Press Release

Marty Irby • 202-821-5686

Horse Protection Groups Back Bipartisan Congressional Letter Supporting Humane Treatment of Wild Horses

House leadership encouraged to preserve bipartisan amendment in final FY21 spending deal

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., joined by 21 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, today sent a letter to House Leadership requesting it retain his Interior and Environment appropriations amendment requiring the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to utilize $11 million in funding for humane, reversible fertility control for tens of thousands of wild horses and burros under the BLM’s protection. The measure, conceived by Cohen and Animal Wellness Action, passed the U.S. House in July by a voice vote, but was not included in the Senate’s version of the bill. Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, Horses for Life Foundation, Center for a Humane Economy, and other equine protection groups worked with Cohen in securing signors of the letter to House leaders and appropriators.

“We applaud Rep. Steve Cohen and the House Members who’ve joined our effort to implement the use of PZP birth control in wild horse and burro populations on public lands,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a lifelong horseman who was recently honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses. “Rounding up and incarcerating our iconic American wild horses and burros – a failed strategy the BLM has long adhered to – isn’t the answer. PZP provides a low-cost, long-term sustainable solution to protecting the horses whose very backs this country was built upon, and we call on appropriators to include this measure in the year-end spending deal.”

“It’s long past time to end the old paradigm of managing America’s mustangs through archaic helicopter roundups and stockpiling these iconic wild animals in holding facilities,” said Allondra Stevens, founder of Horses For Life Foundation. “Humane management through the robust use of the fertility control, porcine zona pellucida (PZP), not only has the backing of science, but also the American public. Thanks to the leadership of U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN), Congress now has the opportunity to mandate that the Bureau of Land Management change course by ensuring PZP is implemented as a primary management method.”

“The American public wants our cherished and iconic wild horses and burros managed humanely on the public rangelands using proven PZP fertility control, not the failed policy of mass roundups and incarcerations,” said Scott Beckstead, director of campaigns at the Center for a Humane Economy and Animal Wellness Action.” We hope the House leadership will insist on dedicating $11 million to manage our herds in a way that allows them to live wild and free.”

“We write to urge your continued support for the humane and sustainable management of wild horses and burros on our public lands,” wrote the 21 Members of the House in the letter sent today. “To that end, we request dedicated funding in any final spending package for the implementation of humane, proven and reversible fertility control, namely the porcine zona pellucida (PZP) immunocontraceptive vaccine by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We are pleased this amendment to support this effort was adopted by voice vote in the House of Representatives as part of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.”  

Read the entire letter here

In addition to Rep. Cohen, the 21 Members that co-signed today’s letter include Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., Deb Haaland, D-N.M., Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., John Katko, R-N.Y., Ro Khanna, D-Calif. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., Barbara Lee, D-Calif.,Ted W. Lieu, D-Calif., Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., David Schweikert, R-Ariz., Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Dina Titus, D-Nev.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

The Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

Horses For Life Foundation is an advocacy and education group dedicated to ending the slaughter of American horses, protecting wild horses and burros on public lands, and ending equine abuse and neglect through advocacy, public education, and legislative reform.

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