advertisement

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on the Interior Department to suspend its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program over reports that some program participants have abandoned animals at slaughter auctions in direct opposition to the program’s requirements.

            “I write with great concern regarding the attached New York Times article, which indicates that the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program has provided federal incentive payments to adopters who abandoned these animals at slaughter auctions,” Senator Feinstein. “I strongly urge BLM to immediately suspend this program and conduct a thorough investigation to ensure federal funds are used to protect wild horses and burros against abuse, neglect, or slaughter, as intended by Congress.”

            Full text of the letter follows:

May 27, 2021

The Honorable Deb Haaland

Secretary

U.S. Department of the Interior

1849 C Street NW

Washington DC 20240

Dear Secretary Haaland:

            I write with great concern regarding the attached New York Times article, which indicates that the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Incentive Program has provided federal incentive payments to adopters who abandoned these animals at slaughter auctions. I strongly urge BLM to immediately suspend this program and conduct a thorough investigation to ensure federal funds are used to protect wild horses and burros against abuse, neglect, or slaughter, as intended by Congress.

            Although adopters sign a contract swearing under penalty of perjury that they will not sell adopted wild horses and burros directly or indirectly to slaughter, this report suggests that some adopters have done exactly that and BLM has failed to use all appropriate tools to enforce its contracts and prevent adopters who previously sold their wild horses to slaughter auctions from adopting again. 

            Subsidizing the slaughter of wild horses and burros with taxpayer dollars violates Congressional intent outlined in the Fiscal Year 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 116 260), which prohibits the use of funds for the destruction of wild horses and burros and directs BLM to adopt a robust expansion of proven, safe, effective, and humane fertility control methods to manage these herds. 

            It is my hope that you will immediately halt the Adoption Incentive Program and ensure a proper investigation is conducted to prevent future wild horses and burros from suffering abuse or slaughter.  Thank you for your attention to this important matter and I look forward to working with you to ensure humane outcomes for wild horses and burros.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator