeed, yet another study found that sterility could occur in some mares from just three years of PZP injections or from just one treatment if the pesticide were given to a filly before she reached puberty. Because PZP messes with the immune system, it ironically works “best” — sterilizes faster — if the mare has a strong immune system. But, conversely, PZP may not work at all in mares whose immune function is weak or depressed. So, the pesticide discriminates against the very horses that Nature has best equipped for survival against disease while favoring and selecting for the immuno-compromised. Worse yet, tests performed via radioimmunoassay indicated that PZP antibodies are transferred from mother to young via the placenta and milk. The transferred antibodies cross-react with and bind to the zonae pellucidae of female offspring, as demonstrated by immunofluorescent techniques.”  [From: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=8529]

 

Pm PZP Darts

Links of interest™:

Immunocontraception (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunocontraception

“Whenever an immune response is provoked, there is some risk of autoimmunity. Therefore immunocontraception trials typically check for signs of autoimmune disease.[17] One concern with zona pellucida vaccination, in particular, is that in certain cases it appears to be correlated with ovarian pathogenesis.[2] However, ovarian disease has not been observed in every trial of zona pellucida vaccination, and when observed, has not always been irreversible.[18]”

 

Autoimmune disease (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoimmune_disease 

“Autoimmune diseases arise from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body (autoimmunity). . .”

 

ZonaStat-H is the EPA restricted-use pesticide–PZP–for wild horses and burros the registrant calls “pests”: http://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf

 

Tule elk: http://www.nps.gov/pore/learn/nature/tule_elk.htm

 

Tule elks at Pt. Reyes National Seashore (National Park Service): http://www.nps.gov/pore/getinvolved/supportyourpark/upload/volunteer_docent_info_tule_elk_elkmanagement_v5.0_1.pdf

 

Challenges face tule elk management in Point Reyes National Seashore  http://www.mercurynews.com/pets-animals/ci_28311296/challenges-face-tule-elk-management-point-reyes-national

“Earlier this year park service officials revealed that more than 250 tule elk died inside the fenced area over a two-year period, in part because pools that the herds rely on for water had gone dry. Meanwhile, ranchers are complaining about the free-range elk getting on their land and eating grass and drinking water intended for their dairy cattle and other agricultural operations.”

 

Paratuberculosis or Johne’s disease (Wikipedia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paratuberculosis

 

Testing for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection in asymptomatic free-ranging tule elk from an infected herd.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12910759

“Forty-five adult tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) in good physical condition were translocated from a population located at Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County (California, USA), to a holding pen 6 mo prior to release in an unfenced region of the park. Because infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Mptb) had been reported in the source population, the translocated elk underwent extensive ante-mortem testing using three Johne’s disease assays: enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); agar gel immunodiffusion assay (AGID), and fecal culture. Isolation of Mptb was made from fecal samples in six of 45 elk (13%). All AGID results were negative while ELISA results for 18 elk (40%) were considered elevated. Elevated ELISA results or Mptb isolation from fecal samples were obtained for 22 of 45 elk (49%); these elk were euthanized and necropsied. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was isolated from tissue in 10 of 22 euthanized elk (45%); of these 10 cases of confirmed infection, eight had elevated ELISA results (80%) and four were fecal culture positive (40%). One of 10 cases had histopathologic lesions consistent with Mptb infection. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was also isolated from tissue from one of eight fetuses sampled. The number of tule elk found to be infected was unexpected, both because of the continued overall health of the source herd and the normal clinical status of all study animals.”

 

Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis and Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium infections in a tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) herd. 2006. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17255437 

Abstract
“Between 2 August and 22 September 2000, 37 hunter-killed tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) were evaluated at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, California, USA, for evidence of paratuberculosis. Elk were examined post-mortem, and tissue and fecal samples were submitted for radiometric mycobacterial culture. Acid-fast isolates were identified by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that discriminates among members of the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). Histopathologic evaluations were completed, and animals were tested for antibodies using a Johne’s enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and agar gel immunodiffusion. In addition, 104 fecal samples from tule elk remaining in the herd were collected from the ground and submitted for radiometric mycobacterial culture. No gross lesions were detected in any of the hunter-killed animals. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) was cultured once from ileocecal tissue of one adult elk and was determined to be a strain (A18) found commonly in infected cattle. One or more isolates of Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium (MAA) were isolated from tissues of five additional adult elk. Gastrointestinal tract and lymph node tissues from 17 of the 37 elk (46%) examined had histopathologic lesions commonly seen with mycobacterial infection; however, acid-fast bacteria were not observed. All MAC infections were detected from adult elk (P = 0.023). In adult elk, a statistically significant association was found between MAA infection and ELISA sample-to-positive ratio (S/P) > or = 0.25 (P=0.021); four of five MAA culture-positive elk tested positive by ELISA. Sensitivity and specificity of ELISA S/P > or = 0.25 for detection of MAA in adult elk were 50% and 93%, respectively. No significant associations were found between MAC infection and sex or histopathologic lesions. Bacteriologic culture confirmed infection with MAP and MAA in this asymptomatic tule elk herd. The Johne’s ELISA was useful in signaling mycobacterial infection on a population basis but could not discriminate between MAA and MAP antibodies. The multiplex PCR was useful in discriminating among the closely related species belonging to MAC.
Between 2 August and 22 September 2000, 37 hunter-killed tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes) were evaluated at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, California, USA, for evidence of paratuberculosis. Elk were examined post-mortem, and tissue and fecal samples were submitted for radiometric mycobacterial culture. Acid-fast isolates were identified by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that discriminates among members of the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). Histopathologic evaluations were completed, and animals were tested for antibodies using a Johne’s enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and agar gel immunodiffusion. In addition, 104 fecal samples from tule elk remaining in the herd were collected from the ground and submitted for radiometric mycobacterial culture. No gross lesions were detected in any of the hunter-killed animals. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) was cultured once from ileocecal tissue of one adult elk and was determined to be a strain (A18) found commonly in infected cattle. One or more isolates of Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium (MAA) were isolated from tissues of five additional adult elk. Gastrointestinal tract and lymph node tissues from 17 of the 37 elk (46%) examined had histopathologic lesions commonly seen with mycobacterial infection; however, acid-fast bacteria were not observed. All MAC infections were detected from adult elk (P = 0.023). In adult elk, a statistically significant association was found between MAA infection and ELISA sample-to-positive ratio (S/P) > or = 0.25 (P=0.021); four of five MAA culture-positive elk tested positive by ELISA. Sensitivity and specificity of ELISA S/P > or = 0.25 for detection of MAA in adult elk were 50% and 93%, respectively. No significant associations were found between MAC infection and sex or histopathologic lesions. Bacteriologic culture confirmed infection with MAP and MAA in this asymptomatic tule elk herd. The Johne’s ELISA was useful in signaling mycobacterial infection on a population basis but could not discriminate between MAA and MAP antibodies. The multiplex PCR was useful in discriminating among the closely related species belonging to MAC.”

 

Epizootic of paratuberculosis in farmed elk http://www.johnes.org/handouts/files/Elk_outbreak.pdf

 

TESTING FOR MYCOBACTERIUM AVIUM SUBSP. PARATUBERCULOSIS INFECTION IN ASYMPTOMATIC FREE-RANGING TULE ELK FROM AN INFECTED HERD (Journal of Wildlife Diseases, : http://www.bioone.org/doi/pdf/10.7589/0090-3558-39.2.323

 

Immuno-Contraception Research for Managing Tule Elk Population – Phase I Scheduled to Begin on August 6, 1997 http://www.nps.gov/pore/learn/news/newsreleases_19970805_elkimmunocontraception97.htm

“. . . Funding for tule elk projects has come from a variety of sources. To date, monetary support and in-kind services for the tule elk project has been received from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Point Reyes National Seashore Association, Committee for the Preservation of Tule Elk, California Department of Fish and Game, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), University of California at Davis, the National Park Service Natural Resource Preservation Program and In Defense of Animals.” [Evidently Suzanne Roy, currently the Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign–who pushes PZP based management–was working for IDA at the time.]

 

Immuno-Contraception Research for Managing Tule Elk Population – Phase II Scheduled to Begin on June 15, 1998  http://www.nps.gov/pore/learn/news/newsreleases_19980615_elkimmunocontraception98.htm

“. . . During the second phase of the contraceptive research project, the first vaccine will be administered by direct syringe injection. To administer the injection, 30 elk will be captured from a helicopter and hobbled by ground crews. Scientists will gather data on the individual elk and place a radio collar on each of the elk. The collar will allow scientists to follow the individual elk to determine the effectiveness of the contraceptive. After several weeks, a booster shot will be remotely administered, from ranges of 30 to 150 feet, by means of self-injecting darts. The darts are brightly colored and easily retrieved. A single annual booster inoculation will be administered to continue contraceptive effects for successive breeding seasons.”

 

Use of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccine as a contraceptive agent in free-ranging tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes). published 2002: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12220156 

Abstract (note only a 5 year study. Why aren’t they studying the truly long-term effects?)
The potential for the application of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) immunocontraception in wildlife population management has been tested over a 15 year period and promises to provide a useful wildlife management tool. These studies have provided evidence indicating that the use of PZP immunocontraception in wildlife: (i) is effective at both the physiological and population level (Liu et al., 1989; Kirkpatrick et al., 1996; Turner et al., this supplement); (ii) is deliverable by remote means (Kirkpatrick et al., 1990; Shideler, 2000); (iii) is safe in pregnant animals (Kirkpatrick and Turner, this supplement); (iv) is reversible (Kirkpatrick et al., 1991; Kirkpatrick and Turner, this supplement); (v) results in no long-term debilitating health problems (Kirkpatrick et al., 1995; Turner and Kirkpatrick, this supplement); (vi) has no implications for passage through the food chain (Harlow and Lane, 1988); and (vii) is reasonably inexpensive (J. F. Kirkpatrick, personal communication). This report presents the results of a 5 year study in tule elk (Cervus elaphus nannodes), 3 years of which were on the application of PZP immunocontraception to an expanding elk population living in a wilderness area of Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, CA…”

 

Copyright Protect Mustangs.org 2016





Evelyn Fox Keller: The Gendered Language of #Science

Evelyn-Fox-Keller

his episode of World of Ideas featured theoretical physicist Evelyn Fox Keller on the rhetoric of science. When she first set out to be a scientist in the 1950s, Fox wondered why the language of science itself reflected patriarchal, masculine metaphors and values, and what it meant for the discipline. Here, she talked with Bill Moyers about her work on gender and the history of science.

TRANSCRIPT

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] When Evelyn Fox Keller set out in the 1950s to be a scientist, she discovered it was a man’s world. Not only because most scientists were men, but because the language of science itself reflected masculine metaphors and values. Why is this so, she wondered? Trained since then as a theoretical physicist, she has taught mathematics and done research in mathematical biology, but it is her work on the history of science, her book, Reflections on Gender and Science, and her biography of the geneticist Barbara McClintock [A Feeling for the Organism] that brought me to the University of California at Berkeley where Dr. Keller teaches in the department of rhetoric.

[interviewing] What does rhetoric have to do with science, I thought, when I first heard about you?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right. That is a good question. Language, I think, is the mediator of human values and human expectations into our descriptions of nature. And if we want to understand how science reflects-the ways in which science is reflecting back to us particular expectations, particular values, we have to understand, we have to look at the language of science and see how that works, how the traffic between ordinary and technical language works as a carrier of, if you will, of ideology into science.

BILL MOYERS: And one of your chief contributions to this has been that gender plays a significant role in the language that scientists use to describe their work.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: It has played a very, very powerful role.

BILL MOYERS: And by gender you mean-you don’t mean sex, that-the given of nature, our biological difference, do you?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: No, I mean ideas of masculinity, ideas of femininity, that the language of sex and the language of gender have been extremely prominent in scientific discourse since the scientific revolution.

BILL MOYERS: And the dominant image has been?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Well, Henry Oldenburg said it very clearly. The purpose of the Royal Society was to establish a truly masculine philosophy. What did they mean by a truly masculine philosophy? Francis Bacon said, “Let us establish a chaste and lawful marriage between mind and nature.” The purpose of this marriage was to bind nature–bring nature and all her children to your service, bind her and make her your slave. That was the purpose of the-

BILL MOYERS: Mind/husband-nature/wife. And the purpose of science was to give the mind, the husband, mastery over nature?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right. That’s right. That the central metaphor for the scientific revolution was a marriage between the mind and nature that was modeled on a particular kind of marriage, a patriarchal marriage, the purpose of which was the domination of nature, the bride nature.

BILL MOYERS: And the Royal Society of London was founded in 1662, and didn’t admit a woman until 1945.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: [laughing] Yes.

BILL MOYERS: That’s letting the language determine your policy for a long time.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: But science had a particular commitment to the notion that there was something special about what they were doing, a special kind of thinking, a special kind of philosophy, a special kind of activity

BILL MOYERS: What was it?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: -that was, in the most general sense, was thinking like a man. It was thinking–it was the idea, it was committed to an ideal of objectivity that was from the beginning equated in a very curious way, the equation between objectivity and masculinity is a very curious equation. And in fact, it was that equation that motivated my entire inquiry. I wanted to understand what does that mean, to say “thinking objectively is thinking like a man”? What could it mean? Where did such an idea come from? And more important, what consequences has it had for science?

BILL MOYERS: There were so many examples of these first scientists, 300 years ago, founding modern science, who used this masculine language to assign masculine virtues to science. Your book is full of them. Which is your favorite?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: The best quote I can think of is Joseph Lanville. He wrote: “That Jove himself cannot be wise and in love may be understood in a larger sense than antiquity meant it. Where the will or passion hath a casting voice, the case of truth is desperate. The woman in us still prosecutes a deceit like that begun in the garden, and our understandings are wedded to an Eve as fatal as the mother of our miseries,” He concludes: “Truth has no chance when the affections wear the breeches and the female rules.”

BILL MOYERS: He was saying that we have to exclude feeling, empathy, intuition from the search for this–how the world works?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right. But he’s doing it by attaching them to the female, to the female voice. He’s saying both. Excluding female–we’re excluding affection, feeling, emotion, because it’s female, and we’re excluding females because they bring affection, they carry with them affection. By that equation, by that equation between emotion and female, he is excluding both in one move.

BILL MOYERS: Whatever their motives, the consequences have been significant for science, and for all of us, right?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right. Once you have shown how important, how prevalent these images of masculinity and femininity and domination were, the question remains, so what? Right? That’s really the question. And it is very clear-let me take the arguments that would be made. One person might say: “Yes, but that’s just in the 17th century. We’ve left that long since behind.” Well, the response to that is that we haven’t left it behind, it is still with us, and just in case-just as an example, I brought-I looked in my office this morning-

BILL MOYERS: A scientist who does her research.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: -right. I just pulled out, as an example, a quote from C.P. Snow from The Masters, in 1951. He’s describing the young scientist, Luke, who has just had a breakthrough. “It’s wonderful,” he burst out, “when you’ve got a problem that is really coming out. It’s like making love. Suddenly your unconscious takes control, and nothing can stop you. You know that you’re making old Mother Nature sit up and beg, and you say to her, ‘I’ve got you, you old bitch.’ You’ve got her just where you want her.”

BILL MOYERS: Hmm. That’s 300 years after the birth of-

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s 300, 300 years after.

BILL MOYERS: -so what happened was that this, as a consequence of that era, there was created this ideology, that mythology, that objectivity, reason and the mind are male attributes, and subjectivity, feeling and nature are female attributes. But what did that mean to the history of science?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s a question, I think, that really is the kind of question that faces all of the history and philosophy of science today, that we have learned — the hard way, I think — we have learned that the notion that science, whatever the motivations of the individual scientist, that science gives us a mirror, a reflection of nature, so that the laws of nature are in nature. We’ve learned that that picture of science just doesn’t work, that that’s a metaphor that has many functions, most of them political and social, that it really is not a very good description of the-of actually what happens, that actually, what happens is that the descriptions of nature, the theories of nature, are very complexly influenced by all kinds of social, cultural, psychological presuppositions.

BILL MOYERS: My friend at the University of Texas, a physicist, Steven Weinberg, talks about the universe as being one of overwhelming hostility. Now, do you feel the universe is hostile?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Well, how can the universe be hostile? I also quote Steven Weinberg in this same lecture. That’s another example. You know — Steven Weinberg is somebody I quoted in my book on gender and science, also, here’s a wonderful quote. He says: “The laws of nature are cold and indifferent. We didn’t want it to come out that way; it just came out that way.” Well, I think that there is a sense in which we did want it to come out that way, that there is a — that the language of hostility, of coldness, of indifference is a human language, and that that human language is written into our descriptions of nature, into what Weinberg calls the laws of nature.

BILL MOYERS: So this is what-

EVELYN FOX KELLER: It’s written into the very notion of laws of nature.

BILL MOYERS: -in what sense?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: A law of nature is a very curious construct. It is–whose law is the law of nature? Where does the idea of a law of nature come from? And what is the function of a law of nature? The law of nature, the concept of a law of nature comes originally from the civic realm. Well, first it comes from the realm of God; the laws of nature were originally God’s laws. Now, in contemporary science, we don’t believe in God’s laws, but still, the laws are–have an existence in our imagination, somehow above the phenomena, but the phenomena must conform to the laws of nature.

And this is very important when you think about-actually how physicists work, and how We develop our science. Because what in fact we do is, we-you know, Francis Bacon gave us all kinds of memorable expressions about how we have to “vex” nature, that nature only under the art of vexation will reveal her true nature. Well, we do vex nature, we vex nature quite a bit. We twist and conform–we make–it is no easy task to make nature conform to the laws of nature.

Let me tell you–as a scientist I can tell you that it is very hard work to get nature to conform to the laws of nature. Nature has to–the natural phenomena have to be structured and constrained and twisted and vexed to an astonishing degree, and then they will obey the laws of nature. So what is this telling us about the laws-what are laws of nature doing? What is their relation to other kinds of phenomena?

BILL MOYERS: So when Steven Weinberg says that the laws of nature are as impersonal and free of human value as the rules of arithmetic, you’re not objecting to the formula as much as you are to the very language, the very use of the word law to describe the operations of nature. Is that what I’m hearing?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: I’m objecting to both. I’m objecting to the language of laws and also objecting to the notion that they are as free of human value as the rules of arithmetic. I think it’s not true. I think there is nothing, it is a fantasy that any human product could be free of human values. And science is a human product. It’s a wonderful, glorious human product.

BILL MOYERS: But what about nature? Nature is not a human product. I mean, the natural world is not a human product.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Yeah, but science doesn’t give us nature. Science gives us a description of nature. Science gives us scientific theories of nature.

BILL MOYERS: And in the description of nature, we assign to that description our own subjective experience.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: There is no way of avoiding that. There is no way of–there is no magic lens that will enable us to look at–to see nature unclouded, with–uncolored by any values, hopes, fears, anxieties, desires, goals that we bring to it. There is no such magic lens. We interact with the world, we interact with the world in purposive ways, and it is very easy to see how values, whether they are values that come from an ideology of gender or ideology of class or ideology of-or commitment to militarism, it is relatively easy to see how the values will help guide the kind of question you want to ask.

BILL MOYERS: But you’re not arguing, are you, that if there were more women in science, we’d be studying acid rain instead of Star Wars? That’s-

EVELYN FOX KELLER: No, no.

BILL MOYERS: -more complicated.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: I wish that were true. I wish all we had to do was to bring more women in science, because we’re bringing more women into science now, and then it would change, you know. But no, it’s much more complicated, because these social, ideological patterns get imprinted onto the very structure of science. It’s a-you know, it has–there’s a momentum to the development of science. You don’t just come in and change it with–you come into science with a different language, first of all, you don’t come into science. I mean, that’s the first thing.

BILL MOYERS: You may came in, but leave fairly soon.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: You will leave very soon. So the first point is that in order to enter into this world, you have to become resocialized. So whether you are, you know, you may have had a different language or a different set of expectations or a different set of interests because you were socialized’ as a woman or because you were socialized as, you know, working-class, a black, or whether you were socialized as-you grew up in Japan or China. It doesn’t matter. When you enter into the world of science, if you want to be a member of this world, you have to learn its language. You have to learn the language of that world. So that’s the first point.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: And the second point is that the language and the goals and the endeavor have a dynamic of its own. If it is the case, as I believe, if it is the case that the language of science shapes the actual content of science, what it-how we employ this wonderful, this wonderful human endeavor, this wonderful human talent, then I think that is far more important in the question of women and science. The question of women and science is important; I don’t want to say it’s not important.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: But there are more–given the tremendous role that science plays in the world we live in, the idea that science could be redirected, that there could be changes in the way in which science is done and the way in which it moves, the direction in which it moves, that seems to me of even greater importance. That’s my principal argument. And my principal case, my strongest case for that argument, is the story of Barbara McClintock. I titled my biography of McClintock A Feeling for the Organism–it wasn’t for my agenda that I chose that title. The title was hers. It’s her deepest belief that you cannot do good research without a feeling for the organism. A feeling for the organism was her refrain.

BILL MOYERS: But what do you mean, Dr.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: “a feeling for the organism?”

EVELYN FOX KELLER: I mean, the ability to identify with the subject of study, to feel kinship with the subject that you are studying, instead of feeling engaged in a battle, in a struggle, in a state of opposition.

BILL MOYERS: And you really feel that’s primarily a female mode of approaching science?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: No. I believe that it’s been called a female mode of approaching science. I believe it is a human virtue, a human talent. We’re talking about empathy, the capacity for empathy. I don’t think that women have a corner on the market of empathy. I think that all of us are capable of empathy, although I do think that it’s not a talent that is very well developed in many men, because of the ways in which they’re raised. But it is precisely because it has been identified as a feminine virtue, as a feminine talent, that it has been excluded from science.

BILL MOYERS: Can you give me some specific examples? I mean, I can think of some very obvious ones. I think of the first atomic bomb was called “Fat Boy,” and it was delivered from the womb of a bomber named “Enola Gay,” a female delivering a weapon of destruction. But that’s probably too extreme an example for you.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Well, isn’t it extraordinary–that metaphor. I mean, what do you make of it? That was a metaphor that really, really plagued me.

BILL MOYERS: I make of it that men were at war, and men were the scientists who invented the atomic bomb, and they gave it the name they would give something if they were playing in a schoolyard.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Yes, except that the idea of the metaphor of bomb as baby is to me more than something a kid would do in a schoolyard. I mean, that carries, for me, far more import.

BILL MOYERS: And as you pointed out, the bombs with the thrust are called boy babies, and the bombs that were duds were called girl babies.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right, that’s right. That’s right.

BILL MOYERS: It isn’t just the 20th century, though, is it, Dr.

EVELYN FOX KELLER:? I mean, I think of Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein, carrying on that–depicting that story of the mad scientist down in his basement pursuing the secret of life, discovering the secret of life.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right.

BILL MOYERS: And then turning the secret of life into something monstrous.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: The difference, of course, is that that was a story.

BILL MOYERS: It was a story, but stories get at meanings. And here’s a–I’ve often wondered if this was a woman’s view of science, Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein as a parable about how a woman, or perhaps many women, saw science, pursuing perfection and finding instead the monster that destroys the creator.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Except that that’s a story, a fantasy that has been embraced by many men. I mean, that story, the popularity of that story, Mary Shelley wrote it, but who reads it? Who reads the story of Frankenstein? That myth, that idea, that men, in seeking the secret of life, in seeking the power to create life without women, that’s really what that story is about. It’s the-that, along with many other stories. It’s about the co-optation of the procreative function by men. Itís a story of dispensing with female procreativity. That’s what that story is about. And what does it result in? It results in a monster–not the secret of life, but a monster who becomes the secret of death. It becomes an agent of destruction. That theme is with us everywhere, that theme that-and that was my interest in the metaphor of bombs as babies, that the idea that when men succeed in discovering the secret of life, in taking it in their hands, they will produce babies that will be agents of destruction. They will be the instruments of death. That is a cultural myth. That’s a cultural motif, and not just our own. It’s a motif that you find in many, many cultures. That’s a very archetypal story. It isn’t only Mary Shelley’s story. But stories are very powerful, and they speak very deeply to our deepest anxieties, our deepest desires. Still, there’s a difference between a story and the actual construction, technological structure. And I think these stories have had a lot to do-they tell us a lot about the motivation that has led us to the moment in time when we can all but create life out of a test tube. We are engaged in this activity, in this interaction with nature, if you will, with natural phenomena. We are seeking knowledge. For what? To what end? Knowledge-we are always we are very purposive creatures. Some people will say-I think McClintock would say, many other people would say we are just in it for the understanding, for the sheer understanding. And that’s very beautiful, and it’s very nice, and I can really resonate with that. But understanding always has consequences. For example, take the human genome project. The purpose of the human genome project is to give us a complete readout of the human genome so that–it’s not just for knowledge, why you know, why do we want a complete readout of the human genome? Why not a readout of all the molecules that make up our solar system? Why do we want the human genome? Well, we-it has, it’s not just for understanding. It has a purpose. We think it will give us better control over the genetic constitution of the human race. People say, “Well, it will help us cure disease.” I think-I don’t believe it. I mean, not many people do believe it.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: The real purpose of the human genome project is to gain–is to fulfill a vision of control over the future course of evolution. I mean, that’s putting it very baldly, but that really was the vision that inspired the early development of classical genetics and molecular genetics. The idea was to get the future course of human evolution in one’s hand, and that’s a very extraordinary vision, that it speaks to a kind of control, a degree of control that one would not think of having in relation to a subject that one had a more erotic, more interactive, more reciprocal feeling–engagement with. That is control in the sense of-in the Baconian sense of domination, that nature is there to be steered, to be directed, to be-now who are we to steer and direct this-the future course of evolution?

BILL MOYERS: It’s very biblical, you know, men interpreting their mission from God to dominate the Earth.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: That’s right, it is biblical. It is exactly biblical. And scientists have inherited that mantle, that we don’t need God anymore
because we are doing it.

BILL MOYERS: But as a biologist, are you not curious about what will be learned from the human genome project?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Of course I’m curious. I think that–you know, I have no doubt that it’ll be tremendously interesting and tremendously useful. But it will not–first, I do not think it will fulfill the fantasy. I do not think you can control the course of evolution by getting your hands on the genes, because I don’t think the genes are where everything is at.

BILL MOYERS: The public at large-there are people in the general public who think of this project as giving us the power to create the perfect human being, you know, that ultimately, down the road we’ll be able to connect way back in the genetic chain the potential for a disorder in that child that’s emerging so that we’ll avoid the crippling disease.

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Right. It is the desire for perfection, there’s no doubt about it.

BILL MOYERS: But that’s driven us for how many centuries now?

EVELYN FOX KELLER: Oh, many. And very productively, you might say. But also dangerously. I mean, that–in the 20th century, we can’t speak–any longer speak of the glories of science as an unmixed blessing. And it’s cost us and it endangers us, and it also empowers us. And the question is whether we can harness this resource or we can redeploy this wonderful creative resource in ways that would be more productive for the future survival and well-being of humankind.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] From her home in Berkeley, California, this has been a conversation with Evelyn Fox Keller, I’m Bill Moyers.

This transcript was entered on March 27, 2015.

FROM THE SHOW

Evelyn Fox Keller: The Gendered Language of Science

Cross-posted for educational purposes: http://billmoyers.com/content/evelyn-fox-keller/

Job Listing: Wild Horse & Burro Monitoring Technician

Nevada mustang © Carl Mrozek

Nevada mustang © Carl Mrozek

The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management Mount Lewis Field Office, is recruiting one rangeland ecologist, wildlife biologist, or botanist to conduct upland monitoring across the public lands. The Monitoring Technician will work cooperatively as part of a multi-disciplinary rangeland monitoring team. The overall objective is to collect and compile monitoring data within Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas including but not limited to utilization, nested frequency, rangeland health indicators, water availability/condition, and wild horse or burro body condition. The Monitoring Technician may also be required to work as part of other monitoring teams collecting riparian or wildlife data or vegetation data for fire rehabilitation monitoring.

General duties include planning for and completing monitoring within Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas working either alone or in cooperation with the Mount Lewis Field Office Wild Horse and Burro Specialist or other staff member, including other Monitoring Technicians. Monitoring will require adherence to Bureau of Land Management Technical References, use of digital cameras, and detailed documentation of field observations. The incumbent will be responsible for compilation of data, labeling digital photos and analyzing and display of data using GIS (ArcMap). GBI is seeking an associate to fill the monitoring technician position that will perform the following duties:

Wild Horse and Burro Monitoring – The Monitoring Technician will be responsible for documenting wild horse and burro body condition on the range under established BLM Protocol (Henneke Condition Scoring). The monitoring will also involve the documentation of animal presence and movement patterns, and habitat quality and quantity including rangeland health indicators and water availability/condition. The Technician may assist with collecting data for wild horse and burro NEPA documentation and assisting with gathers.
Plant Identification – plant and plant community identification, including the ability to use vegetation identification keys to properly identify upland range plants common throughout the Great Basin. Responsible for the identification of individual plants, describing existing and potential plant communities using soil survey and ecological site description information.
Soil Identification – Has exposure to identification of soils, and is able to use of soil surveys in order to determine soils grouped into the site, identify landscape and soil factors, and determine existing or potential erosional factors. This information would be utilized to aid in determining site potential and evaluation of current conditions.
Upland Monitoring Studies – Utilizing plant and soil identification skills, the Monitoring Technician will be responsible for conducting upland monitoring studies under established BLM protocol. Monitoring could include but is not limited to Utilization, Use Pattern Mapping, Ecological Site Inventory, Cover and Density techniques.
Location: Battle Mountain, NV is located ~220 miles east of Reno, NV and ~300 west of Salt Lake City, UT along Interstate 80. Battle Mountain and the surrounding area (pop. ~4,000) is predominantly rural; situated in the high desert (~4,500 ft. elevation) where ranching/mining are the local economic drivers. The Mount Lewis Field Office within the Battle Mountain District Office is responsible for managing approximately 4.5 million acres of public land typically of basin-and-range topography with Great Basin Desert/sage brush steppe ecotype.

Compensation & Timeline:

Rate of Pay – $16.00/hour
Medical benefits (health and dental)
Start Date: May 18, 2015 (or upon availability) – November 20, 2015, with potential for extension pending funding and a favorable performance review
Full time, 40 hours per week
Qualifications:

Applicants should have a combination of educational and field experience related to the position of interest (degree in Rangeland Management/Sciences, Wildlife, Ecology, Botany or other similar degree), including an understanding of basic principles related to the fields of botany, soil science, and/or livestock science; knowledge of Great Basin ecology, preferable; knowledge and ability to use various monitoring techniques to determine range vegetation and animal condition (e.g. utilization, nested frequency, rangeland health indicators, water availability/condition, wild horse body condition); knowledge and ability to identify rangeland vegetation and the functional aspects of rangeland ecology, riparian condition; and livestock and equine health); experience working with ArcGIS, desirable (includes ability to analyze and display data using ArcMap); ability to work independently and within a team environment; applicant should have good organizational skills; ability to navigate and collect data using handheld GPS units, required; ability to use a compass and read a topographical map; possess a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license and ability to operate a 4WD vehicle on- and off-road; ability to communicate effectively, both written and orally, with a diverse audience; be physically fit to work outdoors, carry personal and field equipment, and withstand the rigors of the Great Basin in the summer, fall and/or early winter.

Successful applicant(s) must complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) or submit paperwork to BLM human resources indicating an active and fully adjudicated BI has already been completed prior to beginning position.

How to Apply: Qualified and interested applicants should forward a cover letter, their résumé, and a list of three professional references to Amy Gladding, GBI HR Coordinator, at agladding@thegreatbasininstitute.org. Please include where you found this position posted. Incomplete applications will not be considered. No phone inquiries, please.

We conform to all the laws, statutes, and regulations concerning equal employment opportunities and affirmative action. We strongly encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply to all of our job openings. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, age, disability status, Genetic Information & Testing, Family & Medical Leave, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We prohibit Retaliation against individuals who bring forth any complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination.

Cross-posted from The Great Basin Institute: http://www.thegreatbasininstitute.org/employment/research-associates-employment/wild-horse-burro-monitoring-technician/

Bogus Science and Profiteering Stampeding Their Way into Wild Horse Country

 

PM Jaime Jackson

A Review of Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward (2013)

by Jaime Jackson, AANHCP Executive Director

I’ve reviewed the entire 300+ page National Academy of Sciences report—clearly a major undertaking by all the scientists involved and a bit of a “heavy” read—including its academic findings and recommendations (“A Way Forward”) which are, in the end, woefully predictable. Thinking about it, however, the scientists who created the report really had no choice, given the limits of the Wild, Free-roaming and Burro Act itself, if we are to accept that, but to work within its boundaries and the conundrum set upon them by that law’s specious political and land management premise and somehow respond to the task put upon them by the BLM. Clearer and more honest minds might have said, “I want no part of such a nasty, skewed project.” I also gleaned the biographies of each scientist to see what kind of understanding they would bring to the table regarding horse care based on their education and training, and if they seem like “clear minded” thinkers who could think outside the box in the best interest of any horse. On that note alone, wild horses are in trouble.

Because the “limits” put upon the NAS committee by the wild horse law are what they are, and because these are basically mainstream scientists drawn out of academia, it is entirely logical that they would recommend regulating wild horse and burro populations, in their words, “with science”. But what kind of science, one might ask? Well, the fact is, it’s the same brand of science, and scien- tific minds in today’s academia, that has failed the domesticated horse. We’re talking about scientists who serve the special interests of government and its lobbyists, the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries, and so forth, that have given us drugs and feeds and management practices that cause laminitis and other metabolic breakdowns of the horse. Indeed, it is all profitable for the very community that has created this “science based” disaster for horses. I’m not just spewing words here without foundation, horses truly suffer for it, and it is this bad science and corresponding harmful equine management practices that have given birth to and fueled the internationally burgeoning NHC movement. That is a fact—and it is a fact also that these scientists, and the special interests that fund them, refuse to acknowledge NHC because what we do and advocate for gets directly to the bottom of ethics and profiteering and inbred academic close-mindedness.

The authors of this NAS report have very skillfully woven together what is genuinely good sci- ence with the bad, while ignoring other good science altogether—all to the end of supporting the bogus proposition that their brand of “science” favors a lasting solution for wild horse management. If one reads their report carefully, however, one can sense the palpable excitement and impatience behind their drug-based recommendations. For example, they urge the BLM to step up an accurate numbers count in the HMAs (which, arguably, given that agency’s past, can never be trusted) because, they suggest, the quantities of PZP and other pharmaceutical agents needed to cleanse wild horse country will surely be vastly greater than what was used in their scientifically con- taminated control study done to the Assateague ponies of the U.S. east coast (cited in their re- port). Assateague was not good science, anymore than what has happened to those horses long before the government’s study. It catered to the drug industry and the same eugenics science that the U.S. and British governments sanctioned and used against people during the greater part of the 20th century (up to the 1960s and 70s), and that was astutely “borrowed” from by Nazi Germany for its extermination campaigns to “rid the world of undesirables”.

Just as tactfully, and just as predictably, the NAS authors stated that predation behavior was not viable, ignoring Drs. Turner and Morrow’s mountain lion predations studies referenced in my books, The Natural Horse and Paddock Paradise, and which proved the viability of natural predation on wild horse herds. Of course, the reason that natural mountain lion and wolf predation won’t work, and which the NAS report fails to explain, is because BLM management practices have provided for their extermination and/or removal under welfare ranching pressure that deflects the truth of what’s happening within their grandfathered land leases born of the Taylor Grazing Act and the BLM’s inception.

I could easily go on, and on, and on, nit picking the massive tangled NAS report, but would just be wasting my time and yours with the report’s self-serving “word salad”. The fact is, there is no genuine solution in their report that respects the natural integrity of America’s wild, free- roaming horses. And there is no debating the authors of the report either, for they are completely sold out to the very special interests who have never seen value in our wild horses. In fact, it is the science community that has recently aided and abetted the government in reclassifying wild horses legally as “pests” so that the pesticide PZP can be used on them for birth control purposes. You see, the NAS report is no surprise, as its convoluted “commandments” have been systematically orchestrated and colluded with by just about everyone in sight, including—and I am sad to say—nearly every purported “wild horse protection” group and sanctuary in the United States. Many of these groups stand to “gain” from this collusion, including the HSUS that co-owns patent rights to PZP.

Tax payers can expect to pay more, not less, as they watch their wild horse herds deteriorate genetically under the government’s Nazification of the HMAs through racism-based eugenics. This is because there is profit motive at its foundation. In fact, the report cautions that “public confidence” and trust will be an important part of the “master solution”. Inundating tax payers with scientific “word salad” that few can understand, is understood. Clearly, the public does not understand the underlying issues, except what they hear in the news. From that vantage point, this does not bode well for our wild horses.

What is needed is a new vision and a new law for genuine wild horse preservation. The current law is bankrupt and offers no real protection, let alone preservation. Science, industry and the big government have joined claws and are at war with Natural Selection, because they are losing—and they know it. And, it is for this reason, that Science is now being called upon to step up the delusion that the war on nature can and will be won. Like the war on cancer, no such victory is forthcoming. But because the war is profit driven, the war is welcome. Read the NAS report with a critical eye, and you will see this. In the end, HMAs will become zoos with GMO wild horses. Like those we see in the wild horse protectionist’s “sanctuaries”: sad, pathetic parodies of real wild horses. Is this what the public envisioned when it stood behind the original wild horse protection law? Of course not. but, here today, government and science and industry (and its camp following ersatz wild horse protectionists begging for crumbs), all hand in hand, are going to exploit wild horses and unwitting taxpayers for what they can—until, at long last, nature has proven them wrong, and the deceptive game is exposed for all to see. The Assateague model, which they will cite and hold up, is a broken one. But they are counting on an uninformed public to buy into it. Those of us in the NHC movement know better and can refute it with facts by simply looking at the hooves of those horses, if not the non-adaptative environment they are squeezed into be- cause of an historical fluke. Looking through the bios of the NAS committee members, I seriously doubt that any of them would have a clue of what I’m talking about.

The Obama Administration, as much of the voting public on both sides of the aisle have come to realize, is a compromised, “sold out to big industry” travesty that is going to stand be- hind the eugenics science and land grab scheme fully intended to bilk the taxpayer and pad the pockets of profiteers who, quite frankly, don’t give a damn about wild horses. That includes Sally Jewell, Obama’s hand-picked clone of Ken Salazar to head the Department of the Interior (BLM’s overseer), who is no friend of the wild horse or any horse. She came right out of big banking and the oil industry. Check out her bio on her DOI government website. She will go right along with “big science” because that is where the money is and because, the fact is (and it is not rocket science to figure it out), it will lead to the decimation of wild horse herds. James Kleinert’s film “Wild Horses and Renegades” draws a direct line between Jewell, “wild horse pests” and their extermination, and the land grab now going on in BLM country by big industries such as BP and backed by the Obama Administration.

Let me put it in simple terms — it’s just a matter of time before they’re shoeing wild horses in the HMAs! If you don’t want that, support the AANHCP’s vision for genuine, lasting wild horse protection and taxpayer relief. See it here: http://www.aanhcp.net/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=218&Itemid=85

NAS report: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php? booksearch=1&term=1&record_id=13511&Search+This+Book.x=27&Search+This+Book. y=15

NAS committee members: http://dels.nap.edu/Committee/committee-membership/DELS-BANR-10-05

Jaime Jackson’s piece in PDF: PM Jamie Jackson Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program

Jaime Jackson bio and info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Jackson

Reprinted from the June 7, 2013 publication here at www.ProtectMustangs.org

PZP EPA Sterilisant

PZP advocates put wild horses at risk of sterilization after roundup

Stop the Roundups!

Protect Mustangs calls for a freeze on roundups for scientific reevaluation

Tonopah, NV (October 31, 2014)–The Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office is rounding up about 120 wild horses from within the Reveille Allotment and Herd Management Area (HMA) located approximately 50 miles east of Tonopah, NV to remove alleged excess wild horses on 600,000 acres of public land.

“The BLM is wiping out America’s wild horses and taxpayers are paying for the abuse,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We need to stop the roundups and protect our native wild horses.”

The roundup will stampede native wild horse families by helicopter over a fragile ecosystem and possible sage grouse habitat in the Great Basin Desert. Often wild horses are injured and die in roundups. The treacherous roundup is paid for with tax dollars, and began October 30, 2014. Most herds need to be rounded up before given PZP.

After the roundup, approximately 70 wild horses will be permanently removed, 60 wild horses will be sent to holding facilities in Ridgecrest, California and about 10 horses will be offered for adoption after the roundup in Tonopah, NV on November 8. The remaining 50 wild horses will be released back into the HMA for a post roundup population of 98 wild horses, putting the survivors at risk. The minimum number for genetic variability is 150 wild horses.

Often the BLM returns wild horses with conformation defects to the range, instead of placing them in adoptive homes or long-term holding where they will not breed. Apparently the agency doesn’t realize that by returning wild horses with defects they will ruin the breeding pool. The BLM claims mares selected to maintain herd characteristics will be released back to the HMA. The public must watchdog the agency to ensure wild horses with defects are pulled from the breeding pool and rehomed. Euthanizing them is not an option supported by the American public.

The informed public is outraged over an EPA approved restricted use pesticide called PZP, made from pigs ovaries, to be used on native wild horses. PZP advocates campaign rigorously to treat mares with the Porcine Zona Pellucidae (PZP-22) in order to temporarily sterilize mares. PZP advocates hail the use of PZP in spite of the fact that wild horses are underpopulated on millions of acres of public land.

Experimental research on ovary damage in mares given the immunocontraceptive PZP is used to hone the drug for eventual human use. This could be where the “follow the money” piece fits in. Wild horse advocates are furious America’s herds are being used as lab rats. Science has proven the drug sterilizes wild horses after multiple use. PZP advocates are pushing for BLM to manage wild horses “in the wild” using these risky drugs.

The devastation of wild horses in the Reveille Allotment appears to be subject to a 1987 District Court Order and two orders issued by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) in 2001 and 2002, requiring BLM conduct an annual inventory of wild horses in the Reveille Allotment and initiate a roundup to remove alleged excess native horses from the Allotment when the inventory shows that population numbers exceed the out of date Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 138 horses.

Current AML does not represent healthy herd populations and lacks scientific merit. AML must be updated to ensure healthy herds remain on public land. The herd census must never fall below 150 wild horses to maintain genetic variability.

The current estimated population, based on previous inventory flights is 168 wild horses, according to BLM. This is the low end of the genetic viability scale. The orders need to be challenged based on scientific reevaluation of wild horses benefiting the ecosystem as a native species, livestock causing range damage and the minimum number of wild horses needed for genetic variability.

“We must ensure native wild horses can survive upcoming environmental changes,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “The minimum population for a genetically variable herd is 150. Why are PZP advocates and the BLM allowing wild horse herds to fall below safe numbers?”

According to a press release from National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released June 5, 2013, “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.

The NAS report states there is “no evidence” of overpopulation. Only tobacco science and spin backs up BLM’s population claim to justify roundups and fertility control/sterilizations. PZP advocates lobbied NAS to have fertility control recommended even though the herds are underpopulated.

Roundup activities within the Reveille HMA were analyzed in the 2010 Reveille HMA Wild Horse Gather Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) and the 2014 Reveille Wild Horse Gather Determination of NEPA Adequacy (DNA). The EA, DNA, and Decision Record can be accessed on the Reveille Wild Horse Gather website: http://on.doi.gov/10qLBlh.

Members of the public are encouraged to witness the helicopter stampede and document America’s icons losing their freedom to spread awareness that cruel roundups must stop. Observation protocols and visitor information are available at http://on.doi.gov/1xAMeTp. The BLM will post updates, photos and other information about the roundup on the Reveille website and on the hotline at 775-861-6700 throughout the course of the roundup.

The BLM is wiping out wild horses for the extractive industry and New Energy Frontier in the West. The agency 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 focuses on their mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

BLM’s roundups disturb the thriving natural ecological balance by disturbing habitat dynamics. This crime against nature causes abnormally high birthrate and puts native wild horses at risk of inbreeding.

“We are calling for an immediate freeze on roundups and removals for scientific reevaluation,” states Novak. “Right now native wild horses are at risk of being ruined by bad policy.”

Protect Mustangs is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of native and wild horses. The group is against using PZP in the wild. Today most wild herds are threatened with low numbers and a lack of genetic variability. Using PZP in a sanctuary setting where acreage is limited is a different situation. Wild horses must not be managed in the wild as if they were a zoo exhibit.

# # #

Links of interest™:

Info on PZP sterilizing mares: The Effects of Porcine Zona Pellucida Immunocontraception on Health and Behavior of Feral Horses (Equus caballus), Princeton http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp01vt150j42p

Princeton study on the pros and cons of adoption and immunocontraception: http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/IEC.Rubenstein.pdf Not sure about EWA’s position on PZP now they might have embraced it like some others have.

Jamie Jackson’s piece on PZP: http://protectmustangs.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PM-Jamie-Jackson-Using_Science_to_Improve_the_BLM_Wild_Horse_and_Burro_Program.pdf

Management of Wild Horses with Porcinezona Pellucida Pellucide: History, Consequences and Future Strategies, Cassandra M.V. Nuñez, Princeton: http://bit.ly/1rJywKl

Restricted use pesticide info: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-de info: Jan-12.pdf

Injection-Site Reactions in Wild Horses (Equus caballus) Receiving an Immunocontraceptive Vaccine, By James E. Roelle and Jason I. Ransom, http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2009/5038/

Pilot project to treat wild horses in Fish Springs communityhttp://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/april/blm_approves_pilot.html

and http://www.wildhorsepreservation.org/media/pzp-pilot-project-treat-wild-horses-fish-springs-community

BLM Nevada Advisory Council Endorses Fertility Control Plan (Oct. 20, 2014) http://www.returntofreedom.org/blm-nevada-advisory-council-endorses-fertility-control-plan-october20-2014/

BLM partners with The Cloud Foundation in the Pryorshttp://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/mt/main_story.Par.31432.File.dat/TopStoryHorse.pdf

Why end natural selection in the Pryors? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=4941

Are wild horses at risk of being sterilized due to an advocacy campaign? http://protectmustangs.org/?p=6356

Ecologist Craig Downer speaks out against using PZP in the Pryorshttp://protectmustangs.org/?p=4178

Horse contraceptive study raises concerns  Horsetalk, NZ: http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2010/10/220.shtml#ixzz3Hti8ioCv

Appeal to stop the wild horse wipe outhttp://protectmustangs.org/?p=6527

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America by Craig Downer PhD candidate: http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo.aspx?journalid=118&doi=10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12

Wild Horse Conspiracy by Craig Downer:  www.amazon.com/dp/1461068983

Conformation defectshttp://www.thehorse.com/articles/10115/conformation-in-horses

Genetic viabilityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_viability

Genetic variabilityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_variability

J. Kirkpatrick team get $100K for wild horse fertility control drug PZPhttp://tuesdayshorse.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/jay-kirkpatrick-team-get-100k-for-wild-horse-fertility-control-drug-pzp/

Making PZP at The Science and Conservation Centerhttp://www.sccpzp.org

Native wild horseshttp://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562

Petition for shelter and shade for captive wild horses and burroshttp://www.change.org/p/bring-emergency-shelter-and-shade-to-captive-wild-horses-and-burros

Petition for 10 year moratorium on wild horse roundups for recovery and studieshttps://www.change.org/p/sally-jewell-urgent-grant-a-10-year-moratorium-on-wild-horse-roundups-for-recovery-and-studies

Petition to defund and stop the wild horse roundupshttp://www.change.org/p/defund-and-stop-the-wild-horse-burro-roundups

Join the Walking Billboard Campaign to STOP THE ROUNDUPS in Nevadahttps://www.booster.com/protect-mustangs-nevada

Sample of viral news clippings: https://newsle.com/AnneNovak

Anne Novak on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheAnneNovak

Protect Mustangs on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProtectMustangs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMustangs

www.ProtectMustangs.org

Science proves PZP is sterilizing wild horses

The truth

The Effects of Porcine Zona Pellucida Immunocontraception on Health and Behavior of Feral Horses (Equus caballus)

Authors: Knight, Colleen M.
Advisors: Rubenstein, Daniel I.
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The horse population on Shackleford Banks, a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, has been controlled using a program of porcine zona pellucida immunocontraception since 2000. Prior studies found no negative physiological effects of the immunization, but suggested some adverse effects on behavior such as increased harem switching and extended reproductive season. Although no mares were immunized in the year of study (2013), we examined the effects of past contraception and foaling on health and behavior of the mares in an attempt to better understand its impacts on both the individual and the population. Current lactation was found to be the best predictor of health and behavior: lactating mares were in worse physical condition, spent more time grazing, and switched harems fewer times. Mares that had never foaled also were in better physical condition than mares that had foaled in the past, but did not differ in behavioral measures. There were indications that the PZP treatment has had effects other than preventing pregnancy: an increased number of years since immunization was correlated with better body condition and fewer harem switches, independent of lactation. Contraception treatment intensity or timing did not have any significant adverse effects on health and behavior on its own. However, three or more consecutive years of treatment or administration of the first dose before sexual maturity may have triggered infertility in some mares. Inducing sterility, while relieving the mares from the energetic costs of lactation and reducing the stress from harem switching, may have unintended consequences on population dynamics by increasing longevity and eliminating the mares’ ability to contribute genetically.

Read more here: http://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/handle/88435/dsp01vt150j42p

Sign and share the urgent petition: Grant a 10-year moratorium on wild horse roundups for recovery and studies

PZP is an EPA approved restricted use pesticide and Protect Mustangs is against using it on wild mares especially when there is an underpopulation problem on public land despite government spin. The truth is most wild herds are being threatened with low numbers and a lack of genetic variability.

Native wild horses are not pests ~ Stop managing them to extinction

Dear Friends of Wild Horses and Burros

Protect Mustangs is a national nonprofit organization making grassroots count. Our mission is to protect and preserve native and wild horses. Besides engaging mostly in outreach and education about the wild horse crisis, we advocate for holistic land management, self-sustaining herds and reserve design. We are calling for a 10 year moratorium on roundups for the herds to recover from the roundups and for studies to form good management plans. Right now there are no accurate census counts on the range so we don’t even have a clear picture of the few wild horses left living in freedom.

Our members don’t see an overpopulation or “excess” of wild horses on public land, even if the population is over BLM’s biased appropriate management level (AML). Livestock outnumbers wild horses more than 50 to 1 on the range. Yet wild horses are always scapegoated for damage by special interest groups.

We are deeply concerned that the use of FDA approved “restricted use pesticides” such as PZP–an immunocontraceptive made from pig ovaries that people call birth control–sterilizes mares after multiple uses and should never be used on nonviable herds, those herds with less than 150 wild horses. Genetic diversity is essential for survival and using PZP surely will curtail that. There is one herd in Nevada currently being treated by wild horse advocates that seems to have less than 50 wild horses. This worried us.

Wild horses are a native species and not pests. Sadly there are factions who are treating wild horses as individuals and ignoring the herd element and other factions treating wild horses as invasive pests.

Despite decades of experimental research on wild mares, the FDA would not approve PZP as safe. Eventually the EPA approved it as a restricted use pesticide. You can see the pesticide fact sheet here: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf

How can drugging mares with restricted use pesticides be honoring their freedom? Most of the time the BLM will need to round them up to dart them anyway. You can hear the BLM official speak about that here: http://www.thespectrum.com/videos/news/local/cedar-city/2014/08/06/13698391/

We are also concerned PZP and other sterilants affect behavior and that mares will be subjected to live in unnatural situations.

Ruining survival of the fittest and natural selection is our biggest concern if man chooses who breeds and how many foals are born. The herds must adapt to upcoming environmental and climate changes in order to survive, therefore genetic variability is essential at this pivotal time.

You can read about PZP on these various posts: http://protectmustangs.org/?s=PZP+&submit=Search

Here you can read about Gonacon on these posts: http://protectmustangs.org/?s=gonacon&submit=Search

This is also a good post to read about the ISPMB and Princeton study that shows wild horse herds with functional social structures contribute to low herd growth compared to BLM managed herds: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=6057

You can search other topics you might have questions about in our search bar too: http://protectmustangs.org

We are 100% volunteer and are working to help the wild horses without any conflict of interest as far as we can tell. We do not receive funding from influencers, corporations or organizations connected with the drug PZP, the pharmaceutical industry, Big Oil and Gas or other energy, ranching and mining sources. That’s why your donations are so important.

Our vision is to speak out for the voiceless, stop the BLM from being cruel to wild horses and work towards a solution for healthy management keeping wild horses on the range based on good science. We have a petition out for the 10 year moratorium on all roundups. Please sign and share it here: http://www.change.org/petitions/sally-jewell-urgent-grant-a-10-year-moratorium-on-wild-horse-roundups-for-recovery-and-studies

Thank you for reaching out to us. It’s important to do the research and find the answer for yourself so you can feel good about taking action to help save the last of the wild horses and burros.

We are grateful you care so deeply about saving America’s wild ones.

Many blessings,
Anne

 

Anne Novak
Executive Director
Protect Mustangs
San Francisco, California

Read about native wild horses: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=562

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheAnneNovak
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectMustangs
In the news: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=218

www.ProtectMustangs.org
Protect Mustangs is a national nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.

 

 

PZP, the restricted use pesticide for wild horses, is problematic

 

Photo credit: Eduardo Amorim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Eduardo Amorim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Immunocontraception in Wild Horses (Equus caballus) Extends Reproductive Cycling Beyond the Normal Breeding Season

by Cassandra M. V. Nuñez, James S. Adelman, Daniel I. Rubenstein

Background

Although the physiological effects of immunocontraceptive treatment with porcine zona pellucida (PZP) have been well studied, little is known about PZP’s effects on the scheduling of reproductive cycling. Recent behavioral research has suggested that recipients of PZP extend the receptive breeding period into what is normally the non-breeding season.

Methodology/Principal Findings

To determine if this is the case, we compiled foaling data from wild horses (Equus caballus) living on Shackleford Banks, North Carolina for 4 years pre- and 8 years post-contraception management with PZP (pre-contraception, n = 65 births from 45 mares; post-contraception, n = 97 births from 46 mares). Gestation lasts approximately 11–12 months in wild horses, placing conception at approximately 11.5 months prior to birth. Since the contraception program began in January 2000, foaling has occurred over a significantly broader range than it had before the contraception program. Foaling in PZP recipients (n = 45 births from 27 mares) has consistently occurred over a broader range than has foaling in non-recipients (n = 52 births from 19 mares). In addition, current recipients of PZP foaled later in the year than did prior recipient and non-recipient mares. Females receiving more consecutive PZP applications gave birth later in the season than did females receiving fewer applications. Finally, the efficacy of PZP declined with increasing consecutive applications before reaching 100% after five consecutive applications.

Conclusions/Significance

For a gregarious species such as the horse, the extension of reproductive cycling into the fall months has important social consequences, including decreased group stability and the extension of male reproductive behavior. In addition, reproductive cycling into the fall months could have long-term effects on foal survivorship. Managers should consider these factors before enacting immunocontraceptive programs in new populations. We suggest minor alterations to management strategies to help alleviate such unintended effects in new populations.

Read the complete article here:  http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013635

Posted for educational purposes only