JOHN DAY, Ore., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Activists in Oregon have started a campaign against a government plan to shrink a wild horse population near Murderers Creek in the eastern part of the state.
More than 6,000 letters have been written to the Bureau of Land Management's Prineville District in opposition to its plan to round up and remove hundreds of wild horses from a remote forest south of Dayville in Grant County, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Friday.
BLM spokesman Rob Sharp said the plan is to remove the horses and reallocate the land to elk, deer, domestic cattle and other species, in addition to the mustangs.
"The critics refuse to acknowledge that we have other missions and we are not just in the business of managing wild horses," said Tom Gorey, a BLM spokesman in Washington. "They are totally focused on the horses, to the exclusion of other resources and uses."
Those opposed to the plan say shrinking the herd could be dangerous for the population at Murderers Creek.
"This is just one example of the government reducing a wild horse herd to a dangerously low number of animals, which jeopardizes the long-term genetic health of the herd," said Suzanne Roy, the campaign's director.
The BLM plan includes both removing the horses and giving mares a fertility-control drug called PZP.
PZP, however, is not a long-term solution, as it controls fertility for only 22 months.
"We don't see a miracle fertility control drug that can solve our problems," Gorey said.
Roy said PZP remains 60 percent effective after four years, and that should be taken into consideration.
"I know the BLM acts like after two years it doesn't have any effectiveness, but that isn't true," she said.