Note from Protect Mustangs: If you don’t like this then: 1.) Go see your congressional representative this week and ask them to intervene to stop these horrible experiments on America’s wild horses who are being managed to extinction. 2.) Sign and share this petition and email it to everyone you know: https://www.change.org/p/defund-and-stop-the-wild-horse-burro-roundups Groups like The Cloud Foundation and the coalition led by The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign seem to be misleading the public because they have chosen pushing PZP (controlled by The Humane Society of the United States) over championing wild horse freedom on public land. They slip appeals for PZP in the bottom of their online petitions hoping the public won’t notice what they are signing. That was the beginning of this slippery slope towards experimentation and extinction. Why? Follow the money, fear mongering and the seduction to campaign for drugging wild horses and burros with a risky pesticide made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries to block fertility. . . 3.) It’s time to join Protect Mustangs to protect our national treasures. Go to www.ProtectMustangs.org to sign up. 4.) You can donate to the Wild Horse Legal Fund also. The crowd funding link is here: https://www.gofundme.com/MustangLaw2016 or donate by www.PayPal.com to Contact@ProtectMustangs.org and please mark your donation is for the “Legal Fund”. Thank you for taking action today! Together we can turn this around.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to use American tax dollars in several cruel experiments to develop methods of wild horse and burro population control–despite the fact that there is no overpopulation of wild horses or burros. The BLM anticipates the total cost of the experiments to be $11 million over 5 years.The research is being conducted by university scientists as well as scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Research with Universities results in experimenting on wild horses and burros
In its 2013 report to the BLM, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found that no highly effective, easily delivered and affordable fertility-control methods were currently available for use on wild horses and burros. The most promising birth control, PZP, made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries, is limited in the duration of its effectiveness (1-2 years). At the same time, after multiple applications or if applied to young fillies it permanently sterilizes native wild horses.
The BLM released a solicitation for experimentation to develop new or improve existing population growth suppression methods for wild horses. (http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2015/july/nr_07_07_2015.html) The following seven research projects were reviewed and recommended by an NAS panel of experts and are consistent with recommendations made to the BLM by its Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board who is biased against wild horses and prefers livestock use public land for cheap grazing.
Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board Meeting in 2013
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.
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.
Map of Western United States showing 12 current field research/pilot projects.
4. Re-immunization of Free-Ranging Horses with GonaCon Immunological Vaccine: Effects on Reproduction, Safety, and Population Performance
Recipient: Colorado State University
Summary: A two-year experiment will focus on further study of Gonocon, an approved and labeled contraceptive vaccine for equids.
Details: This experiment will focus on the effectiveness of GonaCon as an immunological vaccine, with five objectives: 1) to begin to determine the optimum and most effective re-vaccination schedule with GonaCon vaccine for suppressing reproductive rates in free-ranging horses, the duration of effectiveness, and the return to fertility following treatment; 2) to determine the safety and physiological side-effects (if any) in feral horses following re-vaccination with GonaCon including visual assessment of general health, body condition, injection site reactions, effects on current pregnancy, and neonatal health and survival; 3) to determine the effects of GonaCon vaccination on the behavioral side-effects (if any) in free-ranging horses including quantitative assessment of the effects on daily activity patterns and social interactions; 4) to develop and test a safe and effective dart configuration and injection system for remotely administering GonaCon vaccine to free-ranging horses by means of a syringe dart; and 5) to develop a Bayesian model to forecast the consequences of different GonaCon vaccine treatments on feral horse population dynamics at THRO. [Teddy Roosevelt National Park].
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.
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.
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.
Additional details about these experiments can be found in the following documents:
Detailed Summary of University-led Experiments for Fertility Control Tools for Wild Horses
Review of Proposals to the BLM on Wild Horse and Burro Sterilization or Contraception: A Letter Report
Research with the U.S. Geological Survey
Through its partnership with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the BLM is undertaking important research aimed at delivering better methods and tools for managing wild horse and burro herds on public lands. These projects build upon on-going cooperation between the BLM and USGS that is implementing new methods to estimate wild horse and burro population size.
There are nine USGS experiments that have been approved or are on-going:
Collaring & radio marking (1 year): The aim is to develop safe GPS collars for tracking animals to determine habitat selection, movement ecology, population estimation, behavior, etc. GPS tracking might also help locating animals for contraceptive treatments.
Fecal DNA (genetics/population survey) (1.5 years): The experiment involves the collection and analysis of fecal DNA as a noninvasive method to determine genetic diversity and estimate population size.
Carrying capacity modeling (1 year): This experiment’s aim is to develop a coarse model to evaluate changes in animal carrying capacity in response to changes in vegetation production. The resulting model may help BLM to adapt plans in response to climatic change.
Mare Contraception -SpayVac Pen Trial II (5 years): This experiment will help determine the efficacy of alternative SpayVac contraceptive vaccine formulations that are potentially longer acting than conventional PZP vaccines.
Evaluating Behavior of Spayed Free-Roaming Mares (4 years): The experiment will determine the effects of spaying on behavior, interactions, and movement of spayed mares among a breeding herd. The study will also determine the population level effect on herd growth.
Evaluating Behavior of Geldings among a Breeding Herd (4 years): This experiment will determine any effects of gelding on behavior, movement, interactions and changes in habitat selection.
Two Sentinel Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) Demography Studies (2 studies, each of 5 years): These experiments will provide demographic data sets for use in new population models and serve as control HMAs for gelding and spayed mare field studies.
Burro Sentinel HMA Demography Study (5 years): The experiment will involve collecting data on the survival, fertility, fecundity, recruitment, movements, range use, habitat selection and social behavior of wild burros. These data will be used in population modeling.
The BLM has requested or is reviewing proposals for the following projects with USGS:
Evaluate the Use of a Silastic O-Ring Intrauterine Device (IUD) in Mares (4 years): This experiment will determine any effects on mare health resulting from the long-term presence of the silastic O-ring IUD. This IUD has effectively prevented pregnancy in domestic mares during one breeding season.
Burro Population Survey Method Development (2.5 years): This experiment will test two new population survey methods for wild burros. The existing simultaneous double-observer method, when applied to burros, tends to lead to underestimates of true burro population size.
WinEquus II – Population Model with Cost/Benefit Outputs (1.5 years): This experiment will develop a model that compares population modeling outcomes and projects the costs, benefits and expected population growth resulting from management actions that involve PZP, removals, spaying, gelding and other population growth suppression tools.
Testing Efficacy of Contraceptives for Female Burros (3-4 years): Contraceptive vaccines have yet to be used on wild burros due to limited research and unknown effects. This study will examine the efficacy of various existing vaccines.
© Protect Mustangs, 2016