Omnibus Spending Bill Creates Danger for Wild Horses
The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
Congress just passed an Omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the next five months – until the end of Fiscal Year 2017. The good news: Congress maintained the de facto ban on domestic horse slaughter and the prohibition against the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) sale for slaughter or killing of captured wild horses and burros. More troubling, though, is a provision in Section 116 that allows the BLM to strip wild horses and burros of federal protection and transfer them to state, federal and local agencies for use as “work animals.”
We thank the Appropriations Committee leadership for including a prohibition on slaughter and euthanasia of healthy horses in this language. However, we remain gravely concerned that this new law is open for abuse and could become a vehicle for delivering captured wild horses and burros into the hands of state and local agencies that actively lobby for their destruction. Also troubling is report language accompanying the Omnibus that calls for “accelerated” roundups to reduce wild horse and burro populations to the BLM’s “Appropriate” Management Levels. If taken literally, this could mean the removal of as many as 50,000 more wild horses and burros from the range.
Over the last week, AWHC members made tens of thousands of calls and sent 55,000 messages to appropriators expressing concern about threats to wild horses and burros in the Omnibus. This strong show of public support and concern will make it more difficult for opponents of wild horses to exploit loopholes in the new law, and serves as a safeguard against more dangerous threats that may be in store. So far, Congress is holding firm against mass killing and slaughter, but that support is fragile as pressure builds not only for mass roundups but also to upend the federal law that protects these national icons on our Western public lands. Now is the time to make your voice heard.