ASPCA Urges BLM to Immediately Expand Wild Horse Fertility Control
The ASPCA and other leading animal welfare and wild horse organizations recently wrote to Interior Secretary Haaland urging her to immediately reverse the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) alarming recent decision backing away from the only strategy that can safely and humanely protect our wild horse and burro herds. Last month, the BLM announced it would reduce its 2021 scheduled wild horse and burro fertility control treatments by 60%.
For years, the BLM has resisted implementing fertility control, opting instead to continue its self-defeating policy of removing horses from the range. This failed strategy has resulted in population growth on the range and in off-range holding areas, eroding the public’s confidence in the agency’s ability to carry out its job.
- The broad use of safe and humane fertility control is critical to maintaining wild horse and burro populations at sustainable levels on the range. Decades of extensive scientific studies—including from the BLM itself—confirm the merits of fertility control as an effective and humane management tool.
- Recognizing that the mismanagement of the Wild Horse and Burro Program posed mounting threats to these cherished wild herds, the ASPCA, alongside a broad stakeholder group, supported a science-based proposal demonstrating the vital role fertility control plays in a holistic management strategy to end large-scale removals within a decade.
- Enthusiastically embracing this concept, Congress increased funding to the Wild Horse and Burro Program by 44% over the past three years, with clear directions to the agency to immediately implement proven, safe and humane fertility control tools.
- Despite this additional funding and a clear Congressional directive, over the past three years the BLM has treated a paltry 700 mares annually on average—out of approximately 90,000 animals on the range. The BLM is falling back to its old pattern—a failing one, at that.
- Severe consequences of climate change, such as drought and wildfire, will continue to threaten wild horse and burro populations in the West. This is not an excuse to forgo planning and proactive management—if anything, it should intensify the agency’s commitment to flattening the population growth curve with fertility control. Emergency circumstances on the range make the absence of fertility control in BLM’s operations an even more tragic error.
- The BLM’s decision to roll back its own fertility control treatment goal by 60% is unacceptable. Congress must not allow the agency to take this huge step backward.
TAKE ACTION: You can be a voice for these long-suffering animals. Tell the Department of the Interior that you want to see a more robust, nationwide wild horse fertility control program implemented immediately.