The president on Sept. 28 signed a Continuing Resolution that will fund the government until Dec. 7. For the time being, language from the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations package remains in place for wild horse management and horse slaughter.
The short-term extension will mean prohibitions against killing healthy unadopted wild horses and burros and on the U.S. Department of Agriculture using our tax dollars to hire horsemeat inspectors remain in effect, for now.
Also on hold is a House amendment for FY19 Interior appropriations that would hand the Secretary of the Interior the power to decide which herds can reproduce and that encourages the use of dangerous, costly and unproven sterilization surgeries. Nevertheless, sterilization remains within the powers given to the Bureau of Land Management under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Whether a planned sterilization study on Oregon mares goes forward next month will now fall to a judge.
Congress’ short-term extension does not provide a reprieve for advocates. The BLM, lobbyists for the cattle industry and others will continue using this additional time to push for sterilization when Congress returns to finalize the FY19 Interior Appropriations bill by Dec. 7.
It remains up to Senate Conference Committee members to hold the line on protective language for wild horses and burros and on horse slaughter, as they did for Fiscal Year 2018.
We need to continue politely calling members of the Senate to encourage them to stand strong on its protective language for wild horses and burros and to preserve anti-slaughter language as the Conference Committee works out the differences between the House and Senate bills.
Wild horse advocates also need to alert members of the Senate to BLM’s quietly instituted changes to its wild horse sale policy, which now allows a single buyer to purchase up to 24 wild horses per day with no waiting period, no oversight and no questions asked. This change runs counter to Congress’ opposition to selling wild horses and burros to slaughter.
Please call the Senate Conference Committee members listed below. Urge them to:
* Stand strong on Senate language protecting wild horses and burros;
* Stand strong on defunding horse slaughter;
* Demand that BLM revoke its quietly instituted wild horse sale policy change allowing more wild horses and burros to be sent to slaughter;
* Oppose the unrestricted sale of wild horses and burros by the U.S. Forest Service.
Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama
Sen. Susan Collins, Maine
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Sen. John Hoeven, North Dakota
Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi
Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vermont
Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island
Sen. Tom Udall, New Mexico
Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon
Sen. Christopher Coons, Delaware
Note: If a staff member taking your call suggests calling your own senator, instead, please emphasize that wild horses and horse slaughter are issues of importance to all Americans and that you wanted to share your views with members of the Conference Committee. Remember that the Senate has been supportive of wild and domestic horses, so be polite and respectful of the staff when you call.