HSUS president and chief executive Wayne Pacelle testified before the US National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Tuesday in support of The Restoring Our American Mustangs Act (HR 1018), introduced by House Natural Resources Committee chairman Nick Rahall and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee chairman Raul Grijalva.
"For more than 30 years, wild horses and burros had been protected from commercial sale and slaughter since the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971," Pacelle said.
"Yet, a midnight manoeuvre by former Senator Conrad Burns, (R-Montana) - in which he slipped a controversial rider into an omnibus spending bill - gutted these longstanding protections.
"In minutes, with no public review, these American icons were robbed of the shield they had been rightfully afforded for so long.
"HR 1018 will not only restore longstanding protections to wild horses and burros in the United States, but it will provide the Bureau of Land Management with the legislative support necessary to revolutionise the current wild horse and burro management programme from one that is often inefficient, costly and cruel to one which is technologically advanced, cost-beneficial and humane," said Pacelle.
"Such an endeavour would be of great benefit not only to our treasured wild horse and burro populations, but also to the American taxpayer."
HR 1018 removed outdated limits on areas where horses can roam freely, allowing the BLM to find additional, suitable acreage for these animals. Further, it strengthened the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption programme, and required consistency and accuracy in the management of wild horse and burro herds, he said.
It allowed more public involvement in management decisions, he added.