Science & Conservation Center Helps Save Wild Horses

Science & Conservation Center Helps Save Wild Horses

The Bureau of Land Management “manages” wild horses and burros on public lands with failed, unsustainable protocols of horrifying roundups and removals. The National Academy of Sciences Report explains that mass removals create a scientific phenomenon known as “compensatory reproduction,” which causes the reproduction rate in a herd to increase faster than average. Since this can wipe out any “gains” made by removals, it becomes an untenable revolving door which must be stopped! 

Beloved scientist, Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, who passed away in 2015, was a pioneer of fertility control who specialized in porcine zona pellucida (PZP) contraceptive. Dr. Kirkpatrick detested the wild horse roundups, stating, “They’re flat-out inhumane.” He was determined to find a way to manage herd populations so roundups would no longer be necessary. In 1998, he founded the Science and Conservation Center (SCC), in Billings, Montana, as an independent, non-profit organization. The SCC is the world’s only dedicated facility for the development of wildlife contraceptives, and now produces PZP on a not-for-profit basis and provides training. 

We recently attended a three day PZP Immunocontraception Conference at the Center. The conference was packed with impressive speakers, including scientists, researchers, and representatives from herd areas where PZP has been used successfully to enable reductions in roundups. Promising new studies and methods for herd fertility control were presented, and users shared helpful tips for success. 

Unfortunately, there are still a few scattered groups of people who use social media and scare tactics to spread untruths about PZP. Do not believe them! The science was reaffirmed at the conference by the best scientists in the field. The truth (fact) is, it is a scientific impossibility for PZP to cause either foal deformity or abortion when administered to a mare. PZP is not a “pesticide,” despite being classified as one because there was no applicable category. PZP is simply a natural, isolated animal protein that does not contain chemical or synthetic components, and can be administered by remote dart without capture or handling. Its effects are reversible and do not interfere with hormonal cycles (behavior). PZP has been proven safe, effective, and humane for over 30 years of usage in wild horse herds. 

All in all, the conference was a superb continuing education opportunity for users and recruits to keep-up-to-date on current practices and the latest research.

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