The measure passed 239-185, Congressional Quarterly reported. Rep. Nick Rahall II, D-W.Va., head of the Natural Resources Committee, said the measure would save money while preventing the slaughter of thousands of animals.
If the bill becomes law, it would ban the government from slaughtering healthy horses and require efforts to sterilize them to reduce numbers.
The House rejected an amendment by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., which would have allowed limited slaughter for commercial purposes.
"Republicans are focused on creating the jobs in this country, but this Democratic Congress seems to be more worried about hundreds of millions of dollars for wild horses," Hastings said.
The bureau announced last year that as many as 30,000 horses might have to be slaughtered because of lack of funds.
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