Tracking key legislation for wild horses, burros

Photo taken at RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary by Irene Vejar.

WILD HORSES

The House and Senate Appropriations Committee have passed their own versions of Interior Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.  Once these bills are approved by the full House and Senate, they are sent to a Conference Committee which consists of members from the Senate and House where differences between the two bills are worked out to produce one final bill. This is the stage we must work on to ensure the Senate stands firm to reject the harmful language to sterilize wild horses.  The final bill must then pass the full Senate and House before being sent to the President for his signature. This must be done by Sept. 31.

 Fiscal Year 2019 House Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 6147)– This bill, which will fund the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, includes an amendment that would give the Secretary of the Interior broad leeway to create non-reproducing or single-sex herds using dangerous, costly, and untested field sterilization surgeries. Status: Passed House Appropriations Committee on June 6. Status: Passed the House floor, 217-199, on July 29. Next step: House-Senate conference committee, no date set.

Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Interior Appropriations bill (S. 3073)– The Senate’s version of the Interior bill does not include a sterilization amendment. It includes protective language that would bar the BLM from killing healthy wild horses and burros or selling them for slaughter. Status: This bill was folded into an appropriations “mini-bus” that passed the Senate on Aug. 1 by a vote of 92-6. Next step: The Senate’s Appropriations language was placed into H.R. 6147. It will now go to Conference so that the two hourses can work out the differences between versions, no date set.

HORSE SLAUGHTER

The House and Senate Appropriations Committee have passed their own versions of Agriculture Appropriations bills for FY19.  Once these bills are approved by the full House and Senate, they are sent to a Conference Committee which consists of members from the Senate and House where differences between the two bills are worked out to produce one final bill. This is the stage we must work on to ensure the Senate stands strong and rejects efforts by the House to remove the horse slaughter defund amendment they approved without dissent.  The final bill must then pass the full Senate and House before being sent to the President for his signature. This must be done by Sept. 31.

Fiscal Year 2019 House Agriculture Appropriations bill (H.R. 5961)– The House bill does not include a “horse slaughter defund amendment,” which would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture from hiring horsemeat inspectors. Status: Passed House Appropriations Committee on May 16. Subsequently incorporated into a combined appropriations package. Next step: It will now go to Conference so that the two hourses can work out the differences between versions, no date set.

Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill (S. 2976) –The Senate bill includes language barring the USDA from hiring horsemeat inspectors. That would keep in place a temporary ban on horse slaughter within the United States for the next fiscal year. Status: This bill was folded into an appropriations “mini-bus” that passed the Senate on Aug. 1 by a vote of 92-6. Next step: The Senate’s Appropriations language was placed into H.R. 6147. It will now go to Conference so that the two hourses can work out the differences between versions, no date set.

Safeguard American Food Exports Act (H.R. 113) – This bill would permanently ban horse slaughter within the United States and the transportation of horses over our borders for purposes of slaughter. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health by the Committee on Energy and Commerce; referred to the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture by the Committee on Agriculture. Next step: Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, the Energy and Commerce and Agriculture Committees have refused to hold hearings on the bill. The public must continue to call the Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader to demand they bring this bill to the floor for a vote. Click for more information.

Safeguard American Food Exports Act (S. 1706) — This bill would permanently ban horse slaughter within the United States and the transportation of horses over our borders for purposes of slaughter. Status: Referred by the Senate to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Next step: Despite overwhelming bipartisan support, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has refused to hold hearings on the bill. The public must continue to call the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (a support of the ban on horse slaughter) to demand  this bill be brought to the floor for a vote. Click for more information.

HORSE TRANSPORTATION

Horse Transportation Safety Act (H.R. 4040)– This bill would prohibits transporting a horse in a trailer with two or more levels. Status:Referred to by Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. Next step: Continue contacting the Chairman and members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and urge them to hold a hearing on this bill.

Take Action

Call your members of Congress at (202) 225-3121 (to find direct numbers, click here).

Urge your senators to:

* Oppose a new, quietly implemented BLM policy increasing the number of wild horses that can be sold to individuals and the frequency of those sales. This move will only lead to the slaughter of wild horses, something Congress has strongly rejected;

* Stand strong in Conference committee on the Senate’s language protecting wild horses and burros and on defunding horse slaughter, if the senator sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee (click to see a list of members).

For senators not on the Senate Appropriations Committee: Ask them to tell members of the Conference committee that constituents do not want them to waiver either on protecting wild horses or defunding horse slaughter.

* Support the SAFE Act (S. 1706) to ban slaughter and the transportation of horses for slaughter.

Urge your congressional representative to:

* Oppose a new, quietly implemented BLM increasing the number of wild horses that can be sold to individuals and the frequency of those sales. This move will only lead to the slaughter of wild horses, something Congress has strongly rejected;

* Oppose the House version of the FY19 Interior Appropriations bill because it contains an amendment allowing for the mass sterilization of wild horses and burros; instead, ask your representative to support Senate language on wild horses being considered by the House and Senate Conference committee, instead;

* Oppose the FY19 Agriculture Appropriations bill because it does not include the horse slaughter inspection defund language; instead, ask your representative to support the Senate language being considered by the House and Senate Conference committee, instead;

* Support the SAFE Act (H.R. 113) to ban slaughter and the transportation of horses for slaughter;

* Support the Horse Transportation Safety Act (H.R. 4040) to ban hauling horses on double-deck trailers under all circumstances.

Sign RTF’s Wild on the Range petition, calling for humane management solutions.

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund, which fuels our advocacy, lobbying and selective litigation efforts.

 

 

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