The Bureau of Land Management plans to begin an “emergency” roundup of 100 wild horses on the Beatys Butte Herd Management Area in Oregon later this month. An exact date has not been released.
The roundup will be conducted using a trap baited with feed or water. No helicopters will be used.
Fifty of the captured horses will be turned back out, including mares treated with fertility control.
How many of the 50 released will be treated mares and how many will be studs has not been determined, according to BLM Wild Horse Specialist Blair Street, nor has it been determined which fertility control vaccine, PZP or GonaCon, will be used.
Return to Freedom strongly supports the use of safe, proven and humane PZP to slow reproduction and halt future roundups. Because GonaCon affects the hormone system, it may cause other behavioral changes that would alter herd dynamics, so RTF believes more studies are needed to ensure that GonaCon meets the parameters of ethical and thoughtful wildlife fertility control.
The current population of the Herd Management Area is estimated at 261 wild horses. The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the 437,120-acre Herd Management Area is 100 to 250 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 4,371 acres.
By comparison, the BLM allocates 26,121 Animal Unit Months to livestock grazing, or the equivalent of 2,177 cow-calf pairs annually. One Animal Unit Month is sufficient forage for one cow-calf pair, one horse or five sheep.
Wild horses selected for removal will be transported to the BLM’s Burns, Ore., Corrals where they will be readied for adoption or sale. Twenty-five will be taken to the Beatys Butte Training Center for training and adoption.
RTF believes that the wild horses and burros have been placed in this position by the BLM’s failure to implement solutions that have been available for more than 20 years. The agency has resisted creating an infrastructure and a culture that could have made a sustainable and effective fertility control program possible. It has rounded up horses year after year while waiting for longer-acting vaccines instead of using the safe, proven and humane fertility control that’s available right now. These sensitive habitats are vulnerable to drought and, knowing this, a national land management agency tasked with the preservation and protection of our wild horses should have been prepared long ago and in a much better position today.
For planning documents, see https://go.usa.gov/x6fS4.