When you donate to help support Return to Freedom’s daily sanctuary operations – by becoming a monthly hay sponsor or sponsoring a resident horse or burro, for example – it also allows our staff to devote more resources to advocacy work on behalf of wild horses and burros living on the range and in government holding.
National lobbying efforts: RTF employs a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., working daily on wild horse and horse slaughter issues, and RTF staff meet frequently with lawmakers and government officials. RTF also meets with other stakeholders for often difficult discussions about the future of wild horses and their habitats on our public lands.
In 2017 and 2018, RTF’s lobbying of Senate appropriators — and the thousands of messages sent and phone calls made by wild horse supporters like you – played an important role in removing the threat of BLM euthanizing wild horses and burros in holding facilities or selling them without any restrictions against slaughter.
Under pressure from RTF and other advocates, the Bureau of Land Management recently rescinded a 2018 policy change that allowed a single buyer to purchase up to 24 wild horses per day with no waiting period and no questions asked. That change opened the door wide to kill buyers. BLM reverted to its previous policy of selling no more than four horses to a single buyer every six months.
On the horse slaughter issue, RTF has helped to ensure that Congress included language barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat inspectors, keeping the temporary ban on horse slaughter within our borders in place from budget cycle to budget cycle.
RTF has also played an active role in building bipartisan support for the SAFE Act to permanently ban both horse slaughter in the United States and the transportation of horses, both domestic and wild, for purposes of slaughter. The newly reintroduced SAFE Act (H.R. 961) has quickly attracted 130 House cosponsors.
In California, RTF is among the organizations working to support the passage of Assembly Bill 128 by Assemblymember Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, which is intended to strengthen the state’s existing anti-slaughter law. Just this week, the bill cleared its first hurdle toward becoming law, passing out of the Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife Committee on a 10-1 vote.
Legal work: RTF remains involved in selective litigation in cases that threaten to set a negative precedent for wild horses, including two ongoing cases:
—RTF and other advocates filed suit to stop the sale without prohibitions against slaughter of wild horses captured by the U.S. Forest Service at Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory in Northern California.
—RTF and other advocates are intervening as defendants in a suit filed by Beaver County, Utah, which would threaten wild horses on the Sulphur Herd Management Area and tie the hands of those that manage them. The county is demanding that the Bureau of Land Management immediately remove all “excess” wild horses, forcing BLM to scrap a staggered plan to reduce the herd population over time, including through the use of safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccines.
This and other advocacy work – including keeping supporters informed about wild horse and horse slaughter issues through e-news and social media and helping them reach out to their representatives – is only possible with your help.