Wild Horses Need Your Help!

No Happy Mother’s Day for Wild Mares

Wild horses relationship
Wild horses are well known for having strong family bonds. Photo Credit: Cloud Foundation

Earlier this year, the BLM announced their plan to work with Oregon State University (OSU) to experiment on 225 wild mares at the BLM’s short-term holding facility in Hines, OR.

Wild mares will be subjected to brutal and invasive sterilization experiments where the procedures cause infection, hemorrhaging, and even death, not to mention sheer terror and pain to the horses. Most of the wild mares are pregnant. Fillies as young as 8 months are included in the experiments. BLM’s environmental assessment noted that many pregnant mares may abort and more than a few will die during the “research” process.

The BLM wants three sterilization methods tested — ovariectomy via colpotomy, tubal ligation and hysteroscopically-guided laser ablation. The last two procedures the BLM describes as “minimally invasive” but they have never been done on wild mares (and rarely on any horses). The ovariectomy via colpotomy is not commonly done with domestic mares. When it is, it’s done in a sterile environment, usually done with an assisted laparoscopic camera, and the mares are not pregnant. They are also not wild. There is nothing sterile about a holding facility. The pre-operative and post-operative procedures do not comply with acceptable veterinary standards of care.

Barbaric Research Terrifies Mares

 An incision is made in the mare's vagina so a veterinarian’s arm can reach in and tear out their ovaries
An incision is made in the mare’s vagina so a veterinarian’s arm can reach in and tear out their ovaries

The wild mares will be completely terrified being confined in a chute and having an incision made in their vaginas so a veterinarian’s arm can reach in and tear out their ovaries. The possibility of the mares panicking in spite of sedation is high. They could break their necks in the chute, die from sedation, or their hearts can stop from sheer terror.

This barbaric research does not help to address the current issue of wild horse population management. However, it does further delay the use of PZP which is a reversible birth control vaccine. PZP does not alter herd structure or the hormonal balance of wild horses and was recommended by the National Academies of Science as a well-proven methodology, unlike surgical sterilization.

OSU’s Animal Care and Use Committee is expected to make a decision this week about moving
ahead with the proposed research.

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