Phoenix, Arizona (April 11, 2016) . . . . Wild horse advocates are declaring victory for the Salt River wild horses after today’s Senate vote of 27-2 in favor of HB 2340, legislation to protect the cherished wild horse herd. The House passed the bill on Feb. 25, and the legislation will now head back there for concurrence on amendments added in the Senate to strengthen the legislation, before moving on to the Governor’s desk for signature into law.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign are applauding the vote and celebrating this monumental victory for wild horses. Supporters and volunteers on horseback are celebrating right now by flying the American and Arizona Flags from atop a hill at Coons Bluff in the middle of the wild horses' habitat in the Tonto National Forest.
“Its been a long struggle, and it’s definitely gratifying to see our Senators almost unanimously reflecting the will of the public by voting to preserve this very important historic, economic and recreational resource for future generations to come!,” said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. “We thank every legislator who stood up to protect our Salt River wild horses, we thank every member of the public who gave them a voice, and we thank every one of our dedicated volunteers and the bill’s sponsor, Kelly Townsend, for working so hard to get this important legislation passed. Thank you Arizona!”
The bill criminalizes the harassment or killing of a Salt River wild horse, clarifies that they are not stray animals, and establishes a process to humanely manage the horses in a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the State Department of Agriculture, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and the community.
“On behalf of our thousands of Arizona supporters, and tens of thousands of citizens nationally, we thank the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kelly Townsend and her fellow legislators for their dedication to keeping the Salt River wild horses wild and free,” said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group is an Arizona non-profit organization established to protect, monitor and scientifically study the Salt River Wild Horses. The SRWHMG has been spearheading the effort to secure lasting protections for this iconic and beloved wild horse herd in the Tonto National Forest.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is dedicated to defending America’s wild horses and burros to protect their freedom, preserve their habitat, and promote humane standards of treatment. AWHPC’s mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations.