The Bureau of Land Management is asking for nearly $3 million to spend on research into birth control for wild horses.
Population growth has made it difficult to manage wild horses, and currently the agency removes horses from public lands in order to maintain an adequate population.
A study by the National Research Council last year concluded that the current practice is flawed, and that the BLM should use birth control instead. But BLM spokesman Tom Gorey says the agency isn’t happy with the drug that’s available.
“It’s basically effective for a year, and that’s just not good enough,” Gorey said. “That leaves us in a position of having to gather, treat, release, then re-gather. It’s a very expensive, labor-intensive proposition to work that way.”
Gorey says they want to research more efficient methods.
But Suzanne Roy with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign says the available contraceptives are better than nothing.
“The desire to have a longer-acting tool shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to use the tool that they already have,” Roy said. “Instead of asking for money for research for future types of fertility control, the agency needs to use the fertility control that is already available to it, and has been for almost two decades.”