August 3, 2018
Researchers at Colorado State University’s veterinary school plan to help the federal Bureau of Land Management sterilize wild horses with a rarely used procedure that involves removing the mares' ovaries.
The proposal, now in a 30-day public comment period, is kicking up a passionate protest from wild-horse advocates who say the surgery is barbaric, will traumatize the mares and could lead to infection and excessive bleeding.
CSU declined to comment, but its application to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee — which approves research involving animal testing — described how scientists will perform ovariectomies on wild mares in Oregon after they are rounded up by helicopter, sedated and placed in padded chutes.
The BLM’s latest plan to curb the wild horse population is similar to a 2016 proposal in collaboration with Oregon State University’s veterinary school. The federal agency dropped those plans in September 2016 after protests and legal challenges from wild horse lovers, mainly a claim that OSU’s ban on public observation of the research was a violation of the First Amendment.