The Bureau of Land Management's latest plan for wild horses is to scoop stallions into a backhoe, perform a vasectomy in the dusty open air of the range, then dump the animals out to recover from surgery in the wild. For the mares, a similar plan but this one involves inserting a tool 2 foot long tool with a noose on the end into the mare’s vagina and plucking her ovaries out one by one. Unbelievably, these methods being advocated by Dr. Boyd Spratling, a large animal veterinarian whose role should be ensuring the care and humane treatment of animals.
Dr. Boyd Spratling, concurrently serves on an committee for the Nevada Cattleman’s Association, the board of the Nevada Dept of Agriculture, and on the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.
Does that seem like a conflict of interest to you? It did to advocates in attendance of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting October 29th in Salt Lake City. Especially when the board, that Dr. Spratling chaired, recommended a controversial method of population suppression: ovareictomy of wild mares.
Dr. Spratling suggests that it is “the agency is being attacked from all sides. The warehousing of 38,000+ captive wild horses is consuming most of the program’s budget, leaving little for management of wild herds and nothing at all for range improvements…the horse contraceptive now in use is inadequate. When injected into mares, it keeps them from producing foals for, at most, two reproductive cycles... What is needed is a contraceptive capable of stopping reproduction for at least five years or even permanently,” as reported by The Elko Daily Free Press.
In an earlier publication, Spratling says “so-called environmental groups…They’ve learned how to work the judicial system and are experts at it. They never get involved in any efforts to make things work. They wait until a decision is made, protest it, and then end up in court.”
The Bureau of Land Management seems to think that environmental advocacy groups do not represent the public. Now it is up to you, to tell Dr. Boyd Spratling and the BLM’s Wild Horse and Advisory Board that gelding stallions in backhoes and spaying wild mares in open-air procedures and setting them loose after 48hrs is not a humane method of population control, especially when alternative less evasive methods have not been fully utilized.
As a respected practitioner of large animal veterinary medicine, we would hope that you would have the same care and concern for humane treatment of all animals as we do. We request that ovariectomies not be performed on wild horses or burros in the field and that vasectomies not be performed with the assistance of tractors.
We also request that the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program Budget for 2013 be adjusted to allow for more money for gathering and administering the approved birth control methods rather than research and implementation of this unapproved method of ovariectomies. We do not support this fiscally irresponsible use of the money allocated to care for the wild horses and burros.