Tonight Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will introduce himself to the nation as Donald Trump’s running mate at the Republican National Convention. But one thing we already know about Pence is that he is no friend of wild horses.
According to On the Issues, a non-partisan, non-profit organization providing information to voters about candidates via its website www.ontheissues.org, in 2009 Pence voted against protecting wild horses and burros on America’s public lands.
He opposed the “Restore Our American Mustangs Act,” which was introduced to amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. The bill passed in the House but was never passed in the Senate.
According to On the Issues, Rep. Nick Rhall (D, WV) sponsored the bill because earlier that year, the Bureau of Land Management announced that it had future plans to slaughter 30,000 healthy wild horses and burros entrusted to their care by the American people. His argument was: “How in the world can a federal agency be considering massive slaughter of animals the law says they are supposed to be protecting? The bill before us gives the agency as many options as possible to avoid destroying these animals.”
The bill included language: to ensure that acreage available for wild and free-roaming horses and burros is at least equal to the acreage where they were found in 1971; to update the inventory of horses and burros annually; maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on lands where such horses and burros are found; and establish more sanctuaries for horses and burros already rounded up from public lands.
It also intended to lift a restriction on the authority of the Secretary to relocate such horses and burros to public lands where they did not exist at the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. It revoked provisions that allow the Secretaries to destroy: (1) old, sick, or lame animals; (2) excess horses and burros for which an adoption demand does not exist; and it required adopters of horses and burros to affirm that adopted animals and their remains will not be sold or transferred for consideration for processing into commercial products. The bill also applied criminal penalties to any person who transports a live or deceased horse or burro for processing into commercial products. (Unfortunately the bill included language about researching, developing, and implementing enhanced fertility control for wild horses too.)
Opponents argued against wild horses and burros saying: “Across our Nation, Americans are struggling to pay their bills; 9.5% of Americans are out of work. With this backdrop, what is the response of this Democrat Congress to record unemployment and skyrocketing deficits? Their response is to create a $700 million welfare program for wild horses and burros. If the American people want an illustration of just how out of touch this Congress has become on spending, they need to look no further. In the last Congress, the House passed legislation to ban the commercial slaughter of wild horses and burros, that cost taxpayers less than $500,000 a year. Now we’re looking at a bill that, again, bans slaughter of these animals but then proceeds to spend $700 million to create a new welfare program for wild horses. Republicans are focused on creating the jobs in this country, but this Democrat Congress seems to be more worried about wild burros and wild horses.”
To learn more about Pence’s track record regarding the environment, including voting yes on de-authorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species, click here: