Wild Horse Education

Update: Budget Debate, Senate

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15-20K wild horses and burros will be removed in the next three years as multi-million dollar, corporate interests, move their agenda through Senate Committee.


Today the Senate hearing for the markup of the 2020 Appropriations bill is being held. The fiscal year for 2020 begins in October.

Edited to add: We want to remind you that Oversight hearings are beginning to move forward in the House. One such hearing is also happening today. Please remember, there are serious issues that need to be addressed; waste, fraud and corruption. Our work continues in the arena. (throwback to an important issues HERE) Please, do not give up hope.

These hearings (both House and Senate) were held without the release of the BLM Report to Congress. Congress had requested a report for the 2019 debate. The 25-page report was rejected as inadequate. BLM was directed to compile a report for the 2020 debate. The due date for that report has come and gone. Last week BLM on-range Chief Alan Shepherd informed us they received an “extension” and were revising the report. WHE requested a copy of the extension.

The debate in both the House and Senate have centered around a lobby interest document, an agenda, presented by a lobby alliance. This joint effort by private interests has dominated the news cycle and debates for federal funding. HSUS, ASPCA, Public Lands Council, Cattlemen’s Ass’n, etc., have created a subsidy and power grab, nothing more. The agenda includes an increase in removals (15-20K per year for 3 years), a slice of the holding facility budget, surgical sterilization, and more. This agenda fixes not one core issue in the program, provides no requirement to review flawed data (outlined by the National Academy of Sciences) that proves the program is simply not science based and simply throws more taxpayer dollars into private pockets.  The agenda is set collapse the broken BLM Wild Horse and Burro program in three years or less. (more here)

Today the Senate focused on “moving the bill through both Houses of Congress” to avoid the debacle we experienced last year with shutdown after shutdown. The priority was not “passing a responsible bill,” but avoiding a shutdown. 

This implies the Senate passed the House version of the provisions covering wild horses; the provision against slaughter remains intact, yet the  corporate interest bid for subsidy funding and control stands. The text of the Senate bill has not been seen, but discussion indicates it is identical to the House version.

Edited Language: $35 million was given by the Senate to fund the corporate agenda (HSUS, ASPCA, Return to Freedom, Cattlemen’s Ass’n, Public Lands council) power grab and subsidy agenda. (The House version gave $6 million).

In most areas of public lands management the power grab, gutting of federal authority, is openly recognized and discussed. In “wild horses” private interests are pushing for power over BLM decisions and gutting on range protections. Wild horses are a public lands issue and every action exists under the identical pressures faced by every single public land issue. During this debate not one word was said about wild horses and burros. It was noted that the bill guts sage grouse protections, weakens clean air and water and more.

This process has been steeped in dirty politics, not reality. When discussing the climate crisis we hear objections and a recognition the bills are gifts to industry. Wild horses were not even discussed, the gifts to state control and private industry kept simply a privately wrapped up gift.

The bills have made it through subcommittee and committee votes. They now head to the full floor for a vote. These votes will occur on the full floor in both House and Senate.  We do not know dates for the vote at this time.

WHE is working hard to stop this debacle. At this time we are providing information to those  working on potential amendments at both the House and Senate level. We do not control this process and are not at liberty to discuss at this time. Talking now about how we are working could give the opposition the ability to stop us. Our opposition (including big corporate “advocacy orgs”) are well funded and have tried very hard to keep voices like ours out of this conversation. Please remember, this is not over until both full House and full Senate pass the same bill and it is signed by the President. 

*** You can call your Senators:

I object to passing the Interior 2020 budget provisions for BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. 

The BLM has not released their report, requested by Congress, for inclusion of the debate. Passing a budget, without the agencies open participation that provides appropriate public participation in the debate, is inappropriate. 

The BLM program must be held to current levels and authorities including the provision against sales for commercial purposes (slaughter). We must freeze the program until a full review is completed and the BLM report is released, publicly, and reviewed. 

I do not support the wild horse and burro provisions in the spending bill. These provisions will not fix a single flaw in the program, but will collapse it in three years. The provisions create a greater burden on the taxpayer, no responsibility to public resource and simply provide additional funding for private pockets. 

Awarding $35 million to a corporate agenda in the Senate bill is a betrayal to the public and the public resource. 

Propose the following amendment to the budget: Please freeze the BLM budget and authorities to 2019 levels until a full and open evaluation and debate occurs. BLM must be required to release the report requested by Congress for the 2020 debate, before any new funding is appropriated. 

You can find your Senator at http://govtrack.us

Learn more by reviewing a recent Washington Post article HERE.

The fight is not over.


Help Keep us in the Fight

We have a generous supporter that will match all contributions through October 1 to keep us in this fight. If you can help us to fully maximize this opportunity it is needed and appreciated. 



Categories: Wild Horse Education