On Thursday, June 20, 2013, Return to Freedom and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign wrapped up a massive grassroots effort by submitting an open letter — signed by some 30,000 Americans, 30 Members of Congress, 18 organizations and 15 Celebrities — to U.S. Secretary of the Interior (DOI) Sally Jewell. The letter calls upon Secretary Jewell to reform the wild horse and burro program, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
“Americans from all backgrounds have joined together to urge Secretary Jewell to step in and take a new approach to preserving our nation’s iconic wild horse and burro herds on their ranges,” said Return to Freedom Founder Neda DeMayo who added “We stand ready to work with Secretary Jewell and the BLM to implement viable solutions that reflect the public’s desire that America’s mustangs and burros be treated fairly and humanely, protected and preserved on western range lands for generations to come.”
In addition to a huge showing of support from Americans, the letter was signed by Members of Congress, celebrities and national advocacy organizations. Click here to see who signed.
Each year, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) uses helicopters to roundup and remove thousands of wild horses from public lands in the ten western states. Since adoption demand remains low, most of the horses are warehoused in holding facilities. Today, the BLM stockpiles more 50,000 wild horses in government pens and pastures, while fewer than 32,000 remain free in the wild. The roundup program costs taxpayers $80 million annually.
The letter to Secretary Jewell follows the recent release of the scathing National Academy of Sciences report, which found that the BLM’s current policy of round up and removal was ineffective and costly to taxpayers.