FOUR PAWS Joins the Herd to Protect America’s Wild Mustangs
SEPTEMBER 21 2016 – BOSTON, MA - FOUR PAWS has recently joined a coalition of roughly 40 NGO’s in the United States that support pro -fertility control with immune contraception. This comes amidst the recent uproar surrounding the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Advisory Board’s recommendation to kill 45,000 wild mustangs across Western United States.
Simply put, FOUR PAWS believes that there is an alternative and humane method of handling wild animal populations that does not involve euthanasia.
The BLM is tasked with “protecting and managing wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to endure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands,” according to the bureau’s website.
The recommendations by their advisory board incorporated the need to “sell without limitation or humanely euthanize excess horses and burros from BLM’s off-range corrals and pastures that are deemed “unadoptable””. The decision would affect a population size of nearly 50,000 horses. Not surprisingly, the advisory board’s recommendations were met with contention.
With experience in wild horse population management, FOUR PAWS believes there is another way. Melanie Lary, Program Officer of FOUR PAWS International in their Boston office stated, “No agency, that has the profound responsibility for animal populations, should unconcernedly implement such solutions without consulting organizations, such as FOUR PAWS, that have proved to have consistent success with horse birth control management through PZP.”
The Wild Horses of Letea: Successful birth control by FOUR PAWS International
Roughly 500 wild horses live in the forest of Letea, a biosphere reserve and part of the UNESCO World Heritage in the Romanian Danube Delta. For the past few years, their increasing population has presented a growing problem for the vegetation. This increase lead to the decision of the Romanian authorities to reduce the number of animals by killing them. Upon learning of this decision, FOUR PAWS acted immediately. FOUR PAWS was able to stop the killings and instead develop an action plan for the Romanian wild horses. In less than one year after it started, the plan already showed success.
To reduce the horse population of Letea, FOUR PAWS has been operating a birth control program in which the mares receive the contraceptive vaccine PZP, which similar to other vaccinations, needs to be repeated annually, before each mating season. FOUR PAWS has vaccinated 200 mares and given boosters to 170 others.
In addition to the annual vaccinations, a FOUR PAWS team consisting of experienced veterinarians supervise the wild horses annually, monitoring the effects of the birth control project. Elderly and sick animals receive medical attention. All in all, FOUR PAWS is intensively committed to placing the wild horses of the Danube Delta under natural reserve protection, in order to protect them from abuse and violence.
On September 12th, the BLM responded to the pressure from the media and animal groups with a statement making it relatively clear that no definitive actions towards the horses have been decided. The statement goes on to say that “the BLM does not and will not euthanize healthy animals.”
Again, Melanie Lary from FOUR PAWS believes that, as a country, we can go further than that stating; “In signing onto this coalition, we are sending a message that animal welfare groups will not sit by and watch innocent animals - healthy or not - get slaughtered. There is no reason why birth control as a population control method cannot be applied to this situation, protecting individual horses lives and protecting our land at the same time.”
According to the coalition’s website, groups that support the use of fertility control to reduce roundups include:
- Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
- Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Animals Voice
- Animal Welfare Institute
- Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
- Center for Animal Protection and Education
- Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
- The Cloud Foundation
- Corolla Wild Horse Fund
- Friends of a Legacy
- Front Range Equine Rescue
- Habitat for Horses
- Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund
- Horses for Life Foundation
- Humane Society of the United States
- Jicarilla Mustang Heritage Alliance
- Least Resistance Training Concepts
- Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue
- Montgomery Creek Ranch
- National Mustang Association, Colorado Chapter
- Oregon Wild Horse & Burro Association
- Photographers for the Preservation of Wild Horses and Burros
- Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates
- Respect 4 Horses
- Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary and Preservation
- Salt River Wild Horse Management Group
- Serengeti Foundation
- Southern Sun Farm Sanctuary
- Steadfast Steeds
- Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association
- Wild Equid League (Colorado)
- Wild Horses of America Foundation
- Wild Horse Connection
- Wild Horse Education
- Wild Horse Observers Association
- Wild Horse Preservation League
The coalition’s website: http://www.animalfertilitycontrolvaccine.org/
Coalition’s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/animalfertilitycontrolinformation/
FOUR PAWS International’s page on Dunabe Delta project: http://www.four-paws.us/projects/horses/horses-in-the-romanian-danube-delta/the-wild-horses-of-the-romanian-danube-delta/
To watch a short video on the Dunabe Delta project, click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ceVEAYIDzM