ASPCA Testifies to Congress in Favor of Wild Horse and Burro Protection

February 7, 2020

Wild horse

  • The ASPCA supports protections against lethal management methods for wild horses and burros and funding for a new humane path forward for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.
  • The ASPCA provided expert testimony before Congress in support of this new direction.
  • To support our nation’s wild horses and burros, please join the Horse Action Team.

Yesterday, the ASPCA appeared before the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to highlight the urgent need to reform the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program (WHBP) to better protect our nation’s iconic herds.

We broke new ground in 2019 when Congress included an additional $21 million for the program in the FY 2020 Appropriations bill. This funding was allocated in the wake of years of strife on this same committee over whether to succumb to calls for wholesale killing programs and mass sale to slaughter. Our approach has been to shift the narrative to a non-lethal mindset, emphasizing that it is practical and the only viable approach to ensure the future of these cherished herds. To hold the BLM accountable, we urged Congress to continue to withhold these new funds until after the BLM proves that it plans to adhere to a humane, science-driven plan with fertility control as the central tenet.

Woman testifying in front of Congress

“This [funding and instruction] was a truly bipartisan effort and we applaud the subcommittee’s directive to BLM to (1) ensure that effective and humane fertility control is adopted as the central pillar of its management program, and (2) to strictly adhere to its Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program to ensure that horses and burros on and off range are always handled humanely. Assuming that the BLM meets Congress’s requirements, we urge the committee to continue to increase funding for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program in FY21,” said Katie Kraska, Senior Manager of Federal Legislation for the ASPCA.

The ASPCA applauded the subcommittee members for their commitment to this issue and for their work to protect wild horses and burros from slaughter and fund this new humane approach to wild horse and burro management. The success of this plan will require consistent funding in each appropriations cycle and robust investment upfront. That’s why the ASPCA urged the committee to dedicate the maximum amount of funding for the program during the 2021 fiscal year, noting the importance of congressional oversight to ensure that proven safe and humane fertility control is implemented correctly. The subcommittee members thanked the ASPCA for providing a way forward and helping steer the conversation away from harming horses.

As Congress digs into the important work of funding the federal government during the 2021 fiscal year, we will keep you updated about our efforts to create a humane path forward for wild horses and burros. To raise your voice for wild horses and burros, please join our Horse Action Team today!