Interior Dept Faces Lawsuit Over Adoption Program That’s Sending Wild Horses & Burros to Slaughter

American Wild Horse Campaign announces intent to sue if the Bureau of Land Management’s Adoption Incentive Program is not terminated immediately

WASHINGTON (June 10, 2021) — Today, the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), announced its intent to sue the U.S, Interior Department if it does not terminate the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) controversial Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) for wild horses and burros.  The Trump era program -- which pays individuals $1,000 to adopt untamed wild horses and burros -- was exposed recently by the New York Times as a pipeline to slaughter for truckloads of these federally-protected animals.

In a letter to its membership today, AWHC announced that its environmental law firm, Eubanks and Associates, had sent a legal petition on June 3 to the Interior Department alleging that the BLM violated multiple federal laws in the creation of the AIP.  The petition demands that the Interior Department terminate the AIP in its entirety or impose a moratorium on any further payments under the AIP while the agencies conduct an investigation and engage in a formal rulemaking process that comports with federal law.

The petition, which gave the Interior Department a deadline of June 30 to respond, comes on the heels of letters sent by U.S. Senator Feinstein and over 30 members of Congress urging it to immediately suspend the program and conduct an investigation into the slaughter claims. 

“We cannot sit idly by while the Biden Administration remains silent as untold numbers of federally-protected wild horses and burros are sent to slaughter through a program that is subsidized by our tax dollars,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the AWHC. “We are prepared to take the battle over the BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program to federal court if the Interior Department continues to delay action to protect these iconic animals and abide by the Congressional prohibition on wild horse and burro slaughter.” 

As a supplement to the petition, AWHC attached a report (available upon request) that provides new evidence of rampant abuse, neglect, and sale for slaughter of wild horses and burros as a result of the federal program. 

If the Interior Department does not respond by the deadline, AWHC will pursue litigation in order to bring BLM into compliance with its duty to protect wild horses and burros and prevent them from being sold to slaughter. 

About the American Wild Horse Campaign

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.