Stop New Omnibus Bill That Could Lead To The Slaughter Of Thousands Of Wild Horses
Panic ensued in many private and public sectors following Monday’s unveiling of an omnibus spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), formally known as the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, is among those seriously concerned about the ramifications of the bill.
The organization, dedicated to preserving the American wild horses in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage, is supported by a coalition of more than 60 horse, humane and public interest advocacy groups.
According to a news release issued on Tuesday and reported on by The Washington Post, the AWHC warned that language in Section 116 of the spending bill would allow the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to strip wild horses of federal protection and transfer them to states and local governments for use as ‘work animals’.
In what appears to be a case of the glass is half full or half empty, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) considered the ambiguous section 116 of the bill to be favorable for animal welfare including wild horses.
The organization’s blog included a post that stated that the “provision allowing wild horses removed from public lands to be transferred to federal, state, or local governments to serve as work horses makes clear that these horses cannot be sent to slaughter for human consumption.”
But we beg to differ. “The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is outraged that the Omnibus spending bill will strip up to 50,000 wild horses and burros of federal protections that were passed unanimously by Congress and have been in place for nearly 50 years,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. “We’re especially upset that Congress is authorizing the killing of horses of ‘advanced age,’ which could mean thousands of healthy middle- to older-aged horses will be destroyed.”
The AWHC asserted that the bill’s Section 116 verbiage incorporates many openings, such as not defining what constitutes a horse of advanced age, that could lead to disastrous consequences for wild horses and burros.
“Although the language includes prohibitions on sale for slaughter and offers some restrictions on the use of euthanasia, it expressly authorizes the killing of certain wild horses and burros and contains numerous loopholes that could result in the destruction of thousands of healthy wild horses and burros either directly or by sending them into the slaughter pipeline,” stated the AWHC.
The organization also claimed that the questionable bill includes “no provisions for accountability, transparency or accounting for the fates of transferred horses and no penalty for violating the provisions of the law”.
The AWHC is calling on Congress “to remove the Section 116 provision from the 2017 Omnibus, or, if this is not possible, then fixing this problem when this legislation expires in five months.”
The California-based group, according to the Washington Post, also alleged that the “devastating provision” was folded into the omnibus bill “in the middle of the night without a public hearing.”
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