Interior Department Seeks to Slaughter America’s Iconic Wild Horses

Newsdate: Wed 24 May 2017, 8:00 am
Location: WASHINGTON, DC

The nation’s leading wild horse protection organization is calling on President Donald J. Trump to intervene to save America’s historic and beloved mustangs in the face of his Interior Department’s budget, released today, which seeks Congressional authorization to use “management tools,” including the mass killing and slaughter of these federally-protected national icons.

Wild horses in BLM holding pen

Wild horses in BLM holding pen

Budget request places nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros in immediate danger of brutal slaughter and sets the stage for near extinction of mustangs from the West.
© 2017 by American Heritage Mustang Foundation New window.

“The Bureau of Land Management is asking Congress to give the green light for the brutal slaughter of more than 46,000 captured mustangs and burros and to set the stage for the virtual extinction of these national icons from the West,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Campaign.  

“This lethal budget is wildly out of step with the wishes of the American people, and the American public will not stand for this travesty.”

Polls show that 3 in 4 Americans want wild horses protected on our public lands and 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter.

“President Trump promised to return government to the people, and we trust that he meant it,” Roy continued. “Now we call on him to respect the will of the people by intervening to save America’s mustangs. America can’t be great if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.”

Every year, the BLM uses helicopters to roundup and remove thousands of federally-protected wild horses and burros from their homes on our public lands each year to make room for taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing.

The agency has removed so many mustangs from public lands that it currently maintains 46,000 captured wild horses and burros in government holding facilities.

“The BLM’s budget request to Congress places the lives of 46,000 federally-protected wild horses and burros in jeopardy,” Roy concluded.

“These innocent animals should not pay the ultimate price for gross federal mismanagement and trampling of science and the will of the American people to protect these national legacy animals.”

Science firmly contradicts the BLM assertions that no humane management tools are available and that there are three times more wild horses than the land can sustain.

In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences studied the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program and concluded that “tools exist for BLM to address many challenges.” It also “could not identify a science-based rationale” for the BLM’s wild horse and burro population limits, misleadingly referred to “Appropriate” Management Levels – the basis for the agency’s overpopulation claims.

The primary available tool recommended by the NAS is the PZP birth control vaccine, which has proven safe, effective and economical in humanely reducing reproductive rates on the range.

Yet the agency has refused to use it in more than a token manner, opting instead for costly and cruel helicopter roundups.

At the same time, the agency continues to claim – without scientific foundation – that there are three times more wild horses and burros on the range than the land can sustain.

This assertion was called into question in 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences, which “could not identify a science-based” rationale for the BLM’s imposed  wild horse and burro population limits, which the agency misleadingly refers to as “Appropriate” Management Levels.

AWHC will continue to press the Administration and Congress to protect and humanely manage America’s wild horse and burro populations and will vigorously oppose the proposed budget language.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) (formerly known as the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign) is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Its grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, humane and public interest organizations.

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