Wild Horses & Capitol Hill: Hurry Up and Wait

(February 8, 2018) Hurry up and wait is once again the message from Capitol Hill as AWHC works to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) continued push to slaughter wild horses.

There’s a likely new deadline looming for the federal budget in Washington as the short-term continuing resolution (CR), the funding agreement that ended the federal government shutdown, is itself ending today, Thursday, February 8th. Unlike the last budget showdown in January, this one is predicted to go somewhat more smoothly. The anticipated funding deal this time is another short-term CR and is only going to extend the budget for one month, allowing Republicans and Democrats in both chambers to negotiate a broader deal based on the budget deal negotiated by Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer. This means one more month of uncertainty and grave risk for wild horses and burros. As always, these budget deals have enormous implications for wild horses and burros on the Western range.

The Department of Interior's BLM wants Congress to use the budget to allow the slaughter of “excess” horses, while 80% of Americans don’t want them to have that authority. Like you, AWHC wants the BLM and its partners to manage the herds and their habitat properly, preserving them for future generations.

Our team in Washington is not presently hearing of an immediate threat to wild horses in the deal being negotiated this week—though we can never be certain until it actually passes. House Republicans have passed their version of the one-month CR with no provisions affecting horses. The bill will then go to the Senate for approval and possible amendment, and it’s not yet clear if any policy riders will be attached in the upper chamber. We are worried however about what might come out of the negotiations leading up to the next deadline in March. During this process special interest groups will be working with their friends in Congress to include carve-outs into any budget deal.

That list includes Big Agribusiness that wants to clear more federal land for subsidized livestock, which means slaughtering wild horses to make way. We're dedicated to fighting for wild horses and will be on Capitol Hill every day working with our allies like Senators Murkowski and Udall, and Representative McCollum to ensure no slaughter is allowed to take place.

In the end, we can only win and protect the future of wild horses and burros with your help. As the March deadline for Congress to approve a final budget deal for 2018 approaches, we may need your voice and your support to amplify our message to every Member of Congress: protect our wild horses and wild lands! Please join us and look for our action alerts to know about threats to our wild horses in time to help. Meanwhile, you can sign our petition to Congress.