Today: The Horses and Burros Won a Battle, Tomorrow: The War Rages On

Many thanks to RTF and Neda DeMayo for this update!

“Senate Says NO to Horse Slaughter

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved, on a voice vote, an amendment barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat inspectors – keeping alive the effort to prevent legal horse slaughter from returning to our country.

That’s good news — but there’s still much to be done.

In the days ahead, the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up the interior appropriations bill, which includes the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Despite the same committee voting against horse slaughter today, recent votes in the House show that we cannot take it for granted that the committee will reject proposals to kill wild horses.

The situation in Washington, D.C., is much too precarious not to keep pushing.

Please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (if you reach a full voicemail, look for district office phone numbers on your senators’ webpages and call them) and tell your senators:

* I oppose any provision that allows the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses,

* and I oppose any attempt to remove sale restrictions, opening the door for BLM to sell wild horses to kill buyers.

Proven, humane solutions that would enable the BLM to manage wild horses on the range are available. We do not need to kill national icons.

Return to Freedom appreciates the bipartisan leadership of anti-slaughter amendment sponsor Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsors Sens. Lindsey Graham, Christopher Coons, Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, Jack Reed and Jeanne Shaheen.

Most of all, though, we at RTF and other advocacy groups are grateful for all of you who have called Congress – whether for the first time or the 50th – and encouraged friends and family to do the same. Thank you!

It is true that we are up against powerful interests intent on ridding the West of wild horses.

The opposition has been effective in sowing mistruths about wild horses starving across the range and casting doubt on fertility control vaccines recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and proven safe and effective at our own sanctuary and in many other projects and studies.

Not on our watch, we say.

What wild horses have on their side that can be even more powerful than our opponents’ deep pockets are the voices of the American people, who consistently and overwhelmingly reject slaughter and continue to stand by these living symbols of freedom.

So, keep going. Keep calling. Keep spreading the word.

The future of America’s herds depends on all of us.

17 comments on “Today: The Horses and Burros Won a Battle, Tomorrow: The War Rages On

  1. We can never let up until EVERY single EQUINE is safe! Wild or Domestic!! Pur country has been hijacked by so many other issues our poot horses and other equines have taken a back seat!! We must stop them from leaving the borders of the United.States!! Its also up to us to.close our states to the plants and the routes taking our horses and other equines to slaughter!; Its so disgusting and will fight slaughter until I leave this Earth or.all our equines are safe!

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  2. Please google horse meat and comment on every article opposing horse meat and horse slaughter type messages to America to remind them to keep calling against it please. Google horse slaughter and respond to every article you can, why? not all of the World is seeing this blog or my FB every day but everyday people are reading the headlines small or large papers and they keep up their search for the facts. Comment every day no matter how many other people are commenting don’t let up. This is WAR to protect our herds of Horses and we need to beat down that mutt term FERAL and encourage adoptions. I want to see the internet become a firestorm of truth FOR THE horses. Reach people that our own blogs and FBs are not reaching. More people can Call Congress when they know the facts. KEEP the facts about the face of abuse and horse slaughter out there so we can make sure Congress makes a positive decision to protect and preserve. Last, I am going to suggest an initiative to make sure BLM horses are available for adoption 365 days a year. The horses in holding have been trapped and yes abused by the BLM. Please consider talking to Congress about my idea we need to have Vetted agencies or charities or Advocates for Wild Horses in charge of the BLM adoption program to help assist and home horses that need to be cared for properly and the other released to the range. The 365 day a year initiative would allow them to be online all year long and available for viewing anytime daily during the week, potential adopters would be able to see and learn about horses if they post videos and encourage them to come back not just on a 3 strikes and your gone program but allow every horse to have full accessibility. They can be screened and trained and those that don’t do well can go to sanctuaries or other safe havens after a lot of screening of course. ITs high time the horses get the real chance they truly deserve. Please lets change the course of the outcome for the horses. Take a part of the past, give it a future, adopt a Wild Mustang or Burro Today. I wrote that slogan in 1987 who knew how important it could become today.

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  3. NOW maybe the TIME to Revise and SUE on the petition to List N.American herds as distinct wildlife population segments? Greg Sheehan, Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who stated ” we need to step up our efforts to quickly diagnose the problems, define recovery actions, and get those patients back out into society. Prior to Sheehan’ s appointment, the agency denied the petition to list OUR Heritage Native wild horse herds. Petition to List a North American Distinct … – The Wildlife Society wildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Petition-to-List-Horse.pdf
    See here where The Petition Submitted to USFWS filed on June 10, 2014, was denied. http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2015/07/us_rejects_plan_to_list_wild_h.html
    As to their special status BLM states “The issue of a wild horse as an invasive species is moot since the 1971 WHBA gave wild free-roaming horses “special” status based on their heritage of assisting man settle the “west” ( May 2003 Proposed Nevada Test and Training Range Resource Management Plan and Final EIS Comment 87, BLM Response, pg. 7
    COURT FINDINGS
    (Mountain States v. Hodel) The court found “ In structure and purpose, the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is nothing more than a land-use regulation enacted by Congress to ensure the survival of a particular species of wildlife noting that wild horses and burros are no less “wild” animals than are the grizzly bears that roam our national parks and forests
    AND, notably, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also recognized wild horses as native species, explaining that BLM “establishes Appropriate Management Levels (“AMLs”) for populations of native species – including wild horses, burros, and other wildlife – and introduced animals, such as livestock.” In Defense of Animals, et al. v. U.S. Dept. Interior, et al., No. 12-17804, *6 (9th Cir. May 12, 2014) (emphasis added)
    HABITAT SOLUTION The 1976 FLPMA provided for additional habitat as ACECs, which facilitates the need of special management attention. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_of_Critical_Environmental_Concern.
    AND the ICING ON THE CAKE is the response from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife ;Karen Miner Environmental Program Manager (Karen.Miner@wildlife.ca.gov) , re: fossil evidence 03-2016 stated “ When and if available scientific information convinces the experts that determine the checklist of native species to North America that Equus caballus should be considered as an indigenous species, they will make the change in the next revision to the list, and then we would take that fact into consideration for inclusion on our state animal lists.

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  4. I think this is a great article. It sums up the current situation with the vote in Washington and it reminds us of the work we still need to do. Thanks for keeping us informed and up-to-date.

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  5. Also – is there any record of who voted for or against this? I see it was a voice vote, so maybe not, but if not recorded that way, is there a video someplace to help sort out how the vote went, and how strongly the “no” was registered?

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  6. I think polite comments on BLM face book, twitter and @White House, and @Congress are very important as thousands of the public and medias read there. Please also ask on @BLM and BLM facebook what happened to the 6 GPS collared wild horses? where is the report on their movements published? Thank you.

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    • Sun, as I understood it the “study” was to run 5 years, and the information or location of those mares would not be made public during that time, and gawdonlyknows when any of it would ever be vetted and published.

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  7. We will continue the fight to preserve our precious wild horses and burros. We remain steadfast on changing the minds of Congress and we must be at the forefront on all aspects of these changes.
    Our wild ones deserve freedom. SAY NO TO THE SLAUGHTER OF OUR WILD HORSES AND BURROS. THEY ARE LIVING LEGENDS AND MUST BE PROTECTED. CALL ALL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. GET ON THE PHONE NOW. LET’S PLAN ON PROTECTION AND TELL OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS EXACTLY WHAT THEY MUST DO.
    THE FIGHT IS REAL. THE TIME IS NOW TO SAVE THEM. WE HAVE TO DO THIS FOR ALL OF THEM. SPEAK FOR THEM. CALL AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD NOW. I WILL KEEP CALLING. I WISH I COULD MARCH RIGHT INTO EVERY OFFICE AND TELL THEM THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS VOTE TO KEEP THEM FREE AND ALIVE.
    I have 3 horses but the most spectacular and special is my wild horse born in captivity. Mom was captured. SEQUOIA IS IN RENO NEVADA. She is a beauty and a blessing. I FIGHT FOR ALL OF THEM EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY AND NIGHT. THEY ARE WORTH IT.

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  8. Herd size has been a big issue since the National. Park Service began. attempting to cut the Shackleford Banks Wild Horses to non-viable numbers beginning in 1979-1980 following May 24, 1977, issuance of EO 11987 The Exotic Organisms Act. The BLM Wild Horse Notes published in 1999-2000 after 93 UN CBD [Article 8(h) To prevent, control, and eradicate alien species became US law due to EO 13112 on 2/3/99] The Invasive
    Species Act. On Sept 30, 2015, EO 13708, Continuance or reestablishment of Certain Federal Advisory Committees (including the National Advisory Committee on Invasive Species) amending 13112; On December 5, 2016, EO 13751 Safeguarding the Nation From the Impacts of Invasive Species, replacing EO 13112.

    In November 1996 Spanish Colonial Mustangs at Cape Lookout National Park were tested for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). The purpose for testing in domestic horses is to allow horses to travel from the home barn to equine events at other locations. Theoretically, if the horse was not leaving its own barn, it would not need to be tested. So NPS is so anxious to get rid of this herd this herd that lives on an island a mile from the shore that requires a boat to reach are tested outside the bounds of normal horse and normal wild horse practice. 76 horses were later euthanized leaving the community in shock and feeling betrayed by NPS. Efforts to pass a bill to protect this valuable herd were met with resistance by the Clinton camp. Much credit is given to then WH Staffer Erskine Bowels who finally talked President Clinton into signing the Shackleford Banks Wild Horse Protection Act [1998 (August 13) Shackleford Banks Wild Horse Protection Act P.L. 105-129 signed by President Clinton].

    Shackleford Banks Wild Horse Protection Act P.L. 105-129 signed by President Clinton

    Between 1999 and 2000 after EO 13112 was issued to implement UN CBD Article 8 (h), a series of Resource Notes on wild horse management was published. Here is a link to the piece on population size and genetic viability.

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    • Pretty sad they mention in one place how hard it is on the horses as they have to walk 10 miles between water and food, then on the next page rip the horses for hanging around and destroying the riparian areas (just like cattle). Interesting too, they comment on one photo that there are “no cattle” in the area, though the impacts from livestock overgrazing ripple through an ecosystem for centuries, not days, and of course the authors know this.
      One photo shows an obviously emaciated horse surrounded by others who are obviously NOT, meaning that horse is either old or sick, or not aggressive enough to push her way into food and water sources but waits until others are done. Pregnancy also is a major draw on resources, as the pregnancy and then nursing always take biological priority. Contraception is a better answer than slaughter!
      I think we can all agree we need healthy horses on healthy rangelands, but the devils are in the details, and in the newsletters.

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  9. We have to fight the fight. We have to protect them. Politicians listen. Look at what others have done to protect special turtles etc these are magnificate creatures who won the west the settlers would still be walking without them

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