2004 H.R. 4818
In December 2004 Senator Conrad Burns from the state of Montana prepared what is widely known as “The Burns Amendment.” This bill was never introduced to Congress, never discussed or voted on. In fact few, if none, knew of its existence or insertion into this 3,000 page Omnibus Act. This bill amends Section 3 (16 USC §1331) of the original Act. It over turned 33 years of national policy on the care and management of free-roaming wild horses and burros by repealing the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of these animals that had been covered by law.
He did so by amending Section 3 of the Act that removed language which protected the horses and burros from commercial sale (slaughter). He added subsequent paragraphs that included such language as: “sale of excess animals,” “shall be sold if more than 10 years of age or been offered unsuccessfully for adoption three times,” “shall be made available for sale without limitation“and “any excess animals sold under this provision shall no longer be considered to be a free-roaming wild horses or burros for purposes of this Act.”
The Burns Amendment effectively allows the BLM, after rounding up free-roaming wild horses, to sell “without limitation” and placing them in jeopardy of commercial processing (slaughter) because once sold they are no longer under the protection of the Act.