Groups say budget proposal would lead to horse slaughter

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A portion of the wild horses captured are released following the recent Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area roundup in Utah. Photo by Steve Paige.


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As published by Elko Daily Free Press

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was among groups denouncing the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget proposal regarding wild horses, saying it will open the door “for tens of thousands of horses to be immediately killed or sent to slaughter.”

The Wild Horse and Burro Program, managed by the Bureau of Land Management under the Department of the Interior, would allow wild horses to be sold to the highest bidder, and would strip language prohibiting the killing of healthy wild horses, the group stated.

“This proposal represents a dereliction of the Interior Department’s responsibility to protect our nation’s wild horses and an affront to public opinion and our shared values,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Wild horses can and should be humanely managed on-range using simple fertility control, yet the BLM would rather make these innocent animals pay for draconian budget cuts with their very lives.”

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation also warned that the proposal would open the door to euthanizing captured wild horses and burros and allowing others to fall into the slaughter pipeline.

“Making short-sighted policy changes that could result in either shooting healthy wild horses and burros or shipping them off to Canada or Mexico for slaughter would betray both these icons of the West and the Americans who have invested tens of millions of tax dollars in their management and care,” said Neda DeMayo, president of the group.

“We always need to be vigilant about the lifting of restrictions. If these proposals are approved, it would eviscerate the protections that wild horses do have.”

Currently, the BLM has more than 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities.