On Friday, Congress will decide between House legislation that allows the BLM to destroy healthy wild horses and burros, and the Senate version, which instead protects them because it continues to prohibit killing and slaughter.
It is crucial that your senators and representatives hear from you. Tell them to vote for the Senate version of Agriculture and Interior Appropriations bill. You can use these talking points:
●The wild horse population is not the concern that should be troubling lawmakers. The encroachment of increasingly commercialized Western public lands is the real problem. Today, upwards of 2 million cattle graze public lands, and the government has authorized thousands of oil, gas and mineral extraction projects on federally owned properties. The result truly is a crisis as these commercial activities have substantially fragmented and reduced the amount of habitat left for wild horses and other wildlife.
●Fiscal concerns with the wild horse program are overblown. While it is true that the budget for wild horses and burros has increased to $75.7 million, this is just a fraction (about 1 percent) of the Department of Interiors’ FY2017 budget. Moreover, this amount could be trimmed if BLM, as indicated below, increased the amount of public lands available to wild horses.
●According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 86 million Americans participated in wildlife watching in the United States in 2016 and spent $75.9 billion dollars. The Bureau of Land Management should be raising awareness about how to view wild horses instead of treating them like pests.
Instead of killing wild horses, please consider these helpful measures:
● Attaching a stipulation to the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 that would allow wild horses to be returned or relocated to Herd Areas in states where wild horses once roamed but have been wiped out—Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
● Restricting cattle and sheep ranchers from grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas.
Please contact your local congress men and women to urge them to vote no on any legislation that would authorize the killing of our nation’s wild horses and burros. Find your U.S. representatives here.
Find your U.S. Senators here.