Horse Slaughter Vote a Setback, but There’s No Time to Let Up!

Source: Return to Freedom, endorsed by Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Attention now turns immediately to the 2018 Interior Appropriations Bill that could potentially threaten the lives of tens of thousands of America’s wild horses and burros.  

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation and other advocacy groups on Wednesday expressed disappointment in the House Appropriations Committee’s vote opening the door to horse slaughter, but urged supporters of wild horses and burros to keep the pressure on Congress.

“While today’s vote is disheartening for the overwhelming majority of Americans who oppose horse slaughter, there may be critical votes as soon as next week that could further threaten the lives of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros,” said Neda DeMayo, president of Return to Freedom.

“We must redouble our efforts and stand strong for America’s wild horses.”

The full House Appropriations committee voted 27-25 to reject the Roybal-Allard/Dent horse slaughter defund amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Find out how members of the Appropriations Committee voted by clicking here.

Because there is no permanent federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push annually for an amendment barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat plans inspectors to effectively keep a ban in place. Advocates may have another chance to turn back slaughter when the Ag Appropriations Bill goes to the full House for approval in the weeks ahead.

Attention now turns immediately to the 2018 Interior Appropriations Bill that could potentially threaten the lives of tens of thousands of America’s wild horses and burros.  

A draft version of the Interior Appropriations Bill OKed by the House Interior Subcommittee, also on Wednesday, does not include provisions called for by the administration that would have allowed the Bureau of Land Management to kill healthy horses or sell captive animals without restriction.

While that’s good news, advocates must not be complacent. An amendment calling for inclusion of those deadly provisions could be offered when the full committee meets again, likely next week, so it’s critical that advocates continue making themselves heard.


  • Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, ask to be connected to your representative;
  • Tell staff that your wish to urge your congressperson to oppose any provision that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses or to remove sale restrictions that would open the door for BLM to sell horses and burros to someone who would sell them for slaughter;
  • If your representative is not on the Appropriations Committee, please urge him or her to oppose horse slaughter when the Ag Appropriations Bill goes to the floor, as well as any provisions that could harm wild horses in the Interior Appropriations Bill.
  • Please be sure to mention that humane solutions that would enable the management of wild horses and burros on the range have long been available.

These solutions include not only using safe, proven fertility control but revisiting population targets, based on a fair interpretation of multiple-use land management; providing incentives for ranchers who reduce livestock grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas; increasing range stewardship, including much-needed water source restoration; and relocating horses, but only if truly necessary.

Action Alert: Please Tell Appropriations Committee Members to Maintain Federal Protection for Our Wild Horses



Adobe Town Family

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Appropriations Sub-Committee on the Interior will be voting next week in Washington D.C. on the BLM’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request.  We need you to send your opposition comments to the Administration’s BLM policy changes affecting the Wild Horse and Burro Program. They want to do this through the Appropriations Bill.  The BLM is calling for changes to the Wild Horse and Burro program that will set a dangerous precedent for many years to come.

BLM’s proposal would allow for unlimited transfers of wild horses to other Federal, State and local government agencies for use as work animals.  The transfer of wild horses under the provision would be unlimited, would be subject to immediate transfer of ownership (instead of a one-year wait required by the 1971 Act) and the horses would lose their status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined by the Act.

There is grave concern from the American public that without protections, these horses may be sold to slaughter and that this could be a convenient way to get rid of the horses and burros.

The proposal also indicates the BLM’s plans to use permanent and dangerous sterilization techniques to control populations of free-roaming horses and burros.

However, there is no overpopulation of wild horses and burros on our public land.  Most herds, 78% have numbers below the level necessary to sustain genetic viability – 150 adults.  Wild Horses have lost 22 million acres where they were originally found at the time the 1971 Act.  Livestock grazing outnumbers wild horses in all of the Herd Management Areas where they are supposed to be managed as the “principle species” by 100 – 1.

Protection of our wild horses and burros is Federal, and their care and management should never be transferred to state and local governments, many of whom have been aggressively calling for the elimination of wild horses from their states.  Wild horses are vulnerable to ending up at slaughter under this misguided plan.

The sterilization research that is being performed on wild mares is so dangerous that it would be unsafe even being performed in a sterile environment on domestic mares, let alone on wild mares in a filthy holding facility or out in the field.  Sterilization is a permanent solution, and will lead the end of wild horses on our public lands.  This is truly management to extinction.

If the BLM is concerned about the growing numbers of wild horses in holding facilities, then they need to STOP rounding them up and not proceed with the roundups of thousands more wild horses in Wyoming this fall of 2016.  Our wild horses need to managed on the range, not rounded up and removed and warehoused at great and greater taxpayer expense.

Please call and send your comments to these Committee members:

• Tom Cole, OK- 202-225-6631-
• David Joyce, OH
• Chris Stewart, UT-202-225-9730-
• Mark Amodei, NV- 202-225-6155-
• Evan Jenkins, WV -202-225-3452
• Chellie Pingree, ME- 202-225-6116,
• Derek Kilmer, WA- 202-225-5916-
• Steve Israel, NY