Federal Issue Brief

 H. Res. 284, Resolution Honoring Wild Horses and Burros

AVMA Position:

No Action 

Summary:

Introduced by Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ-7th), this resolution recognizes wild horses and burros as living symbols of the western development area. Honors the 16th birthday of Cloud, a wild stallion. 

Background:

  • According to data compiled in early 2011 and information available since, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that the current free-roaming population of wild horses and burros exceeds the number of these animals that the BLM has determined can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses by over 12,000.
  • Current information shows that the average herd size increases approximately 20% every year.
  • Conservation and management of animal populations should be humane, socially responsible, and scientifically prudent.

Justification:

  • Wild horses and burros are viewed by the American public as iconic; however, they must be appropriately managed to ensure the health of the animals and the ecosystem which supports them.
  • The Cloud Foundation, the organization behind this resolution, has opposed many of the management practices the BLM has implemented.
  • A recent task force report authored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners states, "The task force concluded that the care, handling and management practices utilized by the [BLM] are appropriate for this population of horses and generally support the safety, health status and welfare of the animals." (http://www.aaep.org/press_room.php?id=449)
  • This resolution contains dangerous language, particularly when attributing human values to the stallion, Cloud.

Current Status:

  • House Committee on Natural Resources.

AVMA Contact: 

Dr. Whitney Miller, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3211