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.