Well, they did it.
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Interior appropriations legislation doling out to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) $102 million for its wild horse and burro program; which the agency said that it intended to use the funding to cruelly round up as many as 20,000 protected, native, wild horses a year from their rightful range on public lands. Gotta love it.
By passing the bill unamended, the committee ignored valid requests from key members, including U.S. House Natural Resources Chair Rep. Raul Grijalva, Public Lands Subcommittee Chair Deborah Haaland, and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) of the Appropriations Committee, to require the BLM to implement humane fertility control as an alternative to the deadly and unsustainable helicopter roundups and to prohibit surgical sterilization of wild horses and burros.
The bill carries over the 27% budget increase Congress awarded the BLM wild horse and burro program last year after the sell-out of the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, and Return to Freedom who jumped into bed and joined the cattle industry in lobbying for a mass, bloody wild horse roundup plan. Although the groups sold the plan as a humane fertility control program that did not include brutal surgical sterilization methods, they failed to support efforts by Congressman Grijalva and others to require the BLM to fund humane, reversible fertility control programs or prohibit surgical sterilization.
The bill allegedly continues to ban the BLM and Forest Service from sending America’s wild horses and burros directly to slaughter but shipping records from border crossings to both Mexico and Canada indicate that neither of the two agency’s hands are clean when it comes to who, how and when our icons go to slaughter for human consumption abroad.
The bill now heads to the full House for a vote.
The Senate version of the bill is still pending while career politicians continue to whittle away at the freedom and families of our last, few, remaining wild horses and burros.