WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, and the Center for a Humane Economy applauded the recent confirmation of former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) as the U.S. Secretary of Interior. Haaland is the first Native American to hold a cabinet-level position. In 2018, Haaland was elected as one of the two first female Native Americans in Congress, and recently served as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, and Chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. Her nomination to lead the Interior Department was a tremendous victory for a coalition of wild horse, animal protection, wildlife, and environmental advocates, and Indigenous leaders who campaigned to elevate one of their own to the powerful federal seat that oversees natural resources, public lands, Indian affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). “We’re elated to see such a tremendous champion with a proven track record in working to protect our iconic American wild horses and burros confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Interior,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a lifelong horseman who was recently honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II for his work to protect horses. “It’s time to set the Bureau of Land Management on the right track with a long-term plan that will prevent wild horse helicopter roundups, mass incarceration, and surgical sterilization, and we have no doubt that Secretary Haaland will continue the work she began in Congress.” “Top-to-bottom reform of the BLM’s wild horse and burro program is decades overdue,” said Scott Beckstead, also a lifelong horseman, and director of campaigns at the Center for a Humane Economy. “We look forward to a new approach under Secretary Haaland that rejects the unsustainable policies of mass helicopter roundups to benefit corporate grazing interests, and that allows our beloved and iconic wild equines to live wild and free on our public lands where they belong.” In July of 2020, then Rep. Haaland teamed up with Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation, Horses for Life Foundation, American Horse Protection Society, American Wild Horse Campaign, and Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Schweikert (R-AZ), David Price (D-NC), Peter King (R-NY), John Katko (R-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) in shepherding to passage a House Appropriations Amendment that required the Bureau of Land Management to utilize $11,000,000 of its allocated Wild Horse and Burro Program budget to implement PZP humane, reversible fertility control to manage wild horse populations – nearly 11% of its wild horse budget – instead of executing helicopter roundups and surgical sterilization in the field. Haaland also joined in signing on numerous Congressional letters to the BLM in recent years urging the end of roundups and surgical sterilization. Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all. The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all. The Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.
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