Congressional Leaders Send Message to Bureau of Land Management

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Washington, D.C. -- Joining with a growing public chorus of outrage at a recent proposal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and their Wild Horse Advisory board to euthanize up to 33,000 wild horses, several leaders in the US House of Representatives sent a letter to the agency stressing their strong opposition to any such effort.

Today, Congressman Nick Rahall, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and Congressman Raul Grijalva, chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee sent a letter to James Caswell, director of the Bureau of Land Management.

The chairmen said, "We continue to be concerned about your agency's proposal to deal with problems facing the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program by defaulting to a policy of mass euthanization of thousands of healthy horses. As recently as November 17, the Wild Horse Advisory Board and the BLM continue to support mass euthanization, even considering options to expand sale authority in ways that will lead to the extermination of more horses. The policy is not a solution it is a failure."

This powerful letter comes on the heels of an announcement by Madeleine Pickens in which she as stepped forward to provide a permanent and safe home to those horses in BLM holding facilities to ensure they are not killed as the agency tries to balance its books. "Mrs. Pickens is one of the most generous and compassionate individuals I have ever known," said Chris Heyde, deputy director of Government and Legal Affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute. "Mrs. Pickens is acting out of pure selflessness. She has been a long time fighter for America's horses and her commitment to protecting these national treasures is historic."

In 1971, the American public and US Congress had to come to the rescue of America's wild horses who were being wiped out by the BLM by enacting the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Thirty-seven years later, they are both coming to aid of them again from the mismanagement by the very same agency. There are many other options in dealing with wild horses on public lands and AWI will be working closely with Congress and other organizations to ensure the Agency is fixed so our horses and the public are not in this situation in a few years.

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Media Contact:
Chris Heyde, (202) 446-2121

For over 57 years, the Animal Welfare Institute has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. To learn more about us, please visit http://awionline.org.