Update:Â Â August 26, 2008Â The BLM has delayed until later this year or perhaps next a decision about whether to begin euthanizing wild horses.Â
After announcing euthanasia as a solution to increasing costs of caring for wild horses, the BLM was inundated with more than 11,000 emails, 2-1 in favor of letting the horses live.
The BLM holds about 30,000 wild horses in pens. Another 8,000 are awaiting adoption.Â About 33,000 remain free. Critics wonder why the BLM is holding any wild horses at all other than to placate ranchers who lease federal land for virtually nothing to graze cattle.Â The ranchers don’t want the horses living free on federal land they believe should be preserved for their cattle they raise for slaughter.
For more on the BLM’s proposal to euthanize healthy wild horses, read the AWI report below.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2, 2008) For the first time in the history of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the federal agency charged with protecting and managing wild horses in the United Statesofficials now claim that up to 30,000 horses currently in confinement may have to be euthanized to balance the agencys budget.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) vehemently opposes any proposal that would sanction the mass killing of our nations wild horses. To set the record straight, euthanasia is mercy killing. Thats certainly not whats being proposed here by any stretch of the imagination, said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. Its killing pure and simple to balance the books for an agency whose reckless management has caused immeasurable harm to a national treasure at considerable cost to the American taxpayer.
In the last few years, the BLMs national wild horse and burro program has changed leadership and directionand tragically, wild horses have paid the price. To placate the demands of livestock interests and despite protests from wild horse advocates, the agency began rounding up animals from the wild at an unprecedented rate, leaving many herds with so few animals that their long-term health and viability are now in serious jeopardy.
Adoption demand could not keep pace with such drastic removals, requiring the BLM to contract for more and more private long-term holding facilities. Today, this misguided policy has shockingly resulted in more animals being held in confinement than run free in the wild. Now, BLM officials are seeking a magic bullet for the problem that they have irresponsibly created adding a whole new subtext to the expression They Shoot Horses, Dont They?
The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed unanimously by Congress to stop the mass slaughter and commercial exploitation of these magnificent animals. Americans were outraged to learn what was happening then, and they will be even more irate to learn what the BLM is proposing today, Heyde said. Public support for the original Act is considered one of the largest grassroots campaigns on animal welfare issues in US history. It is time to reignite this passion if we are to save these magnificent animals from extinction on the range and in the wild.
The proposal to resume killing the publics wild horses will be discussed at the next National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting scheduled for September 2008. AWI encourages the public and the US Congress to act swiftly to protect our horses, whose lives are at risk at the hands of the very agency tasked with the responsibility to care for them.
[Don’t let slaughter be an option for BLM in managing the wild horse population. Click here for information on how you can help pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act in Congress and here for information about how you can help pass the bill to restore the protectionsÂ of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.]Â Â
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Deputy Director, Government and Legal Affairs
Animal Welfare Institute
PO Box 3650
Washington, DC 20027
Tel: (703)836-4300 ~ Fax: (888) 260-2271