Thursday, December 27, 2012

Foaling rates at recent Owyhee Roundup 2012

For the record:

During the first part of the Nov/December Owyhee roundup, 819 horses were removed.

Of those 819,  there were 287 stallions, 364 mares and 160 foals for a foaling rate of 20.5%. The population breakdown was omitted from the daily gather and facility reports because there is a new person doing the daily updates, not because the information wasn't provided from the field or holding facility.

I found it odd that no advocates seemed to be watching or looking for those daily numbers. Do we all have "gather fatigue?"

If you factor in death by natural causes (not by Cattoor and Sun J) estimated to be around 10% in the wild, this would make a population increase of closer to 10% per year than the 20% the BLM alleges. This number  is VERY manageable with the use of PZP.

The BLM plans to roundup 150 - 200 more in the second phase beginning January 4th, skew the sex ratio and apply PZP to less than 50 mares, removing 47 more horses.

Why not apply PZP to more mares and leave the rest of them on the range? They have already removed hundreds more than planned and to continue to remove horses when they have no place to put them (LTH facilities are full and STH, which house the horses in extremely bleak conditions will soon be full as well).

At a cost savings of over 10K per horse over a 20 year span, surely the application of PZP in the field achieves the results the BLM wants (even though it might not be instantaneous) and makes financial sense as well.

Certainly there are more issues surrounding the wild horses at Owyhee than I have addressed here. The patchwork access to public lands, the lack of available water to horses (though livestock has plenty) are all concerns but my worry is for a BLM that simply doesn't recognize, or care, the danger they put wild horses in with their continual reliance on outdated management practices. PZP is not without its detractors and side effects, but it is preferable to gelding, spaying, and the roundup and incarceration for life that provides the fuel for critics of the BLM program.

We have to stop removing horses at the rate they are being removed and "stored" in holding. It puts ALL the wild horses at risk.