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By AMERICAN HERDS
In 2001, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) launched one the most aggressive wild horse and burro removal campaigns every initiated and has removed over 75,000 wild horses and burros from public lands.
At the turn of the century, an estimated 2-3 million wild horses roamed free in America but through horse hunting and the easy money of capturing them for slaughter, populations had dwindled to about 17,000.
Due to the second largest public outcry and letter campaign ever received by the United States Congress, wild horses and burros became federally protected in 1971 through the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Yet, over the years, protections have continued to be stripped away as both land and populations have disappeared by the very officials that were charged with protecting and preserving them.
In 2004, Montana’s Senator Conrad Burns shattered over 30 years of protection by slipping in a secret amendment in an appropriations bill that was 1,000’s of pages long and nobody bothered to read before signing it the day before the Congressional Thanksgiving break ~ President Bush then signed it into law.
The Burns Amendment, as it is now called, authorized the government to begin selling captured wild horses and burros again for slaughter “without limitation” until all “excess” wild horses and burros had been disposed of. These same government officials that have been reducing and removing our wild horses, burros and their protected habitat are the ones who decide what constitutes “excess”.
Public opposition to sending our wild horses and burros to slaughter caused Congress to require BLM to change their adoption contracts to include a non-legally binding promise that the new owner would not ship them to slaughter ~ though Congress has yet to repeal the actual law.
On June 30, 2008, with BLM reporting 33,000 wild horses are now being warehoused in government holding facilities, more than currently roam free, they announced they can no longer afford to feed the horses so aggressively removed at their discretion and have proposed either allowing our wild horses and burros be sent to slaughterhouses or BLM wants the authority to kill them outright in their pens.
The BLMs management of the Wild Horse and Burro Program has been under investigation by the Government Accountability Office for the last year with the final report due out in September 2008. A few key Congressman have demanded BLM halt any progress on mass killings until the results of the GAO’s report has been released.
While BLM continues to report 33,000 wild horses and burros still roam free, based on BLM’s own population and removal numbers since 2000, an independent analysis of their statistics revealed only about 13,500 were really left when BLM issued their population figures in February 2008. Click here to learn more.
Depending on the results of the GAO’s report and Congress’s response to it, the killing of tens of thousands of warehoused wild horses and burros may begin as early as November of this year.
Currently, BLM is accepting public comments regarding their new slaughter plans and the American public must speak up! The next month is absolutely crucial in deciding whether America’s wild horses and burros will continue to be protected and remain a part of our American heritage or if they will begin their final march to disappear forever.
Their protection has already been stripped to the bone on every level and if BLM isn’t stopped from killing thousands of horses now – nothing will stop them again.
Tell BLM “NO! THIS IS NOT AN OPTION!” by clicking the link at the top of this page, if our remaining wild horses and burros are to have even the slightest chance at life at all.
Please take a moment out to speak for those who can’t, to be counted as someone who wants to see wild horses and burros remain a part of the American scene and who opposes BLM’s management and recent proposed killing policies.
Pass this along to everyone you know, as the more voices that are heard, the more the odds increase that our wild horses and burros will not be killed or slaughtered. Perhaps even write a letter to your local news station, newspaper or government representatives voicing your opposition to a long-standing history of malfeasance in the Wild Horse and Burro Program.