“The provision in the latest omnibus bill was requested last year as part of President Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget proposal (Greenwire, Feb. 10, 2016).”
The omnibus spending package the Senate approved today contains a provision that would make it easier for the Bureau of Land Management to adopt out or transfer wild horses and burros, reducing the growing number of animals under the agency’s care.
But the provision has angered animal rights advocates, who say it contains too many loopholes to protect thousands of wild horses and burros from being slaughtered.
At issue is a section in the omnibus package to fund the federal government through September — originally requested by the Obama administration last year — that would allow the Interior secretary to “transfer excess wild horses or burros” BLM has removed from federal rangelands “to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals.”
The provision would authorize the secretary to “make any such transfer immediately upon request” of a government agency, such as the U.S. Border Patrol. The provision includes language stating that the animals cannot be killed or sold or transferred to any entity that would slaughter them “for processing into commercial products.”
But it allows transferred horses and burros to be euthanized “upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age.”
It’s that language that has wild horse advocates outraged.
Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Colorado-based Cloud Foundation, said BLM “has a history of misinforming the public” about issues related to wild horses.
“Couple this with the vague ‘illness’ and ‘advanced age’ language” in the omnibus provision, “and the potential exists for the killing of thousands of horses,” said Kathrens, a member of the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board…(CONTINUED)