Did you know Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) has introduced ominous legislation that would give Western states and Indian Tribes the option to take over the management of wild horses and burros? However, in the past, state and tribal control has meant slaughter for these magnificent animals. 

The Wild Horse Oversight Act of 2014 claims it will preserve all protections under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, yet allow states to implement horse and burro management plans that address the specific needs of their own state. 

But Friends of Animals and other wild horse advocates are adamant that such a bill would mean cruelty and death for wild horses. Look at what happened in the case of the 41 wild horses from Dry Creek, Wyo.,—37 were rounded up, turned over to the Wyoming Livestock Board and sold to a Canadian slaughterhouse back in March. The horses were descended from stray rodeo horses owned by a rancher and rodeo livestock contractor in the 1970s. And last summer, at least 130 horses were rounded up and shipped to slaughter from the tribal lands at Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation.

“We need folks to contact their representatives in Congress and tell them to vote no on this bill. State control will likely mean the end of wild horses in the West,” said Mike Harris, director of the Wildlife Law Program at Friends of Animals. 

Stewart claims the federal government has never been able to properly manage the horses and burros in the west. That’s one thing Friends of Animals agrees with him on. But we believe that wild horses should remain untouched, not handed over to the states. That’s why in June we joined with the Cloud Foundation and filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list North American wild horses on public lands as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) since the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WHBA), which was passed in 1971, has failed to protect our wild horses. Six states have already lost their wild horse populations—Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

The Wild Horse Oversight Act of 2014 has been assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee.

Take action and contact Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) and ranking member Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and tell them to squash the bill because it would put our wild horses at risk of slaughter. Email Hastings here or call 202.225.5816 or 509.543.9396. E-mail DeFazio here or call 202-225-6416 or 541-440-3523.

You can also tell Congressman Stewart you oppose his legislation by writing to: 323 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; calling him at 202-225-9730; or sending an email here.

Contact Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and tell her wild horses on public lands should be listed and protected under the ESA.  She can be reached at Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC 20240; 202.208.3100; feedback@ios.doi.gov