Animal advocacy groups are fighting back against President Donald Trump‘s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, which could lead to the slaughter of thousands of the nation’s wild horses in an effort to manage the population.
About 73,000 wild horses and burros roam freely across already-deteriorating lands, according to the Washington Post. In a newly proposed bill, Trump offered a solution to the problem: “Humane euthanasia and unrestricted sale of certain excess animals.”
This could spark sales of wild horses to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses, the Post reports.
The Bureau of Land Management utilizes about $50 million a year to care for 46,000 wild horses — Trump’s proposed budget aims to save $10 million, according to the Post.
The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act allows for the sale of older, unadoptable animals, according to PBS. But, in recent decades, Congress has prohibited the killing of healthy animals or sale that could result in slaughter.
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Laura Leigh, president of Wild Horse Education, told PBS that the budget is “simply a way to placate a very well-funded and vocal livestock lobby.” Meanwhile, the front page of the American Wild Horse Campaign website reads: “Trump Administration Moves to Slaughter America’s Mustangs: Tell Congress No!”
“President Trump promised to return government to the people, and we trust that he meant it,” Suzanne Roy, executive director of the campaign told the Post. “America can’t be great if these national symbols of freedom are destroyed.”
Over the last nearly 10 years, the bureau’s wild horse budget has increased from $36.2 million in 2008 to $80.4 million in 2017, the Associated Press reports.