Bills that have passed the US House and Senate this week include extra funding of $US21 million for the management of wild horse numbers based on humane fertility control.
The president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, Kitty Block, says the passage of the two bills include major victories for animals, including horses and burros.
The package will fund all federal agencies for the 2020 fiscal year.
The bills now require the signature of President Donald Trump.
Block, in her blog, A Humane World, notes that the package provides an extra $US21 million to the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.
The funds can only be accessed after the agency submits a comprehensive plan on how it will implement an aggressive, non-lethal program. Block notes that the program must be based on scientifically sound, safe and humane fertility control tools that exclude surgical sterilization, an increased focus on adoptions, and relocation of wild horses and burros to larger, more humane pastures instead of perpetually warehousing these animals in holding pens.
Additionally, the bill prohibits the bureau and, for the first time, also the US Forest Service, from killing or sending healthy horses or burros to slaughter.
Language in the omnibus package directs the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promptly resume online posting of all inspection reports and enforcement records under the Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act in their entirety without redactions that obscure the identities of puppy mills, roadside zoos and other businesses cited for violations.
The legislation also bans USDA spending on horse slaughter inspections, effectively preventing horse slaughter plants from operating in the US during the 2020 fiscal year.
It also provides $US1 million (a $295,000 increase) for USDA enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), to crack down on the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses and related breeds.
Block thanked lawmakers for their support of the provisions.
FOONOTE: President Trump signed into law the omnibus appropriations package.