September 12, 2017

U.S. House Committee Blocks Efforts to Protect Wild and Domestic Horses

horse protections

The U.S. House of Representatives had one last chance to make the right choice for America’s horses. But with no explanation, the Rules Committee prevented not one, but two bipartisan horse-protection amendments from moving forward for consideration on the House floor. These amendments would have 1) prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars from being used on horse slaughter, and 2) thwarted a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to kill healthy wild horses and burros. The provisions would have amended the House of Representatives’ annual federal spending (Appropriations) bill for 2018, which Congress is currently finalizing.  

Late last Tuesday night (Sept. 5), the committee blocked a bipartisan amendment filed by Reps. Buchanan (R-FL), Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Royce (R-CA) and Blumenauer (D-OR) that would have prevented the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from funding horse slaughter inspections—this language must be renewed annually to keep horse slaughter from resuming on U.S. soil. 

The following night (Sept. 6), the same committee blocked another popular bipartisan amendment from consideration by the full House: this time, it was  the Titus (D-NV), King (R-NY), Polis (D-CO), Curbelo (R-FL), Lujan Grisham (D-NM) Amendment to protect our wild horses and burros from mass killing by the BLM. Watch Reps. Polis and Hastings fight for our wild horses in this video of the Rules Committee Hearing.

The Rules Committee decides whether or not amendments are allowed to be offered on the House floor. Without explanation, the committee voted to block both of these amendments from consideration. This kind of naked political maneuvering is patently undemocratic—a small minority prevented the full House from considering these life-saving provisions, even though both would have simply continued longstanding federal policies that 80% of Americans support. 

Through our lobbying work, we could see that these very popular amendments would have passed by wide margins if allowed to go up for a vote. This disappointing action by the Rules Committee is a direct result of the influence of a small number of representatives who are dead-set on bringing horse slaughter plants back to our country, and using cruel methods to manage our iconic wild horse herds. 

The fate of America’s horses now rests in the hands of Congressional leadership. The Senate’s version of the Appropriations bill does prohibit the use of federal funds for horse slaughter, but they have not moved Interior Appropriations through committee yet. When the Senate and House meet to reconcile their differing versions of the bill, we must make sure that the Senate’s language on horses is adopted—and we need to also make sure the bill stridently rejects the BLM’s shortsighted plan to kill healthy wild horses. You can help: Please click the button below to visit our Action Alert, where you may quickly contact your members of Congress in support of America’s at-risk horses.