2015 Ominibus Federal Spending Bill: Provisions Impacting America’s Horses
The Consolidated And Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 was approved by the House on December 11 and the Senate on December 13 and signed into law by the President on December 16, 2014
The following provisions apply to horses:
- Enforcing the Horse Protection Act
“$697,000 shall be for activities under the authority of the Horse Protection Act of 1970, as amended (153 U.S.C. 1831)” p. 22
- Continuing the defacto ban on U.S. horse slaughter
“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel— (1) to inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603)” p. 99
- Prohibiting killing and sale for slaughter of healthy wild horses and burros.
“Appropriations herein made shall not be available for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros in the care of the Bureau or its contractors or for the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.” pp 671-672
- Continuing contracts for holding wild horses and burros.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior may enter into multiyear cooperative agreements with nonprofit organizations and other appropriate entities, and may enter into multiyear contracts in accordance with the provisions of section 304B of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 254c) (except that the 5-year term restriction in subsection (d) shall not apply), for the long-term care and maintenance of excess wild free roaming horses and burros by such organizations or entities on private land. Such cooperative agreements and contracts may not exceed 10 years, subject to renewal at the discretion of the Secretary.” P. 720
Appropriations Committee Report Language
“Horse and Burro Management.—The Committee recommends
$80,045,000 to implement Public Law 92–195 (16 U.S.C. 1331 et seq.) requiring the protection, management, and control of free-roaming horses and burros on public lands, $2,800,000 above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $193,000 below the budget request.
Within this amount, the Committee recommends $1,000,000 to study and test the feasibility of implementing a sterilization program in partnership with universities and non-profit organizations in order to ensure that the program is scientifically sound and humanely implemented. The Committee also supports continued research to develop and refine a variety of fertility-control methods, including immunocontraceptives, which allow for self-sustaining populations of wild horses and burros while maintaining the genetic viability of the protected herds. The bill continues a prohibition on funds to implement Section 1333(b)(2)(C) of Title 16, United States Code, requiring the humane destruction of excess animals that are not adopted. The bill also continues a general provision within Title I allowing the BLM to enter into long-term contracts and agreements for holding facilities off the range.
The horse and burro management program in its current state is unsustainable and the Committee cannot afford to perpetuate the situation for much longer. The Committee received testimony this year from advocates for a long-term strategy of sustainable, non-lethal population management, as well as advocates for short-term solutions to the problems caused by an overabundance of free-roaming horses and burros currently on the range. The Committee has a responsibility to see that both issues are addressed and invites the Bureau and bipartisan stakeholders to work with the Committee `
Joint Explanatory Statement
“Wild Horse and Burro Management.—The Committees encourage the Bureau to consider sterilization as a tool for population management and to request funding for a pilot program in fiscal year 2016, in accordance with recommendations from the National Research Council and others.”