Washington, DC (September 12, 2018) . . . The end of the federal fiscal year (September 30) is quickly approaching, so that can only mean one thing: some Members of Congress are working overtime to “manage” wild horses back to extinction levels and shrink their habitats across the West. Each year Congress must pass spending bills to fund federal government agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and bills approved by the House and Senate must be exactly the same before they can be signed into law. The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is funded in the Interior and Environment title of H.R. 6147, which is now headed to a conference committee on September 13th where differences in the House and Senate versions of the spending bill will be hashed out—and where the fate of America’s wild horses will be decided.
The House version of the bill contains several extraordinary threats to wild horses and burros that, if passed, will forever alter and ultimately destroy the herds. In the bill, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) included an amendment that authorized BLM to “… manage any group of wild horses or burros as a non-reproducing or single-sex herd, in whole or in part, including through chemical or surgical sterilization.” The amendment would direct nearly 20% of the Program’s entire budget to the gruesome practice of surgical sterilization on mares. The result of the House bill would be to use our tax money to turn thousands of horses into sad museum exhibits, devoid of their natural, wild behavior, and that’s for those lucky enough to survive the barbaric procedure. The rest would die a cruel death. The plan is simply wrong in every way.
When the conference committee meets tomorrow, members will choose whether to inflict these grave harms or continue protections for our nation’s wild horses and burros. The choice is obvious and clear, but what’s obvious to the vast majority of Americans is not always clear to certain representatives in Washington. The only way to ensure wild horses continue to be protected is to make it clear to your Representative and Senators that the conference committee must reject the Stewart language in the FY19 Interior spending bill—ask them to contact the members of the committee with that message. Ask your representatives to let Senators Murkowski (R-AK), Udall (D-NM), Shelby (R-AL), and Leahy (D-VT), and Congressmen Calvert (R-CA), McCollum (D-MN), Lowey (D-NY), and Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) know that Stewart’s plan to destroy our wild horses is unacceptable.
AWHC has had enormous success stopping some the worst schemes that anti-wild horse members of Congress have thought up, including slaughter and sales to kill buyers and we couldn’t have done it without your passion and activism. We need your help once again to stop Rep. Chris Stewart’s plan for a western range without wild horses.