The Cloud Foundation recently responded to a BLM Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which proposes an experiment on formerly wild mares in order to test the efficacy and longevity of a new injectable fertility control vaccine, called the Oocyte Growth Factor (OGF) vaccine.
BLM’s stated goal is to develop an injectable that would provide permanent infertility (sterility) with a single dose.
While The Cloud Foundation does not object to a fertility control vaccine with longer-term efficacy (several years with a single dose) we do have strong and valid concerns about BLM plans to sterilize wild mares and jennies. With regards to the OGF vaccine, we see the following problems:
- The way this vaccine renders a mare infertile is that it affects the ovaries, disrupting ovulation and therefore hormone production.
- Disrupted hormones affect natural social behaviors – behaviors that make up the fabric of wild horse society. Most wild horse advocacy organizations oppose gelding for the same reason – it destroys natural hormone production and thus negatively impacts natural wild equid behaviors.
- The potential use or overuse of a permanent sterility vaccine in the hands of BLM without sufficient oversight.
- The fact that the majority of our western wild herds are already managed at “Appropriate Management Levels” (AML) that are below the minimum threshold for genetic viability. Sterilizing individuals and further reducing genetic variation could lead to irreversible harm.
You can read our full comments and explanation for the above concerns, as well as our suggestions regarding this proposed study, by clicking here.
Thank you for your support and interest. We appreciate the fact that you care about the health of our herds and how BLM manages them.
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905