Lawsuits gather on horse sterilization plan

By The Bulletin

August 17, 2016

The Bureau of Land Management faces two more federal lawsuits over its proposal to sterilize wild horses at its corral in Hines, part of an effort to control the population.

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and The Cloud Foundation jointly filed suit against the BLM on Monday in U.S. District Court in Oregon, charging that the agency had violated the groups’ First Amendment rights by rejecting their requests to observe and record the sterilization procedures if they actually take place.

BLM said it was still reviewing the latest lawsuits. The agency has proposed using three methods to sterilize about 200 mares, some of them pregnant at various stages. According to the proposal, one of the methods, ovariectomy via colpotomy, involves sedating the mare — although not fully — before a veterinarian reaches into the horse’s abdomen through the vagina to sever and pull out the ovaries. The other two are less invasive methods.

The bureau has previously said its proposal is a way to gather information, noting a lack of research on the procedures’ safety, efficacy and complications. BLM has said that the wild horse population on the range and of those waiting to be adopted has grown too large.

Friends of Animals also sued BLM earlier this month at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The nonprofit argued that the agency’s proposal would violate federal laws and rely on “appalling” procedures that would injure and kill some horses. Besides the latest two lawsuits, the proposal had previously drawn a federal lawsuit and three appeals to a U.S. Department of Interior appeals board.

Originally posted by The Bulletin