Advocacy: The Issue

A brief history

“In 1971, Congress unanimously passed the “Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” declaring these iconic animals to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” that “enrich the lives of the American people” and are “an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” WHC

Only one other species has ever received this level of federal protection: the American Bald Eagle.

Where wild horses roam

“Nearly 80,000 wild horses (also known as mustangs) and burros roam free across our western public lands. They live in designated habitats called Herd Management Areas (HMAs), that span 27 million federal acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana. While most areas where mustangs and burros live are extremely remote, you can find a few iconic herds at the edge of urban sprawl just outside of metropolitan areas like Salt Lake City, Reno and Las Vegas”. WHC

What’s happening

“Each year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, spends more than $80 million to round up thousands of wild horses and burros with helicopters from our public lands and ship them to holding pens and pastures where taxpayers must pay to house and feed them. A small percentage will be adopted, but most will remain in holding pens and pastures for life, which for an equine can span 30 years.” WHC

Special interests drive policy 

“The 1971 law protects wild horses and burros from “capture, branding, harassment and death,” but pressure from special interests — particularly the powerful livestock industry, which competes for resources on public lands — drives the BLM’s inhumane and unsustainable wild horse and burro roundup policies.

Once wild horses and burros are captured, they’re replaced on public lands by privately-owned cattle and sheep, as a part of taxpayer-subsidized public lands ranching.” WHC

Fiscal irresponsibility. 

“The fate of these horses and burros in government holding facilities is subject to annual funding through the congressional appropriations budget”. The fear of slaughter looms as the BLM continues to stockpile wild horses, caving to special interest lobbying.” WHC

So what can we do to protect our wild horses from slaughter? 

“Passage of the SAFE Act would protect wild horses after they lose their legal identity as “wild.” After title transfers (adoption or sale), wild horses are considered private property, domestics. The SAFE Act would prohibit transport of all domestic horses across state lines and internationally for the purpose of slaughter based on the use of products (medications, wormers, etc.) in animals not raised for human consumption.

SAFE MUST BE REINTRODUCED TO THE 117th CONGRESS IN 2021 before you can take action using a bill number. 

We urge everyone to read the text of the SAFE Act so you can understand exactly what it would accomplish.  At this link you can read the text of the Act and check current co-sponsors. 

We will get you a new action item once the bill is back in play. 

The 116th Congressional session is coming to an end. SAFE has not even come to a vote in the House of Representatives and still sits in committee. It is highly probable that the SAFE Act will need to be reintroduced to the 117th Congress after November and the process of gathering co-sponsors will begin again, along with all the political poker played by lobby groups.

The SAFE Act is a very important piece of legislation for all of our American equines. However, the SAFE Act is a domestic animal bill that would live within the law books of the USDA (if you have read this entire article, you understand what that means).” Wild Horse Education