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Amid Impeachment Proceedings, U.S. Reps Join Together to Discuss Controversial Wild Horse Plan

Filed under: Breaking News |     

Animal Wellness Foundation (edited)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote late yesterday to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate appropriations panels with oversight of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to urge funding limits and additional clarity on a dangerous and costly Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pilot program to manage wild horse populations in the West.

The letter, available at http://bit.ly/2RDM29C, is addressed to U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), chair and ranking member respectively of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio), the chair and ranking member respectively of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

The House and Senate versions of the Interior-Environment appropriations bill – which are currently being reconciled – each include funding for an untested pilot project that calls for a dramatic increase in roundups and removals. The House bill provides $6 million in additional funding for the program while the Senate bill provides $35 million, and each bill includes report language calling for a total removal of 130,000 horses over the next decade.

As the authors point out, “That plan has never been presented for consideration in the authorizing committees of jurisdiction, would triple the number of horses and burros in holding, and could cost taxpayers billions.” They also note concerns that the House and Senate report language “opens the door to surgical sterilization procedures” that face opposition “by many stakeholders, including veterinarians.”

The authors urge appropriators to take three steps in a final conference version of the funding bill:

  • Limit new funding for the pilot program to the $6 million contained in the House bill;
  • Clarify report language so new funding can be used solely on implementing the Porcine Zone Pellucida fertility control vaccine.
  • Clarify report language to ensure it prohibits use of any appropriated funds to conduct surgical sterilization procedures.

In addition to Grijalva, the letter is signed by Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), who chairs the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands; and by Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; David Schweikert (R-Ariz.); Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.); Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.); Joe Neguse (D-Colo.); Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.); Dina Titus (D-Nev.); Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.); Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.); and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Co-Chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus.

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