The House Rules Committee has advanced a bipartisan amendment touted by the American Wild Horse Campaign that directs the Bureau of Land Management to implement a substantial fertility control program to manage wild horses and burros on Western public lands. The amendment requires the BLM to utilize $11,000,000 of its Wild Horse and Burro Program budget to forcibly drug wild mares with the fertility pesticide PZP.

But that’s not good news for wild horses as this amendment only perpetuates the myth that wild horses are overpopulated. Furthermore, the widespread use of PZP is contrary to the true core intent of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which was to restore wild horses as naturally integrated, harmonious components of the public land ecosystem who are not overly tampered with.

Wild horses do not decompose the vegetation they ingest as thoroughly as ruminant grazers, such as cattle or sheep. This allows the seeds of many plant species to pass through their digestive tract intact into the soil, which in turn gradually releases nutrients into the soil over all seasons to the benefit of the soil, plants, animals and the entire food web. Additionally, wild horses are able consume dry, parched and flammable vegetation, and thus may help prevent catastrophic wildfires.

Friends of Animals agrees that the BLM needs to end its heavy focus on rounding up most of the wild horses on federal public lands, putting them at a bigger risk for slaughter than ever before. However, the solution depends on making room for wild horses and other wildlife on federal public lands so they can remain wild, not robbing them of their natural behaviors and subjecting them to a zoo-like setting.

The public needs to know that PZP will never replace roundups because in most cases the BLM will still have to roundup more than 90 percent of a herd to contracept mares, destroying the harem structure in the same way a regular roundup would.

The only legislation that would truly benefit wild horses would accomplish the following things:

● Protect natural predators such as mountain lions and wolves

●Limit or entirely restrict cattle and sheep from grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs)

● Limit oil, gas and mining operations in HMAs

● Allow wild horses to be returned or relocated to Herd Areas in states where wild horses have been wiped out

● Adjust outdated appropriate management levels to accommodate more horses

To learn what PZP pushers don’t want you to know about the fertility pesticide, click here.