Friends of Animals has filed formal comments opposing the 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 some wild horse mares to slow population growth.

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.

“What is so appalling about this is BLM knows that ovariectomies performed on female horses can result in a high frequency of complications and even death. Plus they fundamentally alters their free-roaming natural behaviors and forces them into a zoo-like setting,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. “It’s also an unnecessary waste of American taxpayers’ money because there is not an excess of wild horses on public lands; there is an excess of cattle and sheep being allowed to graze on public lands. Instead of treating ranchers as clients, BLM should do more to protect predators such as mountain lions, and should remove cattle and sheep grazing allotments from Herd Management Areas. True ecological zones, free from exploitation and management, should finally be designated for America’s wild horses.”

The BLM’s artificially low appropriate management level for the Warm Springs herd is a measly 178 wild horses. However, 6,134 cattle are allowed to graze in the West Warm Springs and East Warm Springs grazing allotments, which are located in the Warm Springs HMA.

The BLM, in conjunction with Colorado State University, also plans to study the impact to mare and wild horse band behavior once the treated horses are returned to the range.

Some of the horses who are returned to the range will receive GPS collars or tail tags so that they can be tracked and their behavior can be studied through 2021.

In addition to the study, the BLM is planning a 10-year population management plan for the Warm Springs HMA. These 10-year plans seem to be part of every wild horse decision now. FoA is adamant that it is an underhanded way for BLM to continue inhumane roundups without public input.

You can read our comments in their entirety here: Friends of Animals_Comment Letter_Warm Springs HMA