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Washington, DC – Today, at the first meeting of a National Academy of Sciences team that is reviewing the federal wild horse and burro program, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition, will call on the Academy to correct bias and imbalance on the review committee, as well as deficiencies in study scope.
What: First Meeting of National Academy of Sciences Wild Horse and Burro Review Committee
When: Thursday, October 27, 2011
1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Scientific Presentations
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Public Comment
Where: Best Western Airport Plaza Hotel, 1981 Terminal Way, Reno, Nevada
The coalition will detail concerns about imbalance on the panel, and present new evidence that one of the committee members, Dr. Paul Krausman, president elect of the Wildlife Society, has actively lobbied for the removal of “feral” horses, meeting privately with both BLM director Bob Abbey and pro-horse slaughter Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Loomis regarding the need to “manage this non-native species.”
A second committee member, Dr. Erik Beever, is also an official with the Wildlife Society, which has a pro-hunting, anti-wild horse agenda and espouses the unscientific position that wild horses are a “potentially destructive non-native species that threatens native species and their habitats.” A third committee member, Dr. David Thain, has close ties to the livestock industry and has appeared on national television to defend the current BLM wild horse program.
“As clear partisans, these individuals cannot deliver an ‘independent’ or ‘objective’ review of the very program they have actively promoted and defended,” Deniz Bolbol, AWHPC Communications Director will tell the NAS Committee during public comments today. “At minimum, they must be balanced with experts in wild horse behavior who have advocated for reform of the current unscientific management program.”
Also at the meeting, AWHPC founder Neda DeMayo, CEO of Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary, will address the NAS’ failure to appoint a member to the panel with expertise in the latest scientific evidence documenting that the horse evolved in North American and is a native, reintroduced wildlife species.
“The issue of the horse as a native North American species is not even within the study scope,” DeMayo will tell the committee. “How and why can this topic of the biological nature of the horse, that the agency is supposed to manage wisely, not be central to the scope of the study? The NAS' failure to include one scientist with expertise in the latest collection of data addressing this issue castes a shadow over the credibility of work that the committee will do the next year.”
DeMayo will also raise concerns about lack of equal representation on the panel for the various fertility control methods available to manage reproduction in wild horse herds. One panel member has published extensively on Spay Vac, an immunocontraceptive drug that has potentially serious side effects, while no appointed panel member has expertise on PZP fertility control, which has been documented to be safe and effective over a 20-year history of use on wild horses.
“Unless the NAS corrects the imbalances on the panel and shortcomings in the study scope, the public’s need to have accurate and objective review of this broken federal program will not be served, the public’s perception of the NAS will be diminished, and the tax dollars underwriting the review will be wasted,” Bolbol’s statement concludes.
A written version of AWHPC's comments to the NAS can be found here.