1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act
Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) filed a legal petition with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today to stop the sale of wild horses gathered from the range to individuals who then sell them to slaughter facilities. The Petition demonstrates that the spirit of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and the stated policy of the BLM, prohibit the sale of these equine representatives of American history to purchasers who see them as profit centers for the international slaughter market. Allowing these icons of the frontier to end up as someone else’s dinner is an unacceptable denigration of the valuable place these animals hold in both past and contemporary American culture.
Current federal oversight of horses going to slaughter, whether by the BLM or any other federal agency, is inadequate with respect to identification of the origin of the horses. It is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of captured wild horses are sent to slaughter through “killer-buyers” who buy them solely for that purpose. The buyers typically have no concern or knowledge about the horses’ welfare, or about their prior history, before shipping them off to inhumane deaths in slaughter facilities. BLM could, but does not yet, provide proper oversight to prevent wild horse slaughter, and FRER’s Petition presents reasonable solutions to that problem. “Being slaughtered for meat is a tragic and cruel end for horses; the horror and shame is amplified when the victims are the wild horses who are national treasures of American history,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER. “Congress declared in 1971 that wild horses should be protected from commercial exploitation. Unless the BLM acts, this nightmare will continue for wild horses, who are especially sensitive because they have never been handled by humans