Biased press reports ignore public comment against roundups, PZP, GonaCon®, sterilization, livestock damage and killing

Cross-posted from the Elko Free Press for educational purposes

Advisory board suggests recommendations to the BLM


Fallon Godwin-Butler, Elko Daily Free Press
Ben Masters, left, Dr. Robert Copeland and Dr. Julie Weikel discuss working group recommendations Friday at Stockmen’s Hotel & Casino.
ELKO — As the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting rounded out its last day in Elko, some of the working group recommendations given aligned with public comment and were focused on alleviating the population issue and restoring viable rangelands.

While the first recommendation — to destroy horses deemed unadoptable or sell them without limitation — was recognized as being the least socially palatable, Dr. Robert Cope said it was necessary to look at all options.

During its time in Nevada, the board was given a first-hand experience of the rangeland and horses in the form of a field trip, “where it became so obvious there’s an incredible crisis situation out there affecting the resource,” he said.

The rangeland was described as the bedrock the burros, wild horses, wildlife and rural communities depend on, said Dr. Julie Weikel.

Cope said it has become apparent the time for discussion was over, instead it is now at a point where “something has got to be done.”

This working group recommended the Bureau of Land Management follow the stipulations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act “by offering all suitable animals in long and short term holding deemed unadoptable for sale without limitation or humane euthanasia. Those animals deemed unsuitable for sale should then be destroyed in the most humane manner possible.”

The initial recommendation was approved by all present board members save Ginger Kathrens.

It was asked if more horses could be removed from the wild to put less pressure on the land.

“I would like to see them put some more pressure to get more funds to do more gathers,” said June Sewing.

When asked about his feelings on the measure, member Ben Masters said, citing his age of 27, he was angered about inheriting and having been given messes.

He said his ultimate goal is to have a target population controlled by birth control. Masters didn’t think that could be accomplished through adoption and he would like to pass down a better rangeland to future generations.

“It’s a way of taking the public and Congress … on that field trip,” said Weikel.

The second recommendation — which also found approval, with Kathrens abstaining — focused on the prioritization of sage grouse habitat, when removing excess animals.

Kathrens did so based on a lack of information concerning the amount acres and herds impacted by this decision.

Additionally, it was proposed that the degree of degradation on the range was to be used as a criterion when prioritizing and removing excess animals.
The later caveat includes considering rangelands, which can be “restored and maintained in a healthy status.”

“It’s already past time for some of these places,” said Weikel, explaining this is an attempt to ask the BLM what can be saved.

That recommendation was not meant to “usurp” the priorities of the bureau.

Cope brought up the subject of genetic variability, which was touched upon by Dr. Boyd Spratling Thursday during public comment.

This form of variability or diversity potentially allows for a realistic chance of avoiding the problems associated with inbreeding.

Cope researched how high the numbers of horses would have to be to ensure this from within.

“According to what I heard yesterday, that magic number isn’t 150 it’s closer to 5,000,” he said.

Spratling said this is easily solved by placing studs in smaller herds, for example less than 150.

The conversation soon turned to economic viability by developing relationships with other agencies and departments to “conduct an analysis of socioeconomic and environmental effects on communities.”

Encouragement was given to state agencies and BLM redevelopment advisory councils to submit plans for range rehabilitation and herd management, which would be created to serve various areas based on local expertise and understanding.

The working group recommendations looked toward a theme from Thursday’s public comment to help the resource by dealing with the population and create unification to work with Congress and the Secretary of the Interior. One member of the public asked for the BLM’s hands to be untied.

The issue was called a breakdown of scientific management.

A representative of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign said the BLM is not using the contraceptive porcine zona pellucida in a way that is managing the population. Sterilization was also called invasive and barbaric and the board was asked to abandon it in favor of funding acceptable forms of contraception.

It was commonly asked for to remove the horses for appropriate management levels and begin conservation efforts.

Cross-posted from the Elko Free Press for educational purposes

Ben Masters starred in UNBRANDED now on Netflix. Masters voted to kill all the wild horses claimed to be unadoptable after receiving-3-Strikes from failed BLM adoptions due to BLM’s poor marketing and rotten customer service.

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

Underpopulation, sterilization, pesticides and Pandora’s box

Watch the Pro-Cattle, Pro-Sterilization, Pro-Slaughter Activists Push to Wipe Out America’s Wild Horses and Burros in the House Committee on Natural Resources

When advocates stop fighting for wild horses and burros to remain really free in large numbers on public land put aside by Congress for their principal but not exclusive use, then we have a problem.
When advocates go along with BLM’s overpopulation myth and their agenda for “fertility control” we have a problem.
When the advocacy is divided over forced drugging wild mares with Pesticide PZP, as defined by the EPA, we have a problem.
Now wild horse haters and special interest groups are gaining ground in Washington with YOUR elected officials! Are YOUR senators and congress people representing your voice in government or are they representing Dirty Money?
Never underestimate the Pandora’s Box known as PZP and other methods used to manage underpopulated wild horses to EXTINCTION.
American wild horses & burros have the right to be an essential part of the thriving natural ecological system on public lands!
Contact your elected officials today! Senators are in office until July 1: ASK that they stop the assault on wild horses and PROTECT them!
PUBLIC comment allowed for 10 Business days after the Natural Resources meeting, which is July 7, 2016.  EMAIL: the Clerk:

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

Feds want to use 11 million tax dollars to experiment on American Wild Horses and Burros

Note from Protect Mustangs: If you don’t like this then: 1.) Go see your congressional representative this week and ask them to intervene to stop these horrible experiments on America’s wild horses who are being managed to extinction. 2.) Sign and share this petition and email it to everyone you know: Groups like The Cloud Foundation and the coalition led by The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign seem to be misleading the public because they have chosen pushing PZP (controlled by The Humane Society of the United States) over championing wild horse freedom on public land. They slip appeals for PZP in the bottom of their online petitions hoping the public won’t notice what they are signing. That was the beginning of this slippery slope towards experimentation and extinction. Why? Follow the money, fear mongering and the seduction to campaign for drugging wild horses and burros with a risky pesticide made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries to block fertility. . . 3.) It’s time to join Protect Mustangs to protect our national treasures. Go to to sign up. 4.) You can donate to the Wild Horse Legal Fund also. The crowd funding link is here: or donate by to and please mark your donation is for the “Legal Fund”. Thank you for taking action today! Together we can turn this around.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to use American tax dollars in several cruel experiments to develop methods of wild horse and burro population control–despite the fact that there is no overpopulation of wild horses or burros. The BLM anticipates the total cost of the experiments to be $11 million over 5 years.The research is being conducted by university scientists as well as scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Research with Universities results in experimenting on wild horses and burros

In its 2013 report to the BLM, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that no highly effective, easily delivered and affordable fertility-control methods were currently available for use on wild horses and burros. The most promising birth control, PZP, made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries, is limited in the duration of its effectiveness (1-2 years). At the same time, after multiple applications or if applied to young fillies it permanently sterilizes native wild horses.

The BLM released a solicitation for experimentation to develop new or improve existing population growth suppression methods for wild horses. (  The following seven research projects were reviewed and recommended by an NAS panel of experts and are consistent with recommendations made to the BLM by its Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board who is biased against wild horses and prefers livestock use public land for cheap grazing.

Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting in 2013


© EquineClinic.comn shared for educational purposes

© EquineClinic.comn shared for educational purposes

1. Evaluation of minimally invasive methods of contraception in wild horse and burro mares: tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided oviduct papilla laser ablation. This was pushed by pro-slaughter advocates who want the horses free of fertility control drugs so they can go to slaughter eventually.

Recipient: Oregon State University
Summary: A one-year experiment that will aim to develop a minimally invasive surgical sterilization method for wild horse mares that requires no incisions.
Details: In an effort to develop minimally invasive, low-risk techniques for contraception and population control in female wild horses and burros, the experiment will evaluate two procedures, tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation of the oviduct papilla in standing sedated females. For tubal ligation, the research team hypothesizes that a flexible endoscope inserted through a small incision in the vaginal vault will allow visualization of each oviduct in mares. Use of a diode laser or cautery instrument will allow effective fulguration followed by bloodless sectioning of the oviduct. This procedure should allow successful sterilization of up to 100% of female wild horses and burros gathered in any particular location as a single event. For the hysteroscopic procedure, the recipients expect to endoscopically visualize each oviduct papilla in standing, sedated, non-pregnant mares. A diode laser will be used to seal the opening between the oviduct and each uterine horn, thus preventing subsequent fertilization. The proposed procedures do not involve major surgery, are expected to have minimal complications while approaching 100% effectiveness, and when applied, are expected to result in a static to decreasing population level. Additionally, tubal ligation is a technique commonly performed in humans. The development of an acceptable sterilization technique will help control the population levels of wild horses and burros.

2. Tubo-ovarian ligation via colpotomy as a method for sterilization in mares

Recipient: University of Kentucky
Summary: A two-year experiment to develop different surgical approaches for tubal ligation in mares.
Details: The overall goal of this experiment is to develop methodology for the safe, economical and effective sterilizationof mares via colpotomy (vaginal incision) to achieve: 1) ovarian necrosis / atrophy via application of a ligature to the ovarian pedicle and 2) simultaneous sterilization via tubal ligation (i.e., tubo-ovarian ligation). The project will help determine the effectiveness of a custom-designed instrument for placement of a polyamide (nylon) cable tie around the ovarian pedicle and oviduct of mares via colpotomy for tubo-ovarian ligation. The procedure, conducted in the standing animal under sedation and local anesthesia, is expected to induce permanent sterilization of treated mares. The researchers will assess any post-operative complications of the procedure in mares and the effects on the health of mares to determine long-term effects on the reproductive tract, the overall health of mares and the fertility of mares undergoing the procedure, and the feasibility of these procedures in pregnant mares.

PM Sick Filly PVC March 25 2014
3. Functional assessment of ovariectomy (spaying) via colpotomy of wild mares as an acceptable method of contraception and wild horse population control

Recipient: Oregon State University
Summary: A six-month experiment that will determine whether an existing accepted surgical sterilization procedure commonly used for domestic mares can be safely conducted on wild horses.
Details: This experiment proposes to conduct a large-scope investigation of the safety and practicality of spaying mares as a tool for wild horse population control. Specifically, the researchers will help determine whether ovariectomy via vaginal colpotomy can be safely and effectively performed on wild mares that have been selected for non-breeding status. Non-breeding horses could then be returned to the range to live out their natural lives without individually contributing to population growth. The proposed research effort is based on recent pilot studies that have suggested the potential for surgery-related health complications from ovariectomy in adult female horses is low (near 1%). When evaluating options for field techniques, spaying (ovariectomizing) mares as a population control method is not recommended unless it can be performed in a safe, practical, and effective manner. The results of this study will provide standardized, baseline outcomes for this surgical procedure which can be directly compared to other less invasive procedures being conducted and evaluated by the same research team.

PM WC11 Lucky 11 Map

Map of Western United States showing 12 current field research/pilot projects.

4. Re-immunization of Free-Ranging Horses with GonaCon Immunological Vaccine: Effects on Reproduction, Safety, and Population Performance

Recipient: Colorado State University
Summary: A two-year experiment will focus on further study of Gonocon, an approved and labeled contraceptive vaccine for equids.

PM PZP Injection
Details: This experiment will focus on the effectiveness of GonaCon as an immunological vaccine, with five objectives: 1) to begin to determine the optimum and most effective re-vaccination schedule with GonaCon vaccine for suppressing reproductive rates in free-ranging horses, the duration of effectiveness, and the return to fertility following treatment; 2) to determine the safety and physiological side-effects (if any) in feral horses following re-vaccination with GonaCon including visual assessment of general health, body condition, injection site reactions, effects on current pregnancy, and neonatal health and survival; 3) to determine the effects of GonaCon vaccination on the behavioral side-effects (if any) in free-ranging horses including quantitative assessment of the effects on daily activity patterns and social interactions; 4) to develop and test a safe and effective dart configuration and injection system for remotely administering GonaCon vaccine to free-ranging horses by means of a syringe dart; and 5) to develop a Bayesian model to forecast the consequences of different GonaCon vaccine treatments on feral horse population dynamics at THRO. [Teddy Roosevelt National Park].

5. The Effect of Immunization against Oocyte Specific Growth Factors in Mares

Recipient: Colorado State University
Summary: A two-year experiment to develop a new, permanent contraceptive vaccine for wild horse mares.
Details: This experiment will focus on vaccination against two key proteins in wild horse and burro females, either alone or in combination, which may result in permanent sterility through premature oocyte depletion. The depletion of oocytes may occur by simply causing them all to become atretic prematurely and/or accelerating the process so that after a single season the mares and jennies have depleted their oocyte reserves. To test this hypothesis, the researchers will vaccinate mares against the proteins and track their sexual behavior, follicular growth, hormonal profile and ultimately total oocyte count over a two-year period. The long-term goal is to develop a vaccine that can cause permanent sterility after a single dose.

PM Burros Wild 2 © Carl Mrozek

Cruel way to drag foal by pulling bailing twine around their neck (Photo © Bo Rodriguez)

Cruel way to drag foal by pulling bailing twine around their neck (Photo © Bo Rodriguez)

6. Electrospun delivery to enhance the effectiveness of immunocontraception strategies in equids

Recipient: Ohio State University
Summary: A four-year experiment that will attempt to develop a new delivery vehicle for porcine zona pellucida (PZP) – a temporary contraceptive currently used in some wild horse herds – that would increase the duration of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Details: To reduce population on public lands, horse immunocontraception has largely focused on the use of PZP in free-roaming wild populations. The vaccine appears to act by stimulating anti-PZP antibodies that bind to the surface of the ovulated egg, preventing sperm attachment. While performance has been satisfactory, recent results have been associated with contraceptive efficiencies that are considerably less than 100%. The basis for this is unknown but is believed to be in part caused by delivery methods that require substantial heating during polymer vehicle fabrication, expose PZP to enzymatic fluids prior to entry into the bloodstream and allow gradual – not burst – release. Gradual release can potentially desensitize the immune system to the presence of PZP, resulting in inferior production of anti-PZP antibodies. Thus, an ideal delivery method would allow release of PZP in “bursts” at pre-determined intervals to assure constant immune stimulation. This project will seek to develop an electrospun technology that can allow long-term, ‘burst’ delivery of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccines to the intramuscular environment of horses and burros to result in prolonged suppression of reproduction. For large-scale application, free roaming horses could be gathered in the field and processed through stock chutes for aging, at which time the implants will be inserted by trocar. The experiment will also carry out parallel in vitro and in vivo experiments to examine the potential of electrospun vehicles as immunocontraceptive carriers. An electrospun “universal delivery vehicle” will be developed to provide sustained release of effective levels of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) for immunocontraception over periods of at least three years. By careful design, fabrication and testing of two different electrospun designs, the researchers will create a comprehensive evaluation of this novel method of delivery.

Pm PZP Darts
7. The use of membrane disrupting peptide / peptoid LHRH conjugates to control wild horse and burro populations

Recipient: Louisiana State University
Summary: A three-year experiment for the development of an injectable agent that would inactivate hormones and decrease female and male gonad viability.
Details: The experiment is a multidisciplinary effort aimed at developing novel drugs to control wild horse and burro populations. Several types of drugs consisting of conjugates of membrane disrupting peptides (such as Phor 21) with luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) currently exist. These drugs (such as LHRH-Phor 21 conjugate) effectively target, bind to and destroy prostate, testicular, breast and ovarian cancer cells, as well as testicular and ovarian cells that control reproduction. LHRH targets the cell and delivers Phor 21 to the cancer cell or the reproductive cell in the testes or ovary and destroys it. Preliminary experiments suggest that administration of this drug by a slow-release delivery system will destroy the cells that control spermatogenesis in the male and follicle growth, oocyte development, ovulation and cyclicity in the female. Preliminaryresults also show that LHRH-Phor 21 targets and destroys gonadotropic cells in the pituitary gland. This indicates that cessation of reproductive activity is the result of both central control at the level of the pituitary gland and on receptor binding cells in both male and female gonads. The experiment will also assess the effect the drugs have on pregnant mares, both in early gestation and late gestation.

PM PZP Syringe Yearling Meme

Additional details about these experiments can be found in the following documents:

Detailed Summary of University-led Experiments for Fertility Control Tools for Wild Horses
Review of Proposals to the BLM on Wild Horse and Burro Sterilization or Contraception: A Letter Report
Research with the U.S. Geological Survey

Through its partnership with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the BLM is undertaking important research aimed at delivering better methods and tools for managing wild horse and burro herds on public lands. These projects build upon on-going cooperation between the BLM and USGS that is implementing new methods to estimate wild horse and burro population size.

There are nine USGS experiments that have been approved or are on-going:
Collaring & radio marking (1 year): The aim is to develop safe GPS collars for tracking animals to determine habitat selection, movement ecology, population estimation, behavior, etc. GPS tracking might also help locating animals for contraceptive treatments.
Fecal DNA (genetics/population survey) (1.5 years): The experiment involves the collection and analysis of fecal DNA as a noninvasive method to determine genetic diversity and estimate population size.
Carrying capacity modeling (1 year): This experiment’s aim is to develop a coarse model to evaluate changes in animal carrying capacity in response to changes in vegetation production. The resulting model may help BLM to adapt plans in response to climatic change.

PM PZP Syringe FB
Mare Contraception -SpayVac Pen Trial II (5 years): This experiment will help determine the efficacy of alternative SpayVac contraceptive vaccine formulations that are potentially longer acting than conventional PZP vaccines.
Evaluating Behavior of Spayed Free-Roaming Mares (4 years): The experiment will determine the effects of spaying on behavior, interactions, and movement of spayed mares among a breeding herd. The study will also determine the population level effect on herd growth.
Evaluating Behavior of Geldings among a Breeding Herd (4 years): This experiment will determine any effects of gelding on behavior, movement, interactions and changes in habitat selection.
Two Sentinel Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) Demography Studies (2 studies, each of 5 years): These experiments will provide demographic data sets for use in new population models and serve as control HMAs for gelding and spayed mare field studies.
Burro Sentinel HMA Demography Study (5 years): The experiment will involve collecting data on the survival, fertility, fecundity, recruitment, movements, range use, habitat selection and social behavior of wild burros. These data will be used in population modeling.
The BLM has requested or is reviewing proposals for the following projects with USGS:
Evaluate the Use of a Silastic O-Ring Intrauterine Device (IUD) in Mares (4 years): This experiment will determine any effects on mare health resulting from the long-term presence of the silastic O-ring IUD. This IUD has effectively prevented pregnancy in domestic mares during one breeding season.
Burro Population Survey Method Development (2.5 years): This experiment will test two new population survey methods for wild burros. The existing simultaneous double-observer method, when applied to burros, tends to lead to underestimates of true burro population size.
WinEquus II – Population Model with Cost/Benefit Outputs (1.5 years): This experiment will develop a model that compares population modeling outcomes and projects the costs, benefits and expected population growth resulting from management actions that involve PZP, removals, spaying, gelding and other population growth suppression tools.
Testing Efficacy of Contraceptives for Female Burros (3-4 years): Contraceptive vaccines have yet to be used on wild burros due to limited research and unknown effects. This study will examine the efficacy of various existing vaccines.

PM Hazard Foter Public domain Marked Sterilize

© Protect Mustangs, 2016

BLM considers plan to intensify fertility program for wild horses


Cross-posted from The Lovell Chronicle, Wyoming for educational purposes:

By · September 4, 2013

The BLM is considering a modification to the current fertility plan it uses to control the number of horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. The new plan will significantly increase the number of mares darted with the fertility drug PZP.


Photographer Kassi Renner captures a great image during a rare sighting of the famous stallion Cloud as he takes a flying leap across some rocks on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Courtesy photo

Photographer Kassi Renner captures a great image during a rare sighting of the famous stallion Cloud as he takes a flying leap across some rocks on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.
Courtesy photo











According to language in a scoping report released in the spring of 2013, the goal of the new plan is to treat “nearly all of the mares” on the range with the fertility drug, theoretically rendering them infertile for a period of time. Currently a group of mares in the 5-10-year-old range are not treated with the drug and remain able to reproduce on the range.


Since the 31,000-acre range is fenced, the number of horses must be kept in check to prevent a negative impact on the land and to preserve the limited resources the horses themselves require for their own survival. The BLM plan is to maintain an appropriate management level (AML) of 90-120 wild horses on the range, by means of a carefully planned fertility program.


The original fertility plan, which was implemented in May of 2009, calls for treating a significant number of mares using a system of darting the horses with the drug PZP, which, in theory, renders the mares infertile for one breeding period (approximately one year).


The mares must first be primed with one dose and then darted with second dose before they are rendered infertile. In the opinion of some wild horse advocates, like Matthew Dillon of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center (PMWMC) in Lovell, not darting the mares in the 5-10-year-old cohort preserves the long-range survival of the herd by preserving certain historic blood lines and maintaining genetic diversity of the herd. Dillon has worked very closely with the BLM in recent years to share his extensive knowledge about the various bloodlines and has made many recommendations to the BLM (which they have adopted) regarding which horses can be safely removed from the range to preserve those bloodlines. He noted that the use of PZP is not a foolproof system and has in a few instances rendered mares completely infertile after just one dose and in other cases not rendered certain mares infertile at all. Mares that have received repeated doses have sometimes lost their ability to reproduce altogether.


“One of the reasons we don’t like the modified program is that we know anything can happen out there on the range,” said Dillon. “Right now we are not having a lot of foal deaths, but that can change. One of the reasons we like the conservative approach of the current program is that we always have that core group of mares that we can count on to reproduce if repopulating becomes necessary due to some natural cause.”


Dillon said he prefers to see the BLM stick to the more conservative approach by leaving certain mares out of the program and doing smaller gathers of 10 or fewer horses to manage the herd.


The PMWMC went on record with the BLM this week in a letter signed by all of its board members expressing their opposition to the plan, stating that “the long-term sustainability of the herd should be the primary management goal…with maintaining primary bloodlines as an objective.”


“I think the plan puts the needs of the horses being removed above the needs of the horses remaining on the range,” said PMWMC board member Nancy Cerroni.


Cerroni acknowledged that the typical 50 horses removed in a gather can be difficult to adopt out, but she said she believes that finding more adoptive homes is the answer, not limiting the breeding population.


“I really don’t think we’ve tapped into all of the avenues for adopting in today’s horse world,” she said. “I think if the problem is getting the horses adopted out that are removed from the range, we should work on that problem as opposed to creating a new problem with a more aggressive fertility program.”


The existing five-year plan, which is scheduled to end in 2015 has significantly reduced the number of horses on the range, but it has not eliminated the need for gathers and the subsequent need to adopt out the horses removed from the range. Some advocates like Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group based in Colorado, say the adoption process has become problematic in that it is becoming more and more difficult to find homes for the horses that are taken off the range. Kathrens, who in the past has been adamantly opposed to the use of PZP on the mares, went so far as to recommend an increase in the number of mares that are darted with PZP in order to reduce the need for removal of horses from the range.


“I am concerned about how difficult it was to get the last group of horses adopted out that were removed from the range during the most recent gather in 2012,” said Kathrens. “In 2009, I saw about 100 people at the auction looking to adopt horses. This year it was more like 40 and many of those were from the same family. There were many instances where horses were not being bid on at all, and some were going for as little as $125. I had to get on the phone and call everyone I knew to get the horses adopted out this time. I just don’t know that I can do that again. That’s why I suggested a more aggressive treatment program using PZP. It’s the only alternative I see right now that is in the best interest of the horses.”


Kathrens said her preference would be to allow nature to take its course, with herd reduction occurring through predation by mountain lions. She noted that more frequent hunting of mountain lions in recent years has significantly impacted that natural cycle, causing more foals to survive than would normally occur.


“My preference would be to see the fence come down, a bigger population of active predators like mountain lions controlling the size of the herd and a return to survival of the fittest,” said Kathrens. “Unfortunately, that’s not realistic right now.”


She noted that, ironically, she is involved in a lawsuit against the BLM regarding the fence but feels she is forced to actually collaborate with them on the issue of the fertility program in the best interest of the horses.


“I think it’s best for horses to live and die on the range,” said Kathrens. “Even in cases where that horse, as a foal, may only live a few days. It is, in my opinion, better for that horse to have lived and died on the range.”


Kathrens sent a letter to the BLM on behalf of the Cloud Foundation in the spring stating, “The Cloud Foundation (TCF) recommends the more effective use of the well-vetted, remotely delivered, reversible one-year vaccine, PZP (Porcine Zona Pellucida) for mares in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR), with the goal of eliminating removals or limiting future removals to 10 young horses or fewer every four or five years.”


The BLM incorporated the Cloud Foundation’s suggestion to increase utilization of the PZP program in their new plan, which calls for modifying the current fertility control prescription to apply fertility control to “nearly every mare on the PMWHR through 2015 in order to help maintain the appropriate management level of 90-120 wild horses and to reduce the need for a large scale gather.


Kathrens said the goal of TCF is to see mortality and reproduction of the herd roughly equal over time. She referred to this as a type of “on the range management,” that TCF advocates for all the herds, not just the Pryor Mountain herd.


“We advocate for the protection of predators–as a form of natural management,” she explained. “From 2001 to 2005, this objective was met on the Pryors, until BLM managers encouraged the hunting of mountain lions and the natural balance was destroyed.”


The modified plan is under a 30-day public review and comment that will end on Sept. 6, 2013. If adopted, the plan will immediately go into effect in September of 2013.


Kristen Lenhardt of the BLM said that the public comment gathering by the BLM during the review period is taken very seriously and is oftentimes incorporated into the final decision made by the BLM.


“Now is a critical time frame for the public to comment,” said Lenhardt. “We encourage the public to submit their comments and suggestions so we can take them into consideration when making this important decision.”


The documents are available for public review on the Billings field office of the BLM website: Instructions for submitting comments are also available on that website.


by Patti Carpenter


Why end natural selection in the Pryors?

Should humans run a wild horse breeding program or does nature know best?

From: ( The BLM welcomed a new partner this spring. The adept volunteer efforts of the Cloud Foundation’s Effie Orser, Lauryn Wachs, and Ginger Kathrens contributed to the successful completion of this year’s fertility treatments in record time. The trio worked in concert with two BLM employees, Ryan Brad- shaw and Jerad Werning, who were darting wild horses elsewhere on the Range.

Statement from Protect Mustangs

We are against the Cloud Foundation and BLM partnership for extreme PZP in the Pryors for the following reasons:

1.) It ruins natural selection.

2.) According to the National Academy of Sciences there is no evidence of overpopulation.

3.) Reserve design is the healthy choice for management.

4.) Risks of sterility could ruin the herd’s genetic viability.

5.) Unnatural and increased stress on wild mares from wild stallions continuously trying to breed them month after month, year after year, until they are allowed by mankind to have one foal.

6.) Man made fertility control drugs endanger the wild herds’ ability to adapt through reproduction to environmental stresses.

7.) The “Restricted Use Pesticide” known as PZP is not allowed on domestic horses–surely for safety concerns and therefore should not be allowed on native wild horses who have been misclassified as “pests” by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Natural selection has allowed native wild horses to evolve and survive for more than a million years. We believe it is unethical for a government agency and a nonprofit organization to go against natural evolution and manipulate breeding through excessive roundups and drugs approved for use as “restricted use pesticides”.

Now the public is witnessing the final phase of the Salazar Plan announced in 2009 (managing wild horses to extinction) using an EPA fast-tracked “Restricted Use Pesticide” called Porcine zona pellucida–a form of zona pellucida extracted from the ovaries of pigs.

And speaking of pigs, where are the pigs’ ovaries coming from? How were the pig’s ovaries extracted?

The Pryor Mountain Herd is already one of the two herds designated with “Treasured” status–that means they are protected and will never disappear. No need to sell out to  “restricted use pesticides” for “pest” control!

“We are proud to be working with the BLM, and we hope our partnership with them will continue and may set an example for the management of other wild herds throughout the West,” said Ginger Kathens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation in the BLM’s top story released on August 12, 2013.

What happened to The Cloud Foundation fighting for America’s wild horses’ right to live their natural lives in freedom?

“Why is Ginger Kathrens now supporting the extreme use of PZP when a couple of years ago she appeared to be against using the drug, against ruining natural selection and against creating zoo-like settings on mountaintops?” asks Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs. “We want a moratorium on roundups and call for immediate population studies before blasting wild horses with fertility control and sterilization.”


Links of interest:

Ginger Kathrens’ paper PZP-22… Do Unintended Side-Effects Outweigh Benefits?

Cloud Foundation Partnership with BLM to dart the Pryor herd with the “Restricted Use Pesticide” known as PZP to “control” fertility

Ecologist Craig Downer speaks out against using PZP in the Pryors

Salazar presents ambitious plan to manage wild horses, Washington Post:

Ken Salazar’s wild horse plan fuels accusations that he’s in the pocket of ranchers, Huff Post:

BLM announces The Salazar Plan (press release)

PZP-22… Do Unintended Side-Effects Outweigh Benefits?

Note: This paper is from 2010. In 2011 Ginger Kathrens decided to support PZP and  fertility control as a member of The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. We bring you Kathrens 2010 paper for education purposes only. Her points against PZP were very good.

Position paper
Ginger Kathrens
Volunteer Executive Director
The Cloud Foundation, Inc.
Natural History Filmmaker
August 10, 2010

The BLM is instigating an aggressive immunocontraceptive campaign designed to suppress the growth rate of wild horse herds in the American West. This initiative is supported by Secretary of the Interior Salazar and has been spear-headed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) who must first give their approval before BLM can administer these experimental drugs to wild horse mares.

Because it renders wild horse mares infertile for roughly 22 months, the drug is called PZP-22. It must be administered, for now, by a hand injection rather than a remotely delivered field dart. The mustang mares must be rounded up to receive the drug. If PZP-22 performs as intended the mare will not conceive, in most cases for 22 months beginning the year after she is given the shot. However, during that roughly two-year period, she will cycle monthly, be bred by her band stallion, or a stallion strong enough to capture and breed her. But, she will not settle, and in another month, she will again come back into estrous.

Then, the cycle of breeding the mare and defending her from other stallions is repeated. This continues month after month through the spring, summer and fall seasons until the days shorten and the estrous cycle stops. In the lengthening days of late winter or early spring, the pattern begins again.

HSUS has stated that the drug will “stabilize” wild horse herd populations and has given the approval for the drug to be used 100% of the time as far as we know. This approval has been given despite the fact that over 75% of wild horse herds are not even large enough to meet the minimum requirements for genetic viability. The minimum population size is generally accepted as 150 to 200 adult animals.

The use of an infertility drug in non-viable herds is cause for alarm, but add in the manipulation of the sex ratios by BLM and the situation is even more troubling. BLM is removing more females than males from nearly every wild herd in the west. The natural 50-50 or so percentage of males to females is being artificially manipulated to 60% males and 40% females. There is one herd in Utah that will be skewed to 70% males versus 30% females. Consider how potentially “destabilizing” this will be. Most wild horses live in family bands where one stallion has one or more mares that he defends and breeds. Mares that are PZPed will be bred, will not settle and will come into heat again in a month. The competition for each and every mare will be more intense because there are far more males than females. If there are small foals they could suffer the consequences of the social disruption due to this intentional meddling with the rules of nature.

Let me give you a case in point. In May, while Makendra Silverman and I were visiting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana, a foal was born to the mare, Demure, and her band stallion, Sante Fe (whom you may remember from the most recent Cloud film, Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions). The foal was probably less than an hour old when we spotted her standing with her mother, her father, and her grandmother. The four-some were nestled into a forested ridge about 200 yards away.

As we hiked closer, we noticed that the foal was having trouble walking. One front leg would cross over the other front leg and she would trip herself and crumple to the ground. This happened time after time and she would fall in a heap. Then Sante Fe jerked his head to attention and walked by the brown lump that was his newborn daughter. He had reacted to the sound of another band coming. We lost sight of him through the trees, but could hear the characteristic screams of the stallions and knew there was a ritual greeting taking place. Sante Fe was warning another stallion to stay away. In a little while he returned to stand near his family protectively. We waited, but the filly lay very still and I couldn’t stand to watch any longer. I got up and walked away, convinced she would not live, and too heartsick to watch her die. Incidentally, when we left, we walked in the direction Sante Fe came from and found his old friend Cloud with his family. It was Cloud that Sante Fe had warned to stay away.

By the end of the day, I knew I had to go look for Sante Fe’s band, expecting to find the lifeless body of the little filly. Instead we found her quite alive—crippled to be sure, but alive. Her close-knit family surrounded her. I wished her good luck, realizing that if she could not walk, she might be left behind.

Two weeks later when we returned. The filly was still alive, very near the place where she was born. There had been a lot of rain and the giant puddle in the road was still full of water within 100 feet of where she stood. Luckily, there was no critical reason for the band to move too far as they had adequate water and ample forage. The foal’s legs still hadn’t straightened out, but they were much better. A friend aptly named her Kandu.

By mid-July we were shocked to see her racing past her mother who trotted just to keep up her once crippled daughter. One knee was still bigger than the other, but the tight tendons of her right leg were stretching out and Kandu was finally experiencing the thrill of running. She dashed in circles on the wide, flower-strewn meadows below the scenic Dry Head Overlook in the Custer National Forest. The little filly with the big heart had survived because of her own iron will and the care of a nurturing mother who lived in a stable family band.

Kandu also had another advantage. She was born at the right time of the year when the temperatures were warming, the snow was melting and the long growing season was just beginning. Most hooved wild babies are born in the spring in North America when their environments can provide their mothers with the necessary nutrients to survive and produce enough milk for their newborns. That brings me to another point. It is believed that the one year drug is most likely to produce the best results when given in late winter and early spring, yet the majority of the wild mares receiving the drug are rounded up in the summer and fall. It is likely that the spike in out-of-season births (fall and even winter) we saw in the Pryors to PZPed mares was due to the drug being given at the wrong time of the year. Remember that a round up is necessary to administer the new drug which is PZP-22. This presents a conundrum. If  mares must be rounded up in order to administer the drug by a hand injection, how do you do this safely in late winter or early spring? The answer is, you cannot if the capture method is by helicopter. Mares due to foal or those with tiny foals cannot be stressed with the long runs inherent in helicopter roundups. We saw what happened just recently in Calico and Tuscarora.

Now place Kandu in the environment in which the BLM is creating in other herds. Just consider what her chances might have been in a herd where there was an overabundance of sexually mature males with a small number of mares who were cycling every month. Perhaps she would have been born going into winter. What chance would a crippled foal have in a situation like this? Sante Fe would have been swamped with stallions trying to steal his mares. Anyone who has seenCloud: Challenge of the Stallions knows what it is like when a group of males attacks one band stallion. Kandu would not have been able to run. She could not even walk. She would have had no chance. She might have been trampled or just left to die. Even her parent’s survival chances would have been compromised due to the expenditure of body reserves used up in the competition between stallions for the few mares.

So, when is PZP-22 an acceptable population control device for wild horse herds? Well, first of all you would need to have an over population of wild horses. That rules out at least 75% of the under populated and genetically non-viable herds. That leaves us with the big herds like Twin Peaks in California. The appropriate management level (AML) for the herd is 450 wild horses and a non-viable AML of 74 for burros in an area larger than the state of Rhode Island—1,250 square miles. On this same land, which is a designated wild horse herd area, BLM allows for over 10,000 head of cattle or over 20,000 head of sheep. Now, how’s that for an equitable distribution of the forage on the range? Unfortunately this is the typical split. Welfare livestock get the lion’s share.

Welfare livestock, which outnumber wild horses, in most cases by 10 to 1 and in some cases by as much as 100 to 1, cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions a year, some estimate the total costs at close to a billion dollars a year.

And they cost thousands of predators their lives. These predators, like mountain lions are killed because they might kill a domestic calf or lamb. It is a scientific fact that the big cats have kept the Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Herd in check for nearly 30 years—no roundups, no drugs, no management. In the Pryor Mountains where Cloud lives, the cats kept the herd at zero population growth for four years until the BLM stepped in to encourage the increased killing of the lions. Bottom line, if the goal is the nearly cost-free natural management of wild horse herd areas, mountain lions must be protected so that a nature crafted predator-prey relationship calls the shots—not us humans.

Having said all this, I believe there is a time and a place when PZP could be used if the parameters below were adhered to:

1. The drug can only be remotely delivered at the right time of the year.

2. The herd does not have a skewed sex ratio favoring males.

3. The herd is genetically viable (i.e. at least 200 adult breeding animals).

Meanwhile, here is what I would work on if I were a BLM wild horse manager:

  • Work with the Fish and Game folks to protect the mountain lions
  • Reduce the forage allocated to welfare livestock
  • Open up the fenced off water sources to all wildlife, including wild horses and burros
  • Remove the thousands of miles of fencing that limits the free-roaming behavior of wild horses  and burros
  • Release the healthy wild horses in holding to the millions of acres taken away from them since Congress unanimously passed the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

So often, well intentioned humans can make unwise choices when it comes to the natural world, and this is what I fear is happening with the use of infertility drugs. I hope wild horse advocates, wildlife enthusiasts, humane organizations, public lands extractive users, and the BLM can have substantive, civil discussions on this issue. I look forward to the day when we all might work together to make a better home on the range for our beloved wild horses and burros.

Happy Trails!

Ginger Kathrens

2010 Owyhee roundup ~ Cloud Foundation denied access to observe

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Photo © Anne Evans for The Cloud Foundation


The Cloud Foundation
Media Contacts:

Anne Novak
Tel: 415-531-8454

Makendra Silverman
Tel: 719-351-8187

For Immediate Release:

BLM Above the Law?

Salazar’s Agency Ignores Federal Court Order Honoring First Amendment, Denies Observers Access to Wild Horse Roundup

Reno, NV (July 19, 2010)—Laura Leigh, Herd Watch Project Coordinator for The Cloud Foundation, has been denied access to observe the Owyhee roundup, the first leg of the Tuscarora roundup near Elko, Nevada. On July 16th, Federal Judge Larry Hicks’ ruled Leigh’s First Amendment rights be upheld and therefore allow her and others to view the roundup. Leigh contends that the BLM has gone against the Judge’s orders for three days. Today Leigh filed a motion to uphold the court order for her First Amendment rights.

BLM officials refused to tell her where the trap site was located. They had strategically placed it on private land within the public herd management area (HMA) even though the range contains more than 450,000 acres of public land. The private landowner would not grant Leigh and others access. BLM used this method before to hide the Calico roundup from the public and journalists except for rare staged “media days”.

The helicopter stampede resumed as soon as the Judge lifted the injunction last Friday. Since then BLM has captured 620 mustangs and their young foals in the sweltering heat. More than 17 wild horses have been killed during the roundup. At least 2 foals were shot (euthanized) because of leg deformities resulting in lameness after being run over many miles of volcanic rock. Advocates question the accuracy of the diagnosis—pointing to evidence that lameness previously was caused by running the hoofs off the baby horses during last winter’s Calico roundup in Nevada also run by Cattoor Livestock, the private contractor who will be paid close to one million dollars for this roundup.

The BLM has created an alleged wild horses dehydration emergency by fencing mustangs off from water and running them scared by helicopter into traps. Advocates feel it is inhumane that the BLM is not treating the wild horses in the wild for dehydration but instead the BLM continues to chase them, round them up and ship the wild horses crammed in huge trucks for more than 5 hours to a temporary holding facility—all in the desert heat.

“These are wild animals. If this alleged emergency was happening to deer or big horn sheep the BLM would not be terrifying them by helicopter chase and then trucking them for half a day in the sweltering heat to be cared for at a distant location. Traditionally you care for distressed wild animals in the wild,” states Makendra Silverman, Associate Director of The Cloud Foundation. “And isn’t it curious that other wildlife or cattle isn’t suffering extreme dehydration out on the same range?”

Leigh had filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop this roundup and defend the public’s first amendment rights to observe the operation. BLM testified in federal court that no cattle remained on the range and that the horses had no water—even though a river is only 10 miles away, a short distance to travel for wild horses who under normal circumstances may travel twice that distance in daily treks to get a drink.

4,000 privately-owned cattle are permitted to graze (and drink) on the Tuscarora Complex where BLM permits only 400 mustangs.  Made up by three separate HMAs: Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek, the area is to be managed by BLM principally (though not exclusively) for the federally protected wild horses.

The foundation wants to know what is stopping the horses from accessing the Owyhee River and other perennial water sources? Are gates locked and vast areas fenced for livestock in the HMA?

“BLM’s emergency roundups are classified as such before the action begins. The three Tuscarora roundups were never described as emergencies. Suddenly, with the BLM challenged in court and 12 dead horses from the first day’s roundup their operation has suddenly morphed into an ‘emergency rescue’ roundup,” states Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens, who has 16 years experience documenting wild horses in the West. “There is really no way to accurately assess the real, on-the-ground situation because the public is still being denied access. Is BLM resorting to any means just to carry out an agenda to rid the western ranges of wild horses?”

The three Tuscarora roundups (Owyhee, Little Humbolt and Rock Creek) were scheduled months ago as a standard BLM operation. The wild horses were found to be healthy. The primary reason for the roundups was because the wild horses were allegedly damaging livestock fencing. The public, mustang advocates, animal welfare groups and equine experts warned against summer helicopter roundups in the desert heat. The BLM ignored the comments.

The Cloud Foundation calls for immediate access to be given to all members of the interested public and for the addition of at least two knowledgeable wild horse advocates to BLM’s assembled team of insiders to determine what went wrong in the Owyhee disaster.

“Right now BLM plans to zero out the entire West Douglas herd in Colorado against a Federal Judge’s specific ruling to leave the herd intact. For the past three days, BLM ignored Judge Hicks’ ruling for the First Amendment,” states Kathrens. “Who will stop Salazar’s rogue bureau before they ruin the West?”

# # #

Links of interest:
Washington Post reports on NV Roundup Resuming
NBC Reno reports BLM Still Restricting Public Access to Roundup
Leigh vs Salazar Documents filed 7/19 that relate to Leigh’s attempt to observe the Owyhee roundup and uphold her First Amendment rights:
Motion for Contempt
Declaration for Motion
Exhibit A DOI Letter

‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’
Court Order Granting Injunction
Grass Roots Horse
BLM daily reports on Tuscarora roundup
Roundup Schedule- updated July 12, 2010
The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP – investigative report
Wild Horse and Burro Act
Tuscarora/Owyhee Complex Roundup Information from BLM

Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues
PR Firm Hired for the Destruction of America’s Wild Horse and Burro Herds
Fact Sheet on Wild Herds & The Salazar Plan

Massive roundup at Owyhee

Salazar says he ‘regrets’ threatening to punch Gazette reporter

Cross-posted from The Gazette

Secretary Ken Salazar Public Domain

November 13, 2012 4:22 PM

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Tuesday he “regrets” threatening to punch a Gazette reporter for asking him last week about problems in the government’s wild horse program.

Salazar visited Fountain on Nov. 6 as part of a tour through Colorado in support of President Obama’s re-election campaign and Gazette reporter Dave Philipps asked him to answer a few questions on video.

Philipps, a prize-winning investigative reporter, had tried to reach Salazar for months through his press secretary to comment on a story Philipps wrote for ProPublica without response. The story detailed how a Colorado man with business connections to Salazar had been sold hundreds of federally protected wild horses despite being a proponent of horse slaughter. The fate of the horses is unknown.

When Philipps began asking Salazar about the program and possible personal ties he had to the wild horse buyer now under investigation, Salazar cut the interview short.

The secretary, dressed in a suit and wearing his signature white cowboy hat, approached Philipps, pushed The Gazette’s video camera out of the way, and got within inches of the reporter’s face.

“Don’t you ever,” Salazar said in a low voice, pointing a finger. “You know what, you do that again… I’ll punch you out.”

After saying he felt he’d been “set up,” Salazar left.

Listen to the audio of the interview here.

“Holding our public officials accountable is one of the cornerstones of our role as journalists,” said The Gazette’s Director of Content Carmen Boles. “We are dismayed that anyone would respond to legitimate questions in such a fashion.”

The Gazette held the audio, hoping that Salazar would agree to a substantive interview concerning  the wild horse program. His press office responded to requests with a simple statement: “The Secretary regrets the exchange.”

The confrontation was made public by the Colorado Springs-based wild horse advocacy group The Cloud Foundation on Monday and quickly spread through major news organizations and social media Tuesday.

Stop the Roundups Rally in Sacramento July 10th at 2 pm outside the Federal Courthouse

Come to the rally to show that you care about the wild horses and burros in America.

Terri Farley speaks at the Rally to Stop the Roundups (Photo © Anne Novak.)

The Sacramento Stop the Roundups Rally and Press Conference is at 2 p.m. July 10th on the sidewalk outside the Federal Courthouse across from the Amtrak station. ( 501 ” I ” Street at the 5th Street intersection in Sacramento, CA 95814)

Here is a list of speakers:

Carla Bowers, National Wild Horse Advocate

Tina Brodrick, Owner of Sonny Boys Tours

Craig Downer, Wildlife Biologist and acclaimed Wild Horse and Burro Expert

Terri Farley, Award winning writer and beloved author of The Phantom Stallion series

Cat Kindsfather, Award winning wild horse photographer

Marilyn Kroplick, MD, Board President for In Defense of Animals

Simone Netherlands, President of Respect for Horses

Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs

Jetara Séhart, Executive Director of Native Wild Horse Protection & Marin Mustangs

Robin Warren  (Wild Mustang Robin), Director of The Youth Campaign for Protect Mustangs

Bring homemade signs and your friends. It will be hot so bring a rain umbrella for shade and plenty of water. Protect Mustangs encourages members of the public to carpool or take Amtrak to save on fuel and reduce pollution. Oil and gas extraction–on public land–is one of the main reasons wild horses are being wiped off their home on the range.  Be part of the solution and take the train if you can.

The voiceless wild horses and burros need your help after the rally too. Give oral or written comment against helicopter roundups and attend the 6:30 pm BLM Wild Horse & Burro Helicopter/Vehicle Use Public Hearing for roundups and management. The meeting runs from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Woodlake Hotel (formerly the Radisson near Arden Fair Mall) 500 Leisure Lane in Sacramento.

“Like” and check for updates on our Facebook page:

Join the dynamic conversation on Facebook about helicopter roundups:

Driving directions from the rally to the meeting:

Driving directions to 500 Leisure Ln, Sacramento, CA 95815
501 I St
Sacramento, CA 95814
1. Head north on 5th St toward H St
194 ft
2. 5th St turns right and becomes H St
0.8 mi
3. Turn left onto CA-160 N/16th St

Continue to follow CA-160 N
2.3 mi
4. Take exit 47A for Leisure Ln towardCanterbury Rd
0.1 mi
5. Keep left at the fork, follow signs forLeisure
79 ft
6. Turn left onto Leisure Ln

Destination will be on the right
354 ft
500 Leisure Ln
Sacramento, CA 95815

Special thanks to Jetara Séhart, Executive Director of Native Wild Horse Protection & Marin Mustangs for her help to put together this event.

If you have any questions or would like to speak at the rally feel free to send us an email at

Come to the Sacramento Rally to Stop Helicopter Roundups July 10th


Note posted 6/24: Rally time is 10:30 AM ~ Location TBA in 48 hours

Here is a list of speakers as of this date

Craig Downer

Marjorie Farabee

Terri Farley

Ginger Kathrens

Elliot Katz

Carl Mrozek

Simone Netherlands

Shruti Tewari

Jetara True-Love

Robin Warren  (Wild Mustang Robin)