America's wild horses and burros are facing their biggest threat since the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Every herd is at risk due to a plan called, 10 Years to AML: The Path Forward for Management of BLM’s Wild Horses and Burros. This agenda was created by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Return To Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary (RTF), and organizations that are well known to be hostile towards wild horses and burros — including pro horse slaughter groups such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the Public Lands Council. Click here to view the full list of of this disturbing coalition.
MISGUIDED AND RECKLESS
The animal welfare organizations (HSUS, ASPCA, RTF) that spearheaded this coalition have essentially given up on fiercely defending core elements of the 1971 Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which was passed into law to protect wild horses and burros within designated territories on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. For decades, special interests — including the livestock, oil and gas industries — have aggressively worked to remove wild horses and burros from our Western ranges for the sole purpose of monetizing public lands. In addition to battling with the Department of the Interior, fighting these industries is the backbone of wild horse advocacy, a fight that is shared with environmental organizations and other animal causes such as the preservation of wolves and defending America's national monuments. Standing strong to protect our natural resources and our wildlife are vital causes that should not be abandoned. To partner and acquiesce to the very industries that are trying to eradicate and/or slaughter wild horses is a betrayal of epic proportions, one that will have catastrophic consequences if allowed to be implemented. The Path Forward for Management of BLM’s Wild Horses and Burros, 10 Years to AML agenda must be stopped.
DECIMATION OF WILD HORSE HERDS
Caving to the livestock industry, the main impetus of The Path Forward is to bring the entire population of wild horses on public lands to BLM's unfounded Appropriate Management Level (AML), which is only 27,000 animals — approximately the same number that was considered a threat to their extinction right before The Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 was passed into law.
To reach a population of 27,000 horses, these groups have called for massive roundups, aiming to remove as many as 20,000 horses and burros annually, but no call to reduce livestock grazing. This aggressive assault on wild horse herds will decimate Herd Management Areas throughout the West, all at the expense of the American taxpayer.
AT RISK FOR SLAUGHTER
There are approximately 50,000 wild horses currently being warehoused at BLM short and long term holding facilities, which costs nearly 50 million dollars annually. Adding an additional 20,000 horses into BLM's captivity program every year is financially untenable, jeopardizing the lives of the horses. Mass euthanasia and/or sending them eventually to slaughter is a real threat that should not be ignored. The Public Lands Council and the Farm Bureau have not changed their position about horse slaughter and they may very well use the presence of 100,000 horses in holding facilities to talk about how it’s eating up $200 million a year and argue that we must reduce the population through euthanasia or slaughter.
GELDING AND STERILIZATION
The Path Forward, 10 Years to AML agenda calls for a wide array of fertility control methods. In addition to the use of the safe and reversible vaccine, Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP), the proposal also calls for permanent methods including gelding stallions and sterilizing mares. Taking the wild out of wild horses through invasive methods will tamper with natural herd dynamics. It also poses serious health risks, potentially resulting in fatal complications. One such method, ovariectomy via colpotomy, removes ovaries with a wire loop. This archaic technique, which isn't even used on domestic horses, could cause hemorrhaging, infections and sepsis. It's unthinkable that thousands of wild horses would be released back into the wild with no veterinary post-surgery oversight.
OPPOSE THE PATH FORWARD PLAN
If allowed to be implemented, the livestock industry's 10 Years to AML agenda would decimate wild horse herds throughout the American West, burden taxpayers, and put the horses at risk for slaughter and permanent sterilization.
Please take action by calling your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators. Tell them you don't want your tax dollars allocated to fund a Path Forward pilot program in the FY2020 Appropriations bills that will fund the U.S. government.
In addition, tell your lawmakers it's imperative that we reduce the number of cattle and sheep on wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas. Livestock grazing wreaks ecological havoc, evidenced on riparian areas, grasslands, and forests — causing significant damage to wildlife and the ecosystems on America's public lands.