“Wild horses were turned into dog food and fertilizer putting fast cash into the pockets of the perpetrator, without any regulation from state or federal authorities.”
By LAURA LEIGH, Founder, WildHorseEducation.org
RENO, Nevada – Forty-five years ago, December 15, Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFRH&B Act) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 18, 1971 (approved on December 15). This law landed on Nixon’s desk after passing both the House and Senate (June 19, 1971) unanimously.
December 15 is seen as the “anniversary” of the Act to protect wild horses and burros on public land.
The WFRH&B Act created the sensation that wild horses were now protected on public land, but did not create actual defined parameters. Much of this law was an intention statement, rather than clear direction. Like most laws the practical application of the intention is left to imposition by competing law, lack of clear enforcement and to interpretation by the US judicial system.
“Many people misinterpret the language of the Act because they repeat what they hear in soundbite and have never even read it,” said Laura Leigh, WHE founder, “The Act essentially established jurisdiction, said management must be humane and then left a broad discretion to create management. Management framework that represents the true intention was never created. Where does that responsibility lie? Across the board.”
We urge you to read: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2015/12/14/wfrhb-act/
Immediately after the passage of the Act work began to undercut any protections by those that resented any federal interference, namely those that profited from “mustanging.” Mustanging was a practice where ranchers and others that lived in the West would literally run down wild horses through brutal methods, and either kill them outright or catch them in any way they could, and ship them to render. Wild horses were turned into dog food and fertilizer putting fast cash into the pockets of the perpetrator, without any regulation from state or federal authorities.
The American public felt the federal law protected wild horses. The real work to engage and define management practices never happened.