Senators Urge BLM to Abandon Plan to Spay Mustang Mares

The plan would surgically sterilize mares in Oregon’s Warm Springs Herd Management Area.
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Senators Urge BLM to Abandon Plan to Spay Mustang Mares
A group of U.S. senators has asked Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to scrap a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to surgically sterilize mustang mares to control herd growth at the Warm Springs Horse Management Area (HMA) in Oregon. | Photo: iStock
A group of U.S. senators has asked Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to scrap a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to surgically sterilize mustang mares to control herd growth at the Warm Springs Horse Management Area (HMA) in Oregon.

Located on 474,547 acres 20 miles southwest of Burns, Oregon, the BLM’s estimated appropriate management level (AML) for the Warm Springs HMA is between 96 and 178 wild horses. Currently an estimated 738 mustangs reside there. The BLM would perform the procedure on about 100 of the Warm Springs HMA mares.

The controversial spay plan (the procedure is known as ovariectomy via colpotomy) involves the manual insertion of a metal rod to locate and remove a mare’s ovaries. Critics of the procedure maintain that it can cause excessive bleeding and even death. The latest plan is the agency’s most recent attempt to use the surgical procedure to permanently sterilize mares to control herd growth. In 2018 the plan was put on hold when a federal judge issued a temporary order to halt it.

In their July 17 letter Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ), Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), Kamala Harris (D-California), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Christopher Coons (D-Delaware), and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) asked Bernhardt to abandon the spay plan on grounds that it threatens the mustangs’ welfare and is contrary to public opinion

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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