Wild Horse Education

Are You Getting What You Ask For? (more fertility control experiments)

BLM just announced two more fertility control experiments. Once again, these experiments will be done on the wild horses held in the off-limits to public view facility in Carson City, NV (Correctional facility).

One study will be another one using Spayvac (a form of porcine zona pellucida, PZP, vaccine to see if one dose lasts longer when injected in the neck muscle or the flank).

The other will be an extension of the ongoing experiments being done behind the closed door of Carson prison, to determine which formulations of the Oocyte Growth Factor can cause the longest period of infertility with one dose.

The full BLM press release can be read at the bottom of this page.

This is how BLM is using the increases in funding for fertility control. BLM has not disclosed how much this experiment costs. It is unknown how much of the total funding from the 2023 for fertility control has funded experiments.

Since 2018, the BLM has received a steady increase in funding. An 11 million dollar increase each year for “fertility control.” BLM uses that money to fuel the massive roundup and stockpile machine that reached historic numbers last year. BLM also uses that funding to continue experiments out of view of the public eye.

Is this what you are asking for, again?

If you are looking for something different, join us in asking for a funding freeze. The debate for the 2024 Appropriations (spending) bill has begun.

Do you want reform?

We laid out a 4-step action plan for you , click HERE.

In addition, if you commented and are a stakeholder in wild horses and/or burros on public lands, the approval of the proposed action has set off a 30 day appeal period and documents can be accessed here.

BLM press release: 

 BLM authorizes two wild horse fertility control vaccine trials
Long-lasting fertility control vaccines could help reduce growth rates in wild horse populations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Land Management is authorizing two studies of promising new fertility control vaccines that could potentially help address the overpopulation of wild horses on public lands by slowing their annual growth rates. The research projects, which will take place at a corral facility in Carson City, Nevada, are part of the BLM’s broader efforts to manage healthy wild horses on healthy public lands.

“Wild horses are incredible animals, but they can reproduce at a very high rate on public lands, which creates a host of challenges in arid environments,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “The development of humane, safe, and long-lasting fertility control vaccines is critically important as we continue to ramp up our efforts to protect these herds from the effects of wild horse overpopulation, drought, and climate change.”

Wild horses on public lands are protected and managed by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service. Without intervention by management officials, wild horse herds on public lands increase rapidly, doubling every 4-5 years. As of March 1, 2022 (the most recently published annual estimates), there were 82,384 wild horses and burros on public rangelands. This is nearly three times the appropriate management level deemed suitable to maintain a thriving ecological balance. Many of these herds live in arid environments with little water or forage. Constant overpopulation can stress critical ecosystems to the brink, causing severe damage to riparian and rangeland resources that can take decades to recover, if they recover at all. Moreover, chronic wild horse overpopulation can lead to the inhumane death of horses from thirst or starvation, and the destruction of habitat important to other wildlife, such as elk, deer, and sage grouse.

For decades, the BLM has used fertility control vaccines to help manage wild horse herd growth on public lands. However, the most common fertility control vaccines for wild horses in use today require more than one treatment to remain effective and are often not effective beyond one or two years. A single-dose vaccine that can last multiple years could provide several benefits for the populations of wild horses that the BLM manages, including requiring fewer gathers for retreatment or reducing instances of permanent removal.

One study led by scientists associated with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and Northwest Wildlife Conservation Research, a small non-profit research organization, will test whether a form of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccine known as ‘SpayVac’ lasts longer when injected in the neck muscle or the flank. The other study, led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s National Wildlife Research Center, will test which formulations of the Oocyte Growth Factor vaccine cause long-lasting contraception from a single dose.

To test how well the vaccines prevent pregnancy, groups of vaccinated mares will live in a pen with a stallion. Researchers will monitor the mares’ responses to the vaccines and compare them against a control group. The health and welfare of all the animals will be monitored by researchers and other personnel, with veterinary care always available if needed. The approved projects will also have animal welfare oversight from independent animal care and use committees of the research institutions involved in the studies.

Details about the decision are on BLM’s eplanning website. The studies were analyzed in an environmental assessment that was released for public comment in 2022. The BLM also analyzed but is not authorizing at this time a third study that would have tested the effects of an intrauterine device. If the BLM authorizes that study in the future, it will do so through a separate decision. The BLM’s responses to public comments about all three studies are available on BLM’s eplanning website.

In addition to supporting the development of better fertility control tools, the BLM continues to take action to curb wild horse and burro overpopulation to protect animal and land health. The BLM set new records last year for the number of animals gathered, removed for private care, and treated/released with fertility control. Additionally, the BLM continues to ramp up its efforts to find good homes for excess animals; the agency placed nearly 7,800 animals into private care just last year.

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Categories: Wild Horse Education