Friends of Animals’ wild horse work has focused for several years now on exposing the truth about the negative impacts of PZP. Advocates of PZP, like HSUS, are singularly focused on population control. Not only does this play right into the hands of the anti-wild horse crowd, which is led by ranchers and their paid-for political foes, but it completely undermines the independence of the horses.
It is now known that PZP poses the risk of immediate physical damage to the dosed mares, can increase the mortality rate in foals born to treated mares after the PZP loses its effectiveness, can result in social disruptions among herds with treated mares by damaging long-term herd cohesion that is critical to the health of the animals, and places the wild horses at risk of a genetic bottleneck. Friends of Animals strongly believes that horses, like all wild animals, have a right to live free and undisturbed by humans. On the other hand, HSUS and other PZP advocates are apparently willing to ignore these animals’ right to autonomy and instead promote zoo-like management of wild animals.
Friends of Animals filed a petition with the U.S. EPA in 2015 asking the agency to cancel the registration for PZP, which EPA considers to be a pesticide. That’s right, PZP, which is registered by HSUS, essentially treats wild horses as pests on the land. That is outrageous. Sadly, EPA denied the petition. As such, we are actively litigating over the pesticide registration for PZP and have sued the EPA in the federal district court in the state of Oregon, where PZP is to be used on hundreds of horses. The suit was just filed a couple months ago, and we will keep our members up-to-date as it progresses. HSUS actually intervened in our case on behalf of the EPA!
As for the behavior of HSUS toward one wild horse advocate we know, although we have no independent verification of the claim, HSUS has certainly taken similar aggressive action in the past toward those that pose a threat to its “animal agenda.” For example, in 2015 a group of animal activists sought to sue in Idaho to challenge that state’s so-called “ag-gag” rule, which makes it illegal for employees of agriculture facilities to photograph and make public instances of animal abuse at work. HSUS applied their heavy hand to discourage these lawsuits, even going so far as to potentially violate ethical rules applicable to HSUS lawyers.