The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
We’ve got BIG news.
Thanks to your support, the House Appropriations Committee just adopted language championed by AWHC calling for on-range management strategies of America’s cherished wild horses and burros. The Committee allocated $11 million in funding for humane, reversible fertility control vaccines as part of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget.
Additionally, the Committee called for several other key provisions that would help keep wild horses and burros on public lands where they belong and better safeguard the welfare of animals that are sold or adopted by federal agencies. These include:
- Evaluating options for relocating wild horses and burros to different Herd Management Areas (HMAs) as an alternative to sending them to government holding facilities.
- Reviewing the BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) for any weaknesses that jeopardize the welfare of wild horses and burros placed into private care.
- Partnering with veterans and wild horse organizations to assist in the implementation of a robust fertility control program.
- Requiring the BLM to provide quarterly reports to Congress regarding how funds are spent and performance metrics.
The Committee also addressed concerns about wild horses and burros under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) by emphasizing the importance of implementing adequate screening procedures for adopters and purchasers of these animals. The USFS currently lacks safeguards to protect wild horses and burros it rounds up and removes from their habitats on USFS lands. This, paired with sale prices as low as $25 a horse, raises serious concerns that USFS wild horses could end up in the slaughter pipeline or face other inhumane outcomes.
We are incredibly grateful for the concrete steps Congress has taken toward reforming the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program over the past two years. This is a result of your unrelenting advocacy, and it marks important progress in the fight to protect these iconic animals.
At the same time, the bill proposes increased overall funding for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program — although $6 million less than what the Committee proposed last year. We must continue to press the BLM to use any additional funding to improve its program by reducing inhumane removals and addressing shortcomings in its holding system, where 60,000 wild horses and burros are confined and where disease outbreaks have claimed the lives of 159 wild horses so far this year.
This isn’t the last step in the congressional appropriations process, so stay tuned for more updates!
— The AWHC Team