Home Search The American Presidency Project
John Woolley and Gerhard Peters Home Data Documents Elections Media Links

** NOTE: The American Presidency Project will soon launch a new website with a more contemporary look and improved search capability. While we continue "beta testing" the new site, please excuse lapses in updating this site.
We expect to have the new site on-line in June.

• Public Papers of the Presidents
• State of the Union
Addresses & Messages
• Inaugural Addresses
• Farewell Addresses
• Weekly Addresses
• Fireside Chats
• News Conferences
• Executive Orders
• Proclamations
• Signing Statements
• Press Briefings
• Statements of
 Administration Policy
• Economic Report of the President
• Debates
• Convention Speeches
• Party Platforms
• 2016 Election Documents
• 2012 Election Documents
• 2008 Election Documents
• 2004 Election Documents
• 1996 Election Documents
• 1968 Election Documents
• 1960 Election Documents
• 2017 Transition
• 2009 Transition
• 2001 Transition
• White House Media Pool Reports
Data Index
Audio/Video Index
Election Index
Florida 2000
Presidential Libraries
View Public Papers by Month and Year

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary
INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals
Search the Entire Document Archive
Enter keyword: 

Limit by Year

To    :

Limit results per page

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary

INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals

You can search the Public Papers in two ways:

1. Search by Keyword and Year
You can search by keyword and choose the range of years within your search by filling out the boxes under Search the Public Papers.

2. View by Month and/or Year
Select the month and/or year you would like information about and press View Public Papers. Then choose a Public Paper and the page will load for you.

Search Engine provided by the Harry S. Truman Library. Our thanks to
Jim Borwick and Dr. Rafee Che Kassim at Project Whistlestop for critical assistance in the implementation of the search function, and to Scott Roley at the Truman Library for facilitating this collaboration.
Richard Nixon: Statement on Signing Bill To Protect Wild Horses and Burros.
Richard Nixon
399 - Statement on Signing Bill To Protect Wild Horses and Burros.
December 17, 1971
Public Papers of the Presidents
Richard Nixon<br>1971
Richard Nixon
Font Size:
The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

"WE NEED the tonic of wildness." During the past several months, many thousands of Americans, particularly children, have concurred in Thoreau's plea with an outpouring of concern for the preservation of wild horses and burros on our Western ranges. The 11-year-old son of one Congressman felt deeply enough on the issue to himself testify before the House of Representatives,1 and countless personal letters--many from young people-have come to the Congress, to the Federal land management agencies, and in my own mail. I take special pleasure today, therefore, in signing strong new legislation to protect these noble animals.

1 Gregory Gude, son of Representative Gilbert Gude of Maryland.

Horses and burros were unknown to the people of the Americas in pre-Columbian times. It was the early Spanish expeditions which brought the first of these animals to the vast wild lands that later became our Western States. The descendants of these animals were joined over the centuries by other bloodlines, including horses and burros turned loose for economic reasons or abandoned with the advent of mechanized fanning, until they numbered about 2 million by the turn of the 20th century.

In the past 70 years, however, civilization and economics have brought them to 99 percent extinction--so that on the public lands today there remain only about 9,500 unbranded and unclaimed horses and 11,000 free-roaming burros. The demands of the market for their processed products, competition for forage used by domestic livestock, construction of new roads and urban areas, and expansion of agricultural areas have reduced their numbers and sharply decreased the areas where they are free to roam. Overpopulation in other of their habitats has also resulted in disease and death for many of them. With the depletion continuing apace, immediate and effective measures are clearly needed to prevent the complete extermination of the wild breeds-and with it the death of part of the frontier spirit.

I believe that S. 1116, which I am approving today, prepares us to take just such measures. Embodying the best judgment of both the Congress and the executive branch, it should do much to insure a continuing safe habitat for wild horses and burros on the public lands of the United States. It declares that all such animals shall be managed and protected by either the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, according to which department administers the lands where they are found. It permits the establishment of ranges for their use. It makes killing or molesting them a Federal crime. It prohibits their sale or that of their remains.

Wild horses and burros merit man's protection historically--for they are a living link with the days of the conquistadors, through the heroic times of the Western Indians and the pioneers, to our own day when the tonic of wildness seems all too scarce. More than that, they merit it as a matter of ecological right--as anyone knows who has ever stood awed at the indomitable spirit and sheer energy of a mustang running free.

I am happy to take part in the effort to guarantee their future, and I salute particularly those determined young defenders of the wild horse who have helped give impetus to this effort.

Note: The statement was released at Key Biscayne, Fla.

As enacted, S. 1116, approved December 15, 1971, is 'Public Law 92-195 (85 Stat. 649).

Citation: Richard Nixon: "Statement on Signing Bill To Protect Wild Horses and Burros.," December 17, 1971. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3264.
© 1999-2018 - Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley - The American Presidency Project ™
Locations of visitors to this page