American Wild Horse Campaign, Animal Wellness Join With Bipartisan Members to Protect Wild Horses

Advocacy groups push for House floor amendment to allocate $11 million of the current budget to PZP birth control to humanely manage wild horse and burro populations, Curbing Amount Spent on Roundups and Incarceration

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2020) – Today, the American Wild Horse Campaign, Animal Wellness Action, and the Animal Wellness Foundation applauded the introduction of an amendment to the H.R. 7608, the State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2021, that would dedicate funding to protect America’s cherished wild horses and burros. 

The urgent need for better protection was highlighted this weekend, after a wild horse was killed during a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) helicopter roundup in Utah that caused the horse to crash into a pen, breaking her neck. The horse was not immediately euthanized and was dragged off with chains. 

At the request of Animal Wellness Action, the American Wild Horse Campaign, and the Animal Wellness Foundation, longtime equine protection champions U.S Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., Dina Titus, D-Nev., Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources filed an amendment late Friday that “Requires the Bureau of Land Management to utilize $11,000,000 of its Wild Horse and Burro Program budget to implement PZP humane, reversible fertility control to manage wild horse populations.” This action comes on the heels of the House Committee on Appropriations decision to carry over the 27% budget increase Congress awarded the BLM wild horse and burro program last year without safeguards against mass roundups, incarceration, and surgical sterilization.

In a recently submitted report to Congress, the BLM announced its intent to spend increased funding to conduct more cruel roundups like the one that killed the mare this weekend. 

“When it comes to needed reform, you can lead BLM to water but you can’t make it drink without clear requirements from Congress to address long standing mistreatment of our federally-protected wild horses and burros,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “We thank Reps. Cohen, Titus, Neguse and Grijalva for this effort to rein in the BLM’s cruel and unsustainable roundup program. If Congress just hands this woefully mismanaged agency more funding, more tax dollars will be wasted and more wild horses will die.” 

“We applaud Reps. Cohen, Titus, Grijalva, and Neguse for championing this critical amendment to protect our wild horses from BLM’s swamp cultured bureaucrats and William Perry Pendley, who’ve long sought to eradicate them from public lands and refuse to implement PZP birth control,” said Marty Irby, a lifelong horseman and executive director at Animal Wellness Action. “We will continue to use every legislative, regulatory, and judicial weapon available to defend our iconic American wild horse and burro populations against the BLM’s radical assault, and call on the full U.S. House to use its power of the purse to halt this affront and pass the Cohen-Titus-Grijalva-Neguse Amendment." 

PZP is a humane alternative to roundups that is both cost effective and proven to work. Administered via remote darting, the vaccine allows horses to be managed on the range. Thirty years of research demonstrates the effectiveness of PZP, and PZP is noted by the National Academy of Sciences as the most effective way to manage wild horse populations. At $30 a dose, PZP is also the most cost-effective solution compared to the $50,000 it costs to remove and warehouse a horse. On a large herd of horses, a PZP program results in a cost savings of $35 million compared to BLM’s failed strategy of removing and holding horses.

Numerous federal lawmakers have urged the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to adopt language requiring BLM to use a percentage of its budget to implement humane, reversible fertility control; partner with NGOs to conduct fertility control programs; and ban surgical sterilization. Reps. Grijalva (D-AZ), Cohen (D-TN), Titus (D-NV), Haaland (D-N.M.),  Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Kaptur (D-OH), and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) have actively supported the efforts to protect wild horses and burros and manage them humanely.

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The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for protection and preservation of America’s wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.

Animal Wellness Action (AWA) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.