U.S. Forest Service removing 1,000 wild horses in California; some could be sold for slaughter

By on October 11, 2018 with 20 Comments

A federal agency yesterday started removing nearly 1,000 wild horses from the Devil’s Garden territory in California’s Modoc National Forest. Animals more than 10 years old who are not adopted could be sold to “kill buyers” for a dollar and then end up in a slaughterhouse in Canada or Mexico. All of this is being done on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime, despite the fact that most Americans and Congress clearly oppose horse slaughter.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are calling on the U.S. Forest Service, which is conducting these removals, to stop immediately and work with us to implement a humane fertility control plan in conjunction with sensible removals where all horses are placed for adoption.

In 1998, Californians passed, by a significant vote, a ballot measure to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption. After this latest roundup was announced, Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to make the case for protecting these wild horses under the state’s law.

Congress has also taken clear steps to end horse slaughter for both domestic and wild horses. For most years since 2005, U.S. appropriations bills have included language to keep horse slaughter plants closed in the United States. Congress has also restricted the Bureau of Land Management from knowingly allowing wild horses and burros to go to slaughter through appropriations language.

Unfortunately, no such restriction exists for the U.S. Forest Service, and that’s the loophole this agency is trying to exploit with this latest horse removal. It’s playing right into the hands of kill buyers, who funnel thousands of American horses each year into the horse meat trade. Because slaughter for human consumption is prohibited in the United States, the horses are transported to Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouses.

For most of us, the very idea of slaughtering these magnificent animals who roam the plains and mountains of the American west, and having them served up on foreign dinner plates, is abhorrent. A poll shows that 80 percent of Americans are opposed to sending horses to slaughter for human consumption.

What most Americans do support is humanely managing wild horse populations through fertility control – a solution the agency has failed to adopt in a meaningful way. In fact, even now, as it rounds up the horses, the U.S. Forest Service is doing nothing to prevent populations from continuing to grow after this removal. They have stated that they plan on using fertility control tools only after the population of horses has reached their desired management level of 402 horses within the territory.

This is a foolish plan at best, and a cruel one at worst. According to the agency’s own estimate, the population of wild horses in Modoc is now around 3,900. So under the agency’s currently planned scenario, the population of horses would continue to grow and the service would continue to conduct more removals, potentially sending many more horses to slaughter, before they begin fertility control. It makes no sense, and no American should stand for this.

We understand fully that there are major challenges in managing wild horses and burros, but continuing a cycle of removals that result in horses going to slaughter is not an option that should even be on the table. We need a better plan, and that plan is within reach. Stakeholders, including the HSUS, HSLF, and other wild horse groups, are eager to work with the U.S. Forest Service to implement a humane and effective fertility control plan that manages wild horse populations without indiscriminate removal. It won’t be easy, but it is doable. And we owe it to these iconic animals.

Please contact the U.S. Forest Service-Modoc National Forest Office and leave a polite message letting them know you are opposed to any removed horses being sold without limitation, which would leave them at risk of going to slaughter. You can email them at modoc_info@fs.fed.us or call 530-233-8738.

Equine, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Doris Muller says:

    Hmm, so, the dept. of legal killers has gone from the BLM (Bureau of LETHAL Management) to the USFS (United States fatal Services). WOW, what an improvement (Angry face with horns)! I wonder how many nights someone stayed up dreaming up this one?

    It is extremely concerning that tax funds are allocated to mis-managing, and to killing animals. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

  2. Michele OBrien says:

    I will definitely reach out to the Forest Service. I hate that this still goes on. Thank you for bringing this to everyone’s attention.

  3. Vivien Prince says:

    let the horses run wild and free! Who are we to capture them? Who are we to sell them? who are we to kill them? We have no right for any of these cruel actions.
    The horses are God’s creatures, bringing beauty and balance to the world.
    Let the horses run wild and free!

  4. Sharon Miller says:

    This is outrageous..these captors and buyers should be prosecuted….this is pure savagery

  5. jane says:

    leave the horses remove the liberals

  6. Tish Adele Gamez says:

    Okay, USHS, I called the Modoc National Forest directly. Called to have my voice heard. I spoke with Ken S., a kind and dedicated man who has lived in the area all of his life, he knows the land and can, therefore, speak with authority. The bottom line is this, these horses (more than a thousand of them) are slowly starving to death. There hasn’t been a substantial snowfall in the area for more than 15 years which has left the land devastated. Ken (the public affairs liaison) and the people who work for the Forest Service are passionately dedicated to saving (finding homes) for as many of these horses as is humanly possible. These people are working around the clock – against the clock, to make this happen. None of them – and I mean NONE of these people want to sit back and watch horses die, and die they will if something isn’t done. With that said, what they are getting in return, is not cooperation from the public they are getting retaliation! People are calling them from all over the country, calling them the vilest of names, threatening them. This must stop. As I said, I called wanting to understand what was happening, wanting to know what I could do to help. Ken, with a quiver in his voice (obviously exhausted, frustrated, beaten down) told me to adopt a horse, ask your friends and family to adopt a horse (at $1 a head), and if I can’t do that, he asked me to pray. PLEASE, if you love animals, remember to love people too. There are good folks working hard to save as many of these horses as they can. PLEASE support them, support their efforts. CALL the number above and tell Ken how much his work and all involved means to you, he could sure use a kind voice right now – AND a home for those horses he so desperately cares about.

    • Momma Bear says:

      Thanks Tish for obtaining additional facts and ways to help. Is there a registered non-profit established for the donations?

  7. Jane Cheuvront says:

    Its the same old excuse for Livestock ranchers and their beef so they can increase the amount of cattle to graze so they can sell their beef for top dollar in foreign markets.
    Last year the Cattleman’s Association made a Billion dollar deal with foreign countries for beef where the majority of range beef is sold to foreign markets. A signal percentage of beef is sold in the U.S. and that’s to high end restaurants and the very wealthy.
    The livestock rancher hasn’t changed over a hundred years. What ever stands in their way there are always victims.
    The Forestry service and the Bureau of Land Management don’t care or what happens to all of the American wild horses and burros.
    Documents of death reports in Holding facilities are disgraceful. Broken bones, broken necks, death of gelding stallions, illnesses caused by domestic Equines caused by wild horses being hauled in dirty trailers that are sanitized after hauling sick domestic Equines and more numerous deaths.
    80% of Americans who oppose wild horse and burro roundups and oppose horse slaughter. Not only that we the 80% oppose the use of our tax dollars being used to fund brutal roundups and holding prisons for wild horses and burros.
    Horse slaughter is a food safety issue. Majority of horses and other Equines are Thoroughbreds straight off the track, ranch horses that are being liquidated, breeding operations and brood mare farms, camp horses and other Equines that are given medications on a regular basis. Which horse medications are labeled by the manufacturer not for use on horse’s for human and labeled by the manufacturer toxic to humans. And some horse medications have been linked to cancer in humans that consumed horse meat in Europe.
    Bureau of land management does treat wild horses and burros with medications during their evaluation process after arriving at holding facilities and three strike wild horses that don’t get adopted can be sold to slaughter to kill buyers as much as $25 to $35 dollars each.
    Horses are not destructive. The Bureau hasn’t been to manage public lands or other Government agencies before and early 40’s. Cattle were over grazing and have been ever since.
    Horses are not over populated they have been wiping them in every state with public lands and parks. Horse’s and burros are competition for cattle and special interests.
    The U.S. Forestry Service and the Bureau of Land Management titles are land managers, not horse managers.
    Individuals who are experienced and knowledgeable should be managing horses and burros.



  9. Bree says:

    This needs to happen. You all need to do your research. There are more than 100,000 mustangs in Nebraska alone. This won’t hurt the horse population at all. These horses are safe to eat and could help those people that are starving. My dad works for the Forest Service, I know the truth. Get educated. Horse don’t need tot be protected. These aren’t true wild horses. The real wild horses died out so so so long ago!

    • Dorothy says:

      Who cares – I know propaganda when I hear it. Do you have any idea what happens in a slaughterhouse – why don’t you visit one and come back and give me the same B.S. you are giving now.

    • Krissz says:

      If they aren’t wild, where did they come from. If there are 100,000 in one state and they want to get the population down to 400, that’s a lit of horses, wild or not.

    • Doris Muller says:

      Bree, you are the one who is in great need of research. You have been indoctrinated by your father to *his* flawed value system, that is not connected to the “truth.” I hope you care enough about animals to develop an open mind. But, I warn you, be prepared to have your beliefs shattered!

      And as far as using slaughtered victim’s to feed “starving people,” this is a myth perpetrated by those looking to cover up their crimes by trying to appeal to societal sentiments. The whole of removing and slaughtering of horses is nothing more then a *profit market* all the way around. The victim’s remains are sold to foreign profit markets, including pet
      food markets.

      Unfortunately, we humans are blindsided by innocent ignorance because of our unquestionable trust of those we care about and those entities that are suppose to *guide* and protect us. I had already earned two PhD’s in IGNORANCE (!), before I began to question *everything*. I have concluded that the most dangerous predator on earth is a human. And unfortunately, animals comprise a huge sector of victimization by humans, for greed, selfishness, and psychopathic behavior.

      You have been conditioned to devalue these wild horses by believing they are not “real wild horses.” That is utter nonsense! This is like saying it’s no big deal to kill today’s feral cats because they are not true ferals. The status bestowed on the horses should not determine their right/or not to life. All sentient animals have great capacity to feel pain, fear, and to suffer. Each INDIVIDUAL values its life! All animal lives matter, and they should not be disposed of like garbage, because of human failure.

  10. Lisa Sherry says:

    How do I get information on adopting an older horse?

  11. Jeana Peterson says:

    Knowing how horrific and inhumane their journey is through this process it is unimaginable that this is allowed to happen. I have adopted horses that were on their way to be killed,even babies. The people who are at auction to purchase a horse for their family are outbid by the buyers who have no ethics in their handling of these animals. No animal deserves this let these beautiful creatures have peace and protection.

  12. Stephanie Onorato says:

    The phone call has been made; I am quite sure that these horses are confused and frightened after being removed from their accustomed environment. Do we know where they are being kept? are they well treated? Is there anything else we can do at this point to protect them in their current location?

  13. Sarah Meadway says:

    I’m not from America and whenever I think of why the US is so big in the world I think of those horses, they are the epitome of freedom that the US seemed to stand for. I’m sickened by the desperate desire to sell them for slaughter to any trampy buyer. The brand is dying!

  14. Shamak Nanih Wahya says:

    Why does the HSUS not care about the hundreds of species suffering and dying due to wild horse overpopulation? Some of these are endangered species put at greater risk by you standing in the way of managing this feral introduced large animal that has no niche in the fragile ecosystems they are destrying.

  15. Howard Jaquith says:

    Eating horse, dog, carp seems so lodgical to me these “wild” horses are just turned out animals I have had personal contact with several people that have adopted and I rode a few of them most were sent back I did ride a big red that was sound she was about 17-18. If of you have taken the road from Ravendale to Cederville so you have no idea the concentration of these horses on private and public land. Go to Wells, Nev and help feed thousands of “wild” horses that are pened up waiting for you to come addopt. Read any story of crossing the plains and you will find the happist days were when a horse, mule,or ox was butchered. Fortunatly I am 71 and do not have to put up with this kind of thinking much longer.

  16. Summer McCulley says:

    Does anyone have a horse for sale

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