Senate Maintains Protections Against Killing Wild Horses

Washington, DC (November 20, 2017The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee released its Fiscal Year 2018 Interior spending bill today, and the nation’s leading wild horse advocacy organization is commending the Senate for maintaining protections for the nation’s wild horses and burros against killing and slaughter.

The Senate’s Interior bill is a repudiation of the Interior Department’s budget request, which asks Congress to lift current prohibitions on destruction of healthy wild horses and burros and sale of these federally-protected animals for slaughter. The chairman's "explanatory statement" for the bill directs the BLM to address wild horse management with "humane and politically viable options." 

“The Senate has heard the voice of the Americans loud and clear and rejected the killing of our nation’s iconic wild horses and burros,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “America’s mustangs are part of the history and culture of the West. Clearly, the Senate realizes that killing America's mustangs or selling them for slaughter is is not acceptable to the American public. The only humane and politically viable path forward is to use birth control to manage wild populations on the range, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences."

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives issued what AWHC called a “death warrant” when it passed the “Stewart Amendment” to 2018 spending legislation that would allow for the destruction of wild horses and burros the BLM considers to be surplus. The fate of America’s wild horses and burros will now be decided in negotiations between the House and the Senate to reconcile the two versions of the spending legislation. 

AWHC is calling on Senate and House negotiators to reject the Stewart Amendment, which would lead to the killing of over 90,000 wild horses on the range and in holding facilities. A  2017 national poll indicates that 80 percent of Americans – including 86 percent of Trump voters and 77 percent of Clinton voters – oppose the plan to kill America’s mustangs.

Wild horses and burros are protected on BLM land in ten Western States where they are greatly outnumbered by private-owned livestock. The special interest livestock lobby views wild horses as competition for cheap taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands. (Public lands ranchers pay $1.87 per animal per month to graze livestock on public lands while the going rate for private land grazing in the West is $22.60.)

Small but powerful special interests profiting from massive taxpayer agricultural subsidies are behind the push to kill and slaughter wild horses and burros on public lands, even though 80 percent of BLM land grazed by livestock has no wild horses present on it.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is dedicated to preserving American wild horses and burros 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.