Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bill Introduced in Congress to Protect Wild Horses

Nick Rahall and Raul Grijalva have introduced a bill that would protect healthy wild horses from being killed by the BLM.
In a written statement, Rahall says the intent is to help spur alternatives to killing excess wild horses that are in holding facilities. He says it's unacceptable for wild horses that embody the spirit of the American West to be slaughtered.
They don't have the text of it on Thomas.gov, but here is a link to HR 1018 on the site.Here is what Rep. Rahal said in his introduction of the bill:
* Mr. RAHALL. Madam Speaker, in the 19th Century, it is estimated that as many as 2 million wild horses and burros ranged freely across the American West. Some of them were of noble birth, with blood lines stretching back to the horses which carried Spanish explorers into the New World; all of them were part of the fabric of the romance and the history of the American West.

* As wild animals living on public land, management of these horses and burros fell to the Federal government, acting through the Bureau of Land Management, BLM. Unfortunately, many decades of underfunding and inhumane management practices combined to destroy these wild herds, leaving fewer than 25,000 wild horses and burros on public lands by the early 1970s.

* Starting in the 1950s, the American public became aware of the cruelty, disease and death suffered by these iconic animals, thanks in large part to the actions of one woman, Mrs. Velma Bronn Johnston--better known by the nickname she earned--Wild Horse Annie. The crusade she started--which included a massive letter-writing campaign and eventually a beloved children's book--culminated in 1971 with enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. The Act stated clearly that:

Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.

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