U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
January 30, 2009
In Reply Refer To:
4750 (WO260) P
EMS TRANSMISSION 02/03/2009
Instruction Memorandum No. 2009-063
To: All Field Officials except Alaska
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Gelding of Wild Horses and Burros and Gelding Vouchers
Program Area: Wild Horse and Burro Program
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to establish policy for the gelding of wild horse stallions and burro jacks and to provide guidance for the consistent use of gelding vouchers.
1. Gelding Policy for Wild Horse Stallions and Burro Jacks
2. Gelding Vouchers
Adopters will be issued a $50 voucher for each ungelded horse they take. Vouchers will not be issued for burro jacks.
3. Gelding Method
Gelding will be performed with anesthesia and by a veterinarian. The combination of pharmaceutical compounds used for anesthesia, chemical restraint, method of physical restraint, and the specific surgical technique used will be at the discretion of the attending veterinarian with the approval of the authorized officer.
Time Frame: This policy is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: This change in gelding policy requires that horses of weaning age to three years be gelded. The increase in gelding costs due to the new policy in any given year will depend on how many excess animals are removed. In fiscal year 2007, when 6,626 horses were removed from the range, there were 2,143 males that were weanling age to 3 years old. Under the old policy that did not require these horses to be gelded, 1,216 (57%) were gelded anyway at the option of facility managers, leaving 927 (43%) not gelded. During fiscal year 2007 gelding expenses would have increased by about $93,000 under the new policy.
Background: In 2005, the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board recommended that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) review its policy of gelding six-year-old and older horses and consider lowering the gelding age of stallions to one year, keeping in mind that special animals may be left ungelded because of their uniqueness. BLM conducted a review of its gelding policy and practices (Gelding Policy Issue Paper, June 2005) that considered customer preferences, animal adoptability, and short-term holding facility capability.
BLM changed its gelding policy in 2006, lowering the mandatory gelding age to all stallions at least four years old. Even though the 2006 policy required only that BLM geld stallions four years and older, most BLM facilities have been gelding nearly all male horses. The 2006 policy is being revised to comply with the Advisory Board’s 2005 recommendation, provide consistency in gelding at all preparation centers, and apply a gelding standard that is common practice in the equine industry. The sections on the management of cryptorchid stallions and jacks were added because several cryptorchid horses were unknowingly moved between facilities and subjected to multiple surgeries. Additionally, complaints have been received from adopters who returned cryptorchid horses that were not castrated to BLM or asked BLM to compensate them for the cost of additional surgery to correct the problem.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This policy supplements guidance contained in Handbook 4750-1.
Coordination: This policy has been coordinated with the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board and reviewed by Wild Horse & Burro (WH&B) personnel involved with facility operations and the adoption program.
Contact: Questions concerning this policy should be directed to Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief, WH&B Program at (775) 861-6611.
Signed by: Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning