Congress may make it okay to eat wild horses today, and we have questions
On December 22nd, Congress must pass a federal budget plan for the rest of the fiscal year, and animal rights activists are concerned. The new budget plan could lead to the reopening of horse slaughterhouses in the United States and lead to the euthanasia of thousands of wild horses.
The last three horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. were closed in 2007. But slaughterhouses were never officially banned. Instead, each year via the federal budget plan, Congress has prevented the USDA from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse-slaughtering facilities. Without those inspections, the slaughterhouses are not allowed to operate.
Congress has used this budget plan tactic to keep horse slaughterhouses closed for over a decade. But in October 2017, the House voted on and passed their 2018 budget plan, which included a lift on the USDA ban. Luckily, the Senate kept the ban in place in their version of the 2018 budget. But depending on which version of the plan is passed today, there is a 50/50 chance that the USDA will once again be allowed to use taxpayer money to fund horse slaughterhouse inspections.
Another threat wild horses in the U.S. face is euthanasia due to overpopulation. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 currently protects wild horses on public land. And the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing wild horses on said shared land.
But the BLM is also responsible for determining which land can be used for fracking, mining, and ranching, and the BLM has leased swaths of land to those industries. According to Nancy Perry, the senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations, the wild horses living on land given to industries have been physically moved to fenced-in corrals and put up for adoption.
Keeping the wild horses in these government-managed “off-range facilities,” costs the government $50 million a year. The BLM states that maintaining these corralled horses has become too costly. President Trump’s 2018 budget plan would allow the BLM to use humane euthanasia and “unrestricted sale of certain excess animals,” to lower the population of wild horses in captivity and therefore the cost to maintain them.
If this is an issue that you feel strongly about, call your representatives today and tell them to keep the slaughterhouse inspection funding ban in place and to vote against the euthanasia and unrestricted sale of wild horses. You can find your local representatives here.