American Wild Horse Campaign Blasts Secretive Wild Horse and Burro Summit to be Held Next Week in Salt Lake City

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Organizers of 'Slaughter Summit' Shut Out Public; Suppress Scientific Alternatives to Killing Off America's Iconic Wild Horses

SALT LAKE CITY (August 21, 2017) – The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) today blasted advocates of slaughtering America’s wild horses and burros for their decision to convene a “summit” in Salt Lake City on how best to manage America’s wild horse population. The taxpayer-funded event will be attended by public officials but wild horse advocates and the public are barred from attending and the press will be afforded only limited access to the proceedings.

This event appears to have been formed for the sole purpose of building a case to lift longstanding federal laws that protect wild horses, currently under debate in Congress. Scientists and others with experience in successfully implementing alternatives to slaughter will not be allowed to attend the invitation-only event. Indeed, not a single representative advocating for the protection of America’s cherished mustangs will be allowed to provide any point of view that is rooted in science, research, or humanity. The secrecy shrouding this event is disconcerting; even its agenda is shrouded by a password-protected website (https://nationalhorseandburrosummit.org/).

“It is absolutely shameful that the organizers of this event are holding it behind closed doors, shutting the public at large and the wild horse protection community out of the process,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “Excluding the public from an event that will be attended by local, state, and federal officials, is a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of Utah’s open meetings laws.

“Slaughter summit organizers know that 80% of Americans oppose killing off our nation’s wild herds, that’s why they’re deliberately excluding the public from this week’s event,” continued Roy. “There can be no solutions to the wild horse controversy without bringing all stakeholders to the table. The largest stakeholder -- the American public – is being left out in the cold. But the public lands and the wild horses who inhabit them belong to all Americans and all Americans must have a say in their management.”

Officials from the U.S. Congress, Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, State of Utah, and several Utah counties are expected to attend. Most attendees have ties to the public lands ranching industry, which views wild horses as competition for cheap, taxpayer subsidized grazing on federal lands.

Conference organizers are expected to scapegoat wild horses for widespread rangeland damage caused by far larger numbers of privately-owned livestock grazing on public lands.  Nationally, wild horses are present on just 17% of BLM land grazed by livestock (155 million acres grazed by livestock; wild horses live on just 27 million acres.)  In Utah, livestock graze on 22 million acres of BLM land while wild horses live on just 2.1 million acres.

To learn more about this issue and to see answers to questions that won’t be asked at the summit, please access the American Wild Horse Campaign’s media kit at http://wildhor.se/2whQYHo

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The American Wild Horse Campaign (formerly known as the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign) is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.