Take Action for Wild Horses and Burros
The wild horses and burros of the West are under siege, and, unfortunately, the agency entrusted to protect them, the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is to blame.
Wild horses were abandoned into the West over three hundred years ago, and play an integral role in the ecosystems they inhabit. Yet the BLM has savagely rounded up--and in many cases sold to slaughter--tens of thousands of wild horses and burros to appease cattle ranchers and other private interests who seek to profit from their removal.
During the roundups, BLM contractors mercilessly chase down wild horses and burros in trucks and helicopters. Some of the animals die in the process and the remainder spend an indefinite time trapped in BLM holding pens.
Now, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has proposed a plan that would expand the capture and confinement of wild horses. Under his plan, tens of thousands of additional mustangs (mares and neutered stallions) would be rounded up and detained in the Midwest and Eastern U.S., at taxpayers’ expense. The plan would eliminate many of the wild herds that currently exist and greatly reduce the populations of the remaining herds – well below the levels needed for the genetic diversity that ensures continued survival. Salazar’s plan would also mandate aggressive sterilization of wild horses on public lands, essentially managing the wild horses into extinction.
There are fewer than 15,000 horses and burros are left in the wild, while over 34,000 are confined in BLM holding pens. The BLM spends more than $3.3 million each month to hold these animals. Salazar’s plan would cost an additional $42 million over the next few years.
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 was enacted by Congress in response to public outcry over the hunting and capture of the animals. For over forty years, the law has been distorted, misrepresented and ignored by those who want the horses gone. The federal government has taken away tens of millions of acres of public lands designated for wild horses and burros.
While the BLM officials claim they are rounding up wild horses to protect the environment, the truth is far from that. Cattle ranchers and others have long sought the removal of wild horses from public lands – no wild horses only means that more cattle that can be grazed for slaughter, and more land opened for other private uses.
Friends of Animals urges Congress to protect wild horses and burros, and prohibit their capture, sterilization and transfer to slaughterhouses or government holding pens.
Please help us ensure that wild horses and burros remain a vital and thriving community of the North American West.
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