We are getting a lot of emails asking if the “Titus Amendment” will stop wild horses from being turned over to Forest Service and going to slaughter? We are getting a number of emails asking if the “Titus Amendment” will mean the SAFE Act passes. We know you are getting a lot of different messaging from multiple groups and then reading partially copied things on social media. That is why we try not to include more than one alert in our mailers. We know it gets hard to keep track of when you get bombarded.
From the beginning.
Appropriations is the entire federal spending budget for the year; the “what and how” of is legal for the government to fund in the fiscal year 2018. For the federal government that begins in October. The bill covers everything; things like defense, health care, public land and infrastructure like roads and bridges. All of these separate sections of the bill first go into a committee long before they hit the “floor” for a vote from all representatives.
We have two houses of Congress; Senate (Senators) and the House of Representatives (most often simply called “Congressmen”). Both the House and Senate have committees that cover the sections “equine advocates” are watching. The committee vote in the House has already taken place on both the section that covers horse slaughter (United States Department of Agriculture, USDA) and the “bullet in the head” for wild horses (Department of Interior, DOI). The Senate already voted on the horse slaughter bill and is yet to vote on the “bullet in the head” for wild horses.
Horse Slaughter plants (funding inspection of horse meat, USDA bill) was a YES.
House, wild horses. The House voted YES to allow the BLM to kill healthy wild horses (why we are calling it a “bullet in the head,” DOI bill).
Horse slaughter plants (funding of inspection for horse meat) was a NO.
The vote on wild horses is expected the beginning of next week.
Where we are now.
Horse slaughter: House was a close “yes” vote. Senate was a strong showing of bi-partisan support for “no” horse slaughter (Udall amendment). This is a good indicator of support and that this will not be approved, but it’s not over. It is also a good indicator that even if it gets approved, it wont last into 2019.
Wild horses: House said “yes” to killing them (Stewart Amendment).
Yes, we are aware that you are hearing the names of the Congressman and Senators that are introducing the amendments to change the language in the Presidents proposed budget. The proposed budget allowed inspections for horse meat to resume (opening plants in the US) and wild horses to be killed and also to be sold outright into the slaughter trade (kill-buyers). So therefore any change requires the introduction of language to create the change, hence hearing the names of those that introduced those bills.
Referencing the names of the representatives is a good way to reference the amendment, but only if you can keep it all straight when you call.Referencing names is also a good way to “thank” those that listen enough to introduce the amendments, that is why you are seeing the names in press releases. However a “yes” to an amendment, but the wrong specifics of the committee and/or author, could mean you just supported the exact opposite of your intention to call. So be careful. An example is saying “yes” to the Udall amendment meant a “no” for funding to inspect horse meat in the USDA portion of appropriations, if you said “no” on Udall and horse slaughter you would have just supported horse slaughter.
We suggest making separate calls for each issue.
You do not have to know the name of the amendment, just keep your talking point clear. As an example “no killing of healthy wild horses” said about the Department of Interior portion of appropriations.
It is important that you continue to call, it really is.
The Titus amendment is an amendment to the House (Interior, wild horses) committee version of the bill as it heads to the full floor for a vote. Remember each committee passes a version that goes to the full floor.
Dina Titus is a Congresswoman (House) from Nevada. She has crafted an amendment that restores the prohibition on using federal funds to kill healthy wild horses (the way it was before the President’s proposed budget). The committee in the House already voted “yes” to shooting tens of thousands of wild horses. Her amendment needs to get a full floor vote. That sounds like this: a “yes” to the Titus amendment that means “no funds used to kill healthy wild horses.” So calling your Congressman (House) and saying those exact words can be done by clicking here: http://govtrack.us
However the Titus amendment does not impact the vote in the Senate committee next week. The Senate Appropriations subcommittee can be found by clicking this text. A call to your Senator could simply say, “I am calling because I do not want any funds used to kill healthy wild horses by the BLM, for any reason.” Remember whatever comes out of the committee will also have to go for a full vote. You can find your Senator here: http://govtrack.us
Below this line we address some of the confusion.
The whole “Forest Service thing” we will try one moe time to explain. We know it went out over the weekend by multiple “groups” and is confusing and absolutely incorrect.
When a rescue or sanctuary wanted to adopt multiple mustangs they had to find an “adopter of record” for every 4 horses because an adopter can only take 4 and an org could not adopt. This created liability issues and sometimes drama, when the horse was “titled” a year later. BLM made this easier by allowing orgs to adopt as the “adopter of record.”
The whole “Forest Service thing” was the same type of transfer language to other government entities. The entity became the adopter of record and title transferred to the agency, not an individual. As an example a Forest Service Ranger needs a horse, they send him one, he has to be the “adopter of record.” Forest Service houses and trains the horse. Then the ranger gets transferred or quits. Then you have a bunch of crazy paperwork if the horse is not yet titled. By allowing other government agencies to directly gain title, the process is simplified.
Other government agencies take wild horses on a regular basis now. The language is the same as any adoption. Tightening the language to allow those horses to retain the “wild” status that they lose in any adoption process is great, but it is not the same as “horses being lined up by the tens of thousands and shot by the BLM.”
Making a call right now that focuses on “Forest Service” taking horses is not the same as calling and saying “don’t kill wild horses” in the Interior spending bill.
The SAFE Act is a distinct bill that has been introduced over multiple years, not passing. SAFE has been reintroduced. It would close our borders to the export of horses for slaughter as an unsafe, unregulated, food product.
Making a call on the SAFE Act is important, but make it a different phone call. It has been introduced to the House by Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and currently has 156 co-sponsors. If you want to track the bills progress you can do so here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/113
We hope this helps.
We are doing a webinar to discuss the budget and other bills that address public land issues this Wednesday night. If you want more info go here: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2017/08/25/wild-horses-countdown-to-vote/
Categories: Wild Horse Education