American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign Statement on the Resignation of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he will leave his position by March. In response, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has released the following statement.
Secretary Salazar’s departure is good news for America’s wild horses and burros. We will look back at his tenure at Interior as the beginning of the end of the federal government's wild horse and burro roundup program. By doubling down on cruel and wasteful wild horse roundups, stockpiling an untenable number of horses in captivity, and refusing to listen to public concerns, Salazar sparked widespread opposition. Tens of thousands of Americans have now rallied behind this cause and in favor of safe and cost- effective alternatives. This renewed support for America's wild horses and burros is a powerful force for change, which the new Secretary of the Interior will have to recognize.
President Obama now has the opportunity to appoint a Secretary of the Interior who will truly guard America's unique public lands legacy-- including our wild horses and burros. We urge the President to appoint an Interior Secretary who will stop the government's war on wild horses, which seeks to erase these iconic animals from our public lands.
During Secretary Salazar's tenure, the Interior Department has rounded up and removed over 35,000 wild horses from Western public lands. Only a third of these horses have been adopted. Most captured horses are warehoused. Currently, there are 50,000 wild horses in government holding facilities while fewer than 32,000 remain in the wild. Wild horses are removed by the thousands from public lands to make room for taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing.
Despite promises to reform the wild horse and burro program, Salazar, a Colorado rancher, instead ignored most of the promised changes and accelerated the pace of the roundups. He consistently placed the interests of the livestock industry ahead of the humane treatment of federally-protected wild horses and burros on our public lands.
On our website, we have a list of the "top three low lights" of Secretary Salazar's tenure.
Almost anyone will be an improvement over Secretary Salazar -- but we're urging the President to select someone that really understands and respects our public lands and wildlife, including wild horses and burros. It's important that we know exactly where the next Secretary stands on this issue -- and we urge the President to take a careful look at BLM's wild horse policy -- and the need to reform it -- in making his selection for the next Interior Secretary.
We will carefully monitor news on Secretary Salazar's replacement in the coming days and weeks and keep you posted.
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The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving American wild horses and burros in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.