Raging Wild Horse Controversy Heads to Oklahoma City as Federal Advisory Board Meets & State Prepares to Legalize Horse Slaughter

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National Coalition to Call for Ban on Slaughtering Wild Horses in State Where 22,000 Captured Mustangs Are Held

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (March 4, 2013) . . . At a Monday, March 4, 2013 meeting of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Committee, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition, will call for a halt to federal wild horse roundups, an end to the government’s policy of selling wild horses for as little as $10 a piece, and an outright ban on horse slaughter. AWHPC will also offer humane solutions to keep wild horses out of government holding facilities.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. and will be live webcast at http://www.blm.gov/live/. The public comment period will begin at 3:30 p.m. The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

During the public comment period, AWHPC will release statistics showing that, since 2009, the BLM has rounded up and removed 37,000 wild horses from public lands in the West and presently stockpiles an astounding 50,000 wild horses in government holding facilities – far more than are left in the wild. Maintaining wild horses in holding facilities costs taxpayers over $124,000 a day.

Nearly 22,000 of the captured wild horses are held in Oklahoma, a state that is on a path to legalizing horse slaughter. Bills to allow for the operation of horse slaughter plants in the state have been passed by both houses of the state legislature .

Last year, the BLM was exposed for selling “truckload after truckload” of wild horses to a known kill buyer (someone who buys U.S. horses and trucks them to Mexico or Canada for slaughter).

“After years of mismanaging the federal wild horse program, the BLM is now facing the economic reality of the mess it has created,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the AWHPC.  “As a new Interior Secretary is confirmed, it’s time to turn this program around by stopping the roundups, prohibiting the slaughter of these national icons, and humanely managing them on the range.”

On March 7, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Sally Jewell, President Obama’s choice to replace Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior.

AWHPC will call on the Congress, the new Interior Secretary and the BLM to implement a five point plan, which it is calling SURGE to Save America’s Wild Horses and Burros:

1.     Stop the roundups: Manage wild horses on the range.

2.     Utilize birth control: It costs far less and avoids the bloodshed of the current roundup-remove-and-stockpile approach.

3.     Repeal the Burns Amendment that allows the sale of horses for as little as $10 each and invites slaughter of these national icons.

4.     Give wild horses a fairer share of resources in designated Herd Management Areas.

5.     Ease holding crisis by repatriating captured horses to Herd Areas from which wild horses have been eliminated but where appropriate habitat still exists.

The Campaign also said it will push for passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would outlaw horse slaughter in the U.S. as well as the transport of horses across the border for slaughter. A recent poll documented that the Americans overwhelming oppose horse slaughter.

Presently, the BLM spends nearly 70 percent of its $80 million-a-year wild horse budget to roundup, remove and stockpile wild horses, while less than 4 percent is spent to manage horses on the range with birth control and other measures to avoid removals.

“Managing wild horses on the range with birth control and responsible range stewardship costs far less and avoids the bloodshed of the current roundup-remove-and-stockpile approach,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom, AWHPC’s founder and parent organization. “There is no question that the BLM is trying to create a crisis by stockpiling so many horses in order to justify slaughtering them. But Americans don’t eat horses, and we don’t think killing 50,000 formerly wild, federally-protected mustangs is the solution to the government’s mismanagement woes.”