Interior Dept. Again Asks Congress to Lift Long-Standing Wild Horse Slaughter Ban in FY 2019 Appropriations
Washington, DC (February 12, 2018) . . . The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) today harshly criticized the Trump Administration for ignoring the will of the public (including the vast majority of Trump voters) and scientific recommendations by continuing to push for the mass slaughter of America’s iconic wild horses and burros. The renewed push came in the form of Trump’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget request, which again asks Congress to lift long standing Appropriations riders that prohibit 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 America’s iconic wild horses and burros,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “The Administrations decision to prioritize slaughter over humane management alternatives recommended by the National Academy of Sciences is irresponsible, reckless and politically unacceptable.”
Congress has yet to act on the Administration’s FY 2018 budget request, which also requested a lifting of appropriations riders prohibiting slaughter and mass destruction of wild horses and burros. The House version of 2018 Interior Appropriations legislation would allow the BLM to destroy healthy wild horses and burros (but not sell them for slaughter), while the Senate version maintains protections for wild horses and burros from both killing and slaughter. The Congress is currently negotiating differences between the two bills as it attempts to finalize 2018 spending legislation by March 23, when the current Continuing Resolution that is funding the government expires.
“We commend the Senate for standing with the majority of Americans by rejecting the mass killing of America’s cherished wild horses and burros,” Roy continued. “We’ll continue to vigorously defend wild horses and burros against this Administration’s lethal budget request. America cant’ be great again if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.”
Polls show that 80 percent of Americans – including 86 percent of Trump voters and 77 percent of Clinton 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.
Every year, the BLM uses helicopters to roundup and remove thousands of federally-protected wild horses and burros from their homes on our public lands each year to make room for taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing. The agency has removed so many mustangs from public lands that it currently maintains 46,000 captured wild horses and burros in government holding facilities. It wrongly asserts that an additional 46,000 wild horses and burros are “excess” on the range. Both horses in holding and those considered to be “excess” on the range would be killed en masse, if Congress were to grant the BLM’s budget request.
Science firmly contradicts the BLM assertions that no humane management tools are available and that there are three times more wild horses than the land can sustain, AWHC says, referencing the 2013 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) review of the federal wild horse and burro program.
- While the agency claims that there are many times more wild horses and burros than the land can sustain, the NAS “could not identify a science-based rationale” for the agency population limits.
- Although the BLM says it has no alternative management tools, the NAS concluded “tools exist for BLM to address many challenges.”
The primary available tool recommended by the NAS is the PZP birth control vaccine, which has proven safe, effective and economical in humanely reducing reproductive rates on the range. Yet the agency has refused to use it in more than a token manner, opting instead for costly and cruel helicopter roundups.
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) (formerly known as the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign) 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.