Call Now to Stop BLM Plan to Sell Wild Horses for Slaughter

Update May 24, 2018: The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has not yet taken up the BLM FY 2019 budget proposal but is expected to do so in June, 2018. Read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier reports below and continue to contact Committee members listed below and your own U.S. representative and tell them you are calling about the Fiscal Year 2019 BLM spending bill the Appropriations Committee is about to mark up. Tell them to please reject any language that would allow the destruction, sale to slaughter or sterilization of federally protected wild horses and burros and their herds.

Update:May 22, 2018 the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee will take up the BLM FY 2019 budget proposal. The BLM in an April 26, 2018 report has recommended amendments to the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec 1331, et seq., that would allow BLM to sell most wild horses and burros removed from the range for slaughter. Most of the wild horses and burros that are not sold would be “euthanized” under BLM’s plan. The report also calls on Congress to allow BLM to manage wild horses and burros on the range as non-reproducing herds through surgical or chemical sterilization. Which means BLM will manage wild horses and burros to extinction.

The BLM claims AML or the appropriate management level of wild horses and burros nationally is 26,715. That is the number of wild horses and burros that existed in 1971 when the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed because they were fast disappearing from the West!

In Defense of Animals has issued its analysis of the BLM report: “Since 1971, when Congress passed that Act to protect horses and their rangelands, the BLM has removed a shocking 42 percent of the public lands designated for wild horse and burro habitat. At the same time the agency has squandered taxpayer funds on an insane program of chasing down terrified wild horses with helicopters and penning them indefinitely in cruel holding facilities.

“The result is depleted horse herds at levels that are genetically unsustainable. Without supporting evidence, the agency insists that wild horses are rampantly overpopulating, starving, and destroying range ecology, while designating more public lands to ranchers.”

The National Academy of Sciences has challenged BLM’s claims about the AML or number of wild horses and burros that can be supported on the range as “not transparent to stakeholders, supported by scientific information, or amenable to adaptation with new information and environmental and social change.” BLM will not even consider the birth control programs suggested by the Academy let alone its accounting of America’s wild horses and burros.


Find your U.S. representative here. Find key Appropriations Committee members listed below. Call NOW and tell them you are calling about the Fiscal Year 2019 BLM spending bill the Appropriations Committee is about to mark up. Tell them to please reject any language that would allow the destruction, sale to slaughter or sterilization of federally protected wild horses and burros and their herds.


• Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, Chairman- -202-225-5034    fax 202-225-3186 
• Harold Rogers, Kentucky-202-225-4601    fax 202-225-0940 
• Kay Granger, Texas- 202-225-5071   fax 202- 202-225-5683
• Michael K. Simpson, Idaho-202-225-5531   fax 202-225-8216
• John Abney Culberson Texas- 202-225-2571  fax 202-225-4381 
• John R. Carter, Texas- 202-225-3864  fax 202- 225-5886
• Ken Calvert, California- 202-225-1986  fax 202-225-2004 
• Tom Cole, Oklahoma- 202-225-6165   fax 202-225-3512 
• Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington- 202-225-3536  fax 202-225-3475 
• David G. Valadao, California- 202-225-4695  fax 202-225-3196
• Mark E. Amodei, Nevada- 202-225-6155  fax 202-225-5679
• Chris Stewart, Utah- 202-225-9730  fax 202-225-5629
• David Young, Iowa- 202-225-5476   fax 202-225-3301
• Dan Newhouse, Washington- 202-225-5816  fax 202-225-3251
• Nita M. Lowey, New York- 202-225-6506  fax 202-225-0546
• Marcy Kaptur, Ohio- 202-225-4146  fax 202-225-7711
• José E. Serrano, New York- 202-225-4361   fax 202-225-6001
• David E. Price, North Carolina- 202-225-1784  fax 202-225-2014
• Lucille Roybal-Allard, California- 202-225-1766  fax 202-226-0350
• Barbara Lee, California- 202-225-2661  fax 202-225-9817
• Betty McCollum, Minnesota- 202-225-6631  fax 202-225-1968
• Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida- 202-225-7931  fax 202-226-2052
• Henry Cuellar, Texas- 202-225-1640  fax 202-225-1641
• Derek Kilmer, Washington- 202-225-5916  fax 202-226-3575
• Grace Meng, New York- 202-225-2601  fax 202-225-1598
Pete Aguilar, California- 202-225-3201  fax 202-226-6962

Original report February 19, 2018: In the BLM FY 2019 budget proposal the Trump Administration states it plans to sell up to 90,000 wild horses and burros for slaughter in foreign countries.

The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1331, et seq. requires the Administration to protect America’s wild horses and burros that are on public lands. Instead, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has systematically over the years used helicopters to round them up, penning them cruelly in costly corrals and leaving herds at near extinct levels. Now BLM wants to sell off these mustangs for slaughter.

For more information read the Unified Statement of more than 80 organizations including Animal Law Coalition.

Moving Forward: A Unified Statement on the Humane, Sustainable, and Cost-Effective On-Range Management of America’s Wild Horses and Burros

The call for humane management was issued in the form of a Unified Statement — endorsed by 84 equine advocate, animal welfare, ecotourism, rescue, ranching and other citizen groups and experts. The Unified Statement was authored by The Cloud Foundation, In Defense of Animals, and the American Wild Horse Campaign. It was released a day after the Trump Administration issued its Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which again calls on Congress to lift the ban on killing and slaughtering mustangs.

“We speak for the vast majority of Americans who want solutions, not mass killing of our country’s wild horses and burros,” said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “The fate of these beautiful animals is deeply connected to the protection of our nation’s public lands legacy and the living history of the American West.”

“Americans want our wild horses and burros protected, not brutally killed and slaughtered,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “This document demonstrates that a humane and scientific path forward for wild horse management not only exists, but also is broadly supported within the wild horse advocacy community.”

The “Unified Statement on the Humane, Sustainable, and Cost-Effective On-Range Management of America’s Wild Horses and Burros” which you can read at the link above, answers recent attacks on American’s heritage animals with facts and humane solutions.

Last year, Congress instructed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop a plan to “achieve long-term sustainable populations on the range in a humane manner” and to review “proposals from non-governmental organizations.” Instead, the BLM’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget sought legislative authority to reduce costs by exterminating tens of thousands of wild horses and burros. The Trump Administration’s FY 2019 budget request doubles down on this request.

The House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to the FY 2018 Interior Appropriations bill introduced by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) that would allow the BLM to destroy healthy wild horses and burros, putting up to 90,000 of wild horses and burros on the range and in holding facilities in danger of being killed. In direct contrast, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s budget language prohibits using funds to destroy or sell them to slaughter.

The House and Senate are aiming to reach agreement on final spending bills for FY 2018 by March 23, when the current Continuing Resolution that is funding the government expires.

Meanwhile, the 2019 budget process begins and appropriators will again deal with the Trump Administration’s request for permission to slaughter America’s mustangs and burros.

The Unified Statement: 1) urges Congress to maintain long-standing federal protections for wild horses and burros and 2) sets forth principles and recommendations for the management of wild horses and burros intended to guide Congress toward a long-term plan that is safe and humane for wild herds as well as sustainable and cost-effective for taxpayers.

Its recommendations include developing a ten-year fertility control plan to reduce and stabilize wild horse populations as needed; returning wild equines from expensive short-term holding facilities to public lands; prohibiting sterilization of wild horses and burros; adjusting population targets to ensure genetically viable numbers; establishing equitable forage allocations; compensating ranchers for reduced use or non-use of grazing permits in wild horse habitat areas, and opening doors to more successful public-private partnerships for wild horse and range stewardship.

The Unified Statement is being presented to key Senate and House appropriators and other members of Congress.

Navajo Nation Now Opposes Horse Slaughter

ThoroughbredBlack Mesa, AZ (September 16, 2013) – The Nohooká Dine’, Elders and Medicine People of the Dine’, unanimously approved a Resolution opposing any and all action that leads to the slaughter of horses. The Horse is sacred to the Dine’ and is a central part of our culture and tradition. The Resolution, approved on August 26th, states in part that “The Great Horse Nation is a part of the Great Covenant, as a supernatural being, it possesses incredible power, it is inextricably tied to our spiritual way of life and our cultural traditions, when our children are born our families look to the horse spirit to see what they have delivered to us, if we fail to honor the place of the horse in our spiritual way of life and in our cultural traditions, then we jeopardize the very cycle that renews the life of our people. The Horse must be given respect and honored for their sacred place within the Creation, as they possess the same fundamental right to Life as we, Five Finger Ones, do.”

This past week, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation administration affirmed this position. During an interview on the radio program Native American Calling, Communication Director, Erny Zah stated that: “Slaughtering is not a solution…As the Navajo Nation we are against slaughtering of these horses”(airdate -Thursday, September 12, 2013.)

“This statement from the Navajo Nation administration is more aligned with who we are as Dine’ people” stated Leland Grass of the Dine’ for Wild Horses. “We urge the Navajo Nation to formally adopt a moratorium on horse slaughtering and to only legally contract with horse buyers that agree not to sell horses for slaughter or not to slaughter the horses themselves.” The people of the Navajo Nation were encouraged by Zah’s statement. There has been great concern over past comments that have been made by Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly. He once voiced concern that the horses were causing environmental damage. These claims appear to have been based on misinformation. We are encouraged to see a shift toward conscious resource management. The amount of money that is currently being spent to round up the wild horses for slaughter is capable of feeding and watering those animals for years. Grass believes that the Navajo Nation “could use these animals to teach our children, we can care for them, we can sell them to people and organizations that don’t want to torture them.”

The Nohooká Dine resolution urges the Navajo Nation to be mindful of the foundations of their cultural and spiritual way of life. It concludes by stating: “The Nohooká Dine’ strongly urges Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly, The Navajo Nation Council, The Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, US Department of Interior and US Department of Agriculture to stop the desecration and destruction of the Dine’ Way of Life and Spiritual Foundation by recklessly promoting and supporting the round-up and mass execution of our spiritual relative the Horse.”

“We are sending the Resolution to all legislators in Washington, DC to show our support for the Horse and to urge them to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, currently pending before Congress,” said Grass. “While it is important for protecting the Horse within the Navajo Nation, a national bill is critical to ensure there is no incentive for horses to be taken from our lands or elsewhere in the United States for slaughter.”

Evidence shows GAO Horse Welfare report fraudulent

horses touching facesThe Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and the Animal Law Coalition (ALC) announced today that they have irrefutable evidence showing that the Government Accountability Office fraudulently misrepresented horse abuse and neglect data in their report GAO 11-228.

The GAO report blamed falling horse prices and increased abuse and neglect on the closing of the domestic slaughter plants in 2007. Shortly after GAO issued the report, a conference committee reinstated funding for horse slaughter inspections, opening the way for slaughter to return to the US. Widely quoted in the media, the report is also provided as evidence in the lawsuit filed by Valley Meats against the USDA.

The EWA and ALC have provided both a video and a white paper showing how the fraud was committed. The ten minute video, How the GAO deceived Congress about horse slaughter was released on YouTube, and shows step by step how the GAO hid information in its possession showing abuse and neglect was in decline and misrepresented the data as showing it was increasing.

The fraud was discovered by the EWA while collecting data for equine abuse and neglect rates across the country. “We were looking for the correlation between various factors such as unemployment, slaughter and hay prices on a state by state basis,” explained EWA’s John Holland, “and when we looked at the Colorado data, we were reminded of its mention in the GAO report.”

The GAO claimed in the report to have contacted state veterinarians across the country and to have been told that abuse and neglect was increasing everywhere in the wake of the closing of the US plants in 2007. These were the same officials EWA contacted looking for states that kept records.

The EWA found data from six states; Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Georgia and Colorado. The records showed that abuse and neglect had been in decline between 2008 and 2010 (the last year of the GAO study), and that the GAO had used the wrong dates on the Colorado data to make it appear abuse had increased 60%.

“We had accepted that abuse was probably increasing as the result of the bad economy,” says Holland, “so imagine our surprise when we found it had been decreasing.” The EWA study finally showed the reason: drought. Drought and the subsequent increases in hay prices correlated tightly with the abuse and neglect numbers, and outweighed the influence of the recession and other factors.

“Not only did the GAO misrepresent the data, they completely missed the importance of hay prices and availability.” said Holland. The EWA filed a FOIA request for the data used by the GAO and the request was denied. The EWA also filed an IG complaint, and finally had a conference call with the GAO to request the report be withdrawn. The GAO refused any response except to say that their reports were flawlessly cross checked.

Victoria McCullough, owner of Chesapeake Petroleum and internationally known equestrian, said “Acceptance of lower standards results in failed policies and most significantly failures of public interest. Special Interest encroachment within Washington must not be allowed to erode public trust.”

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Watch the video: How the GAO deceived Congress about horse slaughter


Call on your U.S. representative and senators to pass the SAFE Act to ban slaughter of American horses for human consumption and, in the meantime, support defunding of ante-mortem equine inspections that will at least stop slaughter of horses in the U.S. for human consumption.

Don’t stop there! Pres. Obama supports defunding of equine inspections, and the president can also end horse slaughter for human consumption now. Call the White House:
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Urge the president to stop horse slaughter for human consumption now!