Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bureau to remove 3747 horses from rangelands this summer


June 22, 2011
The Bureau of Land Management intends to remove 3747 horses from the western rangelands this northern summer.
The horses will go into holding facilities, adding to a population of around 40,000 captive wild horses which are already straining the bureau's wild horse and burro management budget.
The bureau's aim is to gather 4651 horses in all, but some will be released. The agency intends to treat about 270 mares with a long-term contraceptive, and will also release more males than females back to the wild in a bid to reduce population growth.
The bureau says the gathers are needed to bring herd sizes into balance with other rangeland resources and uses, as required by federal law and approved land-use plans.
Opponents have long argued that the gathers are cruel and have sought a moratorium on them while the long-term strategies for wild horse management are reviewed.
Bureau director Bob Abbey said: "With the new gather season starting in July, we must carry out these gathers in a fully transparent manner.
"That includes taking full ownership of what we do and by sharing both the positive and negative news with our various publics, whatever criticism may come our way.
"Our work on a forthcoming new strategy for managing wild horses and burros is part of our commitment to a 'new normal' of doing business. Among other things, the strategy calls for greater reliance on population-suppression techniques, including increased application of the fertility-control vaccine known as PZP."
The bureau's goal is to treat more than 1200 mares a year through "catch, treat, and release" gathers.
The target in fiscal year 2011 is about 900.
These gathers will be principally aimed at applying the fertility-control vaccine porcine zona pellucida (PZP) to mares.
In some herds, the bureau will adjust sex ratios in favor of males to reduce the number of on-the-range pregnancies or potentially manage non-reproducing herds, such as geldings, in some herd management areas.
The bureau says the public and media are invited to observe the gathers. Observation points will be determined by the agency in a manner that recognises the need for good viewing sites, along with the need to ensure viewer and animal safety, it says.

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