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The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
Great news: our end of year fundraising totals are in, and thanks to your incredible support, we were able to reach our $125,000 goal and UNLOCK our donor match! Your support will make an enormous difference for wild horses and burros as we launch our ambitious 2021 agenda.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we know we can always count on you to lobby your elected officials, support our critical legal work, and raise awareness across the country about the plight of America’s magnificent wild horses and burros. This is a tough fight, but this movement has stood up to the challenge over and over again and we’ll do it again in 2021. Please read on for a recap of the 2020 accomplishments that we’ll build on and a preview of what your generosity will allow us to do this year!
Strengthened Political Support & Made History
We teamed up with our coalition partners and worked with members of Congress to introduce the first pro-wild horse legislation in over a decade. Passed by the House of Representatives, the bipartisan wild horse protection amendment would require the BLM to implement PZP fertility control to manage wild herds humanely on public lands. Although the final spending bill did not include the House-passed amendment, it did include strong fertility control language as well as other pro-horse provisions — a sign that Congress is well aware of our growing grassroots strength and increasing support on Capitol Hill for our cause. We have an incredible opportunity this year to make real change with the nomination of Debra Haaland as Secretary of the Interior and the continued leadership of Rep. Raul Grijalva as Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. Both are wild horse and burro champions who are committed to protecting these beloved animals and reforming the broken federal wild horse and burro management program.
Filed Suit to Protect Wild Mares
The day after the roundup ended in Utah’s Confusion Herd Management Area, our legal team filed suit to stop the BLM from conducting barbaric sterilization surgeries on many of the just-captured wild mares. This is our third legal action against the BLM for plans to conduct the risky and invasive “ovariectomy via colpotomy” procedure, and we’ve successfully held the agency off since 2016! Joining us as a plaintiff in the latest lawsuit is Utahn Rob Hammer, who has extensive knowledge of the Confusion wild horses and the public land area where they live. In 2021, we’ll continue to drive this case in the courts while we also work with Congress and the administration to eliminate this brutal surgery as an option for the management of our wild horses and burros, once and for all.
Created Accountability for BLM Roundup Abuse
While the COVID-19 pandemic made traveling much more difficult in 2020, we continued to address roundup abuse by sending humane observers to nearly every one of the many helicopter roundups conducted by the BLM and the Forest Service last year. This year we took a step beyond documenting roundups by launching an initiative to create a mechanism for enforcing the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program standards, which the agency routinely violates. We’ve teamed up with the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard University Law School to develop a rulemaking petition to strengthen the BLM’s animal welfare guidelines and turn them into legally-enforceable regulations. The petition will be ready for submission to the new Administration this year. If it is not acted upon, we will have the option of litigating, so please stay tuned!
Proved Humane Management is Possible
Our in-the-wild management program reached new heights in 2020. Not only were we able to grant funds to boots-on-the-ground organizations in Arizona and Colorado to support their fertility control programs, we also achieved an unprecedented milestone in our own fertility control program in Nevada’s Virginia Range. Last month, our volunteers and staff surpassed 3,000 treatments administered to mares in less than two years, making this the largest free-roaming horse fertility control program in the world, according to the Science and Conservation Center! Just last week, the Deseret News — Utah’s second-largest newspaper — published a feature highlighting the success of our program. In 2021, we will continue to support local groups managing their herds, expand our fertility control program in the greater Reno area, and we’re working to expand our fertility control efforts to new herds in the West!
Launched Habitat Acquisition Project
We officially launched the pilot project for the American Wild Horse Conservancy, our new land trust, in 2020. The inaugural effort focuses on securing habitat for the famed Fish Springs Wild Horses who live on BLM and private land in the Gardnerville, Nevada area. The Conservancy overall will focus on critical land acquisition to secure key habitat for wild horses, grazing lease buyouts and compensation for reduced or non-use of grazing permits, and range improvements to improve the quality and quantity of habitat available for wild horses. We can’t wait to expand this innovative program in the coming year!
We have a lot of work to do, but together, we’ll make real progress for our cherished wild horses and burros in 2021. So stay ready, stay safe, and stay tuned!
Suzanne Roy, Executive Director
The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
News & Alerts
We recently learned some truly shocking news, and we’re emailing you now so together we can take swift, collective action to protect Utah’s wild mares before it’s too late.
Against public and congressional opinion, common sense, science, and multiple lawsuits and federal injunctions, the BLM is planning to move ahead with implementing the barbaric surgical procedure, ovariectomy via colpotomy, on wild mares, this time targeting the federally-protected wild horse herds of Utah’s Confusion Herd Management Area (HMA), 90 miles northwest of Delta.
This marks the FOURTH time the agency has tried to get this cruel procedure off the ground, at the urging of the livestock industry. We’ve been fighting this tooth and nail from day one – with legal efforts, congressional pressure and modeling safer, more scientific alternatives for sterilization. We cannot give up now.
Will you join me in taking action TODAY to speak out against this unconscionable – and unpopular – move? Ask your Senators and Representative to stop the BLM from performing this brutal and dangerous procedure on wild mares.
It’s unacceptable for the BLM to once again attempt to proceed with this gruesome sterilization procedure that involves a veterinarian cutting into a mare’s vaginal wall, placing a hand and arm through the vagina in the abdominal cavity, manually (and blindly) locating the ovaries before severing and removing them with a rod-like chain tool called an ecraseur. It’s not only cruel and inhumane, it’s also an unnecessary waste of our taxpayer dollars, particularly when a more cost-effective and humane control alternative exists with the PZP birth control vaccine. In fact it’s ready RIGHT NOW to deploy on the range.
We already have champions in Congress speaking up against this abuse. Last summer, Senator Cory Booker spearheaded a sign-on letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, expressing concerns over the proposed surgical sterilization experiments planned by the agency. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) quickly followed suit in the House and sent a bipartisan letter to the Secretary signed by 30 members.
AWHC — backed by tens of thousands of supporters like you — worked with Congress and partners this year to win a historic legislative victory in the House of Representative with the passage of an amendment that would direct at least $11 million of its annual operating budget for its Wild Horse and Burro Program to implementation of the humane and proven PZP vaccine. We have momentum on our side and we know we can stop this — we’ve done it before — but it’s going to take all of us speaking up right now.
Will you join us?
American Wild Horses Campaign