Wild horses have been running for their lives in roundups around the country. The ones that were captured are stressed and separated from their herd. However, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) planned to inflict more stress and harm on the captured mares in Oregon with a controversial sterilization plan.
In June, the BLM proposed a plan to manage herd size through an inhumane sterilization process. The surgeries would remove, “the ovaries of 100 wild mares, including pregnant mares, who have been rounded up from the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon,” states Care2.
The outdated and cruel procedure is described by the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) as, “literally reaching into a mare’s abdominal cavity through an incision in the vaginal wall, blindly and without any tool to visualize the mare’s organs, to identify the ovaries by touch and to remove them by severing them with a loop of chain.”
Originally, Colorado State University (CSU) was partnered with BLM in the plan to see if the surgeries were a successful way to manage numbers. However, with all the opposition from the public, CSU backed out. BLM announced that they were still planning on conducting the surgeries without CSU. The university was going to conduct the welfare observations to figure out if the procedure was “humane”, so without them no one would monitor the mares.
Multiple animal rights organizations came together to file a lawsuit in federal court and a preliminary injunction in October. Their goal was to stop BLM from starting the cruel sterilization experiment. “They argued that the BLM’s refusal to allow observers to document what happens to these mares violated their First Amendment rights, along with violating other federal laws,” Care2 states.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman issued a preliminary injunction that stopped BLM from proceeding. BLM announced a few days later that they will not proceed with the plan. Animal activists are celebrating this victory.
“We are gratified that the BLM has nixed these cruel experiments on federally protected horses, but it should not take two lawsuits over two years to convince a federal agency that America’s beloved wild horses deserve humane approaches to population management,” said Joanna Grossman, Ph.D., equine program manager for Animal Welfare Institute.
Hopefully, this will be the end of the inhumane attempts by BLM to sterilize mares. There are humane ways to control the wild horse herds.
“The BLM made the right decision to abandon these barbaric experiments and instead listen to the strong interest the public has in seeing our wild horses protected and treated humanely,” states Brieanah Schwartz, government relations and policy counsel for the AWHC.