Return to Freedom’s Wild on the Range Campaign is comprised of humane, politically viable, and fiscally responsible management solutions for animals on the range and under government oversight. Together, they form a path to a sustainable future for America’s wild horses and burros.
Redirect funds used for wild horse roundups to on the range management solutions today!
Wild horses are being rounded up and removed from their home on our public lands by the thousands every year. Today, more wild horses live in captivity in taxpayer-subsidized holding facilities than remain in the wild despite alternatives that are less costly and more humane. Return to Freedom has been advocating for viable, humane, and proven “in the wild” management solutions for nearly two decades.
It’s time that the Bureau of Land Management stopped bowing to pressure from ranchers that graze their livestock on our public lands practically for free. This subsidized grazing program costs American taxpayers $132 million a year while producing less than 3% of America’s beef supply.
Wild horses and burros are part of our history and our culture and are an enduring symbol of freedom. If we do not protect them now, they will be gone forever.
We, the undersigned citizens, call on the United States President, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Department of the Interior to take a new approach and implement humane alternatives to the traumatic and fiscally irresponsible Bureau of Land Management’s capture, removal, and warehousing of wild horses and burros, and instead to:
- Manage our public lands for all Americans and not a small group of ranchers that benefit from taxpayer-subsidized grazing on our public lands.
- Commit to a long-term holistic management plan to humanely manage wild horses and burro population growth on the range, using proven PZP fertility control when necessary, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.
- Establish compensation/incentives for ranchers that give up their livestock grazing permits so that wild horses and burros can receive a more equitable share of the grazing resources in wild horse and burro Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and Herd Areas (HAs).
- Rescind the 2005 Sale Authority Amendment, which amended the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act and mandated that all wild horses over the age of 10 years old, and those with three failed adoption attempts, to be offered for sale without limitation to the highest bidder.
- Return wild horses and burros stockpiled in short-term holding pens and long-term holding ranches (costing the taxpayer over $40 million per year) back to suitable rangelands.
Wild horses and burros have been eliminated from more than 15 million acres of BLM land that was designated for their protection. It’s time to return our national icons to freedom on our public lands and save the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars per year.
It is time to embrace America’s wild horses and burros rightful place on the range. The solutions involve a multi-pronged approach which will support good range management for livestock and wildlife, as well as the freedom, health, and well-being of our wild horse and burro herds and their natural selection for generations to come.
Only by working together can we all enjoy America’s vast public lands.
Act now to control reproduction. Immediate and Increased implementation of available, humane fertility control vaccines. Use available technology now while researching longer-acting vaccines and solutions.
Initiate BLM Culture Shift in favor of on-the-range management solutions.
Smarter Spending. Redirect funds from capture, removal and long-term holding to less expensive on-the-range alternatives that involve participation from grazing permit holders and ranchers.
Adjust AMLs. Increase Appropriate Management Levels (AML) or manage to higher AMLs in healthy habitats. AML targets should be habitat and climate-based and we should decrease livestock AML in wild horse areas, where appropriate.
Reduce livestock grazing levels in Herd Management Areas and offer incentives to grazing permit holders (permanent or temporary adjustments to climate changes), including compensation for non-use of Animal Unit Months (AUM), allotment trades, and/or grazing permit buyouts.
Authorize gathers for fertility control. Current policy only allows roundups for removals. We must use roundups (bait trapping, helicopter roundups, etc.) for fertility control delivery and return to range.
Eco-Sanctuaries. Partner with qualified members of the public and 501c3 organizations to redirect funds from long-term holding to eco-sanctuaries that will prioritize:
- Gathering horses in their natural social bachelor and harem bands
- Relocating intact social bands to eco-sanctuaries
Managing populations in sanctuaries
Using fertility control to maintain population growth while preserving natural behaviors, lifestyle, and genetic viability.
- Vasectomy: Stallions can maintain hormone-driven behaviors and movement without reproducing
- Gelding: Stallions lose hormone-driven movement and behaviors
- No Sterilization. Follow National Academy of Sciences recommendations and reject plans to pursue sterilization of wild horses such as IUDs, spaying of mares, and surgical or chemical castration of wild horses on the range.
Tie Removals to Adoptions. BLM should never remove more horses from the range than it can annually adopt out.
Return to Freedom. Repatriate horses in holding to zeroed-out Herd Management Areas that still contain viable wild horse habitat.
Rescind the Burns Rider. The Burns Rider forces sale of wild horses to the highest bidder and was added to the Appropriations Act of 2005 without public or Congressional debate. The Rider overturned key sections of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 that protected wild horses and burros from slaughter and allowed for their sale “without restriction.”
Pass the SAFE Act. Congress should permanently halt the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and the sale and transport of America’s equines for the purpose of slaughter for a food commodity. The bipartisan Safeguard American Foods Exports Act would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem horses and other members of the equidae family an unsafe food additive or animal drug. It would also ban the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.