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Think Out Loud

Controlling Wild Horse Populations

Pete Springer/OPB

An independent panel assembled by the National Science Academy’s National Research Council has studied how the Bureau of Land Management manages wild horse populations. They recommend the federal government change its strategy. The panel says rather than going to the expense of rounding up and housing the horses, the BLM would be better served by investing in horse contraception. 

At the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, Jay Kirkpatrick and his team manufacture and distribute a contraceptive vaccine used in wildlife and horses — and train people to administer it. Kirkpatrick praises the panel’s report, and says its conclusions are long overdue. We’ll talk with him and with Oregon’s wild horse manager to find out what the situation is like here. 

What is your experience with horses? How do you think wild horse populations should be controlled? Do you have any questions about using contraception as the primary means for population control?


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