Rather than fighting for American wild horses and burros to have their rights upheld on public land, the Pesticide PZP pushing groups are lobbying hard to have their “vaccine” used for pest control. Pest control you ask? Yes, a pesticide is used for pest control. In the EPA Pesticide Fact sheet, it states that the registrant of Pesticide PZP, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), called them “pests”.
This is the first time America’s native wild horses and burros have been labeled “pests”. Do you agree that indigenous wild horses are pests? How can an animal with origins in America be a “pest”?
Pests are invasive species. Wild horses are native.
Curiously many required forms required on the pesticide application received waivers and that only bring many questions to light. How did the registrant get environmental waivers and such? Was an expensive consulting firm brought in to push the Pesticide PZP application through or did HSUS pull strings inside the EPA?
The Pesticide PZP pushing groups, under the hand of HSUS, keep shouting they want “fertility control” for a fake problem. A fake problem you ask? Yes, fake. The National Academy of Sciences stated there is “no evidence of overpopulation” in their 2013 report. Despite this fact, those looking to rape the public land of her resources push the overpopulation myth.
Rather than fight to protect the last American wild horses and burros in the West–PZP Advocates lobby with bad-science booklets in hand–to have the wild equids darted with a “vaccine” made out of slaughterhouse pig ovaries for population control.
The truth is simple–When the public is informed about the dangers of Pesticide PZP they are horrified.
Fact: Drugging up wild horses with a dangerous pesticide sterilizes after multiple uses. The pesticide also ruins natural selection and wrecks havoc with native wild horses’ immune systems putting them at risk of massive die-offs. You can read the science showing some of the many dangers here: http://protectmustangs.org/?page_id=6922
Exploiters–vying to make billions on public land occupied by wild horses and burros–have jumped on the twisted notion of “fertility control” without a head count erupting out of the Pesticide PZP pusher’s expensive PR campaign. They push for quick population control. They hail pesticide-vaccines for sterilization, grotesque sterilization experiments on pregnant wild horses and lobby to send America’s icons of freedom off to slaughter to be eaten as a delicacy abroad.
Fear mongering the public that it’s either PZP or Slaughter will no longer be tolerated. Pesticide PZP Advocates need to stop trying to manipulate people’s emotions to support their pesticide for birth control and leave our wild ones alone. We demand protection for America’s last wild horses and burros now!
It’s time to stand up and demand a head count of the last will horses left in America. Are truckloads of stallions being taken off the range and shipped over the border to slaughter? We need a freeze on cruel roundups, forced drugging with Pesticide PZP, transport to slaughter, etc. so they can be counted now!
It’s time to expose the overpopulation myth as the wicked lie.
Tell Utah politicians they need to stop trying to kill and slaughter wild horses and burros that belong to the American people from coast to coast. Hands off! Let them live free.
First, let me commend you for correctly identifying PZP as a “sterilization drug.” The Bureau of Land Management (BoLM) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) both like to refer to it as “birth control,” but PZP is actually a sterilant. More on that later. The reason for my email is to alert you that BoLM has given you false information regarding the wild horses and burros.
While a reporter or any member of the public should be able to secure accurate data from government agencies, BoLM’s data is fraudulent as concerns wild horses and burros. BoLM is aggressively pursuing a disinformation campaign against the mustangs, concocting a crisis that does not exist, and using scare-tactics to secure increased funding for itself. Let me now address certain points cited in your article.
Herd-growth rates: Equids are slow-growth species when it comes to reproduction. The gestation period for horses lasts 11 months, and a mare produces just 1 foal. The gestation period for burros lasts 12 to 14 months, and a jenny is less fertile than a mare. While an independent study of BoLM’s records did confirm an almost 20% birth rate for wild-horse herds, and an almost 15% birth rate for wild-burro herds, the study also found that 50% of foals perish before their first birthday. Thus, the effective increase in population from new foals is just 10% for wild horses and 7% for wild burros. Adult mustangs also die. They succumb to illness, injury, and predation at a rate of at least 5% a year. So, what is a normal herd-growth rate? Around5% for wild horses and about 2% for wild burros, probably less in each case. Thus, a herd could not double every four years — that’s just BoLM propaganda.
Fraudulent figures: There is no overpopulation except on BoLM’s falsified spreadsheets. Reviews of the agency’s population-estimates reveal biologically-impossible herd-growth rates. For instance, in Arizona, BoLM reported that the Big Sandy herd grew from 250 burros to 754 burros in one year, a 202% increase. In Nevada, BoLM would have us believe that the Lava Beds herd grew from 40 burros to 350 burros in one year, a 775% increase. In Wyoming, BoLM declared that the Salt Wells Creek herd grew from 29 horses to 616 horses in 6 months (yes, months), a 2,024% increase. The agency’s “data” is chock-full of such preposterous growth-estimates. So, when you hear talk of how the wild horses are reproducing “exponentially,” that’s a sure sign that the numbers have been falsified.
Wild horses and burros are underpopulated: Per the guidelines of BoLM’s own geneticist, 83% of the wild-horse herds and 90% of the wild-burro herds suffer from arbitrary management levels (AMLs) set below minimum-viable population (MVP). Low AMLs enable BoLM to claim an “excess” in herds whose numbers, even if they were over AML, would still not reach MVP. For instance, the AML for Arizona’s Black Mountain herd was set at 382 to 478 wild burros. The Black Mountain Herd Management Area comprises 925,425 acres, or 1,446 square miles. Thus, per the AML, BoLM implies that each burro needs 1,936 to 2,423 acres, or about 3 to 4 square miles per burro. If BoLM projects there to be 2 burros per 3 square miles, the agency declares an “overpopulation” because there is “double the number” that the AML allows. As you can see, being “over AML” is meaningless as well as misleading. But the low AMLs, combined with falsified, biologically-impossible herd-growth estimates, give BoLM an excuse to scapegoat those few wild horses and burros for the range-damage done by the millions of livestock that overgraze the public lands.
Adoptions: Have not declined — let alone “disappeared” — contrary to what BoLM led you to believe. It’s just that BoLM used to count the thousands of sales-for-slaughter as “adoptions.” Now that only true adoptions — “forever-family” placements — qualify, it just seems as if the number has declined. However, wild horses are not homeless horses. They have a home — where they belong — on the range.
HSUS: Is the registrant of PZP / ZonaStat-H with the Environmental Protection Agency. Thus, HSUS’ information is not impartial because the organization has its reputation to protect. Further, HSUS has submitted a proposal for a multi-year project in which BoLM would pay for HSUS staff to experiment on Arizona’s burros via “opportunistic” darting with PZP.
Pesticide: PZP is not just a sterilant but also a registered pesticide that was approved by the EPA for use on wild horses and burros “where they have become a nuisance.” However, PZP was registered without the standard testing requirements. There is currently a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the registration, especially in light of new studies that have disclosed PZP’s many adverse side-effects.
Sterilizing mustangs: PZP is a potent weapon in BoLM’s arsenal — for its biological warfare against the wild horses. But population control for wild horses is unnecessary because there is no overpopulation. Why would we contracept herds whose population is inadequate for genetic viability? Why would we contracept herds based on falsified figures? Logically we wouldn’t and ethically we shouldn’t. Further, if PZP were going to stop the roundups, it would have done so long ago for the famous Pryor Mountain herd, home to Cloud, the stallion who was the subject of a number of documentaries that aired on PBS. The Pryor Mountain mares have been darted with PZP for nearly two decades. Yet roundups have been scheduled there like clockwork every 3 years and, in spite of intensifying the PZP treatments recently, BoLM tried to implement yearly roundups until stopped by a Friends of Animals lawsuit.
PZP — the anti-vaccine: PZP causes disease — auto-immune disease. PZP “works” by tricking the immune system into producing antibodies that target and attack the ovaries. The antibodies cause ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries), ovarian cysts, destruction of oocytes in growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles. The mare’s estrogen-levels drop markedly as PZP destroys her ovaries. Ultimately, PZP sterilizes her. Because PZP stimulates the immune system, it ironically works “best” — sterilizes faster — in mares that have strong immune-function. Such mares respond to the anti-vaccine and produce quantities of PZP antibodies that destroy their ovaries. But, conversely, PZP may not work at all in mares whose immune-function is weak or depressed. Those mares fail to respond to PZP. They keep getting pregnant and producing foals who, like their dams, suffer from weak immune-function. So, the PZP pesticide works against the very horses that Nature has best equipped for survival-against-disease while favoring and selecting for the immuno-compromised. Worse yet, radioimmunoassay tests indicated that PZP antibodies are transferred from mother to female offspring via the placenta and milk.
Health-risks to volunteers: As for the well-meaning volunteers who dart wild horses, EPA’s Pesticide Fact Sheet for PZP advises that Personal Protective Equipment requirements include long sleeved shirt and long pants, gloves and shoes plus socks to mitigate occupational exposure. EPA specifically warns that pregnant women must not be involved in handling or injecting ZonaStat-H, and that all women should be aware that accidental self-injection may cause infertility. Unfortunately, PZP’s manufacturer misrepresented PZP as “so safe it is boring.” But research shows that PZP is a powerful hormone disruptor. Further, consider the magnitude of the risk — the PZP-in-question is a horse-sized dose. If volunteers think PZP is safe, they will be less likely to protect themselves from this dangerous pesticide.
Mengelian experiments: The Big Lie of “overpopulation” is the pretext for BoLM’s war against the wild horses, and the wild horses are prisoners of that war. It’s BoLM’s version of the “Shock Doctrine,” wherein the agency concocted a phony crisis to push through policies antithetical to the Wild Horse Act against the will of The People. Now, BoLM is funding surgical-sterilization studies on the equine POWs to develop a Final Solution to the “problem” — handing out $11 million for these diabolical experiments. The grant money is surely intended to buy loyalty and silence potential criticism from academia. Plus, BoLM, a corrupt, rogue agency, gets to cloak itself in respectability by affiliating with prestigious universities.
Should you wish to learn more about how BoLM is mismanaging Arizona’s wild burros, I would be happy to send you a copy of comments recently submitted. Just let me know.
Protect Mustangs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.
By Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
TheHumane Society of the United States (HSUS) may be collecting their 30 pieces of silver over the next five years.
The film Blackfish literally swept the profits from SeaWorld’s table and with their stock value plummeting, they had to find a way to put the profits back on the table. Joel Manby, the CEO of SeaWorld needed a champion. Last week he announced that he had found his Judas.
Enter Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society of the United States, who stepped up to the plate to snatch defeat from the jaws of the victory, that we almost achieved. Pacelle single-handedly put the brakes on the movement, inspired by Blackfish.
For years HSUS has been condemning SeaWorld and campaigning against the miserable, distressing conditions the orcas are forced to endure (for no other reason than to provide entertainment to humans). That condemnation has now turned to commendation. SeaWorld has now been proclaimed “humane” by HSUS. This partnership is not really so surprising when we consider that HSUS previously partnered with abusive dog fighting criminal Michael Vick to help him return to acceptability in the public eye.
In Wayne’s “humane” new world, the word humane simply means whatever he wishes it to mean and both Joel Manby and Wayne Pacelle have twisted and spun the truth radically in order to get what they want.
The first spin was their blatant proclamation that no orca has been successfully returned to the wild. They knew that was not true. The release of Keiko in 1997 was very much a success. Anticipating the reaction to this statement, Manby (without correction by Pacelle), stated that the release of Keiko was a failure. Keiko died five years after being released. He spent those five years free, hunting for fish and swimming between Norway and Iceland. He died of pneumonia, which Manby implied was the result of his being freed.
Of course, Manby neglected to mention that nine SeaWorld orcas have died of pneumonia. In fact, 20 SeaWorld orcas and 133 of their dolphins have died in captivity over the last 24 years. SeaWorld is not fooling us by saying that life is better in their concrete tanks than in the sea. It is not.
At the time of Keiko’s release, HSUS was boasting of the success and certainly claiming credit for their part in it. Today they have changed their tune. When it was profitable to applaud the success of Keiko’s release, they did so. Now it appears there is more profit in agreeing with SeaWorld, that the release was a failure.
For years HSUS has been promoting sea pens, large enclosures in a fjord or bay for the orcas to be released, where they could swim for miles and learn to hunt for fish. That all is now forgotten when Pacelle, sitting side by side with Manby, said to the world last week that sea pens will not work and he was happy that the orcas will live out their lives without a breeding program. What this means is that they will no longer masturbate the males to artificially inseminate the females. Of course what they do by themselves is something else altogether, to which they will argue, it’s difficult to separate an amorous couple of orcas unless of course they are contemplating abortions.
On the 31st of March, HSUS took out an ad in the New York Times to commend SeaWorld. In that ad they claimed SeaWorld does wonderful things like rescuing animals in distress, yet only a few years ago Dr. Naomi Rose, speaking about SeaWorld said, “The work that they actually do isn’t as great as they claim. It looks good, but in the end, they can’t offer evidence of success because they don’t monitor most of the animals they release.” Now, according to the ad, HSUS is calling SeaWorld “inspiring” and describes their swim with dolphin programs (it recently condemned), as “personal, interactive and informative experiences.” At the end of the ad, HSUS boldly states, “All seafood (fish) served in the SeaWorld parks will be sustainable.” HSUS knows there is no such thing as “sustainable seafood.” The oceans are grossly over-fished. HSUS added that “all food offerings (will) reflect an awareness of animal welfare, such as crate-free pork and cage-free eggs.”
It appears that HSUS had forgotten their past condemnation of the practice of grinding up male chicks alive and the horrendous conditions at slaughter houses. Humane slaughter is a myth.
The original Judas received only 30 pieces of silver. I think HSUS will fare much better with their betrayal of the orcas and dolphins of SeaWorld.
SeaWorld has announced that they will be active partners with HSUS to oppose sealing, whaling and shark-finning. I have been on the front lines of anti-whaling, anti-sealing and anti-shark killing efforts for four decades and I have never seen Sea World do anything that would court controversy. I assume this partnership will include promoting HSUS at SeaWorld and HSUS promoting SeaWorld to the public. Very beneficial to both corporations, but hardly beneficial to the 28 orcas that SeaWorld will continue to hold prisoner.
Manby has said he will lobby to stop Japan from killing whales. Japan did not listen to U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, so why would they listen to him?
So what has changed? Not much. The orcas will remain in their tanks. There will most likely be natural births, the theatrics will continue until 2019, giving SeaWorld time to develop an alternative entertainment program. HSUS will be promoted inside SeaWorld with the potential of enlisting a huge increase in support with their now larger tent and SeaWorld will appear to be absolved of their sins.
For the prisoners nothing changes at all really. SeaWorld intends to see them stay imprisoned in their little tanks and HSUS sees that as a good thing.
Judas must be so proud.
*Dr. Naomi Rose quote is from Death at Sea World by Dave Kirby
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]
“Whenever an immune response is provoked, there is some risk of autoimmunity. Therefore immunocontraception trials typically check for signs of autoimmune disease. One concern with zona pellucida vaccination, in particular, is that in certain cases it appears to be correlated with ovarian pathogenesis. However, ovarian disease has not been observed in every trial of zona pellucida vaccination, and when observed, has not always been irreversible.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“. . . 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.]
“. . . 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.”
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…”
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.
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:
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.
BLM’s plans for sterilization include the slow extinction drug called PZP which sterilizes after multiple use
Since 2009 and surely earlier, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has always said they want to sterilize wild horses and burros. BLM and Secretary Sally Jewell want to use other forms of birth control besides PZP even though Congress has paid BLM to let Big Pharma experiment with PZP on our wild mares for decades.
At least one pharmaceutical company was hoping to use PZP for human contraception but since it’s not safe for the ovaries and makes wild horses sterile after multiple use, it’s not ideal for a human product.
PZP, Porcine Zona Pellucida, is made from slaughterhouse pig ovaries and mixed with adjuvant.
BLM never said they liked PZP for wild horse management. The truth is BLM thinks PZP is impractical and they don’t believe it works well. BLM doesn’t want to round up wild horses every 1 or 2 years (for native PZP or PZP-22) and be bothered with drugging wild mares at the “right time” of year. 90% of the herds on public land need to be rounded up to be darted with PZP. Only the ones who are almost domesticated and let people close can be darted in the field. The feds would rather use a one shot deal to sterilize wild horses or just geld (castrate) or spay them and toss them back out to die off and not reproduce.
You might be hearing spin and rumors once again from the growing group of BLM collaborators/advocates who used to fight for wild horse freedom but who now fight for PZP. They have invested in PZP as their pillar of management. Some are applying for grant money to monitor the herds on PZP.
Their fear based spin goes like this:
“If the BLM doesn’t use PZP to manage population for a zero growth then they will sterilize them.” This statement is FALSE. BLM already wants to sterilize them and PZP sterilizes after multiple use.
“If the BLM doesn’t use PZP to manage population for a zero growth then they will sell them and they will end up slaughtered.” This statement is FALSE. BLM wants to dispose of as many wild horses as possible. PZPed mares have been seen in the kill pens.
“If the BLM doesn’t use PZP to manage population for a zero growth then they will kill them.” This statement is FALSE. The BLM would face a wave of public outrage and protests if they announced plans to kill alleged “excess” wild horses.
Then there is the outright lie: “PZP is only a temporary measure to use until we can stop horses from going to slaughter.” No policy the government undertakes is ever quickly undone. If BLM were to start administering PZP to all the wild mares from starting at 18 months old, then this would take years to undo. The herds’ genetic viability would be wiped out. America’s wild horses would be managed to extinction for sure.
The coalition working for PZP-based management of wild horses called The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) used Return to Freedom sanctuary as their 501c3 fiscal sponsor for donations up until 2016. It seems Return to Freedom has also received a lot of money from BLM in the past. Was that for decades of PZP research?
The Humane Society of the United States and their wild horse partner known as The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign have been throwing a lot of money at PR and marketing campaigns to push PZP on an emotional public. At some point it’s believed they spent a lot of money hiring a PR firm to get their “PZP for human management”, #Justice4Mustangs, #KeepWildHorsesWild message out. AWHPC uses a fundraising and advocacy program for their website, alerts, petitions, etc. called SALSA. Their pricing is outrageously high and rises based on the number of supporters connected to the platform. Their website is www.SalsaLabs.org
Even the docudrama AMERICAN MUSTANG pushes PZP on their target audience. It was made by a major donor and player at AWHPC. How can they push PZP pesticide on what they say in the film is a native species? Was the footage taken at 1:02–1:08 and 2:13–2:21 of wild horses in the care and control of Return to Freedom while being boarded at the feedlot in Fallon Nevada for close to 2 years?
The truth is wild horses are not overpopulated. BLM fraudulently releases crazy population numbers to fool your elected officials into giving them more money to wipe out America’s last federally protected wild horses on public land. You can read more about that here: http://protectmustangs.org/?p=8551 .
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/sterilization.
Sadly BLM collaborators like The Cloud Foundation–one of the leading PZP pushing groups and an active member of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, doesn’t seem to be fighting BLM’s overpopulation myth anymore. They lost their way in 2011 when the group named after the Cloud the Stallion films on PBS seems to have abandoned the fight for America’s wild horses’ right to real freedom. It appears the Cloud Foundation and the filmmaker caved into pressure and the seduction of PZP–as being the “lesser of two evils.”
Now the Cloud Foundation is enticing their followers to speak out for PZP instead of BLM’s proposed radio collars and sterilization of the White Mountain Herd in Wyoming. What ever happened to speaking out for the federally protected yet voiceless wild horses and stopping BLM from managing them to extinction?
Wild horses want their right to real freedom. Forced drugging with PZP pesticide is an infringement on the core of wild horse freedom. It violates their right to let nature decide the survival of the fittest, who breeds and tortures the mares who will be raped repeatedly because she isn’t fertile yet comes into heat monthly.
Other groups are hoping for grant money to participate in more PZP related research.
Accepting the need for any kind of fertility control is a slippery slope because BLM and the Department of Interior will pounce on the opportunity to tell elected officials that the majority of the public wants birth control to fix their counterfeit crisis. Of course this isn’t true. The majority of the American public has no clue that their tax dollars are being used to fund cruel animal experiments and manage a wild species to extinction.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reported on the Western Governors’ Association Conference in December 2015 where the Department of Interior’s Secretary Sally Jewell briefed those present on the wild horse issue:
No Secretary Jewell, birth control will not satisfy people that realize BLM has inflated the population data to support their goal to remove as many wild horses as they can. The public feels passionately about wild horses’ right to be protected in the true spirit of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. We don’t want them forcibly drugged up with pesticides like PZP, Gonacon™, SPayVac®, brutally given chemical vasectomies and field spaying for birth control nor do we want wild horses and burros used for experiment and research.
The War on Wild Horses
Secretary Jewell basically informed the governors that wild horses are overpopulating like rabbits. When she spoke about birth control she wasn’t specifically talking about PZP. The head of the Department of Interior was talking about fertility control, period.
She worked as a power broker in the oil and banking industries before her stint as CEO of REI. Jewell’s goal seems to be to maximize resources on public land for profit. Wild horses and burros can slow down profit so they need to be wiped off the game board.
Secretary Jewell cast out an open invitation for universities and Big Pharma to experiment on our treasured wild herds with an incentive grant program.
The BLM is only out for big money. The federal agency can get more money from mining, fracking, for oil and gas as well as for renewables such as massive dirty solar farms, etc without wild horses out there.
The livestock and Big Ag lobbies are strong so BLM must be sure to leave them some crumbs. That’s why the Cattlemen’s lobby feels so threatened to share any grazing space or water–not that they ever liked sharing public land grazing with native wild horses.
Rebuttal of Misinformation Posted by Pro-PZP Entities Issue # 1. Criticism of devoted scientists and advocates
Discussion: Sometimes the truth hurts, and sometimes the only way to wake misguided people out of their imaginations is to speak in the strongest of terms. Issue # 2. Self-regulating herds.
Discussion: The pro-PZP groups parrot the BLM line that there is an insufficient number of large predators to effectively control wild horse populations. But what happened to the predators? They have been virtually exterminated due to excessive hunting by sportsmen and excessive culling by Wildlife Services, which kills on behalf of public lands ranchers. Instead of joining with conservation organizations and animal protection groups that are fighting for the predators, the PZP adherents want us to accept defeat. We won’t. We believe in a thriving natural ecological balance, which must include predators, large and small. Issue # 3. Impact on genetics and social structure.
Discussion: The pro-PZP groups say it is too late, that the herds have already been genetically and socially disrupted by decades of roundups, removals, and relocations. Their solution? PZP. Thus, we are essentially being told that underpopulated herds suffering from genetic decline should have their numbers further reduced and their mares eventually rendered sterile. We say, “Absolutely not.” The answer is to fight for the herds, for viable populations, for genetic diversity, for normal behavior, for natural fertility. Issue # 4. Economics.
Discussion: Pro-PZP groups want us to accept BLM’s mismanagement as a fact and learn to live with it. They say we should let wild fillies and mares be slowly sterilized. Using PZP will, “over time” reduce removals, they claim. If only that were so. A review of BLM’s population estimates for herds scheduled for gathers this year showed case after case of dizzingly inflated numbers, even for years in which PZP would have been at maximum effect. BLM is not a trusted partner! BLM is using PZP to accelerate the demise of the herds, combining slow sterilization with massive removals on any pretext. The pro-PZP groups are unwittingly playing into BLM’s nefarious schemes to wipe out the wild horses and burros. Issue # 5. Whether PZP is a pesticide.
Discussion: The EPA classifies PZP as a pesticide for use on non-food animal pests. It exerts a contraceptive effect by inflamming the ovaries, causing ovarian dystrophy, destroying oocytes in growing follicles, and depleting resting follicles. The EPA warns that PZP is a biohazard are advises women that accidental injection could cause infertility. The EPA cautions pregnant women to avoid handling PZP, despite PZP’s supposed non-interference with a pregnancy in progress. Thus, the possibility is raised of harm to an unborn child by exposure to PZP in the womb.
Anne-Marie Pinter” The crux of this is; multiple attacks on the immune system; stress then a stimulant…..then you have the makings of “Autoimmune disease” as it is termed in today scientific world; “Autoimmune diseases are due to an overacting immune system, that starts attacking their own body” Issue # 6. Whether PZP-22 is the best answer, if fertility control is to be used.
Discussion: No. PZP-22 has the same adverse-effects profile, except it is longer acting. Once “native” PZP opened the door to artificial population control, BLM looked for ways to make it last longer so they would have less work to do. Thus, one-year PZP is often rejected as “not feasible” and “not practical”. For the most part, BLM wants to keep holding helicopter roundups on a rotating basis every four years, as they’ve been doing. In BLM’s ideal world, they would continue conducting helicopter gathers to catch and corral the mares, shoot them up with “PZP-48”, remove most of the herd anyway based on exaggerated population estimates, and then retire to their offices to sit back for another four years. Issue # 7. Whether “native” PZP is a sterilant.
Discussion: Ultimately, yes. But if a filly or mare has a strong immune system, even the first immuno-vaccination could provoke such a powerful immune response that she would immediately be rendered permanently sterile. With multiple consecutive injections, sterility is pretty much a certainty. Exceptions would be mares with a weak or depressed immune system, which would not respond to the PZP. That’s why some mares get pregnant in spite of PZP, and why PZP inadvertently selects for immumo-compromised horses. Over time, herd health would suffer and the population could be wiped out by an inability to fight off disease. Issue # 8. Whether PZP is a chemical contraceptive and whether it poses a significant risk to inoculated mares and their foals.
Discussion: PZP is a chemical, classified by the EPA as a pesticide, approved for use against “feral” horses deemed to be pests. Let it be understood that our wild horses are Federal, not feral. PZP works to provoke an immune response that has been shown to target the ovaries, causing inflammation and dystrophy. PZP destroys oocytes in growing follicles and depletion of resting follicles. So, yes, it does pose a significant risk to mares injected with such a powerful and destructive “vaccine.” Because pregnant women are strictly warned against handling PZP, even though PZP is said not to interfere with a pregnancy already in existence, the possibility of ovarian or testicular degeneration in the developing embryo or fetus is of concern. Therefore, a pregnant mare’s unborn foal could potentially be affected. The cautionary principle would call for rejection, not injection, of such a substance. http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=R96054 Issue # 9. Whether PZP causes ovarian damage and other pathologies.
Discussion: Yes, it does. The pro-PZP groups endeavor to differentiate “native” PZP from other PZP formulations and claim that “native” PZP works completely differently from the rest of the PZPs and ZPs. Not so. Recent studies have disproven the theory that ZPs block fertilization. Instead, ZP vaccines cause ovarian dystrophy, oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries), destruction of oocytes in all growing follicles, and depletion of resting follicles. That is why, regardless of PZP type, it takes years for fertility to be restored (if ever) and why eventual sterilization occurs with certainty after multiple inoculations. Kirkpatrick, Liu, Turner, et al. (1992) found that ” … three consecutive years of PZP treatment may interfere with normal ovarian function as shown by markedly depressed oestrogen secretion.”
Certainly ovarian damage should have been suspected 23 years ago and investigated, in light of “markedly depressed oestrogen secretion” in PZP-treated mares. Yet despite the developer’s own finding in 1992 that PZP appeared to “interfere with normal ovarian function,” the product was promoted as a safe vaccine that merely blocked fertilization. Recent independent studies, based on examining the reproductive organs of sacrificed experimental animals [note: whether they were “sacrificed” to determine the organ-damage has to be verified], revealed the ovarian destruction, clearly disproving the previous assumption. Issue # 10. Whether PZP is paving the way for use in humans.
Discussion: No, it’s not. Interesting choice of argument that PZP’s 95 percent efficacy rate would be too low for human contraception. Compare PZP’s rate with that of birth control pills, which are only 91 percent effective unless perfect compliance is achieved, no conflicting medications are taken, and no conflicting health issues are present. And compare PZP’s efficacy rate to that of condoms. With typical use, 85 percent of women relying on prophylactics worn by their partners successfully prevent pregnancy. Interesting choice of argument also in comparing PZP to the influenza vaccine, whose efficacy is reportedly in the 10-60 percent range.
Discussion: The International Union for Conservation of Nature has determined that 2,500 is the minimun viable population for a wild horse herd. A recent meta-analysis suggested that number should be doubled. Interestingly, the Pryor Mountain herd, which the pro-PZP groups cited, is in genetic decline, according to the most recent report from Dr. Cothran. His recommendation? Increase the size of the herd. Issue #12: Whether or not the NAS recommended fertility control in Federal wild horse herds.
Discussion: The NAS researchers were prohibited by BLM from collecting their own data. They were required to base their recommendations on BLM’s wild horse population estimates, which are exaggerated by more than double. So, it was to be expected that NAS would recommend fertility control. What else could they be expected to do?
The Example of Assateague Island National Seashore
Examining PZP through the eyes of the Assateague horses themselves:
Horses have not been handled.
Reply: Right. They are shot with a dart gun, so human hands do not touch them, although the PZP causes their ovaries to become inflamed.
Mortality rates have declined significantly, especially among foals.
Reply: Nature operates by survival of the fittest, which means those that are not fit, perish. Reduced mortality may not correlate with a herd being self-sustaining because most of the herd is not reproducing.
Body condition scores have improved.
Reply: Mares in good or improving body condition have a hugely increased tendency to produce colts. This could lead to a gender imbalance. Having too many colts negatively impacts the genetic diversity of a herd.
Longevity has increased dramatically, with mares living three times longer than pre-PZP.
Reply: Longevity, combined with sterility, reduces a herd’s viability in both the short-term and the long-term. Here’s the analogy. On average, American women live about 75 years. If PZP caused them to live three times longer, for 225 years, would that be a good thing if none were allowed to have more than one child?
Discussion: Let’s take a look at another East Coast wild horse herd being managed on “native” PZP: Corolla. The low population limits imposed on that herd have led to birth defects. To increase gene pool diversity, a stallion from the Curritick herd, 150 miles south of Corolla, was translocated. However, he may never win a band and, besides, the mares are contracepted, which makes his job more difficult.
Issue #13: Whether PZP inoculations can introduce pathogens, and whether administering PZP will cause laminitis, resulting in horses’ hooves to fall apart.
Discussion: This is a two-part issue. As for the first part, yes, it is possible for any inoculation, including PZP, to introduce pathogens. However, the second part appears to be a straw man story invented by pro-PZP parties and falsely attributed to PZP’s critics. Issue #14: Whether PZP-mares stay in perpetual estrus, causing unrest in the herd.
Discussion: The incorrect word above is “perpetual.” Studies have found that mares on PZP have more estrus events and cycle beyond the normal breeding season. Mares in estrus give off pheromones [note: verify this], which are attractants for stallions. With more estrus events occurring in his mares, the band stallion will likely experience more challenges to his leadership. Yes, foals can get hurt when stallions do battle. A recent study by Ransom et al. showed that herds managed by PZP have a breeding season of 341 days. So, by “perpetual” we mean nearly year-round: 365 days minus 24 days. Issue #15: Whether pharmaceutical companies are involved with the Assateague Herd project and other native PZP projects.
Discussion: This appears to be a straw man accusation. Pharmaceutical companies have no interest in PZP in any of its various iterations because of the long time it takes to restore fertility (four to eight years), the risk of irreversible sterility, and as has been pointed out, the prospect of settling bad-drug lawsuits. Issue #16: Predation is the only viable ecological solution.
Discussion: To have a thriving, natural ecological balance (TNEB), an ecosystem must have predators. Issue #17: The allegation that anti-PZP groups claim PZP, specifically “native” PZP, is patented.
Response: This appears to be another straw man accusation. ZonaStat-H is a proprietary product registered with the EPA by the Humane Society of the United States. It is possible that some persons confused “proprietary” with “patented.” Merck originally held the patent but let it lapse due to the adverse effects listed herein. Issue #18: Some organizations appear to support perpetuating the problem or creating a new problem.
Response: If your income or your funding depends on there being a problem, you will do things that keep that problem going or create new problems to take its place. Once PZP has sterilized one herd after another, and once BLM zeroes out such HMAs, then these groups will surely take up a new rallying cry: Recreate the herds! They’ll say that no one knows why the herds are dying out (yes, you do; it was the PZP), but let’s sign petitions to bring in substitute horses to reinvent such and such herds. Of course the original herd and its unique genetics will be lost forever, but now these groups will have a new life with a new cause. Issue #19: BLM is not managing wild horse HMAs according to the Law.
Response: The clear intent of the Act was that mustangs would benefit from the principal use of their dedicated range and its resources. Yet, within 98 percent of their legally designated habitats, wild horses and burros are relegated to a minority share of the forage. Issue #20: Wild horse sanctuaries are pale imitations of real wild horse herds.
Response: The Law provides for eco-sanctuaries. They are called HMAs. The need for private sanctuaries is due to BLM’s mismanagement, to inadequate AMLs, to removals in numbers that deluge the adoption market.
Isn’t the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) the wild horse mouthpiece for HSUS? Doesn’t their pledge to “keep them in the wild” written up in the Huffington Post include forced drugging with PZP as their cornerstone management tool? Does HSUS want to create zoo-like settings to “keep them in the wild”? HSUS endorsed the former Secretary of Interior’s Plan, aka the Salazar Plan, in 2009. Now the plan is entering the final wipe-out phase with the help of PZP pushers.
For decades native wild horses have been used by the pharmaceutical industry as lab rats for birth control “research” at huge taxpayer expense. This involves killing wild horses to research drug damage on ovaries and other organs. PZP = Roundups = Cruel Animal Experiments
BLM refused to hear public comments at “public” meeting
MINDEN, NV (January 22, 2015)—Edita Birnkrant, Campaigns Director for Friends of Animals (FoA) flew out from New York City with FoA correspondent Nicole Rivard to give public comments at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public meeting about the Carson City District Draft Resource Management Plan which calls to zero out 6 treasured herds of wild horses. After being denied her rights at the public meeting, held at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Nevada this afternoon, Birnkrant took over the microphone at the BLM meeting and held up yellow crime scene tape while Rivard filmed the protest against censorship and managing wild horses to extinction. Birnkrant was threatened with arrest by Nevada Sheriffs while holding up her banner. The hotel manager made Rivard stop filming and told the advocates they were being thrown out of the hotel, even though they had booked rooms there that night.
Statement from Edita Birnkrant:
“While we were waiting to go into the meeting a man told a BLM staffer “I wanna open up a horse butcher shop”. Then a few other guys started making jokes about how tender horse meat is. The BLM guy just chuckled but didn’t tell them it was inappropriate.
I was outraged that the BLM dared to hold a “public ” meeting and forbid the public from speaking. I took over the microphone to call out the sham of a BLM meeting, that shut out the public, and I said that Friends of Animals was there tonight to oppose the BLM’s extinction plan for wild horses in Nevada. I said the BLM is managing wild horses to extinction through roundups and PZP and we are outraged and demand it stop. I held our banner that said “Stop the BLM’s Criminal Reign of Terror. Protect Wild Horses Under the Endangered Species Act” The sheriffs were surrounding me at that point threatening to arrest me unless I left. I still had the banner and was shouting “the BLM is charged with crimes against wild horses”.
Then the hotel manager at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Nevada—Phil Dohrn–started bullying us and got in Nicole’s face. He pushed against her—blocking the camera and told her she had to shut her video off and we were getting thrown out.
Three extremely hostile sheriffs and the Carson Valley Inn manager escorted us to our rooms and waited outside while we packed our bags. They pounded on the door to hurry us or they’d arrest us. They called additional sheriffs to the hotel during all this. We left the hotel shocked that the Carson Valley Inn treats paying guests who exercise their First Amendment rights in their meeting room like this.”
The federal plan for public land in the Reno/Carson area is of interest to all Americans from coast to coast. Citizens care about public land and want federally protected wild horses protected by the law that allows them to roam freely without harassment.
Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. www.friendsofanimals.org
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Friends of Animals’ public comments that advocates were not allowed to read and were given to Collen Sievers the BLM BLM Project Manager for Carson City District at the public hearing on the draft resource management plan for Carson City District
Edita Birnkrant, FoA’s campaigns director 917-940-2725
The opinion of the American public, as declared through Congress is clear: “wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.” BLM has an obligation to consider wild horses as an integral part of the natural system of public lands.
It appears from the Carson City’s Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement that the BLM failed to take into consideration critical information about wild horses and failed to consider any alternatives that promote a free and viable wild horse population.
Friends of Animal is here to urge BLM to reevaluate its Resource Management Plan.
We ask that BLM consider an alternative that: (1) maintains all wild horse herd management areas; (2) prohibits conflicting uses on herd management areas; and (3) prohibits efforts to eradicate wild horses, such as round-ups, fertility control and sterilization. BLM must take into consideration the small population of wild horses and the potential that they will be listed as a threatened or endangered species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. From a scientific perspective, wild horses on our public lands are at risk of extinction if BLM does not change its management plans.
BLM does not provide adequate area for wild horses. Under the current RMP, approximately 4.8 million acres of public lands covered by the plan are open for private ranchers to graze cattle and sheep while only 1.2 million acres are reserved for wild horses. In the preferred alternative the ratio or area available for cattle and sheep grazing is also more than 4 times that available for wild horses.
Moreover, under no alternative, are cattle and sheep prohibited from grazing on wild horse herd management areas. BLM must consider an alternative that provides contiguous habitat for wild horses to roam freely.
Second, all alternatives for the proposed Resource Management Plan allows BLM to continue managing horses at artificially low populations, or appropriate management levels. This results in expensive, and cruel round-ups that tear the wild horses from their homes and families and place them in tax funded holding facilities. This is one of the largest threat to wild horses on U.S. lands. Experts have warned that the “majority of wild equid populations managed by the BLM are kept at population sizes that are small enough for the loss of genetic variation to be a real concern.”
The Equid Specialist Group of IUCN Species Survival Commission recommends minimum populations of 2,500 individuals for the conservation of genetic diversity. Others have warned that populations managed with a target size of fewer than 500 horses are at some risk of losing more than 90 percent of selective neutral genetic variation over a period of 200 years.
There are no herds that have a large enough population to meet the recommendation of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – 2,500 animals—and only 1 out of 17 of the herd management areas in this planning area has an appropriate management level set to 500 or more. Limiting horses to an artificially low number is short-sighted and ineffective because it could prompt short-term population growth.
Finally, Friends of Animals submitted a petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service asking it to recognize wild horses as threatened or endangered. The Endangered Species Act requires the government to make final determination on the petition within 12 months – which would be this June. The BLM should not undermine this legal process by allowing BLM to round-up and remove wild horses from Carson City herd management areas. Not only would such actions undermine the Endangered Species Act, but they would also put the viability of the horses here at risk. Instead the plan should recommend BLM halt all efforts to remove wild horses, and allow Fish and Wildlife Service to review the law and facts in regards to wild horses. Nicole Rivard, correspondent, FoA 203-910-1217
As my colleague just pointed out, all but one of the 17 herd management areas in the Carson City District has an appropriate management level set to 500 or more. Everywhere else the loss of genetic viability is a real concern. So additional roundups, which destroy social structure that can lead to population spikes, as well as consideration of administering fertility control, should be removed from this Carson City District Plan immediately if not sooner.
While some wild horse advocates may claim fertility control drugs, such as PZP, is the lesser of two evils, we at FoA believe birth control is equally harmful and inhumane as roundups. In most cases—even the BLM admits this—wild horses would still have to be captured to be treated with the pesticide before being released.
The widespread use of PZP is really very contrary to the true core intent of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which was to restore wild horses as naturally, integrated, harmonious components of the public land ecosystem who are not overly tampered with. Deciding which animal should give birth or not is a very invasive, unacceptable thing to do to these wild animals.
Studies have revealed adverse effects of PZP— that it sterilizes wild horses after multiple uses and results in risky foal birth out of season and significant behavioral changes that can affect the health of the herd.
BLM’s discussion regarding a population control program in the EIS is inaccurate and unsupported. They claim fertility control limits the stress of pregnancy on mares, and helps stallions as they will not be exerting extra energy fighting to control mares or raising foals.
What about the stress on mares of not being able to get pregnant as nature intended!
We urge the BLM to look beyond data provided by the Humane Society of the United States, which has a vested interest in PZP as it is the registrant of the pesticide, and Jay Kirkpatrick, the director of the Science and Conservation Center, which produces the active ingredient in PZP. For instance a 2009 Princeton University study of the horses on Shackleford Banks in North Carolina, who began getting PZP in 2000, showed that prolonged infertility has significant consequences on social behavior.
Researchers found that females who were receiving contraception were much more likely to change groups. Normally bands are really very stable, said researcher Cassandra Nunez, and mares will stay with males much if not all of their lives. That stability is really important for the health of the group members. Foal mortality increases when there are a bunch of different changes, and parasite load of animals in the group can go up because they are getting more stressed.
In a later study in 2010, Nunez found that recipients of PZP also extend the receptive breeding period into what is normally the non-breeding season, resulting in foal birth out of season.
Normally the winter is spent eating as much as they can, and everyone is more relaxed. Males tend to let females roam farther, which is good because food is patchier. So all of this is changing because of extended cycling.
Nunez also noted it’s taking a while for the contracepted mares, who were taken off PZP in 2009, to respond physiologically. So that flexibility that you think you have with PZP…it’s not really that flexible.”
It is imperative that BLM reduce the number of cattle and sheep allowed to graze on public lands, as well as consider holistic resource management plan, such as reserve design, which is described in detail in Craig Downer’s Book the Wild Horse Conspiracy. Both options would adequately protect these majestic animals so that they can persist for future generations.
Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. www.friendsofanimals.org
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BLM Nevada News CARSON CITY DISTRICT OFFICE NO. CCDO 2015-11 FOR RELEASE: November 28, 2014
CONTACT: Lisa Ross, 775-885-6107, email@example.com
Draft Resource Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement Available for
BLM Carson City District
Carson City, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is asking the public to review and comment on a Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Carson City District. The draft plan will affect approximately 4.8 million acres of public land. The comment period opened with the publication of a notice of availability in the Federal Register on November 28, 2014. Comments will be accepted during a 120-day period which closes March 27, 2015.
Public meetings to review and comment on the draft EIS will be announced at least 15 days in advance in local newspapers and on the BLM website.
The plan will address: Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, lands and realty, utility corridors, wind energy, travel management, recreation, fish and wildlife, minerals, wild and scenic rivers, public health and safety, and visual resource management.
Public meetings on the Draft RMP/Draft EIS are currently scheduled for 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.; on January 13, at the John Ascuaga’s Nugget (1100 Nugget Ave.) in Sparks, Nev.; on January 15, at the Fallon Convention Center (100 Campus Way) in Fallon, Nev.; on January 20, at the Mineral County Library (First & A Street) in Hawthorne, Nev.; on January 22, at the Carson Valley Inn (1627 US Hwy 395 N) in Minden, Nev.; and on January 29, at the Yerington Elementary School (112 N. California St.) in Yerington, Nev. An additional public meeting will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., on January 24, at the Carson City Plaza Hotel and Event Center (801 South Carson Street) in Carson City, Nev. Additional public meetings are anticipated in coordination with local County Commissions and Boards of Supervisors.
Written comments related to the Carson City District Draft RMP/Draft EIS may be submitted by any of the following methods:
• Website: http://on.doi.gov/1uYBNGT• E-mail: BLM_NV_CCDO_RMP@blm.gov
• Fax: 775-885-6147
• Mail: BLM Carson City District, Attn: CCD RMP, 5665 Morgan Mill Rd., Carson City, NV 89701.
Copies of the Carson City District Draft RMP/Draft EIS are available in the Carson City District Office at the above address or on the following website: http://on.doi.gov/1uYBNGT