A Not-So-Happy 50th Anniversary of Landmark Wild Horse and Burro Act
This week, our nation is observing the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act which was enacted on December 15, 1971. The act was meant to protect these iconic equines and it stated, “It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death.” In an amazing demonstration of bipartisanship on this issue, the law was passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress and then signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon. Sadly, our celebration of this historic act has been reduced to attempting to curtail our government's unabated onslaught against these freedom-loving animals.
In the 50 years since the law was passed, it has been gutted. More than 41% of the public lands designated for wild horses and burros' "principle use" have been eliminated and authorized for private livestock use or development, while thousands upon thousands of wild horses are cruelly rounded up and warehoused in holding facilities at taxpayer expense. Of those public lands remaining in wild horse Herd Management Areas, most have private livestock utilizing the majority of forage at taxpayer expense. This usage hardly prioritizes these areas for the principal use of wild horses and burros!
In addition to the disturbing fact that public lands are being taken away from America's wild equines and allocated to greed-driven ranchers and corporate livestock operations, the wild horses are unjustly and incorrectly blamed for the damage done to the range by the livestock industry.
Eighty percent of United States citizens support protections for wild horses and burros. It is time for us to take back the intention of the original law to protect these wild equines on the areas "where presently found" in 1971. Wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs) on our public lands were to be managed "principally, but not exclusively" for wild equines for future generations of humans to enjoy on their historic ranges.
Please help us protect America's beloved wild horses and burros and stop their abuses! To find out what you can do, visit our Wild Horses campaign.