Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Similar Vaccine

Recently, I have seen some interesting new trends developing in BLM wild horse & burro proposals.

While certainly not as horrifying as the recent discovery at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge of scattered horse bones, a mass grave or the terrifying events experienced by the courageous Leslie Peeples, the ramifications of these trends are certainly disturbing.

As the accelerated Obama/Salazar meat machine continues to grind up America’s wild horses and burros behind closed doors while contemptuously spitting them back out into the publics face, here is one of the latest trends BLM may be about to foist on our herds.

Captured wild horse.
Oregon Warm Springs Canyon HMA (2006).

On September 15, 2010, the BLM Burns District Office in Oregon announced the opening of a public comment period on a fourth alternative being added to an already released Environmental Assessment regarding the removal of wild horses in the Warm Springs HMA.

The summary of this new alternative is, “The BLM has subsequently added a fourth alternative to the EA analyzing the application of a 2-year Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22), or similar, vaccine to approximately 43 horse mares. At this time, the BLM is soliciting comments on the additional alternative of injecting mares with PZP-22.”

Public comments were restricted to input only pertaining to the addition of this new alternative and were limited to twelve days; the comment period ended on September 27, 2010.

Perhaps some of you caught all that was transpiring in the two tiny sentences BLM posted in the proposal but for those of you who didn’t, let me elaborate. There are two key phrases here that should have supporters of self-sustaining wild herds on public lands and open public processes extremely alarmed.

The first issue is based on BLMs strategic wording, public comments are limited to ONLY injecting mares with PZP-22. Yet, that’s is not all BLM is proposing here, is it? The sentence states, “or similar vaccine” and that’s the second issue.

What does “similar” vaccine mean?

According to two BLM internal reports generated in 2008 and obtained by advocates under the Freedom of Information Act, the BLM’s Team Conference Calls (July 2008) and Alternative Management Options (October 2008), wide spread sterilization measures were aggressively explored throughout as is also now included in Salazar’s proposed new direction for the Wild Horse & Burro Program.

The following quotes were taken from these two reports and BLM has had two years to follow through on the discussions and recommendations regarding “similar vaccines” BLM was then putting on the table for our wild herds future.


Spavac™ was used in the Virginia Range horses with the testing being done at the Carson City Prison.” With respect to what the Team called, “The Carson City horses”, they stated “11 out of 15 have not gotten in foal”.

A captive trial of estray horses in Nevada indicates it may be a more effective, longer lasting fertility control agent than conventional PZP.”

A single vaccination of SpayVac™ could maintain a high level of contraception within wild mares for at least 4 years or could be permanent.”

“Based on the Nevada estray horse trials (Killian et al in press 2008), SpayVac™ exhibits the ability to reduce population growth in wild horses. If it proves to be permanent, it may be a valuable tool for use on specific mares in non-reproducing herds.”

“The captive trial in Nevada showed 100% contraception in Year 1, 83% in Years 2 & 3 & 4 (Killian et al. in press 2008). This rate of efficacy exceeds previously reported efficacy rates for PZP use in wild mares.”

“If proven to be permanent, SpayVac™ could be used to create non-reproducing herds of mares.”

“There is no SpayVac™ product currently available for use and no one is making it”
and “it is barely available as a research product”.

“Additional research on the duration and long term effects of SpayVac™ are needed. These research trials could begin shortly after vaccine production resumes.”

“To date, there is no projected dosage cost for SpayVac™ as no inventory is available. Costs may be similar to the one-year PZP vaccine BLM is currently using (about $200 per dose and an estimated $500-1,000 to capture and mark treated mares).”

“A study for the research and development of SpayVac™ would require approximately $250,000 for captive trials over a five year period”.

“SpayVac™ could be ready for experimental use in one to two years and for management use in free-roaming horse populations in approximately six years if the above issues are resolved.”

“There is no regulatory approval for the management or investigation use of SpayVac™ through EPA or FDA. The Researcher/developer would need to obtain written permission from EPA or FDA for its investigational use or a letter saying that isn’t necessary.”

“If SpayVac™ proves to be permanent it could potentially threaten the genetic viability of the treated population by limiting the genetic contribution to fewer animals.”

“Data is not available that describes the impact of SpayVac™ on the behavior and physical health of the mares.”

“It may be several years before SpayVac™ is ready for field use on an experimental basis. An investigational approval or exemption needs to be obtained from the EPA to develop SpayVac™ for management use. The vaccine would also have to be brought into production again (about a one year waiting period). Additional research trials could begin shortly after vaccine production resumes. Based on these projections, it will be about six years before SpayVac™ could be a usable management tool for fertility control in free-roaming populations of wild horses.”

“Based on the Nevada estray horse trials (Killian et al in press 2008), SpayVac™ exhibits the ability to effectively reduce population growth in wild horses. If it proves to be permanent, it may also be a valuable tool for use on specific mares as individuals in non-reproducing herds.”

About GonaCon ™

“GonaCon™ is also a product that needs to be re-looked at for sterilization of mares.”

“GonaCon™ is an experimental gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) immunocontraceptive vaccine developed for deer by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services’ (WS) National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).”

“GonaCon™ reduces or eliminates the production of sex hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) within the target animal.”

“Efficacy rates after the first year appear to be similar to or somewhat lower than the PZP-22 BLM currently uses.”

“It may be several years before GonaCon™ is ready for field use on an experimental basis in wild horses and even longer before it is available for management use.”

“The developer of GonaCon™ must first obtain the necessary documentation and approvals from the EPA to use the product outside of research trials like the Nevada estray horse trials.”

“NWRC has received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorization for the investigational use of GonaCon™. This permit allows NWRC researchers and their collaborators to ship and test the vaccines on both captive and free-ranging animals. Tests for the GNRH vaccine are ongoing in several states and countries, involving a wide range of wildlife and feral species, including horses”.

“GonaCon™ is currently not available for management use under the authority of the EPA and the registration is in process for deer only.”

“GonaCon™ will be registered as a “Restricted Use” product. Although final label language has not been negotiated with EPA, NWRC anticipates the product will be labeled for use by State or Federal wildlife or natural resource management personnel or persons working under their authority. GonaCon™ users will need to follow State authorization processes.”

“The National Park Service is planning field trials with wild horses to investigate the efficacy of GonaCon™ as a tool to control population growth. However, it may be several years before GonaCon™ is ready for field use on an experimental basis in wild horses. The developer of GonaCon™ must obtain the necessary documentation and approvals from either EPA or FDA to investigate the vaccine on a broader scale than currently with the Nevada estray horse trials.”

So, tell us Secretary Salazar, if the proposed action is “soliciting comments on the additional alternative of injecting mares with PZP-22”, why is “similar vaccine” included? And “what” similar vaccines are being referenced here that the public is suppose to on comment in the Warm Springs HMA “fourth alternative” with no further explanation or analysis?

To add fuel to the fire of what the Oregon BLM staff is doing behind Salazars iron curtain of secrecy, in the 2010 Post-Gather Report for the South Steen’s wild horses BLM listed 59 mares as treated with PZP. However, at the end of the Post-Gather Report in the notes section, in bold capitol letters, they added “NO PZP ADMINISTERED”.

I contacted Oregon BLM to request clarification as to what this meant. The response never really answered the question. Mr. Hopper merely stated that a new Post-Gather Report “was being revised” and when it arrived, BLM re-wrote history by “eliminating” the No PZP Administered and replaced it with “59 mares were treated with PZP.”

Now, it would seem to me that if someone took the time to write in bold, capitol letters, “NO PZP ADMINISTERED” in the field notes while still entering 59 mares being treated, there’s a bit of a clue about the possible fertility control experiments going on in the field.

Now we have “similar vaccine” craftily inserted in the Warm Springs “fourth alternative”.

As for whether this similar vaccine is SpayVac™ or GonaCon™ or some other Frankenstein concoction BLM has managed to whip up since 2008, the potential “permanent sterilization” of mares through their use, combined with an unknown number of castrated stallions they intend to return to the range as described (kind of) in the EA, BLMs "Proposed Action" yielded a projected median population growth (the one BLM always uses) of 50 wild horses over an 11 year period. (Appendix E, 2010 Warm Springs HMA Gather, Win Equus Population Modeling, July 16, 2010, Proposed Action, pg. 51).

Will these be some of the last foals the Oregon Warm Springs Herd Management Area will ever produce after BLMs newest proposed gather?

Photo of foals representing the Warm Spring HMA. Courtesy of BLM.

Probably not as BLM states part of the Proposed Action is "To ensure genetic viability, two to three horses with similar traits from another HMA would be returned to the West Warm Springs HMA" (pg. 7)

That's right, the fertility control measures are going to be so strong after BLM gets through with the Warm Springs wild horses in the upcoming round up, they are going to have to import wild horses from other areas to keep the populations from genetically crashing.


For an additional excellent article that provides summary examinations of everything BLM discussed and presented in their 2008 internal reports, check out Animal Law Coalitions, “BLM’s Final Solution For Wild Horses and Burros” by Laura Allen.

To learn more about the “et al” mentioned in BLMs referencing of (Killian et al press 2008) used as the supporting study to move forward on BLMs fertility control alternatives, read “Crooks and Liars: Nevada Agriculture Director Scuttles Birth Control Study”, October 17, 2008, by Willis Lamm of KBR Horse.

Click Here for BLMs original South Steens 2010 Post-Gather Report.

Click Here for BLMs edited version of the South Steens 2010 Post-Gather Report.


barbara said...

This is just horrifying and few knew about it to comment.

At Sheldon I'm afraid mares are being spayed too. Many willdie and stallions are being gelded.

All of this is genocide.

Anonymous said...

This might be the reason they are being hauled to the prison--to keep away from Congressional oversight, as mentioned in the inside documents?

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to find out which chemical and/or pharmaceutical companies are involved and profit from this?

Louie Cocroft said...

These hormone experiments must impact the mares' temperments just as they would any other mammal (including humans).

Anonymous said...

Q. What are the methods of birth control being utilized at Sheldon for the horses?

A. We are using the vasectomies and overectomies.

Sheldon - Steblein

sandra longley said...

I first came to realise that the burns oregon facility and the oregon HMAs were the testing ground for the ideas proposed in the alternative management document, back at the last wild horse and burro meeting in denver. I had been assured by an advocate who is a 'insider" with the BLM officials, that this document had been disgarded as policy..Whren "spaying" mares was brought up again at Denver I immediately realised they were indeed pursing this policy still, in less obvious ways..I knew from my first reading-the group had been trying to get 1 HMA or state to test these policys-they finally found 1, unnamed to do so..altho not named...they did however name the states that refused to, and that led me to Oregon-where I live- as the state that agreed to do so. This made alot of sense, for 2 other reasons-Dean Bolstead spent many years here before moving to Nevada-and Oregon has very little activity-in the way of-overseeing by advocates-very few independant check on the horses..and has a good reputation as to the care and handling of the wild horses...IN the rest of the they have been under the radar in their ability to conduct activities..They have already conducted their experimentation of gelding and returning stallions, and intended to do so again this year at stinking water HMA..but revised their EA, because -this year was different..a group of us became involved, including Ginger, Makendra myself and others..I would suspicion there is much going on here that we are unaware of..and a lawsuit is needed as well as FOIAs to get to the bottom of secret activities and experimentation being done,,I believe there is much more than we currentlyt know.