There are 37,300 wild horses and burros on federal lands, and an additional 49,000 that live in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) corrals. (The BLM is part of the Department of the Interior.) Rounding up and holding these ostensibly free animals cost the Bureau $50.8 million in 2012, 70.1 percent of its horse and burro budget. Treatment of the animals--a powerful symbol of the iconic American West--has lately been under scrutiny. Last week, departing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar received a letter from Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) along with 19 other Members of Congress, asking for an explanation of the department's actions. It reads, in part:
"Last September ProPublica reported that since 2009, when you became Secretary, the BLM has sold more than 1,700 captured mustangs to Tom Davis, a Colorado livestock hauler who has been a longtime kill buyer...Leading organizations and the public have stepped forward to express their concern with the idea that America's wild horses could be sold by their government to be slaughtered... "
--Members of Congress who signed the letter: Raul M. Grijalva, Ed Whitfield, Steve Cohen, Jackie Speier, Mike Honda, Sandy Levin, Wm. Lacy Clay, Dina Titus, Jan Schakowsky, Jim Himes, Sam Farr, Jim Moran, John Conyers, Loretta Sanchez, Jared Polis, Madeleine Bordallo, Ted Deutch, Lois Capps, Barbara Lee, Walter B. Jones, Carolyn Maloney
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