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The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is Waived for Border Wall

In the early 1900’s, there were no laws protecting free-roaming wild horses and burros. On her way to work one morning in 1950, rancher Velma Bronn Johnson (later called “Wild horse Annie,”) observed a truck filled with bleeding horses, headed for the slaughterhouse. Johnson’s subsequent activism on behalf of America’s wild horses and burros produced legislation that eventually became the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHBA) of 1971. The purpose of the WFRHBA is to protect, manage, and control wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands. When passing this legislation, Congress declared that horses and burros are “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west.”

The WFRHBA protects wild horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment or death, and considers them to be an integral part of public lands. Because feral horses and burros undisturbed by humans breed well, and because they often damage parts of the fragile riparian habitats in which they prefer, a program was developed to regularly cull wild herds and allow private individuals to “adopt” excess animals.

The WFRHBA is one of the 48 federal laws waived to expedite the construction of an impenetrable wall on our southern border (click here for a list of all 48 laws that have been waived). The wild horses and burros that inhabit areas in close proximity to the proposed wall are thus no longer protected by this law—they can be captured, branded, harassed or killed without legal consequence. Wild Horse Annie would not be pleased to know that her hard-fought battle to protect wild horses has been undone.

Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives ( and let them know that you oppose waiving The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.

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