COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (May 17, 2016) - On May 10, The Cloud Foundation (TCF) received a call from an unnamed Phoenix resident who had witnessed deadly burro and mare sterilization operations performed in Arizona last month by Dr. Leon Pielstick, DVM, the veterinarian slated to perform such procedures on hundreds of wild mares and foals, currently being held in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Hines, Oregon corrals. The BLM funded mare sterilization operations would be undertaken through a BLM grant to Oregon State University (OSU).

“I received a call last week from a person who attended the surgeries,” explains Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of TCF. “According to the caller, the burros formerly roamed wild on the Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area north of Phoenix. The caller, who wishes to remain anonymous, had hoped that the surgeries might be a humane and effective field population control for burros, stating that there have been burros involved in accidents on highways near Lake Pleasant. The caller said that Dr. Pielstick told them that the procedure was ‘safe.’ The caller said, - “now we’ve done that (the ovariectomies), there are too many complications.”

The ovariectomy surgeries on the handful of female burros and one mare resulted in one of the burros bleeding out (evisceration) and the mare dying two days later. To date TCF has been unable to find out whether the other burros are alive. They were believed to have suffered serious infection.

In an ongoing effort to halt BLM-funded, inhumane sterilization research on wild mares (procedures rarely used on domestic mares that can be easily handled and given necessary after care), the Cloud Foundation, other humane organizations, and thousands of Americans have been in communication with OSU, urging them to abandon the research project.

Dr. Lisa Jacobson, DVM from Berthoud, Co states. "As an equine veterinarian I'm in shock that the BLM, veterinarians, and OSU are even considering the mare sterilization techniques being proposed. These techniques are abusive & incredibly negligent.” Dr. Jacobson has worked with both wild and domestic equines for years. According to Jacobson, “The Colpotomy procedure is so barbaric and risky that I have never been behind it--with domestic mares--let alone wild mares. Laproscopic spaying is in no way a procedure to be done in a non-clinical environment, with no follow up management (the least being pain management.) How can this even be considered for wild mares? . . . As far as I’m concerned, this is a deadly cocktail of risk factors.”

Dr. Don Moore, equine veterinarian with decades of experience stated, “Mass experimental surgeries performed under these conditions outlined in the proposal, amounts to negligence and abuse. I believe experiments such as this proposal are unethical, inhumane and unwarranted. Any veterinarian(s) who would perform these experiments is in violation of the oath (Page 3) taken as a graduating veterinarian, 'above all else, do no harm.'

TCF continues to encourage BLM to finally embrace “on the range management” of wild horses and burros with economical, safe, effective, non-invasive fertility control vaccines, namely PZP. Herds being managed on the range are avoiding roundups and removals.

“The idea is that any foal born wild, is allowed to live its life in precious freedom,” Kathrens concludes. “What OSU and BLM are preparing to do to these wild mares and foals is unthinkably cruel.”


BLM Mare Sterilization EA