MEDIA RELEASE: Mustangs Avoid Controversial Theodore Roosevelt National Park Roundup: All Wild Horses Should Remain

MEDIA RELEASE: Mustangs Avoid Controversial Theodore Roosevelt National Park Roundup: All Wild Horses Should Remain

MEDORA, N. Dak. (April 26, 2024) – In Defense of Animals is celebrating a pivotal announcement from Senator John Hoeven, who received a commitment from the National Park Service that wild horses will continue to inhabit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. While the decision marks progress, In Defense of Animals is emphasizing the necessity of keeping a herd of approximately 200 wild horses to maintain genetic viability.

As symbols of American freedom, mustangs hold a special place in the hearts of many and are an integral part of U.S. heritage. This recent development is a step in the right direction, but further actions are necessary. Over 17,000 In Defense of Animals supporters wrote to the park service calling for the mustangs to remain and be reclassified as native wildlife rather than livestock, recognizing their rightful status and promoting conservation efforts that reflect their ecological and cultural significance.

“We are heartened by the National Park Service’s commitment to keep majestic mustangs, but the entire current herd of wild horses must remain in Theodore Roosevelt National Park to protect their health and genetic viability,” stated Fleur Dawes, Communications Director at In Defense of Animals. “Additionally, the park's incorrect designation of wild horses as ‘livestock’ must be changed back to the original correct classification of ‘wildlife.’ We will continue to advocate for wild animals to be protected on public lands where they belong, ensuring their freedom and survival for future generations.”

Park visitors have also remarked about the large, open, running sores on many of the wild horse mares caused by the National Park Service’s GonaCon sterilization drug use, which was uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request. PZP is the darting method that should be used for wild horse sterilization, not GonaCon. As a result of the experimental use of GonaCon since 2009, seventy-nine percent of mares in the park who were initially treated with GonaCon and given a booster in 2013 have not regained fertility.

Across the country, thousands of wild horses are being violently rounded up and corralled in horrendous conditions to make way for private, public-subsidized livestock ranching.

Concerned citizens can contact Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland at 202-208-3100 and request that the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management immediately discontinue the use of GonaCon. 


### NOTES ###



Contact: Fleur Dawes,, 415-879-6879

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 40-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, California, and rural Mississippi.

### ENDS ###