Death Sentence for Wild Horses
by Congress

On December 8, 2004 with the passage of the 4,000 page Consolidated Appropriations Bill (HR4818) 33 years of Federal protection ended for America's wild horses.

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of the nation and his constituents, Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) inserted into this budget bill a provision (sec. 142) that removed from the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971 protective measures that prevent America's wild horses from being sold for slaughter.

Wild horse protection was intended to be assured with the passage of the 1971 Act. How can an "Appropriation Bill" to enact a budget be allowed to literally gut a Federal Law without full public disclosure and debate?! This travesty must be challenged! Each of us must urge our representatives in Congress to right the wrong that has been committed.

Mandated by Sec. 142 any wild horse "more than 10 years of age;...or offered unsuccessfully for adoption at least 3 times"..."Shall be made available for sale without limitation,..."

The rationale for this is the cost of feeding older wild horses that are not adopted. While it is true that older horses are rarely adopted it is also true that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has always known this and yet they continue to round up and remove horses that they know can't be placed.

Systematically a national treasure and living link to America's rich historical past is being steadily eliminated from your public land.

Is America truly a democracy when the wishes of its people are ignored? The wild horse issue received a larger write-in to Congress than any issue except the Vietnam War.

Why, when 334 herd management areas for wild horses were designated by the 1971 Act, are there now only 201?

Why does the BLM continue to remove wild horses from public land when there are only 37,000 wild horses left? There were millions of wild horses at the turn of the 20th Century -- if wild horses were any other species they would be considered endangered or threatened.

We are told that 37,000 wild horses are all that the designated Herd Management Areas (HMA's) of land will support. Yet, over 6 million cattle and sheep graze hundreds of millions of acres of public land in 10 western states.

Why does the BLM continue to remove each wild horse at a cost of $2,100.00 per animal so that one cow can graze that same land at a cost of only $1.42 per month for its owner.

America's wild horses belong to you! America's public land belongs to you! It is your tax dollars at stake. There is plenty of room on your public land to release the 14,000 wild horses now being held in "long term" facilities. These are the horses that face certain slaughter under Sec. 142.

There is a cost effective solution to the expense of long term holding of older wild horses. Simply, stop removing horses that can't be adopted -- return them to their range. Older mares can be injected with long-term PZP vaccine (for more info go to to prevent further reproduction. The efficacy of PZP has been long known by the BLM and has been proven on wild horses in range conditions in 10 HMA's of Nevada.

Wild horses have been a vital enduring and integral component of America's history and development in the West. After 500 years of servitude to a nation, what an utterly disastrous and tragic ending for America's wild horses is Sec. 142 if allowed to be implemented.

Together We Can Make a Difference

In today's crisis filled world, it's often difficult to believe that some small act that each of us can do will make a difference.

Yet, it was public outcry and concern thru letter writing that brought about the Wild Free Roaming Horse & Burro Protection Act in 1971 (PL92-195).

It was public outcry again in 1987 that stopped the Bureau of Land Management from implementing a "kill" policy that would have been mandated by law via a published statement in the Federal Register dated April 22, 1987 [AA-250-07-4321-02]

Public outrage by massive letter writing campaigns has saved the horses in the past — it is their only hope now!!

PLEASE — Call, fax, E-mail BUT WRITE TOO! Letters received thru regular mail have a greater impact.

  • Contact your Representatives and Senators. Urge them to do whatever is necessary to repeal the Burns Amendment, Section 142 of the FY 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Bill which allows sale for slaughter of formerly protected wild horses.

  • Urge the cost effective use of the long lasting single dose PZP vaccine as a management tool to slow reproduction of wild horse herds rather than indiscriminate removal by the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Release unadopted wild horses that can't reproduce back to the public lands -- their rightful home.

Remember, CALL, FAX, E-MAIL, but WRITE TOO!

You can find your representative names and addresses in most phone books under Government, United States or via the internet at

E-mail addresses: President Bush -
                           Vice President Cheney -
Call to protest:      Whitehouse switchboard 202-456-1111 or Fax 202-456-2461

A Personal Reflection

The emotions evoked by the "wild" mustangs cannot be compared to those we feel for even our most beloved cat or dog. Their size, power and graceful movements uniquely represent the magnitude of their beauty. They demand environmental health on a large scale yet they are capable of surviving even under the most difficult circumstances. If we look, we find that they provide a reflection of our own most basic life struggles: the need to feel safe and secure, to be in control and to exist harmoniously within a social structure. Their loss would be our tragedy; they cannot be replaced by other species. Diversity of species and overall herd health will be required for long-term survival. We should not view their existence as a burden to us. Rather, it is not only because of their historical contribution but the ways in which they continue to contribute to us today that we cannot afford to allow their numbers to dwindle.

Karen Gallegos
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Wild Horse Sanctuary Volunteer

Actual language of APPROPRIATION BILL 2004: Section 142

Link to Appropriations Bill, H.R. 4818, in its entirety

Go to Division E, see Sect. 142, excerpted below:

SEC.142. SALE OF WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES AND BURROS. (a) IN GENERAL, -- Section 4 of Public Law 92-195-(16U.S.C. 1333) is amended --

(1) in subsection (D)(5), by striking "this section": and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting "this section"; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:


"(1) IN GENERAL.--Any excess animal or the remains of an excess animal shall be sold if--

(A) the excess animal is more than 10 years of age; or

"(B) the excess animal has been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at least 3 times.

"(2) METHOD OF SALE.--An excess animal that meets either of the criteria in paragraph (1) shall be made available for sale without limitation including through auction to the highest bidder, a local sale yards or other convenient livestock selling facilities, until such time as--

"(A) all excess animals offered for sale are sold; or

"(B) the appropriate management level, as determined by the Secretary, is attained in all areas occupied by wild free-roaming horses and burros.

[Page: H10306]

"(3) DISPOSITION OF FUNDS,-- Funds generated from the sale of excess animals under this subsection shall be--

"(A) credited as an offsetting collection to the Management of Land and Resources appropriation of the Bureau of Land Management; and

"(B) used for costs relating to the adoption of wild free-roaming horses and burros, including the costs of market such adoption.

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