The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
Congress just released its Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations omnibus spending bill — and in it, we successfully secured the humane immunocontraceptive fertility control funding and other language that our government relations team has been advocating for since this time last year!
Firstly, I want to say thank you — wild horse advocates and AWHC supporters like you fought alongside us over the last 12 months to make this language possible.
It’s a critical first step in our fight to preserve the freedom of America’s wild horses and burros. But that’s just what it is — a first step.
When passed, the bill will ensure that up to $11 million of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) budget must go toward humane immunocontraceptive fertility control treatment and research, effectively diverting funds away from brutal and deadly helicopter roundups.
However, we’re disappointed that the bill provides increased funding overall for roundups and removal — a total of $21 million over the FY21 funding levels. But fortunately, Congress ultimately appropriated significantly less funding than what was provided in the original FY22 House and Senate bills, and less than the $35 million increase that was requested by the Administration.
Despite scientific evidence, wild horses and burros are still being scapegoated for land degradation and climate change, even though research shows commercial livestock grazing is the real environmental threat to public lands. The omnibus also creates an interagency task force to deal with the “crisis” of growing wild horse populations — something we will be keeping a close eye on.
While parts of this spending bill are deeply concerning, the bill does also include long-standing anti-slaughter provisions that effectively prevent horse slaughter plants from operating in the U.S. and prohibit the slaughter of federally protected wild horses and burros for the remainder of the fiscal year.
So : This is a strong step in the right direction, and we must acknowledge the progress we are making. Our fight to preserve the freedom of America’s wild horses and burros will not happen overnight. This battle is a marathon, not a sprint.
We will continue our work and research in the field to prove that humane management works and keeps wild horses in the wild where they belong. We will take this work and the full force of our strong advocate base to Congress to back up our calls for action. And when the BLM violates the law protecting wild horses and burros, we will go to court and fight on behalf of these cherished animals.
Our fight is just beginning — and this $11 million is just the first step. Will you continue to stand with us today by calling for the next step: An oversight hearing on the BLM’s woefully mismanaged Wild Horse and Burro Program?
Stay strong and stay ready,
American Wild Horse Campaign