After Public Outcry, BLM Halts Wild Horse Sterilization Project

Nov 9, 2018

The Bureau of Land Management announced this week it plans to drop proposed sterilization experiments on wild horses in Oregon. The decision comes in the midst of a lawsuit and public outcry over the controversial pilot project.

Lisa Friday is with the wild horse advocacy group, Cloud Foundation. The non-profit filed a lawsuit against the BLM in 2016. That suit claims the procedure is cruel as it involves removing the ovaries of mares in the field.

"We believe there are other methods of birth control to curve the population," said Friday.

Friday said that includes administering temporary birth control via darts. With the population of wild horses growing across the west, birth control in some form is necessary to keep numbers at the Appropriate Management Level (AML). But in the meantime, Friday said she's glad sterilization is off the table.

"This is one of the biggest wins we've had in years," Friday said.

The BLM denied our request for an interview, citing the pending litigation.

As of March 2018, there were almost 15,000 wild horses and burros across the Mountain West region.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.