Wild horse populations in many parts of the world are competing for resources with other species in the environment. Various legislation and government policies are now requiring control of wild horse populations and sometime this includes lethal control. While Fertility Control is not the total answer, it has a potential to add a humane and non-lethal control strategy to the management of wild horse populations.
Fertility control has been used for over 20 years in the United States in the form of an annual vaccine called Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP). Today are several methods of control that are in various states of research and development.
ABA’s interest in Fertility Control
ABA understands that wild horse populations need to be controlled but we advocate for humane non-lethal controls where possible. While current fertility control treatments are not suitable for all wild horse populations, ABA believes that there are areas of Australia where these methods could be implemented and studied for the Australian environment. In this way, Australia will add another valuable strategy to controlling numbers of brumbies while at the same time helping progress the global effort to improve the delivery and use of fertility control for wildlife.
If we as a nation are not prepared to try and improve the promise of fertility control through research and development, it is likely that the cycle of ground and aerial shooting will continue with far too little management in between, allowing population numbers to again increase until it becomes necessary to shoot again.
In November 2009, ABA hosted a seminar on Fertility Control in Wild Horses in Brisbane, Queensland. As a result of this forum, a Working Group was established to progress the development of one or more trials of fertility control in wild horse groups in Australia. While it is just early days, we will be presenting updates on the project on this website.