The federal government is yet again targeting the vestiges of the Wild West, as the Bureau of Land Management plans to remove one of the most iconic symbols of the American West from land in Nevada.
The Bureau of Land Management plans to remove 6,737 wild horses from Land in Northern Nevada, and wildlife horse advocated say the ultimate plan is to sell these horses to slaughterhouses.
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted to let the BLM begin euthanizing the horses when they stripped language from the Department of Interior’s 2018 budget that federally prohibits the slaughter of America’s federally protected wild horse and burro herds.
The 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act permits the sale of older, unadoptable animals. But for years, Congress has approved budget language specifically outlawing the sale of any wild horses and burros for slaughter. The new amendment, put forth by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) and passed by a voice vote, allows for the destruction of healthy wild horses and burros that Interior Department bureaucrats deem to be surplus.
Suzanne Roy, executive director of The American Wild Horse Campaign, the nation’s leading wild horse advocacy organization, issued a strong statement condemning the Committee’s vote.
“Let’s be clear: the House Appropriations Committee members just signed a death warrant for America’s mustangs, and it will lead to the wholesale slaughter of these irreplaceable national treasures,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “The Stewart amendment is a mass slaughter amendment, and its proponents are trying to hide that fact from the American public.”
BLM insists that the land cannot sustain the current population of Wild Mustangs, but fails to mention how the government’s policies of eradicating wolves and other native predators across the West is what caused the so-called overpopulation to begin with.
Since 1971, BLM has removed almost 300,000 of these wild horses from western public lands and has eliminated wild horses and burros from over 20 million acres of public land. After the current roundup, BLM plans to geld up to 50 percent of the stallions who remain on the range and then fix the sex ratio of these wild horse populations to 60% male, 40% female.
The plan will reduce the wild horse population to extinction levels.