November 2, 2018
A federal judge halted the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's plans Friday to remove the ovaries of wild horses to stop them from propagating in Oregon.
The horses from the Warm Springs Herd Management Area cannot be sterilized with the procedure until the outcome of a court case brought by animal rights groups.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman said Friday that the groups' claims that the federal government should allow someone to monitor the surgeries are likely valid.
A coalition of animal welfare groups -- including the American Wild Horse Campaign, Animal Welfare Institute, The Cloud Foundation and a photographer -- say that an outside veterinarian should be allowed to watch the sterilizations and place non-intrusive cameras in the area where the horses are held.
The groups oppose the bureau's plan because they say it is an inhumane way to sterilize horses.
They advocate for a temporary birth control that is often administered by dart to keep the wild horse population in check.
The federal government has long wrestled with how to stem the number of wild horses that roam eastern Oregon. The horses have long been rounded up and sold for adoption. However, they multiply so fast that there are more horses than takers and present ecological problems.
The bureau has proposed ovary removal before and was met with opposition then as well.
"Hopefully, BLM will rethink their decision to move forward with the most inhumane and impractical management tool imaginable," said Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation.