Wild Horse Education

Why Is SAFE Important To Wild Horses And Burros?

Tribal horses and wild horses that live on BLM and USFS land were all caught in a helicopter roundup, were given to the tribe and sent to slaughter auction.

H.R.3355 – To amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.

The reintroduction of Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE) is a bill that would make horse slaughter illegal in the US. This is essentially a domestic animal bill. (We are using the same name as the bill has had for the last decade. When full text is published , if the title has changes, we will change the wording.)

So why is it important for wild horses and burros? Wild horses and burros once sold or adopted have a “title transfer,” like a car. Once that title transfers they are considered domestics under law since the Burns Amendment passed in 2003 (2004 Appropriations bill).

SAFE has been reintroduced  in the 117th Congress last Thursday. The House bill has already gained 3 co-sponsors. You can urge your rep to sponsor the bill by clicking here. 

The horse slaughter pipeline is a seedy business that is alive and well in the U.S. today. It exploits and destroys the lives of both the young and old.

Many advocates are aware of the constant manipulation by federal land management agencies to keep the “give away the public land to industry and remove and stockpile the wild horse” and the slide to slaughter. From the 1998 court case that showed BLM employees simply look the other way (and have even participated) in selling wild horses to kill, to the over 1700 wild horses sold to Tom Davis (a family friend of former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and shipped on the taxpayer dime) for slaughter. Both of these instances resulted in policy change and the BLM promising to tighten the adoption/sale program only to walk back policy changes within a year. The 1998 policy change was overwritten by the Burns Amendment that led to “sale authority” placing wild horses in immediate jeopardy of slaughter.

The Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) is the latest debacle. A subsidized push landing primarily younger wild horses into the slaughter pipeline. A $1,000 a horse gift to adopters that has landed record numbers of young mustangs in a kill pen once title transfers; subsidized slaughter.

Stopping the AIP wont stop sale authority. The sale program will continue to funnel older and “unadoptable” wild horses into the slaughter pipeline.

Wild horse and burro advocates will have one more “are they slipping to slaughter?” question hanging in the air soon, after BLM approves the “collaborative grant” applications.

For years BLM has been trying to slip subsidized agreements with permittees into practice. Many of these will involve trapping, removing horses to train and shipping (as well as some token fertility control). Those “corporate advocate orgs” moving the “Path Forward” (openly or simply moving one arm of the plan) have been pushing to gain a system of paid contracts to do things like “dart pzp.” A few small areas will gain that paid system of darting and, we expect, the vast majority of these agreements to go to permittees. Projects people like John Ruhs have been pushing since 2016 as NV state director and again when he sat in the Deputy Director of BLM chair in 2017. John Ruhs helped push this for his rancher buds as he ordered BLM to kowtow to the Grass March.)

What kind of public oversight will BLM allow? probably none. Do you feel comfortable with this new public lands subsidy that causes actions to occur by private entities not approved in any management plan (HMAP) and no public observation allowed? we certainly see many areas to corrupt this new process and, with BLMs track record, have no confidence this new system wont be corrupted fast.

The SAFE Act would make many of the loopholes flat out illegal with no wiggle room. Enforcement of the SAFE Act will still represent a challenge. However, the SAFE Act will stop those caught from avoiding any penalty.

Together we can get SAFE to the floor for a vote, into the Senate, and on the way to becoming law.

There will always be new ways our wild and domestic equines land in the seedy slaughter pipeline. We need to do our best to make the entire pipeline illegal and then make sure the law is enforced.

Join in. Send this fast click and send to your rep in the House. Simply ask that they co-sponsor this important legislation today.

Click HERE. This letter will go directly to your representative. This is not a petition.


To learn more about the paths to slaughter for our wild horses and burros you can click HERE. 


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Categories: Wild Horse Education