Fish & Wildlife | Local | Politics

Interior Secretary Calls For Prize To Make Better Wild Horse Birth Control

OPB | Feb. 5, 2014 3:45 p.m.

Contributed By:

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

Dept. of Interior

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell calls the nation’s wild horse crisis an “intractable problem.” During an appearance in Portland, she suggested that the government needs to offer a big prize to get drug companies to make better birth control for wild horses.

Jewell supervises the Bureau of Land Management. The agency spends tax dollars removing wild horses from the range when the BLM decides there are too many in one area.

Last week the agency awarded two new contracts to spend $12 million on  more helicopter roundups of wild horses in the west.

A wild horse receives a birth control shot during a roundup, then is released back to the range.

A wild horse receives a birth control shot during a roundup, then is released back to the range.

BLM Image

At a news conference in Portland she was asked about the issue. Jewell replied, “We’d love to have an effective birth control method, we’re thinking of sort of an ‘X-Prize’ type of thing to inspire the pharmaceutical industry to come up with an effective birth control method for horses.”

The BLM has given birth control shots to a limited number of mares to prevent the birth of more foals, but the drugs wear off. The birth control would have to be administered repeatedly to make a measurable difference in the horse populations.

Visit the full digital story on mustangs and join the online conversation here: Wild Horses in Crisis

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