The Bureau of Land Management has proposed doing spay research on mares captured during a planned October roundup at the Warm Springs Herd Management Area in Oregon. BLM aims to determine the feasibility of performing ovariectomies via colpotomy.
This is a rare procedure which removes the ovaries by crushing and pulling them out with a looped-chain medical instrument called an ecraseur. This procedure opens the mares up to: serious risk from infection; evisceration (should intestines come through the incision); and hemorrhaging. There is a high frequency of post-operative complications affiliated with ovariectomy via colpotomy, some of which can be life-threatening.
BLM has gone down this road before: As recently as 2016, BLM planned sterilization research on 225 mares, at least 100 of which were pregnant, only to drop the plan after a public outcry and lawsuits filed, or threatened, by advocacy organizations.
BLM has included sterilization surgeries as a component of all four wild horse and burro management options that it presented in a recent report to Congress.
Return to Freedom strongly opposes costly, unproven sterilization surgeries for wild horses and burros, especially mares and jennies, which both threaten the lives of individual animals and the diversity and health of entire herds. RTF instead supports the use of safe, proven fertility control vaccines as one component of a move to humane, sustainable management of wild horses and burros on the range.