BLM asked to keep wild horses safe from virus

RENO, Nev. — Concerned about the threat of a catastrophic outbreak of a herpes virus among wild horse herds in the West, national animal advocates today called on the federal government to keep potentially infected domestic horses away from mustangs and burros on public lands.

The Humane Society of the United States urged the Bureau of Land Management to “discourage and, if possible and appropriate, prohibit” owners of private horses from bringing animals at risk of Equine Herpes Virus-1 onto federal lands where they could have contact with wild horses.

“The potential for a catastrophic outbreak of EHV-1 among wild horse herds needs to be addressed by the BLM on an emergency basis,” Holly Hazard, the society’s chief innovations officer, wrote in a letter to BLM Director Bob Abbey.

The federal agency should launch a public education campaign immediately about the highly contagious disease, which has infected dozens of horses and killed at least nine, as officials plan horse-related activities for the upcoming holiday weekend, she said.

EHV-1 poses no risk to humans, but can be fatal to horses. It can be airborne and transmitted by touch or by sharing feed, brushes, bits and other equipment.

The virus “is a highly transmittable disease, and the symptoms don’t show up immediately,” Hazard told The Associated Press.

“You can have a horse that may have been exposed and you are not even aware they are carrying the virus. The most vigilant thing for everybody to do is enjoy their horses on their own property until the health officials have it sorted all out,” she said.

Traced back to a cutting horse competition earlier this month in Ogden, Utah, the virus has been exposed to more than 1,000 animals through direct or indirect contact with infected horses. Symptoms include fever, decreased coordination, nasal discharge, loss of tail tone, hind limb weakness and inability to rise.

So far, no animals managed by the BLM are known to have been infected, BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said Thursday. He said the agency is considering limiting horse movement on a case-by-case basis and may cancel some scheduled adoption events.



COMMENTS

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.




Search More Jobs






THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Sign in to your account
Information

© 2014 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy