Wild Horse and Burro Alert:
On Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee adopted the “Stewart Amendment” to the 2017 Interior Appropriations Bill. This language could very likely provide a convenient back door route for thousands of wild horses and burros currently in holding to go to slaughter. Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee held a mark up session on the Bill.
How can this happen? If wild horses and burros are allowed to be transferred to state and local agencies and the federal protections of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act are stripped away from them, they are at the mercy of states that are actively lobbing for their mass removal and slaughter such as Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Although the amendment includes a sentence intended to prohibit their “destruction for commercial processing,” this prohibition is completely unenforceable and does not outlaw killing the horses for non-commercial purposes.
The positive development at Wednesday’s hearing was that Representative Steve Israel from New York acknowledged our ongoing concerns about the language and his willingness to continue to work to fix the language to address these concerns. Representative Israel has been a champion of animal welfare during his time in the house and we’re certain he has the best interest of our wild horses and burros in mind.
We do not know what changes will be made to the bill before it goes to a vote but we will keep you posted.