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PETITION TARGET: U.S. Congress

Infections, excessive blood loss, and even death — America’s wild horses and burros may soon be at risk for these complications if they are forced to undergo invasive and painful permanent sterilization surgery. 

The Bureau of Land Management’s newly-proposed 2025 budget includes $15 million earmarked to permanently sterilize these majestic wild animals.

While the BLM budget does not detail the planned method of permanent sterilization, it usually involves a gruesome type of surgery known as ovariectomy via colpotomy.

The surgery requires first restraining the mare using a chute. Next, the practitioner reaches inside the horse and blindly rips out the horse’s large ovaries using an ecraseur – a type of surgical ball and chain.  

The surgery comes with a risk of complications — mares may bleed to death or die from infection. The National Academy of Sciences did not recommend this type of surgery for wild horses and burros in a review of BLM practices.

Many veterinarians refuse to conduct this cruel surgery on domesticated horses — even where the animals have access to sterilized environments, anesthesia, and necessary long-term care, including forced immobilization for several days. None of these conditions would be possible for wild horses.

The newly-proposed budget comes just days after Congress reduced the 2024 budget for cruel helicopter roundups. Congress also increased 2024 spending for the use of fertility vaccines, a reversible form of birth control that can be administered through darts without capturing the horses – although BLM’s plan still involves capturing many of the wild animals.

No animal should have to undergo such painful and risky surgery, especially when there are more humane, effective, reversible fertility vaccinations available.

Permanent sterilization also undermines the BLM goal to manage the wild horse population — not eradicate it.

Sign our petition urging Congress to reject the BLM’s proposed 2025 budget and to outlaw the use of permanent sterilization on wild horses and burros, utilizing more humane and cost-effective fertility vaccines instead.