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AJR-5 Wild free-roaming horses and burros: protection: roundup moratorium.(2021-2022)

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AJR5:v97#DOCUMENT

Revised  August 16, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 28, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Joint Resolution
No. 5


Introduced by Assembly Members Luz Rivas and Waldron
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Bauer-Kahan, Bennett, Berman, Bloom, Boerner Horvath, Bryan, Burke, Calderon, Carrillo, Cervantes, Chau, Chen, Chiu, Cooley, Cunningham, Daly, Frazier, Friedman, Gabriel, Cristina Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gipson, Lorena Gonzalez, Grayson, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Lee, Levine, Low, Maienschein, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Petrie-Norris, Quirk-Silva, Ramos, Rendon, Reyes, Rodriguez, Blanca Rubio, Salas, Stone, Ting, Villapudua, Ward, Akilah Weber, Wicks, and Wood)

February 01, 2021


Relative to wild free-roaming horses and burros.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AJR 5, as amended, Luz Rivas. Wild free-roaming horses and burros: protection: roundup moratorium.
This measure would commemorate the 50th anniversary of the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The measure would additionally urge the federal government administration to immediately declare a moratorium on all further wild horse and burro roundups and would urge the United States Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service to restore the wild horses and burros of California to their legal areas throughout the state. roundups, to establish management of these animals informed by independent science and the American public, and to restore a thriving ecological balance to California wild horse and burro areas and territories.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, December 18, 15, 2021, will mark the 50th anniversary of the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971; and
WHEREAS, Executive Order No. N-82-20 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 7, 2020, forming the California Biodiversity Collaborative as the next generation of the state’s initiative to protect California’s biodiversity and climate; and
WHEREAS, Wild horses and burros contribute to a wide range of ecological services on public lands in California; and
WHEREAS, The State of California was once an ideal habitat for hundreds of thousands of wild horses and burros, with a robust ecosystem bearing rich and moisture-retaining soils, and a great abundance and variety of germinating seeds as a result of the foraging of those herds, whose remains returned to the balanced ecosystem, fulfilling an important ecological niche; and

WHEREAS, Both the horse and the burro have their evolutionary origins and longstanding development in North America, tracing back at least 58,000,000 years, and fulfill a harmonious natural role within many of the western ecosystems, adapting and positively contributing thereto as a returned native species; and

WHEREAS, The State of California, host to an ever-increasing number of catastrophic wildfires due to the effects of climate change, benefits greatly from the mitigation and even prevention of those fires when wild horses and burros are present to reduce dry flammable vegetation or tinder; and

WHEREAS, Equids have longstanding development in California, as shown by Pleistocene fossil records of various Equus taxa from numerous sites in southern California; and
WHEREAS, In 1950, Velma Bronn Johnston, known as “Wild Horse Annie,” resolved to bring the injustices caused to wild horses and burros to public attention after witnessing brutal roundups and seeing a foal trampled to death in a truck overcrowded with horses, which she followed to a slaughterhouse; and
WHEREAS, On December 18, 15, 1971, through the Velma Bronn Johnston’s foresight and advocacy of Velma Bronn Johnston, known as “Wild Horse Annie,” advocacy, the United States Congress unanimously passed and chaptered the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which declared that “wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene,” and “that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”; and
WHEREAS, After four Having comprised nearly 54 million acres across the country in 1971, after five decades under the of management of by the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), our nation’s wild horses and burros now find themselves at alarmingly low population numbers, with disrupted social structures, and removed from their rightful legal areas on BLM and USFS lands; and Service, wild horse and burro herd areas and territories have been reduced to fewer than 30 million acres, with ever-decreasing population caps to make way for livestock grazing, fossil fuel and other land extraction, and energy production, thus veering from the ideal of a “thriving ecological balance” as stated in the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971; and
WHEREAS, The two agencies charged with preserving, protecting, and managing our nation’s wild horses and burros throughout the West have subverted the true intent of the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 that represents the overall will and desire of the general public of the United States; and federal agencies have been de facto accomplices in the horse slaughter pipeline, despite the reprimands of former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Members of the California Legislature, members of the United States Congress, and numerous groups and individuals through litigation; and

WHEREAS, Present plans of the BLM and USFS only continue to excessively reduce the wild horse and burro herds to illegally low, genetically nonviable levels, allowing other interests, particularly livestock, to consume the greater quantities of forage and water, thus abrogating their responsibility to ensure that the resources of the legal wild horse and burro herd areas and territories are “principally devoted” to these national heritage species as fully accords with the true meaning and intent of the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971; and

WHEREAS, There exists intelligent means through the conscientious employment of the sound principles of reserve design, whereby the wild horses and burros can achieve long-term genetically viable populations, or herds, that are allowed to harmoniously adapt to the particular ecosystems they inhabit and self-stabilize through the establishment of mature social units and the incorporation of natural and, where necessary, artificial barriers, but always with a mind to preserving complete and sustainable habitats for these equid herds; and

WHEREAS, Millions of people greatly benefit from the uplifting vitality, elegance, and beauty of these animals when they are living freely in their natural habitat; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature hereby commemorates the 50th anniversary of the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges the federal government administration to immediately declare a moratorium on all further wild horse and burro roundups; and be it further
Resolved, That the Legislature urges the United States Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service to restore the wild horses and burros of California to their legal areas throughout the state; Department of the Interior to establish management of these animals informed by independent science and the American public and to restore a thriving ecological balance to California wild horse and burro areas and territories; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Secretary of the Interior, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, to the Deputy Director of Policy and Programs and the California Acting State Director of the United States Bureau of Land Management, to the Chief and Associate Chief of the United States Forest Service, to the California State Director of the United States Forest Service, and to the author for appropriate distribution.
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REVISIONS:
Heading—Line 2.
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