Congress Spares America’s Horses from Slaughter in 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill

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(Washington, D.C) March 21, 2018 ... The American Wild Horse Campaign this evening commended the U.S. Congress for maintaining protections from slaughter for America’s horses in the final Omnibus spending bill for 2018. Specifically, the Omnibus just released by the House of Representatives continues prohibitions on destruction and sale for slaughter of healthy wild horses and burros, and maintains the ban on federal funding for USDA horse slaughter inspections, without which horse slaughter plants cannot operate in the U.S.

“The power of the people has prevailed,” Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of AWHC.  “We’re pleased that Congress has chosen to stand with the 80 percent of Americans who want America’s horses to be protected, not brutally slaughtered. We especially want to thank Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Tom Udall for including wild horse protections in the Senate bill and insisting that they be contained in the final bill.”

In March 2017, the Interior Department released its 2018 budget request to Congress. The budget request asked Congress to lift long-standing prohibitions on the destruction of healthy wild horses and burros and the sale of these animals for slaughter. The Senate rejected the budget request, while the House-passed Interior Appropriations bill included the “Stewart Amendment,” offered by Utah Congressman Chris Stewart,  which removed the ban on destroying healthy horses and burros.

Had the House version prevailed in the Omnibus, the 44,000 wild horses in holding facilities and the 45,000 wrongly considered to be “excess” on the range could have been killed.

Polls show that Americans strongly oppose horse slaughter. A 2017 survey showed 80 percent of Americans – including 86 percent of Trump voters and 77 percent of Clinton voters – oppose the killing and slaughter of wild horses and burros. And 86% of respondents to a poll taken earlier this month of residents of Nevada – the state in which over half of the nation’s wild horses reside –agree that “Mustangs are a defining symbol of our state [Nevada] and the American West, and they should be protected and humanely managed, not slaughtered.”

“America’s mustangs are icons of the West and the American people want to keep our wild horses wild on the Western range,” Roy concluded. “We call on the Trump Administration to work with the non-profit sector to implement humane, scientific  and publicly acceptable management solutions to protect these cherished animals on our Western public lands for future generations to enjoy.”

The Interior Department’s 2019 budget request to Congress again calls for the lifting of bans on killing and slaughter of mustangs and burros, so the fight to save these cherished animals will continue in Congress this year.

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.

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