Last week, June 16 the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee held a “markup” hearing on the 2017 Interior Appropriations Bill.
The bill included language in Section 110, which allows the BLM to transfer our federally protected wild horses and burros to state, local, or other federal agencies ‘to be used as service and work animals’, which strips them of their federally protected and wild status.
The bill did pass out of committee 16-14. All Democrats on the Committee voted against it so it may not get the votes needed for a floor vote for resolution.
The link to the announcement of the House bill’s passage out of committee is here.
The hopeful outcome for the short term is a Continuing Resolution (CR) which means the 2016 Budget (which does not have this damaging provision) will carry throughout the remainder of the year and we can fight this when it comes up again, most likely in January.
This gives us more time to build awareness about how damaging this will be to our wild horses and burros and demonstrate how Americas feel about our federally protected wild horses and burros losing what little is left that protects them from suffering, abuse and slaughter.
Attached is the text of the House amendment, and the Senate bill text from the Subcommittee’s draft bill text is also attached.
Since the passing of the Burn’s “Sale Authority” amendment in 2005, what little protections exist for wild horses and burros are being traded away.
The chipping away of protections intended by the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971 continues to open the gateway to the slaughter and the easy disposal of our iconic American mustangs and burros.
With over 45,000 captured wild horses and burros warehoused in holding facilities and over 40,000 wild horses and burros that BLM wants removed from the range, the stakes are high.
Section 110 of the BLM’s 2017 budget proposal has no mechanism for humane oversight. In addition, any amendment to Section 110 to protect the horses and burros from slaughter is not enforceable and will not prohibit their slaughter for non-commercial uses. The language leaves a broad range of interpretation and has no recourse for accountability.