A big difference in the two leading plans for 33,000 wild horses now held by the federal government is whether mares and geldings may mix. The issue may come down to undescended horse testicles. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s plan wouldn’t let geldings mix with mares, who would also be on birth control. Madeleine Pickens’ plan would let the geldings run free and form normal social groups.
There are plenty of other things that divide the plans–location, price, management–but whether the wild horses get to live in their natural herds is a big sticking point for horse advocates. Suzanne Roy, program director for In Defense of Animals, calls it the “the Sala-Zoo plan.” “Most people can drive half an hour or 10 minutes to see horses,” she says. “These horses are wild in name only.” What makes these horses special is the wild, natural lives they lead, she says.
I asked Madeleine Pickens whether geldings at her proposed Mustang Monument would be able to mix. “They’d be able to roam freely and form bachelor bands,” she said.
BLM spokesman Tom Gorey told me this week that they would have to keep the sexes segregated because you “can’t take a chance that the gelding might not have worked. There is always a possibility.”
Say what? I was always amazed when dog people would ask if my obviously neutered male dog Jolly was neutered. The testicles are either intact or removed. Either way, it’s highly visible.
But Gorey referred me to