Lawmakers fear wild horses are being sold to slaughter

Seek to halt adoption program

WASHINGTON (June 13, 2021) — Outraged lawmakers are urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (pronounced “Holland”) to halt the wild horse adoption program and conduct an investigation following a report that some of the adopted horses are subsequently being sold to slaughter for their meat.

A wild horse rescue group also threatened last week to file a lawsuit in federal court to stop the Bureau of Land Management from continuing the program until safeguards and enforcement stop the illegal sales. The Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program under the BLM was designed to provide humane and safe shelter for wild-roaming animals rounded up to protect public lands for wildlife.

Congress passed a law in 1971 to protect the animals from slaughter for commercial purposes, and it is illegal to sell the adopted horses to buyers with the intent to do so. However, a recent report by the New York Times found that some of those adopting the horses sold them to slaughterhouse buyers, then turnaround and adopt more and sell them on for meat.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and 30 House members, including Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., urged Haaland to halt the adoption program and conduct an investigation into practice.

Under the program, the government paid $1,000 per horse for those qualified to adopt, but the NYT report found some of those horses were later sold to buyers who sent them to slaughter.

The report’s findings were not new. Media outlets and lawmakers have reported similar slaughter of the adopted horses for illegal resale in recent years. The program also is closely watched by wild horse rescue advocate organizations.

Congress has prevented the sale of wild horses for slaughter for decades.

“Wild horse lovers and defenders were encouraged, some even ‘thrilled’ — calling it a major victory— when Deb Haaland was appointed as Director of the Interior,” states Vivian Farrell of the Fund for Horses. “In little to no time, all those hopes were dashed when it became abundantly clearly that Haaland was going to do absolutely nothing for their protection. Haaland should have taken immediate action. To our knowledge she has said and done nothing.”

Contact the White House via webform and demand the President to direct his Secretary of Interior to end the wild horse $1,000 adoption program immediately. You can also telephone the White House at (202) 456 1111.

Our federally protected wild horses are being sent to slaughter through a cowardly, illicit and egregious manipulation of the law. This is a thorough disgrace to this country and what it stands for — symbolized by the American Mustang for many decades. There are not too many Mustangs. There are too few. Much too few.

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