Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Dina Titus spoke today on the House floor in support of House Resolution 688, which she introduced to support National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Day, which is recognized on September 26, 2009. Below are her remarks as delivered and attached is the resolution, which passed by voice vote.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to thank Chairman Rahall and Subcommittee Chairman Grijalva for bringing this timely resolution to the floor today.
“I rise today in strong support of H.Res. 688, a resolution I introduced with my colleagues in the Nevada Congressional Delegation in support of the goals and ideals of National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Day.
“Wild horses and burros are living symbols of the independent, free spirit of the American West. My state of Nevada is home to more than half of the wild horses in the country, and our state quarter depicts a trio of wild mustangs.
“The Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which became law in 1971, gave the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior responsibility for the humane capture, removal, and adoption of wild horses and burros. The agencies ensure that ‘healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands.’ But because these animals have no natural predators, herd sizes can increase dramatically in very short periods of time.
“In order to maintain balance on the rangelands, wild horses and burros are gathered and offered for adoption and sale. Currently, there are some 31,000 wild horses in short-term and long-term holding facilities, with 18,000 young horses available adoption. Although reasonable people might disagree on the appropriate number of horses that should be allowed to roam free, ranchers, wild horse advocates, environmentalists, animal lovers, and taxpayers alike can agree that there is a pressing need to improve upon the adoption programs to remove horses from holding facilities and place them in good adoptive homes.
“On September 26, 2009, a number of private organizations will assist with the adoption of excess wild horses and burros in conjunction with the first National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Day. State BLM offices, as well as rescue centers, wild horse groups, and volunteers from all walks of life will be engaged in activities leading up to, and on, this important day.
“BLM, the American Horse Protection Association, the Mustang Heritage Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, and Wild Horses 4Ever all support National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Day; and more than 65 adoption and educational events will take place across the country in support of its goals. Wild horse advocates have set a 1,000 horse and burro adoption goal for National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Day. This will save taxpayers $1.5 million dollars. This has already begun as we saw this past weekend at a successful adoption event in Pahrump, Nevada.
“The resolution we are considering today supports the goals of National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Day to be held annually in conjunction with the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture. It also recognizes that creating a successful adoption model for wild horses and burros is consistent with the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act of 1971 and beneficial to the long-term interests of the people of the United States in protecting wild horses and burros. Lastly, my resolution encourages Americans to adopt a wild horse or burro and own a living symbol of the historic and pioneer spirit of the American West, just as my sister, Rho Hudson, did when she adopted a wild burro, Sadie, who is a nice addition to her ranch in Pea Vine Canyon, Nevada.
“More than 220,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted since 1973. By placing this renewed emphasis on the importance of wild horse adoption programs, we will protect the welfare of these majestic animals and save taxpayer dollars at same time.
“So thank you again, Mr. Speaker. I urge passage of this important resolution and yield back my time.”