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.

Bill would authorize local control of wild horses and burros

wild horsesU.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) along with Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Tom McClintock (R-CA) have introduced what they call the “Wild Horse Oversight Act”, H.R. 5058. The bill would amend the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Section 1331 et seq. (WFRHBA) to require the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service to turn over to a state or federally recognized Native American tribe on demand the responsibility for managing and protecting wild horses and burros on federal public land that is within the state or tribe borders. The state or tribe is required to abide by the WFRHBA.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has strongly denounced the proposed bill. And it is no wonder. Federal oversight has meant the cruel roundup and placement in holding facilities of thousands of America’s iconic wild horses and burros. Fewer and fewer are left on the range. But in some states or tribes, local oversight will mean slaughter for thousands of wild horses and burros. Currently, BLM has a stated policy against slaughter of wild horses and burros. But the states and tribes would be free under the WFRHBA to sell for slaughter wild horses and burros deemed to be excess if they are more than 10 years old or have been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at least 3 times. In fact, the WFRHBA requires the sale of such wild horses and burros to the highest bidder “without limitation”. 16 U.S.C. Section 1333(e).

In some states and tribes, this proposed law would give special interests such as cattle ranchers, the oil and gas industry, mining and other developers unprecedented access to management of wild horses and burros on federal public lands. This bill would only expedite their goal of removing these animals from federal public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service, as the case may be, would remain responsible for maintaining an inventory of wild horses and burros on public lands. But under this bill it would apparently be up to the state or tribe to determine whether there are “excess” wild horses and burros that are required to be removed to achieve appropriate management levels. Under the WFRHBA the excess wild horses and burros are to be removed to “restore a thriving ecological balance” and protect the range from damage from overpopulation. 16 U.S.C. Section 1333(b). In other words, the state or tribe would have virtually unfettered discretion to round up and remove wild horses and burros. Virtually all of them could end up in a foreign slaughterhouse.


The bill, H.R. 5058, has been referred to the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources. If your U.S. representative is on the Committee, be sure to write (letters or faxes are best) or call and urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 5058 and stop any plan for the senseless slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros. Even if your representative is not on the committee, write or call and urge him or her to contact committee members and urge them to vote no to this legislation.

Salazar Continues Pro-Slaughter Appointments to Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board

BLM on road to slaughtering wild horses in holding?

COLO. SPRINGS, CO (Feb. 8, 2012) – There have been strong protests to the appointment of another pro-slaughter member to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. On February 5, 2012, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, named Callie Hendrickson of Grand Junction, Colorado as the newest member of the Board. Hendrickson will fill the General Public position, replacing Janet Jankura of Ohio who applied to serve another term but was denied.

"I am wondering what general public Ms. Hendrickson represents? Certainly not the vast majority of Americans who oppose the slaughter of wild or domestic horses," states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. "It’s troubling that in the past nine months the Secretary has chosen two members of the Board who appear to have little problem with lethal management of our wild horses."

Ms. Hendrickson is the Executive Director of the Colorado-based White River and Douglas Creek Conservation District, an organization which intervened on behalf of BLM in a lawsuit brought by the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), Habitat for Horses, and The Cloud Foundation (TCF), organizations committed to protecting the West Douglas wild horse herd on Colorado’s Western Slope. Hendrickson and her group support the removal of all the wild horses in this small herd.

"BLM’s appointment of Ms. Hendrickson as a representative of the general public is severely misguided," states Valerie Stanley, attorney for wild horse advocate organizations. "Her organization is working to eliminate wild horses and Ms. Hendrickson, herself, has indicated that she supports horse slaughter. BLM’s appointment signals that it only wants advice from people who support the agency’s own agenda."

"The hypocrisy of the BLM Advisory Board continues with the appointment of Callie Hendrickson," states Hilary Wood, President/Founder of FRER. "This isn’t a case of the fox guarding the hen house. It’s the fox in the hen house about to cause more death and destruction."

Hendrickson joins James Stephenson of south-central Washington, a consultant for the Yakama Nation who, in June of 2011, was appointed by Secretary Salazar to represent Natural Resource Management on the Board. At the October Board Meeting, Stephenson spoke in favor of horse slaughter for the Yakama Indian Tribe and for wild horses removed from their homes on public range lands in the West by the BLM.  

"Is BLM paving the way for the massive destruction of wild horses in holding?" asks Susan Sutherland, economist and wild horse adopter. "It appears they are stacking the Advisory Board with people who may be quite willing to support the killing of healthy animals currently in holding areas. It’s clear they’ve been thinking of doing this for years."

Sutherland refers to the minutes of secret meetings held by BLM officials in 2008. Minutes of these meetings came to light in 2009 when Dr. Pat Haight, President of the Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to acquire the documents.

BLM officials talked of ways to avoid NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) compliance, clean water standards, and Congressional oversight. The need for psychological counseling for employees ordered to kill healthy wild horses was raised as well. When asked about these meetings, BLM denied any plan to destroy wild horses in holding.

"Instead of releasing wild horses back to their legal homes, BLM seems to be setting the stage for a lethal solution," states Craig Downer, lifelong wild horse advocate and author of the just released book, The Wild Horse Conspiracy. "The agency needs to stop the senseless and costly helicopter roundups of the last of the mustangs and come up with a sustainable plan that includes the return of horses in holding to areas emptied of all horses over the past 30 years."

The Cloud Foundation has long advocated for maintaining genetically viable populations of wild horses and burros on their legally designated home ranges in the West. Less than one-third of herds are large enough to sustain themselves into the future without suffering irreparable genetic degradation. The Foundation has suggested that many of the healthy wild horses in costly holding pens be returned to western ranges allocated for their use but zeroed out by BLM. Director Bob Abbey acknowledged the availability of 5-7 million BLM acres for wild horse release, but there appear to be no plans in the works to accomplish this cost-saving solution.  

"With the Board’s anti-wild horse members in place, it’s hard to imagine that this type of action will be recommended," states Kathrens. The nine-member National Advisory Board is charged with making recommendations to BLM concerning their management of Wild Horses and Burros on publicly-owned lands.