By Congressman JARED POLIS
U.S. House of Representatives, Colorado, Second Congressional District, Democratic Party
To The Desert Independent
August 9, 2016
We have 1,530 wild horses in Colorado. If we cannot continue to protect the animals that have been a part of our wildlife and culture for hundreds of years, what type of values do we set for the next generation?
I find it troubling that rather than preserving these majestic animals we're seeing an unprecedented attack against them. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has decided to cruelly roundup wild horses and burros for inhumane forced sterilization and even slaughter under the guise of population control.
As you may know, what distinguishes America's wild horses from their domestic counterparts is their natural behavior and their complex social organization. Surgical sterilization removes the horses' ability to produce the hormones that drive their natural behavior. It destroys their complex social organization and unalterably changes the free roaming behaviors that Congress sought to protect when we passed the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971.
These roundups are also costly to taxpayers. In 2013, the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program cost taxpayers $78 million per year! According to the National Academy of Science, "Continuing "business as usual" will be expensive and unproductive for BLM and the public it serves."
The surgical sterilization operation on wild horses and burros is simply cruel and it has been coming at the expense of taxpayers’ dollars for too long. There are far more humane and less costly methods already available to limit population growth.
That's why a couple weeks ago, I took to the House floor to propose an amendment to the Department of the Interior budget to encourage the protection of wild horses and burros. It would have prevented the costly and inhumane sterilization process performed while preserving these beautiful animals (to view my entire floor speech click the picture below).
While it shouldn't be a surprise that in this Congress the amendment didn't pass, it did start a conversation that I hope continues to develop until we can ensure their protection. Ending the mistreatment and slaughtering of these animals is well within statue, it aligns with our moral values, and would save taxpayer dollars. Preventing further horse abuse is commonsense.
Rest assured that I will continue to advocate for the protection of wild horses and burros until we find a way to stop this barbaric practice. In Congress, I am proud to be a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, and to have an 'A' rating from the Humane Society for my voting record on animal welfare issues. I'm eager to hear your input on these issues as well.
If you'd like to get in touch, you can email me any time, call one of my offices, or send me a note through Facebook or Twitter. I hope to hear from you soon.
Jared Polis, Representative