For immediate release
Protect Mustangs opposes pesticides for indigenous horses and calls for change
WASHINGTON (May 11, 2012)—Protect Mustangs, a San Francisco Bay Area-based wild horse preservation group, opposes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizing indigenous wild horses as “pests”. This classification would allow the EPA to approve the restricted-use pesticide, ZonaStat-H, for use on wild horses for birth control. Protect Mustangs maintains there is no scientific proof that wild horses and burros are overpopulated on the more than 26 million acres of public land and states that science proves wild equids heal the land—reversing damage and desertification. Today Protect Mustangs has asked the EPA to retract their wrongful categorization and halt the use of the drug. Besides the environmental hazards of using ZonaStat-H, the group is concerned the potentially dangerous pesticide could permanently sterilize and lead to the wild horse and burro’s eventual demise in the West.
After decades of research, ZonaStat-H, the EPA registered name for PZP-22 (porcine zona pellucida), has not been approved for human use. China has been testing PZP for years but research shows damage to the ovaries so the drug remains in the test phase. Protect Mustangs is concerned the pesticide will permanently sterilize America’s indigenous wild horses after multiple use or overdosing, and that the use of PZP-22, GonaCon, SpayVac and other immunocontraceptives are risky.
“Americans across the country love wild horses,” explains Anne Novak executive director of Protect Mustangs. “We are outraged that the EPA would call our national icons ‘pests’ to push through an experimental contraceptive under a pesticide program!”
Under provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the EPA can consider nonhuman animals to be pests if they harm human or environmental health.
“This is an example of the government ignoring good science that proves wild horses heal the environment and create biodiversity at virtually no cost to the taxpayer, when left out on the range,” says Novak. “Vermin don’t repair the environment and reduce global warming but wild horses can.”
Two Princeton studies prove wild herds repair the land as seen in Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies in search for food
The first study, “Facilitation Between Bovids and Equids on an African Savanna,” was published in Evolutionary Ecology Research in August 2011, and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Keller Family Trust and Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
The second study, “African Wild Ungulates Compete With or Facilitate Cattle Depending on Season,” was published in Science on Sept. 23, 2011, and supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the International Foundation for Science.
The Savory Institute, a proponent of holistic management, states wild herds heal overgrazed grassland and uses livestock to mimic wild herds to bring the land back to life.
Public land grazing allotment holders might call free roaming wild horses a nuisance but they have an obvious conflict of interest—they want all the grazing and water rights for their livestock that outnumbers wild horses 50 to 1. It appears they would like to eliminate the rights of the free roaming wild horses and burros.
Protect Mustangs hopes the EPA will not buy into their game.
There is no scientific proof wild horses are overpopulating on the range. Despite years of requests from members of the public and equine advocacy groups, the government refuses to make an accurate head count on public land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been accused of inflating estimates to justify costly wild horse roundups and removals—paid for by the American taxpayer.
Indigenous wild horses do not reproduce like rabbits—many die before the age of two. Life on the range can be hard and most wild horses never reach the age of 19. As a wildlife species, this is normal. Left alone, they will self-regulate as an integral piece of the ecosystem.
Recent scientific discoveries prove wild horses are native wildlife. The horse evolved here and must be respected as indigenous before they risk extinction at the hands of the American government.
Wild horses have natural predators such as mountain lions, bears and coyotes to name a few. BLM goes to great trouble to downplay the existence of predators to foster their overpopulation estimate-based myths.
Another frequent argument for the use of pesticides as birth control for wild horses and burros is that they would reduce the need for roundups. However, birth control would not end roundups because it would be difficult to dart wild horses in remote regions and lost darts become biohazards. Trapping in accessible herd management areas and roundups would continue in order to administer the drug.
In the early 1900s there were two million wild horses roaming freely in America. Today there are only about 40,000 captured mustangs living in feedlot settings—funded by tax dollars. Due to the government’s zealous roundups and removals, less than 19,000 wild horses remain free in all the western states combined. The BLM is caving into corporate pressure from the livestock, energy, water and mining industries who don’t want to share public land with America’s indigenous wild horses.
Novak says that, “we want the EPA to apologize for classifying American wild horses as ‘pests’, acknowledge the classification error and cancel approval of ZonaStat-H and any other pesticides for mustangs.”
“By classifying our wild horses as ‘pests’ the EPA is fostering the dangerous belief that wild horses are a nuisance, something destructive that needs to be wiped out,” says Vivian Grant, President of Int’l Fund for Horses. “We call on the EPA to correct this categorization of the American mustang now.”
Anne Novak, 415-531-8454 Anne@ProtectMustangs.org
Vivian Grant, 502-526-5940, Vivian@HorseFund.org
Kerry Becklund, 510-502-1913 Kerry@ProtectMustangs.org
Contact Protect Mustangs for interviews, photos or video
Protect Mustangs is a Bay Area-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.
Links of interest:
Protect Mustangs’ etter requesting EPA repair error classifying iconic American wild horses “pests”http://protectmustangs.org/?p=1191
EPA Pesticide Information for ZonaStat-H http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/pending/fs_PC-176603_01-Jan-12.pdf
AVMA Reports: Vaccine could reduce wild horse overpopulation http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/apr12/120415k.asp
Wildlife fertility vaccine approved by EPA http://www.sccpzp.org/blog/locally-produced-wildlife-contraceptive-vaccine-approved-by-epa/
Oxford Journal on PZP for Humans and more http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/20/12/3271.long
PZP research for humans http://randc.ovinfo.com/e200501/yuanmm.pdf
Horse Contraceptive Vaccine: Is Human Immunocontraception Next? http://vactruth.com/2012/02/24/horse-contraceptive-vaccine
Wild horse predators: http://sg.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080302002619AADTWzh
Audubon: Sacred Cows http://archive.audubonmagazine.org/incite/incite0603.html
Princeton reports: Wildlife and cows can be partners, not enemies, in search for food.http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S32/93/41K10/index.xml?section=featured