Colorado State University (CSU) has opted out of Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) latest grisly proposal to conduct a research project at Oregon’s Wild Horse Corral Facility to evaluate the “feasibility and safety” of spaying wild horse mares to slow population growth because of backlash from Friends of Animals and other animal advocacy groups.

“An important component of every research process is to engage in rigorous discussion and evaluation with our own experts as well as experts from outside of the university and listening to the concerns of the larger community as we bring these innovations forward,” said Dr. Alan Rudolph, vice president for Research at CSU, in a statement obtained by Friends of Animals. “After careful consideration of multiple factors during the 30-day public comment period for the Warm Springs, Oregon, mare spay project, Colorado State University is withdrawing our partnership on the surgical spaying of mares. The project is led by the Bureau of Land Management and USGS. The decision to withdraw was made with the support of our involved researchers.”

Friends of Animals is appalled by this proposed project because the BLM already knows that ovariectomies performed on female horses can result in a high frequency of complications and even death. Plus they fundamentally alter their free-roaming natural behaviors. The university’s action shows that experts don’t agree with BLM’s harmful plan.

“We applaud CSU’s decision to withdraw from this cruel and unnecessary sterilization experiment on the wild horses of Warm Springs HMA,” said Courtney McVean, attorney for Friends of Animals Wildlife Law Program. “It remains unclear whether BLM will still go forward with the Ten-Year Management Plan that includes permanently removing a significant portion of the population and continuing roundups without public participation for 10 years, or if BLM will find another partner for this horrendous experiment. Rest assured, Friends of Animals will continue to pressure BLM to cease plans intended to capture and suppress the very nature of these wild horses and force Oregon’s wild horses into zoo-like setting.

If this project moves forward, close to all of the approximately 800 wild horses in the Warm Springs Herd Management Area (HMA) would be ripped from their families and their homes on federal public lands this fall.

Of those rounded up, 200 would be selected to return to the range. The selected horses would be divided into two groups of 100 (a control group and a treatment group). Each group would

consist of 50 males and 50 females, and about 60 percent of the mares in the treatment group would be spayed.

“The proposed study shows BLM’s complete disregard for the health and wellbeing of wild horses in our nation. CSU made the right decision to opt out of this study. We hope it means the end of dangerous life-threatening experiments to remove ovaries of wild horses,” added Jenni Best, assistant legal director for FoA’s Wildlife Law Program.