After the proposal to experiment on sterilizing wild mares at the Burns BLM Facility in Oregon, I wondered how the situation facing our wild horses could be come more dire. Now there is news about the Bureau of Land Management’s Budget Proposal for 2017. In this proposal, there is a clause that would remove the protection for wild horses and burros from being sent to slaughter.
Here is Section 110 of the President’s Interior Budget Request:
TRANSFER OF EXCESS ANIMALS
SEC. 110. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals: Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
You can look at the whole document here:
This extremely disturbing proposed change to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act puts thousands of our wild horses held captive in Short and Long Term Holding by the BLM at risk of getting sent to slaughter. The BLM may say that this is to expedite the transfer of horses to other agencies that might have jobs for the horses, but in actual fact, stripping the protection of the Act from the horses makes them a target for slaughter, with no over site, and no responsibility taken by the BLM. Remember the 1794 wild horses sold under the sale Authority Act, without limitation, to Tom Davis that ended up at slaughter?
Given that state and local authorities in many states have repeatedly called for the slaughter of wild horses in holding facilities, it is easy to see that once transferred to the states and other agencies, they will in fact be sold for slaughter. This becomes a convenient way for the BLM to get rid of some of its “wild horse problem” – those pesky “excess horses” whose care absorbs so much of the BLM’s budget.
But the American people do not want the slaughter of our wild horses – the vast majority would like to see wild horses remain wild and free on our public lands, and managed on the range, not rounded up with helicopters, warehoused in holding facilities, and secretly shipped off to slaughter.
Another section of this budget includes the BLM’s “Budget in Brief” which indicates a priority for the BLM in the coming year will be to continue to carry out dangerous and cruel experimental sterilization methods on our wild horses.
“The BLM will also continue expanding the use of contraceptives and the application of spay and neuter to begin to reduce program costs and help address the unsustainable proliferation of wild horses and burros on public lands.”
You can read the whole document here:
The American public would like to see wild horses and burros managed humanely, not experimented upon and sterilized.
As far as “unsustainable proliferation of wild horses” – the simple facts are that wild horses are in only 12 percent of our public lands, and there are currently more wild horses that are captive in holding facilities than on the range. Their numbers are completely dwarfed by the vast amounts of livestock that graze on these same public lands.
The news is not good, but at least now we have the ulterior motives of the BLM laid out in the budget: Opening the door to slaughtering wild horses and burros, sterilizing herds of wild horses and burros without regard to their sustainability, welfare, and continued presence on our public lands.