Wild Horse Herd Safe from Roundups in Colorado
Almost all wild horse and burro herds in the western United States are under attack from our government, which uses brutal helicopter roundups to remove them from public lands. One herd in Colorado has been safe from roundups since the last one occurred in 2011. Wild horse volunteer extraordinaire TJ Holmes is the main reason.
Holmes is a volunteer who works collaboratively with her exceptional local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staffers to keep the Spring Creek Basin herd genetically viable, healthy, and thriving in Colorado — without the "need" or threat of a roundup since 2011. The BLM even raised the number of horses for the herd's Appropriate Management Level (AML). Skeptics and doubters may try to find fault, but the success of this herd speaks for itself.
Holmes is meticulous with her records and uses her intimate knowledge of the herd to avoid overuse of the porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccine and retain genetic viability. The natural selection of the herd remains, as mares and stallions choose their own family bands. Holmes doesn't dart the same mares for too many consecutive years; there are foals born yearly.
Methods of fertility control vastly differ in how they work and how they affect herds. Of the current methods available, PZP is the only one that In Defense of Animals supports in specific, appropriate horse herds. We are adamantly opposed to the use of either sterilization or GonaCon as a means of fertility control in wild horses.
GonaCon may be an acceptable contraceptive for other kinds of animals, but can render a mare infertile after only two or three applications which makes it non-reversible and that can be problematic in the long run. It also affects the natural behavior of family bands. The type of surgical sterilization proposed for wild horses has been a brutal procedure, unlike anything performed on dogs or cats. Additionally, in any form (surgical or GonaCon), it will also affect wild herds' genetic viability by reducing the number of foal-producing members, sometimes drastically, which is unacceptable.
PZP has been thoroughly studied for over 30 years in wild horse herds. Abundant scientific papers show the safety, efficacy, and reversibility of PZP. A few misinformed people ignore the science, posting misinformation about PZP on social media. Some have even attacked Holmes personally. They have tried to take away from the success of this herd by fabricating stories about her and by questioning the health of the Spring Creek Basin herd. We have visited this herd, and the horses are in the best of health, both physically and emotionally.
In Defense of Animals is working hard to bring about change to end the roundups and keep wild horses safe on our public lands. You may learn more about what we're doing and how to get involved by visiting our Wild Horses and Burros campaign.
Donations to support our work for wild horses are always welcomed and appreciated.