I’ve mentioned it before, but Wayne Pacelle of The Humane Society of the United States writes a terrific blog called A Humane Nation that highlights issues specific to animal protection and animal rights. Often his topics turn to horse-related issues. On July 17, the blog discusses HR 1018: Restore our American Mustangs Act. Are you aware of this piece of legislature?
As many of you know, several hundred thousand wild horses and burros are rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a federal entity that “protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971,” according to its Web site. Mr. Pacelle asserts that the BLM has mishandled this issue, which has led to the holding of “approximately 31,000 wild horses in captivity, with taxpayers footing the bill.” For Pacelle and other animal rights activists, the BLM has strayed from their purpose to protect these wild horses and burros as symbols of American culture: Instead, these animals are rounded up and held captive. With more animals than the BLM can handle, the group may resort to slaughter–according to Pacelle–which is sure to inflame the masses.
The HR 1018 bill, which passed in the House and will move on to the Senate, advocates for new protections and reinforces the original intent of the BLM by ensuring adequate land is available, fertility control measures are taken, the BLM adoption plan is promoted, and animals are protected against slaughter, among other aspects.
With no natural predators, the BLM notes that herd sizes can double about every four years and that the “ideal” number of horses and burros the Bureau can handle on their land is about 26,000. The bill will help provide better management so that the nearly 37,000 horses and burros that roam on the federal land in 10 western states (a number that exceeds their “ideal” by 10,000) are protected, and that the approximately 30,000 horses and burros held in captivity is controlled.
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