President’s FY 2020 Budget Asks Congress to Lift Long-Standing Ban on Slaughter and Killing Healthy Horses
Washington, DC (April 2, 2019) . . . The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) today harshly criticized the Trump Administration for again ignoring the will of 80% of Americans by pressing for permission from Congress to kill tens of thousands of federally-protected wild horses.
The renewed push came in the administration's Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget justification, which again asks Congress to lift its long-standing prohibition the destruction of healthy wild horses and burros and the sale of these federally-protected animals for slaughter.
“The Trump Administration continues to defy the will of the American people by proposing the slaughter of our iconic wild horses and burros,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “The Administration’s decision to prioritize the mass killing of mustangs over humane management alternatives recommended by the National Academy of Sciences is, irresponsible, morally bankrupt, and politically unacceptable.”
The President’s budget justification reads, "that appropriations language restricting BLM from using all of the management options authorized in the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 be eliminated so that the full suite of tools originally authorized by Congress will be available to manage growing wild horse and burro herds."
While seemingly innocuous, this references language that Congress annually adds to appropriations legislation to prohibit BLM, the agency responsible for managing the vast majority of free-roaming wild horses and burros in the West, from killing healthy mustangs and burros and selling them for slaughter.
Fortunately, Congress has rejected the Administration’s previous requests to lift the wild horse slaughter ban and seems poised to do so again. In fact, both U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), who represents the state where more than half of the nation’s wild horses reside, and Rep. Raul Grijalva, chair the House Natural Resources Committee both requested FY 20 appropriations language to expand the slaughter ban to the Forest Service and to require the BLM to utilize fertility control as an alternative to the roundup and removal of wild horses from the range. (See info on Rep Titus’ letter here and Rep. Grijalva’s letter here.)
Congress resistance to authorizing mass wild horse slaughter can be attributed to massive public opposition. Polls show that 80 percent of Americans – including 86 percent of Trump voters -- oppose the slaughter and mass killing of wild horses and burros. Previous polls showed similar public support, with 3 in 4 Americans wanting wild horses protected on our public lands and 80% of Americans oppose the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.
Proven scientific solutions exist and AWHC stands ready to work with government officials and other interested parties in good faith to reform the wild horse and burro program and to protect these symbols of the American West for generations to come.
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 organization