The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
Congress just passed its Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations omnibus spending bill — and it once again includes funding for humane fertility control and requires other reforms to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program!
Our government relations team has been advocating for these provisions over the course of the past year. And, we want to say thank you to all the wild horse advocates and AWHC supporters like you who fought alongside for these required reforms.
This is another important step in the right direction in our fight to preserve the freedom of America’s wild horses and burros.
The legislation ensures that up to $11 million of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) budget must be used to implement humane immunocontraceptive fertility control treatment and research, effectively diverting funds away from brutal and deadly helicopter roundups.
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Other measures in the final bill include:
- Evaluating options for relocating wild horses and burros to different Herd Management Areas (HMAs) as an alternative to removals.
- Reviewing the agency’s controversial Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) for any program weaknesses that jeopardize the welfare of the mustangs and burros placed into private care.
- Pursuing partnerships with veterans and wild horse organizations to aid in humane fertility control management.
- Emphasizing the importance of screening adopters and purchasers to ensure the welfare and safe outcomes for the horses and burros adopted and sold by the U.S. Forest Service.
Of note, Congress appropriated less funding for the Wild Horse and Burro Program than the amount requested by the Biden Administration.
We believe that by limiting funding, triaging removals, and directing the BLM to utilize fertility control, Congress is signaling a new direction for wild horse management that will ultimately stabilize populations in the wild for the benefit of the agency, the taxpayer, and wild horses alike.
While some parts of this spending bill are 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, Meredith: 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 federal government violates the law protecting wild horses and burros, we will go to court and fight on behalf of these cherished animals.
Thank you for standing with us,
American Wild Horse Campaign
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