Bipartisan House amendment would restore wild horse protections 

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A BLM contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses during the fall 2016 Owyhee Complex roundup in Nevada. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

 

Update: Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-New Mexico, have also signed on as original co-sponsors of the wild horse amendment. Both the Interior and Agriculture Appropriations bills have been packaged into a larger appropriations bill called a “minibus,” which is attached to HR 3354.

Reps. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, Peter King, R-New York, and Jared Polis, D-Colorado, on Thursday filed an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would restore protections for wild horses and burros. It comes in response to the July 19 passage, by House Appropriations Committee voice vote, of an amendment by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill healthy unadopted wild horses and burros.

On behalf of supporters nationwide, Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation praised the representatives for hearing the voices of the American people, 80 percent of whom have consistently opposed horse slaughter in polls and a similar percentage who say they want to see wild horses protected.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Reps. Titus, King and Polis and are hopeful that other members of the House will join them in rejecting a plan to wipe away years of mismanagement by using taxpayer dollars to shoot tens of thousands of horses,” said Return to Freedom president Neda DeMayo.

“House members should vote for this amendment as a step away from a cruel, costly system of capturing, removing and warehousing wild horses and burros — and a step toward creating a new, proud plan to restore balance to our public rangelands using proven, humane tools that will provide wild horses with a sustainable future while saving taxpayers millions of dollars over time.”

In addition, Reps.Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, Ed Royce, R-California, and Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, on Thursday introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from funding horsemeat inspectors.

On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee voted 27-25 to reject a similar amendment, a vote that could open the door to horse slaughter plants opening in the United States for the first time since 2007. Because there is no permanent federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push annually for an amendment barring the USDA from hiring horsemeat plant inspectors to effectively keep a ban in place.

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