Be an informed voter: 8 questions to ask congressional candidates

/ Staff Blog

Photo taken at RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary by Rich Sladick.

One way that you can make a difference for the future of America’s horses, wild and domestic, is by making informed voting decisions. Here are some questions that you can pose to incumbents or challengers seeking to represent your congressional district in the House or your state in the U.S. Senate, whether at a town hall meeting, campaign event or by calling their campaign offices. Let them know you’ll vote accordingly!

Candidate Questions

  • What actions have you taken affecting the welfare of animals in the past? Please include actions taken at the local, state, or federal levels.
  • Are there any animal welfare programs or issues of importance to you that you would take the initiative on if elected?
  • Will you support continued funding for wildlife conservation and habitat-protection programs?

Wild Horse Management

For decades, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have captured and removed federally protected wild horses and burros from our public lands in the West. More than 60,000 now live not on the range, but in government holding corrals or leased pastures. Proven, safe and humane fertility control offers a way to manage wild horses and burros on the range, end removals and phase out holding facilities, saving taxpayer money over time.

  • Will you support investing in proven, safe and humane fertility control to manage wild horse and burro herds and see that Congress holds BLM’s feet to the fire on its correct and immediate implementation?
  • In the past, proposals have been made to allow the BLM to use lethal or dangerous tools to reduce the wild horse and burro population, including killing captured wild horses and burros, selling them without restriction (to slaughter), or performing costly, untested and potentially deadly surgeries of wild mares. Would you support any of these?
  • Will you work with advocates and experts to implement humane and readily available on-the-range management solutions for wild horses and burros and to address other animal welfare concerns? These include improving standards for the handling and care of captured wild horses and burros and either altering or ending sale/adoption programs that place them at risk of being sold to slaughter, ending up in abusive homes, or going to owners that cannot afford their care.

Horse Slaughter

In polls, more than 80% of voters consistently say that they oppose horses slaughter, yet thousands of American racehorses, workhorses, wild horses that once roamed our public lands, and other equines are shipped each year to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. This often happens in substandard conditions in which horses have been documented having their throats cut while still fully conscious. This inhumane business mostly benefits a small number of kill buyers while threatening human health because American horses — raised as pets, not livestock — routinely are prescribed dozens of medications dangerous to people.

  • Will you support legislation such as the Save American’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act to institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter and export of horses for human consumption?
  • As Congress works to pass the SAFE Act or a similar ban on horse slaughter, appropriations committees have supported spending bill amendments prohibiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat inspectors. This isn’t a permanent solution, but it does help keep horse slaughter plants closed. Will you vote in favor of these amendments, be it in committee or on the floor?

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund, which fuels out lobbying, grassroots advocacy, selective litigation and on-range monitoring of wild horse roundups