This week it is critical that you raise your voice for wild horses. There are many issues having to do with the environment and our equines; domestic and wild. But we are asking you to take 5 minutes and do one thing this week; focused and distinct from any other action.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 22:
The fiscal 2018 budget has not been passed. Interim bills have moved forward to patchwork federal funding together amid intense polarization of issues. The FY 2018 budget, that could shoot tens of thousands of wild horses in the head, is still on the table as we begin the discussion on FY 19! This is the time of year where normally we begin conversations in DC on funding bills for the following year, this year? we still do not have a bill passed for this very year we are in now!
We have gotten word that next week there will be debates and mark-ups to finally pass a full funding bill for FY 18. PLEASE make your calls today.
Our reasons for asking you to look up your legislator and contact them yourselves are listed below.
This week it is vital to “keep it simple.” Just say “No. No federal funding to kill healthy wild horses or to be used to send them to slaughter; no bullet in the head or ‘sales without limitation’. No federal funding for experimental spaying in the field”. That’s it. Just do that to all of your representatives in the House and Senate. Find your representatives here: http://govtrack.us
We ask you to do this yourself. We are not publishing a petition or “sign on letter.” There are many dangers in that including signing a petition worded in a way that makes you think you support one thing when in actuality have supported another. It is also a dangerous move to “give your voice” away to anyone that may run any agenda counter to your wishes.
However our greatest motivation for asking you to take the time to find out who your legislators are (contact them yourselves and see how they respond to you) revolves around the fact that we have a big midterm election this year. Every seat in the House is up for re-election and many in the Senate. You need to take steps to become an educated voter in your own district. You must “take control of your voice.” This is the single most important thing you can do for any issue that has you concerned; health care, environment, wild horses, everything.
The federal budget debate for fiscal year 2018 (Appropriations) is more than just funding, it is where many legal authorizations take place.
Will funding be available to do rangeland health assessments before issuing livestock permits? We all watched the “game of Riders” take place to overturn a court order that said they had to just two years ago. The political games will rule the reality of whatever public land we have left.
In 2016 and 2017 there were massive legal games to ensure that permits would be issued regardless of the fact that there were no assessments. This happened in order to overturn a ruling by a federal Judge in Idaho that said they were needed. A rider in a defense bill, under Appropriations, did not provide funding to assess the range, it required federal agencies, like the BLM, to just issue the permits. (Yes, you read that right. In a defense spending rider). Similar games are afoot, now, on wild horse issues in the federal budget.
Early last year a large, multi species, organization began having meetings to create a united response for wild horses. One of the agreements was a recognition that the public and legislators were confused; the group agreed to keep peripheral issues on a back burner in public conversations and focus on one thing; “no funds used to kill healthy wild horses.”
WHE has a free E-Zine and pamphlet at this link to help you navigate in both the small picture, and the big one HERE.
As with many good intentions in advocacy many did not keep the pact, threatened others, or simply wanted to “put it on their website” without really offering any information to base any serious management discussions. The confusion in the public continued as messaging with the SAFE Act, USDA funding and Wild Horse appropriations through DOI became a field of mud.
A smaller effort went forward and documents were created. The deeper issues of management are being addressed, but the confusion over three distinct legislative moves continues.
PLEASE: Take time this week to call your legislators on one issue; keep it simple. “No federal funding should be used to kill a healthy wild horse or to send them to slaughter: no bullet in the head or sales without limits.” http://govtrack.us
You can use the free Fax options here:
House (House version still has language that will kill tens of thousands of wild horses): https://faxzero.com/fax_congress.php
What you need to FAX is simple: “I live in your district. I want no federal funds used to kill a healthy wild horse. I want public land kept public and decision making to remain in federal control. I oppose any effort to allow private, state or local interests to take control of public land resources. In particular I find using federal funds to kill healthy wild horses completely unacceptable.”
Just keep your message clear, simple and on point. The time is now.
How you are responded to will get in you in a good position for midterm elections; the big picture must change.
We have been keeping a lot of our work relatively quiet in 2017. Once this hurdle of Appropriations is addressed; we promise to “get loud.”