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An attempt is under to way to change a US Department of the Interior spending bill to restore threatened protections for wild horses and burros.
Representatives. Dina Titus (D-Nevada), Peter King (R-New York), and Jared Polis (D-Colorado) filed an amendment on Thursday to the Interior Appropriations bill aimed at protecting the horses and burros managed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
It is in response to the July 19 passage, by House Appropriations Committee, on a voice vote, of an amendment by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) which would allow the BLM to kill healthy unadopted wild horses and burros.
The BLM proposal is in response to growing pressure on its budget for managing the nation’s wild horses and burros, with the lion’s share of that money spent on keeping wild horses in captivity.
The nonprofit group Return to Freedom Wild Horse Conservation praised the representatives for hearing the voices of the American people, noting that polls had consistently shown that 80 percent of citizens opposed horse slaughter. A similar percentage say they want to see wild horses protected.
“We are grateful for the leadership of Reps. Titus, King and Polis and are hopeful that other members of the House will join them in rejecting a plan to wipe away years of mismanagement by using taxpayer dollars to shoot tens of thousands of horses,” the group’s president, Neda DeMayo, said.
“House members should vote for the Titus-King-Polis amendment as a step away from a cruel, costly system of capturing, removing and warehousing wild horses and burros — and a step toward creating a new, proud plan to restore balance to our public rangelands using proven, humane tools that will provide wild horses with a sustainable future while saving taxpayers millions of dollars over time.”
In addition, Reps.Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), Lucille Roybal-Allar (D-California), Ed Royce (R-California), and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) on Thursday filed a bipartisan amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would bar the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) from funding horsemeat inspectors.
On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee voted 27-25 to reject a similar amendment, a vote that could open the door to horse slaughter plants opening in the US for the first time since 2007.
Because there is no permanent federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push annually for an amendment barring the USDA from hiring horse-meat plant inspectors to effectively keep a ban in place.