The Deadly Threat to Our Wild Horses

September 22, 2016

The Deadly Threat to Our Wild Horses

A new threat to our American mustangs has emerged and, unbelievably, it comes from our federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Advocates must make sure it is never realized.

This advisory board to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has urged the agency to destroy over 45,000 federally protected wild mustangs and burros, either by killing them outright or selling them indiscriminately. The second option is a green light for kill buyers, individuals who buy horses to resell for meat, and would certainly condemn countless horses to terrible deaths by commercial slaughter for human consumption.

What’s behind this proposal? The BLM has placed tens of thousands of horses in long-term holding facilities while doing nothing to manage the population left on the range; this mismanagement is budget-draining and increasingly wastes resources. Unless BLM abandons its failed policy of roundups and removals and instead institutes humane herd management in earnest, the self-inflicted crisis that has brought the agency to this point will only worsen.

While BLM has publicly rejected the advisory board’s brazen idea, it should be a wakeup call. We’ll soon be getting a new president who will appoint new people to manage these agencies, and the horses' future is unclear.

The BLM must stop warehousing wild horses and squandering tax dollars. Instead, the agency must immediately prioritize a comprehensive immunocontraception (birth control) plan and the possible return of horses to the range. As long as horse slaughter remains a legal option for our nation’s equines, no horse—wild or domestic—is safe. If exporting horses for slaughter were illegal, BLM would finally be forced to comply with its mandate to responsibly care for our wild horses. 

Our nation’s wild horses and burros belong to all of us; our combined outcry must be loud and swift. Together, we must convince Congress to end the brutality of horse slaughter once and for all by passing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act.  The current two-year congressional session will adjourn at the end of 2016. The time to act is NOW—please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to email your members of Congress.