Recently, Representative Titus and several others championed an amendment to H.R. 7608 requiring the Bureau of Land Management to utilize $11,000,000 of its budget for managing free-roaming horses (FRH) to implement PZP, reversible fertility control. This is a misplaced priority use of taxpayer dollars for FRH population control. Today, horse populations have vastly exceeded the thriving ecological balance of our lands.
Administration of fertility control is a potential piece of the solution to reduce and then maintain horse numbers to the carrying capacity of the land. PZP is not a cost-effective, nor effective tool for population control for horses. PZP is a temporary form of birth control that must be administered annually.
Successful application of PZP over time has only occurred in a couple small, discreet areas where horses are easier to find, catch, and identify the individual horses needing the booster and where volunteers could be recruited to assist such an intensive process. Almost all horses in NV are of vast acreages where PZP is not remotely practical. Tens of thousands of horses would need to be captured annually on millions of acres merely to slow population growth. Annual round ups of the tremendous numbers of horses would be cost prohibitive, ineffective and inhumane.
The PZP approach neither reduces round-ups nor reduces horses on impacted public lands. What I do support is immediate funding to fulfill the promise of long-term population control devices. Some have been rigorously tested and are near ready to go, such as the IUD, the 5 year shot, and the long term shot used in Australia on the brumbies.
To ensure the long term health and well-being of horses, I support the 5 year shot for younger horses and the IUD for older horses, which could otherwise be impregnated every year until their death.
By funding alternative types of control we encourage innovation, competition and wise use of taxpayer dollars. I urge a realistic proposal, a workable and humane approach not this amendment which is costly, ineffective and inhumane.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!