Change in Federal Budget May Lead to Mass Killing of Wild Horses

Mustangs in pen
Mustangs in pen Jennifer Kunz

On Wednesday, July 12 at 3 p.m., the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies is set to mark up the FY2018 Interior Appropriations Bill.

Wild horses in BLM pen

Wild horses in BLM pen

The Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Markup of Appropriations bill may include language allowing for slaughter and mass killing of federally-protected wild horses.
© 2017 by Peter Schmalzer

This bill may include proposed language from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that would overturn the current ban on destroying healthy wild horses and burros and selling them for slaughter for human consumption in foreign countries where horsemeat is allowed.

Live Webcast Available on Appropriations Committee Website (

The slaughter proposed in the Interior Department's 2018 budget request would undo nearly 50 years of protection for the country's wild horse herds. Under the administration's proposed budget, unrestricted sales of wild horses for slaughter and lethal “culling” of herds on the range would be allowed.

The Department of Interior estimates that allowing slaughter language would save no more than $10 million annually, with only $4 million coming from unrestricted sales.

Surveys have repeatedly shown that this policy change is wildly unpopular with Americans of all political persuasions. It remains unclear whether Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-CA), will grant the Interior Department’s request to strip the slaughter ban language from the 2018 Interior Appropriations bill.

About the American Wild Horse Campaign

The American Wild Horse Campaign(AWHC) 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.

About the Author

Flossie Sellers

As an animal lover since childhood, Flossie was delighted when Mark, the CEO and developer of EquiMed asked her to join his team of contributors.

She enrolled in My Horse University at Michigan State and completed a number of courses in everything related to horse health, nutrition, diseases and conditions, medications, hoof and dental care, barn safety, and first aid.

Staying  up-to-date on the latest developments in horse care and equine health is now a habit, and she enjoys sharing a wealth of information with horse owners everywhere..