Grand Junction, Colorado (October 19, 2017) Today, the American Wild Horse Campaign blasted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’ for making a series of recommendations today that, if accepted, could result in the mass roundup and slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros.
Among the recommendations made today by the board at its meeting in Grand Junction, CO, that the BLM remove over 46,000 wild horses from the range over the next three years to achieve the agency’s extinction-level population limits; that BLM destroy healthy “excess” wild horses and burros or sell them for slaughter, and that the agency phase out long term holding pastures for wild horses over the next three years. When asked what would happen to the 32,146 horses currently housed in those pastures, the member making the recommendation – Ben Masters - replied, “They would be destroyed.”
While the board previously recommended killing wild horses in holding, this is the first time they took aim at wild horses living free on our public lands. If adopted, the recommendation would lead to the mass destruction of America’s cherished mustangs, possibly even by aerial gunning these iconic animals in their homes on our public lands.
“The Board’s recommendations are against the will of the 80 percent of Americans who oppose killing and slaughtering our wild horses and want these iconic animals protected on America’s public lands,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “This board is supposed to represent stakeholders in the wild horse management debate, but the biggest stakeholder – the American public – has been left out in the cold, along with any science that does not support the pro-slaughter agenda.”
At the meeting, AWHC, joined by its coalition partner The Cloud Foundation, presented a petition signed by 300,000 citizens in opposition to the Board’s previous recommendation to kill and slaughter wild horses made at its 2016 meeting. The groups support managing wild horses humanely on the range with humane fertility control, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, as an alternative to roundup and slaughter.
Just over a year ago, the Board made a similar recommendation to kill horses in holding facilities, sparking international public outrage. In response, the BLM issued a statement saying that it would not accept the lethal recommendation. However, the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget requests that Congress lift longstanding prohibitions on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and selling them for slaughter.”
According to AWHC, the push for mustang slaughter is being orchestrated by a tiny but powerful special interest group that views wild horses as competition for cheap, taxpayer subsidized grazing on our public lands.
“The American people and our cherished wild horses and burros deserve better than a sham Advisory Board and an inhumane government policy that’s opposed by 80 percent of Americans,” Roy concluded. “The public lands and the wild horses who inhabit them belong to all Americans and all Americans should have a say in their management.”
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Its grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, humane and public interest organizations.