Groundbreaking Rewilding Legislation for Wild Horses in FY2020 Interior Appropriations Budget

Horses running in the American West
Horses running in the American West

The Cana Foundation hailed bipartisan language in the FY2020 Interior Appropriations Budget as a management option for America’s wild horses. The House Appropriations FY 2020 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill encourages rewilding for wild horse and burro management. This groundbreaking legislation will open up the opportunity to save millions of taxpayer dollars spent on keeping wild horses in captivity and instead explore opportunities that allow them to restore balance to threatened American ecosystems and provide benefits to those communities.

The Committee stated:
“Rewilding —The Committee recognizes the value of horse rewilding as one of many herd management strategies and encourages the Bureau to explore collaborations with suitable organizations and willing landowners to adopt, transport and locate horses to appropriate habitats at no cost to taxpayers.”

Currently, more than 60,000 wild horses stand in cramped holding pens across America, costing taxpayers over $100 million a year and rising. These current management practices are not only inhumane to horses and unsustainable for American taxpayers; but also an enormous loss to our global habitats and biodiversity. Rewilding creates a solution to our nation’s current wild horse crisis, which will put the lives of thousands of wild horses at risk if slaughter is legalized as a management tool.

Rewilding is defined as: the introduction of select plants and animals into an environment to support, sustain, and balance the ecosystem and the energy of the environment. Rewilding returns nature to balance and to benefit all inhabitants. ​Rewilding with wild horses is a popular strategy in Europe: including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Great Britain & Scotland. CANA Foundation has advocated that there is a crucial thread of connection between America’s wild horses and habitats, as well as to our humanity; therefore highlighting rewilding as a sensible management strategy for these populations here in the States. Achieving report language in the FY2020 Interior Appropriations Budget recognizing rewilding marks a landmark achievement for CANA’s 2019 goal to open the doors for rewilding as a non partisan, long term, sustainable approach to managing America’s wild horses.

“The present-day mismanagement of our horses is old and antiquated and has created an environmental, fiscal, and potential health crisis for the American people. Rewilding is the way of the future; a multifaceted and nonpartisan solution that helps find a balance between wild horses, taxpayers and habitats,” said former Congressman, Steve Israel, who led this issue in Congress and continues to champion the cause as CANA Foundation’s strategic advisor.

CANA Foundation is a 501(c)3 ​New York-based​, non profit rewilding organization that for over ten years has purchased wild horses at a standard Bureau of Land Management adoption prices, identified private and tribal habitats where the herds can​ ​live​ ​with​ ​dignity,​ ​free​ ​from​ ​the risk​ ​of​ ​slaughter; and transported them to live out their lives. There, they act as part of different environmental, social, spiritual, economic and workforce programs within the communities that welcome them home. ​These rewilding initiatives humanely manage and preserve America’s wild horse populations; while simultaneously fostering land conservation, sustainability, climate mitigation, community empowerment, stewardship and the protection of a myriad of plant and animal species.

“CANA Foundation is grateful to Chairwoman Betty McCollum and Ranking Member David Joyce for this sensible, bipartisan rewilding legislation. Rewilding will saving millions of taxpayer dollars spent on up-keeping wild horses in captivity, increase workforce opportunities and help accrue socio-economic benefits to the local communities who welcome these wild horses,” says Manda Kalimian, CANA Foundation Founder. “Wild horses play a vital role in land conservation and the health ​of​ ​our​ ​habitat​s. Thousands of case studies around the world prove wild horses have a unique ability to provide balance to the environment​ and to the human spirit. Through​ ​their presence, we can help to restore​ ​​​an ecological​ ​balance to​ ​our​ ​precious American ecosystems while benefiting the communities who welcome them.”

CANA is working to unite at risk and intact herds with large scale rewilding initiatives happening across America with other animal, environmental, tribal, conservation and climate mitigation initiatives. As a keystone grazing species, their presence is crucial to the success of those endeavors. These types of collaborations would work to ensure wild horses are protected and preserved as a cherished and integral component to the balance of the North American ecosystems. In doing so, we will conserve diminishing western territories ​and ​natural resources, contribute to the protection of our biodiversity and natural ecosystems and create empowered and sustainable communities ​for generations to come.

Creating a synergistic approach to rewilding will be the safest, most efficient, cost-saving way to create sustainable horse herds; therefore creating sustainable communities through projects that provide revenues and benefits to their local economies. This approach will save millions to the American taxpayer by reducing the need to maintain wild horses in captivity. Rewilding will also reconnect humans with the natural world we are a part of and empower us to revive the important role as stewards of our land. For all humans, plants and animals who call America home, this rewilding legislation is more important now, than ever.

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