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The HSUS Applauds House Committee for Restoring Wild Horse Protections

The Humane Society of the United States

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States applauds the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee for passing the Restore our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act by a vote of 21-14 and calls for the quick passage of the bill by the full House of Representatives. The bill, 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., restores a long-standing ban on the commercial sale and slaughter of America's wild, free-roaming horses and burros and provides other sorely needed protections for our mustangs. 

"Congressmen Rahall and Grijalva have worked tirelessly to correct the past mismanagement of wild horses on our public lands, and I thank the entire committee for sending this bill to the full House of Representatives," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. "American taxes should not support the inhumane round up and eventual slaughter of wild equines."

In addition to preventing the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses, H.R. 1018 prevents wholesale killing of healthy wild horses, prioritizes on-the-range management over roundups, and facilitates the creation of sanctuaries for wild horses and burros. Such management techniques should include immunocontraception, which can control populations and save tax dollars.

"It is unacceptable for wild horses to be slaughtered without any regard for the general health, well-being, and conservation of these iconic animals that embody the spirit of our American West," said Chairman Rahall. "This legislation will ensure the continued presence of those wild horses that make their homes on public lands."

H.R. 1018 removes outdated limits on areas where horses can roam freely, allowing the BLM to find additional, suitable acreage for these animals.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.


  • 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.
  • A midnight maneuver by former Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont. gutted these longstanding protections.
  • In the 110th Congress, similar legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives by more than a two-to-one margin with a vote of 277 to 137.
  • HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle testified before the U.S. National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee in support of H.R. 1018 in March 2009.


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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.

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