March 3, 2009
HSUS President Testifies at Congressional Hearing in Support of Wild Horse Bill
The HSUS Urges Congress to Allow Wild Horses to 'ROAM' Freely
WASHINGTON – Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, testified before the U.S. National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Tuesday in support of a bill to restore the 34-year ban on the commercial sale and slaughter of America's wild, free-roaming horses. The Restoring Our American Mustangs Act (H.R. 1018), introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., would prevent the wholesale killing of healthy wild horses. In the 110th Congress, similar legislation passed the U.S. House by more than a two-to-one margin with a vote of 277-137.
For more than 30 years, wild horses and burros had been protected from commercial sale and slaughter since the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Yet, a midnight maneuver by former Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont. — in which he slipped a controversial rider into an omnibus spending bill — gutted these longstanding protections. In minutes, with no public review, these American icons were robbed of the shield they had been rightfully afforded for so long.
"H.R. 1018 will not only restore longstanding protections to wild horses and burros in the United States, but it will provide the Bureau of Land Management with the legislative support necessary to revolutionize the current wild horse and burro management program from one that is often inefficient, costly and cruel to one which is technologically advanced, cost-beneficial and humane," said Pacelle. "Such an endeavor would be of great benefit not only to our treasured wild horse and burro populations, but also to the American taxpayer."
H.R. 1018 removes outdated limits on areas where horses can roam freely, allowing the BLM to find additional, suitable acreage for these animals. Further, it strengthens the BLM's wild horse and burro adoption program, requires consistency and accuracy in the management of wild horse and burro herds and allows more public involvement in management decisions. In order to allow for populations of wild horses on the range, ROAM facilitates the creation of sanctuaries for wild horse and burro populations on public lands.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.