Hundreds of federally protected wild horses living in the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory—part of Modoc National Forest in northeastern California—are in imminent danger of being sold for slaughter.
The US Forest Service has announced that it will soon begin selling some of the animals “without limitation” and for $1 each—meaning there would be no restrictions prohibiting the sale of wild horses for slaughter. What’s more, buyers would be able to purchase a full truckload—36 horses—at one time.
While horse slaughter plants are currently barred from operating in the United States, the transport of horses into Canada and Mexico for slaughter remains legal. The Forest Service’s plan provides a clear incentive for kill-buyers to obtain these horses and profit from selling them for meat.
The decision to facilitate the purchase of horses en masse for almost no money—from whence they can be sold to slaughter—flies in the face of overwhelming public opposition. Eighty percent of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter and with good reason: Horse slaughter is brutal and often prolonged—with their unique physiology and strong “fight or flight” reactions, horses may endure repeated blows to the head (or slashes to the neck) until they are rendered unconscious and killed.
California is one of a handful of states that has passed a law prohibiting the sale of horses for human consumption, making the Forest Service’s decision even more appalling. Twenty-three members of the California state legislature recently called on the agency to halt its plan to decimate California’s largest herd of wild horses and emphasized the Forest Service’s unequivocal mandate to protect wild horses under both federal and state law.
Please contact the US Forest Service and your members of Congress to ask that wild horses be spared from slaughter.
As always, please be sure to share our Dear Humanitarian eAlert with family, friends, and co-workers, and encourage them to contact the agency and lawmakers, too. Thank you very much for your help!
Joanna Grossman, PhD
Equine Program Manager