June 27, 2016
The move within the BLM to rid itself of wild horses and burros is gaining strength. Within the 2017 Interior Appropriations Bill, now out of committee, is a little noticed “Stewart Amendment” that allows the BLM to strip away all the protections of the Wild Horse and Burro Act and give the animals to any “… Federal, State or local government agencies to use as work animals.”
In using the wisdom of our elected leaders, Congress stuck some language in the Amendment that makes it sound like the horses and burros would always be safe, but offers absolutely no punishment for those who violate the rules. Remember Tom Davis? Hundreds of wild horses were “adopted” by him but that ended their lives in Mexican slaughterhouses. His punishment? Not even a slap on the hand. Translated – he got away with murder.
There are a LOT of states – Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and Nevada to name a few – that are very vocal about removing and slaughtering wild horses. The cattle ranchers (remember the Bundy fiasco?) want the Federal lands for their cattle and consider wild horses and burros as nothing more than “pasture cockroaches.” This move has been planned for a long time, and this little amendment, stuck in at the last minute, opens the door to the slaughter wagon.
We cannot let it happen!
The Stewart Amendment was attached to the 2017 House Interior Appropriations Bill (HR 5538) as Section 444. The exact same language was also included in the Senate version of the bill (S. 3068) as Section 110. The Amendment reads:
Humane transfer of excess animals.— Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Interior may transfer excess wild horses or burros that have been removed from the public lands to other Federal, State, and local government agencies for use as work animals:
Provided, That the Secretary may make any such transfer immediately upon request of such Federal, State, or local government agency: Provided further, That any excess animal transferred under this provision shall lose its status as a wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined in the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act:
Provided further, That any Federal, State, or local government agency receiving excess wild horses or burros as authorized in this section shall not destroy the horses or burros in a way that results in their destruction into commercial products, or sell or otherwise transfer the horses in a way that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.»
You can read the actual language here:
– House (H.R. 5538)
– Senate (S. 3068):
You have to really hunt for it, because it’s buried deep inside the Bill. If you think you have trouble finding it, what about our elected Reps and Senators that try to understand only a little of what they are voting on.
I urge you and all your friends to call your Representatives and Senators (the bills are now scheduled for a vote in the two or three weeks) asking them to remove Section 444 from HR 5538 and Section 110 from S. 3068, respectively.
If this passes, it means a sure death for a lot of wild horses and burros. There is no doubt that the “excess” horses and burros will simply disappear.
Just last week, during a hearing on the BLM’s problems in handling wild horses, Rep. Cynthia Loomis told the committee that while she loves horses, and even rode one once, she believes that ALL the horses and burros in all the short and long term holding pens need to experience a “lovely and peaceful death” since their freedom is over.
Then comes the ideas about sterilizing mares – while awake and standing – by removing their ovaries! They are already experimenting on this!
This is ALL driven by the lust for money – for free grazing rights, to own water rights, to claim our land, the very land that Congress once said belongs to our American icons.
If you want to contact legislators, you may find all their contact information in this site, which is way better than the official one, including email, phone and fax numbers and even tweeter / FB accounts, when available:
Please – for the love of our horses, please pick up the phone and call your Senators and Representative.
Their lives depend on you.
Habitat for Horses is a proud member of The Equine Welfare Alliance http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org