U.S. House of Reps approves funding bill with protections for wild horses and burros

Vote is welcomed by nation’s leading wild horse and burro conservation organization, the American Wild Horse Campaign

WASHINGTON (Nov. 3, 2023) — Today, the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) commends the U.S. House of Representatives for advancing bipartisan language in The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024 (H.R. 4821) and its accompanying report, which continues protections for wild horses and burros from slaughter, and includes other key reform directives for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

The legislation passed the House this morning on a 213-203 vote. It includes language directing as much as $11 million of the agency’s budget toward humane immunocontraceptive fertility control. The measure also continues to call for partnerships with military veterans and wild horse organizations, and evaluating other on-range management options, such as relocation, that would keep horses and burros out of BLM holding facilities.

The House bill further includes language urging the BLM to consider alternatives to the use of helicopters and manned fixed-wing aircraft. This marks the first time that the Congress has urged BLM to consider alternatives to helicopters.

This action is timely as the Bureau of Land Management is currently conducting helicopter roundups, which aim to capture 8,826 wild horses and burros and permanently remove 8,214 by the end of Fiscal Year 2024. Several large roundups are underway in Nevada, including in the Roberts Mountain Complex where 11 horses have been killed to date, including a stallion who suffered a horrific broken leg after escaping from a trap and seven horses who died after a government-contracted semi-truck flipped on its side.

“We applaud the House of Representatives for taking steps to implement meaningful improvements to the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program and for emphasizing the need for cost-effective and humane management solutions,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the AWHC. “The appropriate use of proven fertility control vaccines will help end the ongoing cycle of removing and confining horses in overcrowded holding facilities.”

Fertility control vaccine implementation was noted as a priority by the House. The BLM has historically spent less than 1 percent of its Wild Horse and Burro Program budget on fertility control. However, the agency has taken steps to expand field application of fertility control following last year’s appropriations language, which also called for dedicated funding for fertility control.

“We’re grateful for the leadership of Representatives Dina Titus, David Schweikert, Steve Cohen, Juan Ciscomani, and Mark Pocan for championing wild horse protection measures in this legislation,” concluded Roy.

About the American Wild Horse Campaign :

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation's leading wild horse conservation 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. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America's wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.