Wild Horse & Burro Crisis – Your Action Is Urgently Needed

Support from our good friends at Equine Advocates

Wild Horse Crisis!

Survival of America’s Wild Horses & Burros Threatened!

Horse Slaughter Crisis!

This Repulsive and Un-American Practice Could Return to U.S. Soil for the First Time Since 2007!

Both of these vital equine issues are now hanging like large clouds over our country where the vast majority of Americans disagree with what some politicians are trying to pull off to satisfy special interests in the ranching, oil & gas, mining and horse industries. The history of both issues are long and complicated.

For right now, however, we have a RED ALERT, so please take action now:

The House Appropriations Committee recently passed the Stewart Amendment which would allow for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of Interior to kill 92,000 healthy Wild Horses and Burros. Most will end up being slaughtered. This is not only outrageous and barbaric, but goes directly against the will of 80% of the American People who want them preserved and protected. The Senate Interior Appropriations Committee can do the right thing and decide to prevent the killing of these animals when they hold a hearing on this matter during the week of September 18th.

  1. Please take the time to call your two U.S. Senators. You can reach them at this number: (202) 224-3121 which is the switchboard for the U.S. Senate.
  2. Please identify yourself, providing your name and address.
  3. Tell them that you want the protections of Wild Horses and Burros in the 2018 Spending Bill for the Department of the Interior to remain and prohibit the killing and slaughter of our Wild Horses and Burros.
  4. Also call the two leaders of the Interior Appropriations Sub-Committee, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and express the same sentiments to them.

There is no time to waste!  Please act now!   Thank you!

After you act, please read on:

  • What we do know is that Americans do not want Wild and Domestic Equines slaughtered for food. We want a law banning horse slaughter and horse slaughterhouses from operating in the U.S. as well as banning the transport of any live equines from the U.S. across our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter or to any other country for that purpose.
  • We want our Wild Horses and Burros preserved and protected. We want the round-ups to stop and we want the Wild Mustangs and Burros being held captive in holding facilities “managed” by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) turned back out on the range. We want the BLM dismantled and a new agency with real experts who can get together on ways to humanely manage and preserve these animals on the range to take over with a new approach that honors the will and sentiment of the vast majority of the American People on this issue.

However, right now, there exists a political climate in this country unlike anything we have seen in more than a decade.  There are more horse slaughter proponents in the current administration assuming positions of power than ever before, including two Cabinet members, Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue.

In addition, Forrest Lucas, billionaire oilman (Lucas Oil; Lucas Oil Stadium), rancher, horse slaughter proponent, and founder of the anti-animal lobbying group, Protect the Harvest, has been given access to the executive branch and has used his influence to add horse slaughter proponents and those committed to the destruction of our Wild Horses and Burros to this administration.  These are just three of many horse slaughter supporters, including Members of Congress, Governors and other elected and appointed officials working to take this country backwards and return horse slaughter to U.S. soil.

No Wild or Domestic Equine has been legally slaughtered in this country since 2007.  There also have been many Scientific Studies and White Papers released since 2010 to further support the many reasons why horses should not be slaughtered for food. One is the 2010 landmark study on the serious health risks for people who eat the meat of equines treated with the common drug Phenylbutazone or “Bute” for short. Click here to read that study.

Another is the 2015 Chapman University Study documenting the presence of horse meat in some chopped meat products in the American food supply.  Click here for this study.

On August 1, 2017, the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) issued a White Paper, the result of years of research. It exposes the corruption within the BLM and its shocking and deadly agenda for America’s Wild Horses and Burros.

The WHFF documents vast discrepancies in BLM records, including the numbers of horses in certain BLM holding facilities, the numbers captured, the ones that disappeared, as well as many discrepancies pertaining to financial matters, including the misappropriation of funds.

Please take the time to read this important WHFF White Paper and the Exhibits (exhibits are on a separate tab at the bottom of the page).

What More You Can Do:

  • Please use these important documents and take them to your elected officials to illustrate why horse slaughter should be banned entirely and not allowed to return to the U.S. and why Wild Horses and Burros should be preserved and protected – and not destroyed which is the government’s agenda right now.
  • Please use Equine Advocates’ Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet 2016 as a guide as well.
  • It is imperative that you contact your members of Congress in the House of Representatives (we all have just one) and your two U.S. Senators as soon as possible (preferably during this month of September 2017) and let them know that you oppose the return of horse slaughter and that you want protections of Wild Horses and Burros restored and their sale to slaughter banned.

Please stay tuned as we provide updates and new developments about these two vital issues facing America’s horses.  To receive our online alerts, please click here:

Time is of the essence!

Thank you!

 

 Hayden & Nelson, rescued Wild American Mustangs residing at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY.  Photo by Kara Heniges.

Killing Wild Horses & Burros is NOT Enough, Zinke Now Puts Cross-Hairs on U.S. Taxpayers

Press Release from Center for Western Priorities

Zinke stacks the deck against the working American public

DENVER—Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke today announced members of a new “Royalty Policy Committee” which will advise the Interior Department on how to “modernize” public land management.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:

“Talk about stacking the deck. This committee is hand-picked to give oil, gas, and coal companies what they want while ripping off taxpayers. The committee members from ‘Academia and Public Interest Groups’ don’t represent a single public interest group. The political members of the committee represent Republican governors, while states with Democratic governors don’t get a seat at the table.

“When Secretary Zinke took office, he inherited a department that had already taken large steps toward modernizing America’s oil and gas royalty rates, ensuring taxpayers get their fair share for resources owned by the American people. Under his leadership, the Interior Department has rolled back all of those programs, and replaced it with an advisory group that has collectively dedicated hundreds of years to drilling and mining on public lands and waters without regard for our air and water, or the best interests of taxpayers.”

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Opinion: Scheme to Kill Nevada’s Wild Horses Built on Greed

By Charlotte Roe as published on The Reno Gazette-Journal

Zinke claims “humane euthanasia” (e.g. killing) is the only solution to overpopulating “starving” wild equines that allegedly harm the range and wildlife. No evidence substantiates his spin.

Longtime Horse Slaughter Proponent, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, wants America’s Wild Horses and Burros Killed/Murdered.

In Southeast Nevada’s high desert Silver King Herd Management Area, wild horses coexist with elk, deer, antelope and sage grouse. They are vastly outnumbered by cattle and sheep.  Although federally protected, they are in peril. The Bureau of Land Management intends to round up nearly 1,000 to achieve its absurdly low population target of 60 adults and foals, leaving one horse per 10,000 acres. In the huge Antelope Valley and Triple A Complex, the BLM plans to remove over 7,000 mustangs. The Trump Administration wants captured horses sent to slaughter.

In April 2017, Congress directed the BLM to economize by presenting a “a plan to achieve long-term sustainable population on the range in a humane manner.”  Instead, the BLM’s inhumane, unsustainable FY18 budget request, pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, proposes to eradicate up to 92,000 wild horses and burros, by selling those in holding to slaughterhouses and destroying those arbitrarily deemed “excess” on the range.

 This despicable plan was conceived through propaganda, deception and what conservative columnist David Horowitz terms a takeover by the cattle lobby. Zinke claims “humane euthanasia” (e.g. killing) is the only solution to overpopulating “starving” wild equines that allegedly harm the range and wildlife. No evidence substantiates his spin. BLM estimates there are 73,000 wild equines in 32.6 million acres of public lands, an average of one horse per 456 acres.  Federally subsidized cows and sheep number in the millions.

The BLM’s wasteful system makes millionaires of a few helicopter contractors. It distracts attention from the devastating damage done by livestock overgrazing and by commercial exploitation of federal lands. Humane management solutions for wild horses and burros have long been available. They include safe, reversible birth control vaccines; the repatriation of captive wild equines to the 21 million acres the BLM removed from their historically designated ranges; readjusting “appropriate management levels” (AMLs); and ending the agency’s counterproductive system of roundup and removal. In its 2013 report, the National Academy of Sciences stated that roundups increase reproductive rates, and that AMLs are arbitrary, inflexible and groundless.

 Secretary Zinke urges further eroding of environmental regulations and undoing federal monuments to accelerate the development of public lands by extractive industries. Wild horses and burros are an obstacle to this greedy plan.

Wild mustangs run in harmony with herds of elk in Nevada’s Antelope Valley. Free-roaming equines graze down fire-prone vegetation and underbrush. They break ice and dig water holes, helping other wildlife to survive harsh winters. They attract visitors from around the world to struggling rural communities. The vast majority of Americans want them safe and free. Please urge your senators and representative to maintain the ban on selling wild equines to slaughter and to oppose budget language that allows killing these iconic animals.

http://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2017/08/31/scheme-kill-nevadas-wild-horses-built-greed-opinion/621805001/

Federal and State Horse Haters Lock Out Media and Advocates from Utah Sponsored “Slaughter-fest”

Article by Max Roth of Salt Lake Fox 13

“Propaganda, Lies and Deceit Permeate Secret Wild Horse and Burro Planning Meeting to Organize Murder and Extermination of National Icons”

Click on Image to View Video

SALT LAKE CITY — Wild horses bring out the romance and the longstanding divisions at the heart of the American West, and that dynamic was clear as the Bureau of Land Management, the State of Utah, and a number of private and non-profit groups met in a closed-door meeting in downtown Salt Lake City to discuss the animals’ fate.

The deputy chief of staff to Utah Governor Gary Herbert expressed both the romance and the sense of cold reality.

“We love them and they’re an iconic part of our landscape,” Mower said, adding, “There’s just simply not enough feed for the horses and not enough water.”

A collection of Wild Horse advocates gathered on the sidewalk outside of the Marriott Hotel, where the Wild Horse and Burro Summit was taking place.

“I serve on the BLM’s national wild horse advisory board as their humane advisor and yet I was not invited,” said Ginger Kathrens, a filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.

Alongside Kathrens were representatives from the Wild Horse Campaign, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, and a number of Utah volunteers like Shauna Muztafago.

“I felt compelled to be here today to be a voice to those who have no voice,” said Muztafago, who took the day off from her job at a mortgage company to protest the event she couldn’t attend.

The Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Michael Styler, said his goal is all about being humane to the horses.

“They’re running out of feed. They’re running out of water. How could you be so heartless as to let horses starve or die of thirst by mismanagement?” Styler asked.

The state and the Bureau of Land Management say sustainable population levels for wild horses are somewhere near 27,000 animals and the current population is closer to 73,000.

The advocates who were not invited to the meeting say those numbers are more a reflection of the government’s priority on profitable livestock over wild horses. They cite a 2013 study conducted by the National Academy of Science that found no basis for the 27,000 horse population target. They also cite their own work with horses.

“We actually manage wild horses on the range, we document them, we have stats and data on each and every wild horse,” said Simone Netherlands, Executive Director of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

Netherlands said her volunteers regularly dart the horses on their range in Arizona with a chemical called PZP-22, which slows reproduction rates to maintain herd populations.

That’s likely among the solutions discussed by the Wild Horse and Burro Summit, though that’s impossible to know because the news media was also not invited into the Wild Horse Summit discussions, just to a brief press conference in a separate room.

Arizona Advocate Alleges FOIA Indicates U.S.F.S. Violated Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act

Guest article compiled by: “Heber Wild Horses

“A very interesting and positive sidebar to the release of Wild Horse Freedom Federation‘s informative and timely White Paper coupled with WHFF’s FOIA based “The Truth” series is the information that has flooded in from other volunteer advocates doing their personal parts in attempting to help/aid America’s wild horses and burros.  Today’s installment showcases the fact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not hold a monopoly on the abuse and mismanagement of our National Icons.  Many thanks to the Heber Wild Horse advocate who  forwarded this article to us for sharing.  If any of our readers have similar stories that they would like to share, please feel free to forward to my attention and we will review for publication.  Keep up the great work and continue to endeavor in getting the White Paper and Exhibits before your legislators.  Keep the faith my friends.” ~ R.T.


Heber Stallion

When I first found out a few years ago that Arizona’s Heber Wild Horse Herd was under the U.S. Forest Service I was relieved.  I thought, hey, much better than the BLM.  Forest Service = Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl … they have to be FOR animals.  I could not have been more wrong!  My disillusionment with an agency I had always felt a fondness for soon turned into fear for the wild horses my family and I had been observing for a decade.  As it turned out, I had a legitimate right to my fear that these beautiful creatures would be rounded up and sent to auction for sale to the highest bidder without limitation.  While digging into the history of these wild horses through vast research and filing of FOIA requests my fear was joined by anger.  My anger was at the corruption of a federal agency which is mandated to protect these horses according to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, but was actually behind the illegal captures and removals of the horses.

Part of my discovery included agreements between the Forest Service and public lands ranchers.  The agreement (below) is dated 1989.  It names the Gentry Allotment which covers nearly half of the dedicated Heber Wild Horse Territory.  So obviously the FS was making agreements for ranchers to literally take protected wild horses off of their Territory to be as FS often puts it, “disposed of” and it clearly states they are to be taken to auction by the ranchers!  Let it sink in… the Forest Service, in violation of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, paid public lands ranchers to remove protected horses and those horses went to auction.

As was reported in The Pioneer newspaper, “the horses were sold to the slaughterhouse for pennies a pound, much of the horse-meat ending up in restaurants in Europe and Asia” … and they got away with it!

Click on Image to Enlarge

However, the absurdity does not stop there.  On the ‘Heber Wild Horse Territory: Frequently Asked Questions’ information page, the Forest Service has the audacity to claim: “Over the next 20 years (after the 1973 establishment of the Heber Wild Horse Territory) the herd size remained very small.  The last census of the Territory taken in 1993 found two mares.”  This falsely implies the herd died off of natural causes.  They conveniently neglect to state that they had been paying ranchers for YEARS to remove wild horses.  For the record, the Heber wild horse herd never died off in spite of the efforts of the Forest Service and the public lands ranchers to eliminate them from our public forest land.  Not surprisingly, to this day, the FS still maintains that all the wild horses died off and the horses currently in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are feral trespass.

Regardless of what the Forest Service says…there were wild horses on the land now designated as the Heber Wild Horse Territory and the surrounding forest land when the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFRHBA) was passed… and every day since then.  Those descendants do come under the protection law today.

Passage of the current draft of the Interior appropriations bill, which includes the Wild Horse and Burro Program, will severely and adversely affect ALL of America’s wild horses in holding or in the wild whether they are under the agency of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).  At this time, the Forest Service is in the planning stage of a Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Plan.  The Heber Wild Horse Herd is very much in danger of having a mass reduction leaving a non-viable number of horses with the likelihood of the legally protected Heber Territory wild horses that are removed going to auction and slaughter.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/HeberWildHorses/

Update: Wild Horse & Burro Advocate Takes to Facebook Live to Save America’s National Icon

Source: Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s President, R.T. Fitch, speaks on newly released White Paper outlining BLM’s deception of US Public and Congress

The People Behind the Paper, the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Left to Right, Marjorie Farabee, Carol Walker, R.T. Fitch, Debbie, Dawn Reveley and Terry Fitch


Long time Wild Horse & Burro advocate and co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation spoke to the release of their detailed and informative White Paper on the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, with a Focus on Problems Related to Holding Facilities.

Released just last Wednesday, July 26th 2017, the detailed report outlines years of deception initiated by the renegade federal agency who, to date, attempts to dissuade, delude and deceive the citizens of the United States and the very legislators that write the laws and control federal budgets.

“We have spent over five years gathering and cataloguing our evidence through FOIA and eyewitness accounts. We have actual BLM documents that the public and Congress have never reviewed; the evidence is damming by the BLM’s own account,” says R.T. Fitch. “What we present in the paper is only the tip of the iceberg and with the specter of the mindless murder of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros looming over the wild ones this information is critical and must be presented to the Senate and Congress, NOW! ”

 

“I am, personally, treading into unknown technical territory as I have never done this before but we feel this is the best way to help to explain the current way forward in the fight to save our wild equines,” R.T. explained. “ We are just normal, stick-in-the throat, regular Americans doing our level best to make a difference. We hope our viewers will be able to look beyond any amateur fumbling; the point is that it is all about the wild horses & burros and we all need to take action and the time for that action is now.”

Keep the Faith

Co-Author of White Paper, Animal Law Attorney Bruce Wagman with R.T. and Terry Fitch

Cover Letter: White Paper on BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program

Cover letter from R.T. Fitch ~ President and Co-Founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Howdy Team, remember last week, in one of these forwards, I alluded to the fact that we were going to give you a tool for your Advocate toolbox; well here you go. 

We just gave you a BLM Factory Tool, one Big Friggin Hammer (BFH). 

The five year project of the White Paper was compiled and written FOR Legislators, Lawmakers and Government leaders in an effort to pry their eyes open to the fact that the BLM has been generating false numbers and has been skewing the facts for years, they are doing it right now, as you read this.  So even though this was not geared towards public consumption, put together by one of the finest Animal Law Attorneys in the universe, we are hoping that advocates will download it, become familiar with the facts contained within and then ensure that this important Paper gets in front of their Senators and Representatives, PRIOR to the Appropriation Committees votes on horse slaughter and the wild ones. 

This could turn the tide. 

Any sane person should not vote to believe the numbers that the BLM and Zinke are throwing around and surely would not vote to kill and murder the wild ones in an effort to save money when they don’t even know the truth on how many equines are involved or how much money has been spent and where…it would make no sense. 

So please, get this out there as it is not about us, the advocates, it is ALL about the wild horses & burros. 

Below is an example of the cover letter which can be downloaded, along with the paper and exhibits, at http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/white-paper/


July 27, 2017

To: ______

_____

Re:       White Paper on the Wild Horse & Burro Program

Dear :

Enclosed please find Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s White Paper on certain aspects of the federal government’s Wild Horse & Burro Program. The White Paper is the result of several years of detailed research, including the collection of thousands of documents obtained from the Bureau of Land Management, independent investigations, and legal analysis of the implications of our findings in light of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1340 (“Wild Horse Act”).

While much has already been written about various aspects of the Wild Horse & Burro Program, the White Paper focuses on and exposes systemic problems that have not been adequately addressed by the BLM or other horse advocacy groups. It is WHFF’s intention by the preparation and submission of this White Paper to both alert the public and the government to significant problems with the administration of the program, and to suggest a path forward that will benefit all stakeholders.

As you may know, the fate of America’s wild horses and burros – some of the most important and iconic animals in American history – is at a pivotal stage this month, as Congress considers amendments to the Wild Horse Act that could open up unlimited opportunities to kill wild horses on the range and in captivity. Before any such decision is made, the data and conclusions in this White Paper must be considered and addressed openly – in Congress, at the federal agency level, and in the public eye.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or would like to further discuss our findings. We would be happy to meet with you to further explore opportunities to turn around the current trend towards elimination of America’s wild horses and burros.

Sincerely,

R.T. Fitch

“Fake News” and Lies Fuel Debate to Violate Federal Law and Kill Wild Horses and Burros

‘In my most Outraged Opinion!’ by R.T. Fitch

“Is it just me…?”

Secretary Zinke and BLM Plan for Wild Horses and Burros

For years we U.S. Taxpayers, who have decried the excessive removal of protected wild horses and burros from their rightful range, have been deluged with bogus numbers, bad science and just plain bull crap by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and their deep pocketed bed-fellows. Today, we are seeing it reach new heights and becoming even more toxic for the wild horses and burros; it has to stop

It’s bad enough that we have a long time horse slaughter advocate, Ryan Zinke, appointed as Secretary of the Department of Interior, (Remember back in 2009 when Montana Rep. Zinke promoted “Red” Ed Butcher’s bill to legalize horse slaughter plants in Montana? Now he has the reins of the DoI and already is attempting to send wild horses and burros in holding and on the range into mass graves.) But now we have Horse Eaters of the past crawling out from underneath their moldy rocks in an effort to taste the blood of our iconic symbols of the west.

In a recent ‘news’ article, long time Horse Hater and former member of the BLM’s rigged Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board, Callie Hendrickson has reared her horse killer head and assumed the thorny throne of chief disseminator of rumor, innuendo and trumped up numbers.

“The bottom line is we have pushing 100,000 excess horses and we have to do something,” she said.

What the hell? 100,000 excess horses, where did you dig up that number? Have you actually been sitting out on the range with your iPad and taking notes or is that, obviously, a number that was just pulled out of your backside as a matter of convenience?

Nobody, and I mean nobody has an accurate account of how many horses are on the range and the BLM has no interest in counting. Wild Horse advocates who spend time on the range estimate anywhere from between 27,000 to 36,000 wild horss are still on the range and most of the whittled down herds are no longer genetically viable due to the BLM’s unlawful practice of ripping herds apart in direct violation of federal law. So what makes you so special, Callie, and who made you the SME on a subject that you know nothing about.

Oh yeah, and what the crap does “excess horses” mean? What is the definition and where is the data to support such BS? (being rude to bulls, here) This is just the sort of misinformation that the BLM and Zinke are laying on Congress and the Senate in an effort to have the wild horses an burros killed.

Zinke is asking Congress to remove the limits on destroying healthy, unadopted equines or selling them for slaughtering and processing for commercial products; gotta love it and this is all going on in plain view and little is being done to counter it. Where is the outrage?

Hendrickson said public lands will support 27,000 of the animals, but there are 72,000 out there not counting this year’s new foals, as well as another 47,000 in holding facilities, which costs taxpayers $50 million a year for feed and care. Every year, another 15,000 wild horses are being born, she said.

More BS as the numbers change and continue to climb every time you read an article in mainstream news. Where are the documented sources and where is the data? The only number that is close to correct is the number of horses that have been stripped from their rightful range where costs were ZERO, ZIP, NADDA and now are held in herds of broken families waiting for their lives to end. Easy fix; put them back on their rightful range, where you took them from and now allow welfare cattle to graze, and put the cows back on the cattle ranches. Cost = ZERO! Cows on ranches, wild horses on wild horse ranges…simple; make sense?

The horses and burros are coming up to a cross roads as we have never had, at any one point in time, such a concentrated effort to kill all of the horses in holding and murder the remaining horses and burros on the range. That reality is with us, right now.

We must stop this, we need to put this debate behind us and educate our legislators on the fact that the BLM and Zinke are feeding them nothing but Fake News, misinformation and pure unequivocal lies.

The threat is real, the fix is in our hands…please click (HERE) for more information on how to help and make a difference, we can make it happen. We HAVE to make it happen.

Horse Slaughter, Wild Horses & Burros; Senate Save – House Kill, What the Heck Does It All Mean?

Source: ASPCA

“Today we share with you a recap of recent legislative events that impact the future health, safety and well being of not only our domestic equines but also our federally protected wild horses and burros. Today’s news round up comes from the ASPCA and is a very readable article that helps to clarify the whirlwind of events and future legislative action relative to the wild ones, we thank the ASPCA for putting this together.

Likewise, we would like to recognize Neda DeMayo and the efforts of RTF for keeping us up to date and focused on the events of the past several weeks…many thanks.

With all that said, you have not heard much, specifically, from Wild Horse Freedom Federation; there is a reason for that so please allow me to briefly explain why.

As I type, every single member of our Legal Staff, Directors, Officers and volunteers at WHFF have their collective nose’s to the grindstone putting the final polishing on a five year project that is ensured to raise eyebrows, shine a light on the truth and give both legislators and the public the tools that they need to further the protection of our wild horses and burros. We stand at the brink.

Stimulate your curiosity? Then stay tuned, remain focused and keep the faith…we will prevail, my friends. Until then, may the Force of the Horse be with you.” ~ R.T.


photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The ayes have it! That was the Chairman’s call Thursday morning in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee after it passed the Udall-Graham-Coons-Feinstein-Reed-Collins-Shaheen Amendment to prevent horse slaughter plants from reopening on U.S. soil.

This amendment to the fiscal year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill is the Senate’s response to the House Appropriations Committee’s narrow, disappointing failure to pass a similar provision last week (in a 25-27 final count). It also means we have a fighting chance to retain the horse slaughter prohibition in the final law when it passes.

The House and Senate each work on a different version of the annual Appropriations bill. Once both House and Senate have passed their respective bills, they merge them together and decide which provisions to keep and which to toss. The key to our ultimate success for horses is to ask both chambers, particularly leadership, to retain this important prohibition.

For more than a decade, Congress has rejected the idea that the government should spend our tax money subsidizing horse slaughter. Outcry from voters, animal welfare advocates, equine rescues, horse industry groups, veterinarians, farmers and therapy organizations has been extremely compelling for most legislators.

Polling at the federal and state levels has repeatedly and resoundingly demonstrated that Americans view horses as companions, not food. As work and therapy animals, athletes and friends to young riders, horses have served us well. Allowing them to be served to diners overseas is not acceptable.

While this amendment cannot completely prevent all horse slaughter, we have seen encouraging statistics this year showing a dramatic 44% decline in the number of American horses taken over our borders for slaughter. We are on the right track, and once we are sure horse slaughter plants are not allowed to operate on our soil we will direct our energy to passing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 113). This bill would permanently prevent horse slaughter in this country as well as halt the transport of our horses to Mexico and Canada for this gruesome purpose.

The future of our nation’s wild horses was also considered this week—by the same House committee that opened the door for slaughter last week. Not surprisingly, the committee approved an amendment to allow the killing of thousands of healthy wild mustangs.

The U.S. has protected wild horses and burros from wholesale massacre for decades, but the Trump budget proposal seeks to allow the government to take the lives of thousands of horses held captive in holding pens. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) offered this amendment to remove protections against killing any wild horse, and it passed over the strong objections of many members of the committee. We must speak out against lethal measures like this, and we must prevent the Senate from voting the same way.

Congress takes the month of August off. With this recess looming, we encourage advocates who want to ensure we win these fights to engage their federal legislators back at home in their districts and states. If you want to help wild and domestic horses, please join the ASPCA’s Horse Action Team and we’ll arm you with the information you need.

Wild Horses & Burros Need Your Voice More Than Ever!

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

“Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill – shoot – healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros!”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As infuriating as that is, as saddening as that is – and it is both — we cannot give up.

We’ll return to the House vote in a moment, but first we need you to make a call on behalf of horses to each of your senators TODAY. That’s because on Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on an amendment to keep a ban on horse slaughter in place.

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).

Urge your senators to oppose any provision that:

  • allows horse slaughter,
  • allows the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses,
  • or removes sale restrictions, opening the door for BLM to sell wild horses to kill buyers.

Remind your senators that proven humane solutions that would enable the management of wild horses and burros on the range have long existed. We do not need to kill national icons.

All of this can be as confusing as it is upsetting. What’s happening is that we’re fighting provisions on parallel tracks, in the House and Senate, which threaten all horses as well as wild horses and burros. To be clear:

The horse slaughter votes are part of the agricultural funding process. In the absence of a total federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push each year to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from using our tax dollars to hire horsemeat inspectors. On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly rejected this year’s anti-slaughter amendment. If the bill becomes law without it, slaughter plants could reopen in the United States for the first time since 2007. That affects all kinds of horses, domestic and wild, so now we need the Senate to step up and pass an amendment to make sure that does not happen.

Meanwhile, the wild horse votes are part of the interior funding process. As noted above, the same House Appropriations Committee voted to remove language preventing BLM from killing healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros. The amendment passed on a voice vote, meaning individual votes were not recorded. Again, that means that we need to turn up the pressure and ensure our senators stand up for wild horses in the days ahead.

We’ve written that the situation is as precarious for wild horses as it’s been in Return to Freedom’s 19-year history. We wish we were wrong. Alas, today’s vote was still more proof:

Proof that we must keep calling and writing Congress. Proof that we must keep encouraging our friends and family to do the same. Proof that we must keep writing letters to the editor and sharing information on social media, so that others know what’s happening.

The cost of inaction could mean the needless deaths of thousands – even tens of thousands – of wild horses and burros.

We need to push back against propaganda that blames wild horses (never livestock) for range degradation or that falsely claims scores of wild horses are starving and dying – so many that shooting captured wild horses in government corrals or on long-term pastures is held up as a “humane” alternative. We need to push back at the lie that fertility control has been a failure when BLM has never spent more than 3.88% of its budget on PZP.

We need to demand thoughtful nonpartisan leadership that will work with advocates and scientists to create a proud, long-term plan that provides wild horses with a sustainable future on the range.

The American people still have the power to avert a tragedy in the making, but it will take all of us.

Let’s get after it!