Federal officials will round up 1,000 wild horses in California. Some may end up in slaughterhouses

On Wednesday, officials ...

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 11:04 AM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 11:04 AM

On Wednesday, officials will begin rounding up 1,000 wild horses from federal land in Northern California and putting them up for sale and adoption.

Pregnant and younger horses will likely be adopted, federal officials say, but older horses will be sent to another corral where they could be sold for as little as $1 each to ranchers, horse trainers and other buyers -- including those who might ship them to slaughterhouses.

Agriculture

Agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing

Animal farming and livestock

Animal slaughtering and processing

Animals

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

California

Consumer products

Continents and regions

Destinations and attractions

Environment and natural resources

Food and beverage industry

Food and drink

Food production industry

Food products

Forests and woodlands

Horses

Kinds of foods and beverages

Landforms and ecosystems

Life forms

Mammals

Meat products

National parks and monuments

North America

Parks (green spaces)

Points of interest

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

Wildlife

And this has animal advocacy groups concerned.

Why are these horses being rounded up?

The horses live on Devil's Garden Plateau, a protected territory inside Modoc National Forest near the Oregon border. It's home to the largest herd of wild horses in the country managed by the US Forest Service.

Last month, federal officials said they've exceeded their limit for how many horses the area can hold.

"Our territory is supposed to have 206 to 402 animals, we have almost 4,000 horses," Modoc National Forest Supervisor Amanda McAdams said in a statement. The plateau is 258,000 acres, but McAdams said there's not nearly enough vegetation and water to support all the horses.

The horses have been feeding on limited foliage and drinking up most of the water supply, leaving little behind for other wild animals.

"Reducing the population will allow range and riparian ecological conditions to recover, while also supporting herd health by reducing competition for limited food, water and habitat," the Forest Service said in a press release.

The government says that housing the horses long-term is too expensive, leaving adoption or sale as the most feasible option.

What will happen to the horses?

Of the 1,000 horses, about 700 are pregnant mares or under the age of 10 and will be sent to a Bureau of Land Management facility for adoption. Horses over the age of 10 will be sent to a temporary holding facility.

The older horses will be made available for 30 days to be adopted for $125 apiece.

Once the 30 days are up, those horses will be available for sale, with few limitations. Buyers can purchase up to 36 horses for as little as $1 each.

"This allows trainers who are willing to train large quantities of horses a business opportunity. Several trainers have already stepped up committing to some of these horses," the Modoc National Forest said in a news release.

"Horses can also be sold to sanctuaries, become ranch stock horses, packing horses, or to buyers that may send them to slaughter," the agency said.

A 1971 federal law charged the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management with managing wild horses. For years, the Bureau of Land Management has prohibited the sale of healthy horses to slaughterhouses. But the Forest Service is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, which has no such prohibitions.

That's why the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is calling foul about where these horses might end up.

"It's a sad irony that the first federally protected wild horses in decades to be purposefully sold by the government for slaughter will come from California -- a state where the cruel practice of horse slaughter has been banned since the 1990s," said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the AWHC.

Why might they be shipped out of the country?

The last horse slaughterhouses in the United States closed in 2007, and eating horse meat is widely frowned upon in the United States. But it's less taboo in China and some European countries.

The AWHC accuses the Forest Service of "exploiting a legal loophole" which could allow unsuspecting people to sell horses to middlemen who would then ship truckloads of the animals to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

"Tens of thousands (of horses) are shipped to Mexico and Canada annually, where they are killed under barbaric conditions so their meat can continue to satisfy the palates of overseas diners in countries such as Italy, France, Belgium and Japan," another animal rights group, the Animal Welfare Institute, said in a statement.

The AWHC has urged the Forest Service to reduce the wild horse herds in incremental steps, where the "humane placement of horses can be assured."

But government officials say such small gathers won't be enough to cull the herds to sustainable levels.

"With a population growth rate of 20-25%, 800-1,000 wild horses will be born on the Devil's Garden this year, making these small removals negligible," said Laura Snell, a Modoc County farm adviser.

West Lafayette
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 88°
Kokomo
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Rensselaer
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 84°
Fowler
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 84°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 86°
Crawfordsville
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Frankfort
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 82°
Delphi
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 86°
Monticello
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 86°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 84°
Active Pattern Ahead
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 73287

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15701725
Lake7496275
Elkhart480184
Allen3835163
St. Joseph342381
Hamilton2723104
Vanderburgh192213
Hendricks1871108
Cass17869
Johnson1741118
Porter129439
Clark120247
Tippecanoe118911
Madison94365
LaPorte89430
Howard88465
Kosciusko84712
Bartholomew78047
Marshall77422
Floyd77246
Monroe74630
Delaware71452
Dubois68712
Boone67246
Noble66329
Hancock64738
Vigo61910
Jackson5855
Warrick57930
LaGrange55710
Shelby54627
Grant52630
Dearborn49628
Morgan46734
Clinton4303
Henry37620
Wayne36810
White36110
Montgomery35221
Lawrence34227
Decatur33532
Harrison32723
Putnam2868
Miami2692
Scott26610
Daviess26420
Greene24634
Franklin24114
Jasper2342
DeKalb2304
Jennings22412
Gibson2214
Steuben2073
Ripley1997
Fayette1867
Carroll1852
Perry18412
Starke1777
Posey1700
Orange16924
Wabash1653
Fulton1642
Wells1622
Jefferson1602
Knox1510
Whitley1516
Washington1391
Tipton1379
Spencer1313
Huntington1223
Newton11810
Randolph1184
Clay1165
Sullivan1131
Adams962
Jay910
Owen871
Pulaski791
Rush764
Brown731
Fountain732
Blackford632
Ohio635
Benton610
Pike530
Parke511
Vermillion490
Switzerland460
Crawford440
Martin430
Union390
Warren221
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events