Victory! Wild Horse and Burro Advocates Defeat Slaughter Plans in FY2018 Budget

Victory! Wild Horse and Burro Advocates Defeat Slaughter Plans in FY2018 Budget

CONTACT: Charlotte Roe, 303-717-5926,


WASHINGTON, DC (March 21, 2018) - In Defense of Animals welcomes the decision made by appropriations leaders in Congress to reject budget language that would have led to the mass slaughter of America’s imperiled wild horses and burros and the reintroduction of equine slaughterhouses in the US.

“For the love of America’s heritage, for the respect of wild horses and burros, we are thrilled that Congress has rejected this sick horse slaughter plans,” said Marilyn Kroplick M.D. President of In Defense of Animals. “Congress has sent an important message that it will not have the blood of sentient beings on its hands. This is a victory for animal advocates and the majority of Americans who want solutions, not slaughter.”

In its 2018 spending request, the Trump Administration asked to authorize the killing and sale to slaughter of tens of thousands of captive wild horses and burros and the destruction of up to 50,000 free-roaming equines the BLM claims are “excess” on public lands. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and his pro-slaughter allies actively pushed the killing plan, aiming to reduce the number of wild horses to 27,000, the same number that triggered the passage of the 1971 Wild Horses and Burros Act to prevent their extinction.    

The Administration also proposed funding inspections for equine slaughter in the US, a step that would bring back the days of horse meat markets and threaten the US food supply with unregulated contaminants.

Advocates and animal welfare groups pushed back hard. Thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters and other advocates jammed Congressional phone lines with calls and sent tens of thousands of emails to maintain federal protections for these heritage animals. In Defense of Animals and nearly 100 civic organizations presented a Unified Statement outlining principles and recommendations for humane, cost-effective, on-range management of America’s wild horses and burros.  

In response to constituent pressures and the united voices of advocates, the Senate chose to keep protections in place. The language released today for the Omnibus spending bill for 2018 contains no language authorizing horse slaughter or wild equine killing. The Omnibus budget is scheduled to be put to a vote by March 23.

But the fight is far from over. The Trump Administration’s FY 2019 budget request again calls for Congress to approve “unlimited sales” and mass killing of wild horses and burros in holding facilities and on the range.

“The battle is won, but the fight is far from over,” said Kroplick. “We will never back down or stop fighting for wild horses to remain on public lands.”


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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 30-year history of fighting for animals, people and the environment through education, campaigns and hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

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