Big wins for wolves, bears, horses, and other animals in 2018 budget

By on March 23, 2018 with 52 Comments

There’s great news for animals in the final 2018 budget bill that President Trump signed into law today. The bottom line is this: the budget bill includes language to restrict funds from being used to harm horses and to address a purge of key animal enforcement records, it increases federal resources to enforce significant animal protection laws, and it omits riders that would have been devastating for wildlife.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, our government affairs affiliate, worked with animal protection champions in both chambers and with other stakeholders to secure victories on a number of fronts, including these key outcomes:

Maintaining the ban on horse slaughter: The bill includes language to prohibit government spending on horse slaughter inspections, which effectively bans horse slaughter in the United States for human consumption. This language has been in place in every year’s budget but one since 2005, but was rejected in the House committee last summer.

Preventing slaughter of wild horses and burros: The bill includes language to prevent the Bureau of Land Management and its contractors from sending wild horses and burros to slaughter, or from killing excess healthy horses and burros. A provision allowing wild horses who are removed from public lands to be transferred to federal, state, or local governments to serve as work horses makes clear that these horses cannot be destroyed for human consumption, or euthanized except upon the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age. The explanatory statement accompanying the bill criticizes the Department of Interior and directs it to provide, within 30 days, a comprehensive, science-based proposal that “has the goal of reducing costs while improving the health and welfare of wild horses and burros, and the range.”

Preserving protections for carnivores on National Park Service lands in Alaska: The omnibus bill does not authorize inhumane and scientifically unjustified trophy hunting methods on National Preserves in Alaska. This is a major victory because in February 2017 Congress enacted a rollback of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule prohibiting such practices—including luring grizzly bears with bait to shoot them at point-blank range, and killing wolf, black bear, and coyote mothers and their young at their dens—on 76 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, and the House Interior Appropriations bill contained a rider to undo a similar National Park Service rule barring such cruel trophy hunting methods.

Preserving ESA protections for Great Lakes wolves: The omnibus omits harmful language—present in both the House and Senate Interior Appropriations bills—directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in the western Great Lakes states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) and Wyoming, and barring judicial review of such action.

Pushing USDA to fix its data purge: Following bipartisan expressions of outrage, the package directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restore inspection reports and enforcement records for horse shows, puppy mills, roadside zoos, laboratories, and other facilities, which were purged from the agency’s website in February 2017.

Providing needed funding: The bill boosts funds for some key animal programs, such as $2 million more for USDA enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, $1.5 million more in grants for veterinary student loan repayment, and $5 million more to train and provide therapeutic service dogs for veterans and soldiers. It holds the line against cuts in many other important accounts affecting animals, such as the Marine Mammal Commission and development of alternatives to live animal testing.

The good news notwithstanding, the omnibus package is not a victory across the board for animals. There are harmful provisions in it, too, including one that exempts factory farms (also known as CAFOs or concentrated animal feeding operations) from reporting toxic air emissions, and another that maintains a prohibition on the Environmental Protection Agency regulating toxic lead content in ammunition and fishing tackle, which poisons and kills wildlife.

Fred Myers and the other founders of The HSUS were determined to create an organization ready and willing to take on the big fights for animals, and the congressional budget bill is one of the biggest around. When it comes to taxpayer dollars, we’re committed to making sure that they go toward the promotion of animal welfare, and certainly not to support animal cruelty. When you stand with us, you can be sure that we’ll stand up for the animals, when and where it counts.

Equine, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Mariam Willis says:

    Thank you for working so hard on behalf of so many animals

  2. Mariam Willis says:

    Its a relief to know that many animals targeted will now be protected and cared for, thank you…the fight goes on ☮

    • cheryl craven says:

      Im not so sure that horse slaughter is banned. Read it again , it says it bans horse slaughter inspections

      • Sara Harrington says:

        yes but I think if the meat (horse) isn’t inspected, then he can’t legally go into the human food supply. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like banning the transport of horses to Canada and Mexico (for consumption) was in this signed budget. Check out SAFE Act for more info on this. This needs to get passed as it is a broader protection.

        • Kara L says:

          Agreed, Sara! The damage and pain inflicted on these beautiful animals during transport is heinous and unacceptable.

      • Sherry says:

        without inspections, they cant run a slaughterhouse for horses.

      • Thomas Lee says:

        Slaughter is NOT banned only the funds to provide from tax payers to pay for foreign horse slaughter plants to operate under they watchful eye of USDA inspectors. Which is banned. T.G.

      • Rita Jean Daniel says:

        I saw that too. So how it is worded, it will still allow slaughter plants, but the meat will be deported to countries that do costume it. So nothing has really changed. Needs to go back to having slaughter houses banned all together. So that also means that the BLM will keep depleting the Wild Mustangs for sell to Killers and allow ranchers to keep adding more cattle for grazing on Government Land that is suppose to be for the Mustangs. It’s just a long ongoing mess. Now they are letting the Gas & Oil Industry pile more trouble on top of that mess.

  3. William E Simpson says:

    Wild Horses may be exterminated without Chris Stewart amendment

    Some advocates might be over-joyed at Omnibus Bill that was signed by President Trump on Friday. But the so-called reprieve for native species American wild horses may be just an illusion in my opinion.

    This article just broke:

    My wife and I have lived among wild horses for the past 4-years (24/7 – 365) and continue to do so, and we have serious concerns about the future of the corralled wild horses, as well as those left on the range under the BLM.

    Not just the number of horses is in jeopardy, but the vigor of the species in grave danger. They are in fact being ‘managed into extinction’.

    The people and the dynamics that led to the Chris Stewart amendment didn’t just suddenly evaporate. These same people are now likely already working even harder on a new (sneakier?) means for the elimination of the horses, possible while in plain view; via so-called vaccinations… and then bang… a sudden outbreak of a disease… or? A conspiracy theory? Maybe, maybe not.

    How does anyone really know what they (the BLM and contractors) are injecting into America’s native species wild horses? It’s not like these people have earned much trust lately as is evidenced by their own track records.

    Question: Is there a strict chain of custody and oversight (signed receipts and accountability) for the vaccines that starts with trustworthy oversight at the production labs and right into the field and the person loading the syringe? Doubtful. We see how they roundup wild horses and then lie about how many are injured or killed… so what’s new here?

    We can barely trust big-pharma with what they pump into humans these days (I.E. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative in vaccines, and there are other serious issues, etc.)… cancer meds and treatments that cause cancer (side effects on the label).

    So is this their new solution to slowly kill-off the wild horses in plain sight using so called vaccines and ‘birth control’? Weakening their immunity and virility?

    More at this article:

    The more we allow these people to mess with America’s wild horses, the weaker and fewer they will become; and this is an undeniable fact.

    Question is: Are you willing to gamble with their precious lives?

    Please support my Plan to restore the corralled horses back into carefully selected remote wilderness areas, where they can be once again at-one with nature and can never be rounded-up again.

    More reading here:

    Cheers! Bill
    Bill with new foal.jpg

    Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
    Member: Authors Guild / IMDb
    Muck Rack:

  4. Craig Downer says:

    Such a shame factory farms don’t have to report on their pollution, which is one of the greatest killers of life on Earth via Global Warming

  5. Linda Begovich says:

    The Humane Society is a great Organization and you have done a lot to save animals from being mistreated and being killed. I wonder if the action to stop the slaughter and abuse of animals would get more positive action if some Animal Rescue Agencies came together for a certain cause.

  6. George Nagle says:

    I’m beyond happy and relieved that the protections remained intact for the wild horses and burros, the wildlife on NPS lands in Alaska, and the ESA protections for the Great Lake wolves. I THOUGHT FOR SURE that this budget bill was going to be the death sentence for 90,000+ wild horses and burros, Alaska’s wildlife, and the Great Lakes wolves. This trifecta win is beyond any of my expectation. I want to thank everyone who was involved behind the scenes, i.e. the HSLF team, and Gillian Lyons who has been working on the wild horses and burros issues for the last few years, and everyone on the PZP fertility team who have been providing an alternative solution for humanely managing wild horses and burros in the field.

    That said, while I’m enjoying and relieved with this major win, I’m really looking at this as a temporary reprieve, i.e. Ryan Zinke (Sec. of the Interior), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS), and all of the powerful special interest groups calling the shots, are still firmly committed to carry out all of the above atrocities, and while we celebrate this win they are plotting their next move. So we need to stay vigilant and project their next moves so that we are prepared to counter them.

    The best way to counter them is to focus on building HSLF’s voting bloc and political power, and the midterm elections. We need to target and remove the politicians that will vote to support these atrocities, and replace them with wild horse and wildlife friendly candidates. We need to make sure that when these issues come up for a vote in the future, that we can win these votes. We’ve been given a temporary reprieve, and so we need to be ready for the next fight, which is being plotted right now, and will be coming.

  7. a says:

    Thank you, Thank you!!! what good news! so grateful for all HSUS efforts. We don’t get much good news on wildlife these days and this is a big relief. I hope that HSUS and the humane score will continue to help us vote in representatives who will protect wildlife, in place of the current administration who seem determined to attack deer and other wildlife.

  8. mattie lou goodwin says:

    this is the a victory for animals! thank you for all your dedicated hard work to save animals!

  9. Diana Fink says:

    I’m so thrilled that FINALLY, these BEAUTIFUL animals are protected and safe!

  10. Diana Fink says:

    I’d also like to thank Kitty Block for all the good she does for our animals. If I could have a dream job, that would be mine, helping animals.

  11. AI says:


  12. Betty Covington says:

    Thank you for all you do for our furry friends!

    The Injustice of the Innocent & Voiceless! All animals deserve lives free from human-inflicted suffering. As the highest created being, humans have a moral obligation to be wise stewards of animals. Just because we happen to be the most powerful species on earth, we humans have the ability, but not the right, to abuse the so-called lower animals. The ends do NOT justify the means!

  13. rita woods says:

    Thank you for being the voice of the VOICELESS. We all must continue our fight to provide these animals with a safe healthy life with all our might!

    thank you for all you do I know my support is used for what matters to me most, a better life for these animals.

  14. Carol B says:

    Thank you for all you do to protect those that have no voice. Please keep up the good work you do to protect All Animals. Thank You

  15. elizabeth brechter says:

    I am so very happy that you are having these victories with animals and more to come. I am an extreme animal lover and do not like to see them suffer and very grateful to the Humane Society of the United States. Elizabeth Brechter

  16. elizabeth brechter says:

    I am very grateful to the HSUS for helping animals and more victories to come. Elizabeth Brechter

  17. elizabeth brechter says:

    I am very grateful to the HSUS for helping animals and more victories to come.

  18. Judith Brock says:

    As always, HSUS fights for all animals, all the time. Thank you and please keep up the good work. We will continue to support HSUS. These days there are so many groups “claiming” to care about animals and protect their rights, but they are not the REAL DEAL. Some even spread FAKE NEWS about HSUS! HSUS is the REAL DEAL and we applaud your efforts.

  19. Ann says:

    Thanks! this is great news! We need to keep fighting for the welfare of animals

  20. David Woodward says:

    A Big Win for those who Respect and Protect the Rights of Animals not just in the United States but around the World.

  21. saadia ali says:

    I was just privileged to read your portrayal of advocating for the rights of animals.
    Mr. MYERS, may GOD almighty bless you abundantly for your efforts sir…
    May HE grant compassion into the hearts of all human beings towards the plants and animals of this world. They were placed here as a test and trial for us humans, a test that we are failing miserably…
    I thank you sir and pray that there are more like you to come out of the woodwrks…

  22. Kimberley Medina says:

    So happy to hear the good news and that my President Trump cared enough to sign the bill that was needed to protect our wild life! I’m so happy great news!

  23. Terry says:

    Thank you for your perseverance and love for all animals.
    What a great accomplishment on your part.

  24. Lisa Davis says:

    This is great that some animals are now receiving protection from the federal government. I still feel we have a long road to fight and things like trophy hunting. But I am pleased to see that we are making some headway. Thanks to everyone who fought for this.

  25. Becky L Roach says:

    I am beyond relieved that these animals will be protected…there has been far too much trophy hunting, etc, and these animals deserve to live out their lives in peace, like anyone else.

  26. Diane Kallstrom says:

    A good day overall ! Thank you HSUS for all your hard work. Let’s keep up our fight!!

  27. Roxanne Gill says:

    Thank you to all the organizations including HSUS that spoke up and fought for the millions of innocent animals that are victims to barbaric cruelty every year.
    You are true heroes in the relentless fight. Also God bless all the politicians who voted against cruelty. We need more of you!

  28. jenifergascoigne says:

    Thank God we are making progress,these animals need our protection.

  29. Judy Shammas says:

    We all thank you for your work and dedication. AND for keeping us updated. It is important for us to know that united we are making a difference in speaking out against animal abuser and knowing that the animals are protected as they should be. THANK YOU!!!

  30. GLENDA LUSK says:


  31. Jo says:

    Thank you for the work you do. Animals are God’s creation and need to be protected. We are there voices and we need continue to fight on there behalf .

  32. D. Marie says:

    Bravo on the USDA web site restoring inspection reports and enforcement records for horse shows, puppy mills, roadside zoos, laboratories, and other facilities. Can we find out who was responsible for the blackout of this info so they are held accountable, voted out, etc.

    Thank you HSUS for your hard work.

  33. JOHN PASQUA says:


  34. Monica Payden says:

    Thank you for all your hard work to help the innocents among us in this world. I also wish this could be the same for our small tame animals awaiting a forever home. Some of us are waiting to make that possible

  35. Ellen Curley says:

    Thank you more than you know!!!

  36. Alexandria Siwecki says:

    Thank you to everyone for protecting wildlife from being decimated!!

  37. Ashley Lawrence says:

    Thank you for all you do!!!! I appreciate all your hard work to help provide a better life for animals 😉

  38. DeDe Horton says:

    Thank you for all you do!! Keep up the good fight!!

  39. Dale Leatherman says:

    This is great news. Thank you.

  40. diane richards says:

    i am excited about the protection that has been restored for these precious creatures especially the horses. however this does NOT keep them from being sent to other countries and being brutally slaughtered. isn’t it comical that we protect our convicts from cruel and unusual punishment but we don’t extend this compassion to helpless and beautiful animals. i bet God is really proud of the human race. watch out for the next extinction and this time it won’t be dinosaurs.

  41. Lisa Fowler says:

    I am happy to hear our voices to protect animals is being heard
    If this is true that President Trump did sign a bill to enforce the protection of these animals I’ll say Thank you President Trump all the way from the Queen of Canada in BC, me Lisa Fowler Awwwooo

  42. SDean says:

    Thank you for fighting so hard to preserve the rights and protections of so many innocent and beautiful animals. Great work. I have been following the recent horrific regulation rollbacks, so these are great victories. The needless killing of these animals is heartbreaking.

  43. Mary Lou Cooper says:

    Great news! Thank you for your continued efforts to help animals in such a big way.

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