House committee advances largely wild horse friendly language to House floor 

A local wild horse family. Photo by Norm Williams

Yesterday, American Wild Horse Conservation  commended the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations for advancing bipartisan language in its Fiscal Year 2025 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill and its accompanying report, which continues to call for protecting wild horses and burros from slaughter, and other reforms to the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. The committee maintained language directing as much as $11 million of the agency’s budget towards prioritizing immunocontraceptive fertility control vaccines when appropriate.

The measure allocated $143 million to fund the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, which is 16 percent less than the BLM’s funding request for Fiscal Year 2025 and represents a 4 percent overall cut in funding to the program’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget. It also continues to call for an increase in public/partnerships with military veterans and wild horse organizations.

This is the third consecutive year Congress has directed the BLM to invest in humane fertility control vaccine programs. Despite this, historically, the BLM has spent less than 1 percent of its budget on these critical initiatives. While the language allows for the use of funds for permanent sterilization, the House did not approve the BLM’s budget request for a $15 million permanent sterilization program.

AWHC remains firmly opposed to the use of permanent sterilants for wild horse management and highlights the success of its humane reversible fertility control program on Nevada’s Virginia Range as an alternative.

In the last six months, AWHC administered 1,034 treatments to wild mares. That’s 215 more treatments than the BLM delivered across its entire program in FY 2023.

“The BLM must substantially invest in humane, scientifically-backed solutions that keep wild horses and burros in the wild, helping to end the ongoing cycle of removing and confining horses in overcrowded holding facilities, saving millions of taxpayer dollars in the process,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of AWHC. “We are grateful for the leadership of  Representatives Titus, Ciscomani, Schweikert, Cohen and the support of more than 70 other bipartisan members to secure a better future for America’s wild herds. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to further strengthen wild horse and burro protections in the FY25 appropriations bill.

The agency is currently undergoing its summer roundup campaign and over the next several months will add nearly 10,000 more wild horses and burros to the 64,000 already confined in federal holding facilities.

Wildlife photographer Norm Williams took this photo of a foal enjoying the flowers this spring in Lassen County. Photo by Norm Williams.

About American Wild Horse Conservation:
American Wild Horse Conservation is the nation’s leading nonprofit wild horse conservation organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America’s wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.