The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971

By now, I’m sure that you all are wondering what it is exactly that had protected the wild horses and burros for so long. That was a special act called the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. This act was absolutely crucial to protecting the wild horses and burros that roamed our rangelands. From what I have read, at the time of this act being put into place, there were about 27,000 horses/burros on the range, so their numbers were in drastic, threatened condition. You may read this government document yourself here.

I read this document after I had read the DOI investigation into the livestock hauler Tom Davis, and upon reading it, I found many things to be amiss. Also, one must consider that in 2004, former Senator Conrad Burns slipped in his Burns Amendment in the middle of the night the night before a 3,000 (yes, three thousand) page budget omnibus was to be passed. Which basically means that the Burns Amendment did not get voted on, because he did this. No one but he had laid eyes on it before it came to everyone elses attention.

Anywho!!! Upon reading the 1971 act as it would have read prior to the Burns Amendment destroying it, I found a couple of things.

1. Sec 3/ part b, subpart b: reads that should the Secretary find it necessary to remove excess animals, that no more than four animals should be adopted per year to one individual party, unless the Secretary him/herself determines in writing that the adopting party is capable of humanely caring for the number of animals desired, including providing transportation.

Now, the phrase “not more than four animals” is repeated once more in the following subpart 3, subpart c. This could probably tell you that it is important that no more than four animals go to the same adopter in one years time, and after the one year has passed, then if the adopter has cared for the animals sufficiently, then the adopter will receive the title for the animals.

2. Section 4 is explicit in explaining that absolutely no one expect the agents of the Secretary of Interior shall be allowed to destroy wild horses or burros. It goes on to say that this doesn’t mean that a private landowner cannot maintain wild horses or burros on his/her land, if he/she does so in a manner that protects these creatures from harm and harassment. It even says that the landowner can let the government know how many horses is on the land, so that a “proper”  number of animals may be maintained.

3. Section 7 states that the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are authorized and urged to appoint a joint advisory board of no more than nine (9) members to assist in any matter relating to free-roaming wild horses and burros and their management and protection. There are a few restrictions, as the board members cannot be employees of the Federal government or that State in which the board will oversee and the members must also demonstrate proper knowledge in special areas of equines, such as husbandry and proper allocation of rangeland in terms of herd sizes.

4. Section 8, part a, subpart 4 and subpart 6 maintains that any person who knowingly processes or permits the processing into commercial products the remains of a wild horse/burro ooorrrr willfully violates a regulation which is issued in pursuant to this Act shall be subject to a punishment of no more than a $2,000 fine or even imprisonment of up to a year.

I will talk more about this at the end of my post.

5. Section 10. All of this section is very important, as it states that nothing in this Act should be construed as giving the Secretary permission to relocate wild horses/burros to a place on Public land where they do not all ready currently exist.

This is one of my favorite lines in the whole shebang, because I suspect that it has happened, as difficult as it may be, the BLM is guilty of many things which the Public is not aware of. I believe that as a member of the Public, that we all deserve to understand what is happening in many of our backyards, and to know exactly how many wild horses/burros are truly free-roaming at the moment. There are many things that are amuck with the BLM and their policies, though I will recommend that everyone go and take a gander at this Act that I have talked about today and draw your own conclusions and let me know. Hopefully next time we’ll talk about the Burns Amendment and how that really gets my goat.

As I promised, I am now going to tell you about the troubles on Capitol Hill that the wild horses and burros are having. First I feel it necessary to say that it is quite sad that so many people that we as a People have selected to represent us in Congress have such a terrible distaste for animals that they cannot begin to understand. Many of these people have probably never laid eyes on a free-roaming horse in its natural habitat before, nor will they ever. Why?  Heaven only knows… and why we keep voting for these people? Again… Heaven only knows. Here is where you can read an article by the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. Unfortunately I have been unable to watch this unfurl due to working a lot the past couple of weeks, I will be catching myself up in the next couple of days. So in the meantime, like, share, and get the word out! Have a delightful day!


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