This week, a Congressional committee signed the death warrant for tens of thousands of wild horses and burros in the US. The House Appropriations Committee voted on Tuesday to remove language from the BLM budget that prohibited the “destruction of healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros,” opening the door for the arguably unnecessary culling of the iconic symbols of the American West.
Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah) authored the amendment, stating “I love horses and am concerned about the most humane treatment and care for these majestic animals. In Utah, wild horses are having significant impact on the range and in many instances are dying slow, painful deaths through starvation at the expense of native vegetation and wildlife.” Experts argue, however, that there is enough land for managed horse populations, but this public land is often used for commercial livestock instead. There is also little evidence that many wild horses are starving, except where mismanagement has prevented access to food and water.
If the bill becomes law, it would mean that the BLM could begin killing horses and burros that they deem un-adoptable, so long as the animals aren’t destined to be used as meat. However, wild horse advocates have long called for better sterilization techniques to help control populations, rather than resorting to destroying horses. During the short debate over the measure, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) pointed out that better efforts using contraceptives to limit horse populations should be adopted.
“Let’s be clear: House Appropriations Committee members just signed a death warrant for America’s mustangs and it will lead to the wholesale destruction of these irreplaceable national treasures,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Campaign.
Via USA Today