PEGA would like to express the difference between herd management methods when discussing Wild Horses vs. Domesticated Horses. The domestic horse mentality uses the term “Sterilization” which implies gelding of stallions and/or ovariectomy of mares. These methods of sterilization have been shown to be detrimental to the health and nature of these horses, should never recommended as solutions for Wild Horses.
So what can be done?
Non-Permanent Fertility Control is an option that can be successful, if administered responsibly, using methods and practices that are consistent with its recommended use to perpetuate healthy herds with genetic viability and diversity.
It is important to note that gelding or sterilizing horses living in the Wild as a solution for population control is a MISTAKE. It also skews the gene pool which could result in inbreeding, health defects and less hardiness in the horses that are left to survive on their own in the Wild. The “domesticated” point of reference to gelding or sterilization is not applicable for horses left in the Wild, they need ALL of the hormone driven instinct and genetic diversity that nature has given them for procreation, natural selection and survival. Observing how a mare acts in heat or the way a stallion behaves around subordinate horses clearly gives us an idea of the POWER of hormones and instinct. While these behaviors are something we need to SUPPRESS at our local boarding barn, horse show or at racetracks, they are the very behaviors that are part of the CODE of Horses living in the Wild.
Sterilization and mass removals have proven to be drastic and damaging measures for wild horses across the United States and will ERASE & WIPE OUT part of Louisiana early history, should they be eliminated from the Kisatchie area. Read about the army’s EA and plans here: Army’s Environmental Assessment April 2016
Existing properly executed non-permanent fertility control, developed specifically for equine (as is done in the Asseteague Island Horses) may be a solution for the horses to remain in the Wild. Not spaying, not gelding, not any kind of sterilization. Knowledge is the key to help and NOT unintentionally or intentionally HURT these animals.
Please reconsider humane, respectful solutions for these animals, other than having them removed and going to uncertain futures. The horses’ history goes back much further than their ties to military, it is SO IMPORTANT people begin to understand and echo this. They are Kisatchie Region HERITAGE ANIMALS. For many reasons, gelding or permanent sterilization of horses that are left to live in the wild is *NOT* a solution
*For adoption or sanctuary purposes: Keep in mind there are serious, fatal medical risks associated with gelding of older intact males. So if the horses are removed, adopters should ONLY consider a yearling or foal for this reason.