Back in 2017, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had come up with a request to lawmakers: lift the ban on the unrestricted selling of wild horses and burros. However, that had been heavily criticized. Wild horse advocates, scientists, and celebrities had written to members of Congress over these proposals in 2017. They were concerned that lifting the ban would mean that the wild animal would end up in slaughterhouses.
A Mass Call Against The Controversial Report
The celebrities who gave their support to the letter included Ed Harris, Ian Somerhalder, Elle Fanning, and several others who are equine enthusiasts. The letter was written as a joint statement involving the United States Humane Society.
Ed Harris had written that he and his family strongly disapproved of horse slaughter. As such, also strongly opposed any plans by the government to harm America’s wild horse. BLM had quietly submitted a report to Congress claiming that about 50,000 horses had to be removed from the wild to maintain the ecological balance of the land.
As such, in 2017, provisions were introduced in the national budget that would let BLM kill or sell captured wild horses without restriction. Not having a restriction on their purchase would mean that they would be bought for cheap and then transported to slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada.
BLM had tried controlling wild horse numbers in the rangeland via regular musters. Horses would be kept captive for a long term with grazing arrangements. In 2017, about 40,000 such horses were captive which was straining the budget of the bureau.
Ed Harris, in his letter, had pleaded for a solution that bore common sense and was humane when it came to managing the wild horse population. He, through the letter, wanted Congress’ mandate to keep the spirit of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
The Fight Is Still Ongoing
Several advocacy groups had called for a long time for BLM to stop mustering horses. Instead, they had suggested redirecting the funds toward measures controlling fertility on the rangeland.
The letter further stated that the iconic wild horses of America were fighting to stay alive and that the group could not silently watch them die. As such, they requested Congress to oppose the 2018 provisions in the Presidential budget that would threaten several thousand burros and wild horses.
The letter continued that alternative humane and more cost-effective solutions were available for decades. Sadly, governmental agencies continued to discredit such alternatives, which were scientifically proven, rather than implementing them.
The letter concludes that as voters and citizens of America, they do not stand by their taxes being used to destroy these noble creatures because they are apparently inconvenient. The letter calls the move unconscionable, unnecessary, and a betrayal. The final statement of the letter is an urge to be and do better as a nation. You can read the full letter here.
Fortunately, on 18th July 2018, the bill was not passed. However, till now, the BLM has kept requesting for the ban on unrestricted selling of horses to be lifted every year. Although it is yet to fully pass, the government has not taken any proper steps to cement alternative methods ensuring the creature’s safety either.
Credit: American Wild Horse Campaign