The current Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus (spending bill) contains a prohibition to prevent the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) from the following:
- Destroying healthy wild horses and burros
- Selling them for slaughter
- Does not allow federal funding for U.S. horse meat inspections which stops horse slaughter plants from opening and operating;
- Includes strong language making it clear that the BLM must “include a robust expansion of fertility control utilizing methods that are proven, safe, effective and humane” in its Wild Horse and Burro program.
However, the final bill does not include a House-passed amendment to require the BLM to spend at a minimum $11 million to use PZP fertility control as a humane alternative to BLM’s expensive and cruel roundups.
Additionally, the bill contains an additional $14 million designated for the BLM to implement its wild horse and burro management plan. Because Congress did not specify a minimum amount for PZP fertility control, the BLM could spend most of the funds on roundups.
By including the strong language telling the BLM to “include a robust expansion of fertility control utilizing methods that are proven, safe and humane,” Congress did make its intent clear.
Fortunately there is a chance for some real progress in 2021 to increase protections for wild horses and burros. With wild horse champions like Rep. Deb Haaland slated to be Secretary of the Interior Department and Rep. Raul Grijalva continuing to lead the House Natural Resources Committee (which has oversight of the BLM), progress might be made at last.