Hundreds of wild horses may be slaughtered

October 9, 2018

In a remote corner of California, the U.S. Forest Service is set to round up a thousand wild horses and acknowledges that many of them could be sold to distant slaughterhouses.

The first “horse gather” in Modoc National Forest, in northeast California, in more than a dozen years has alarmed activists. The government, says the The American Wild Horse Campaign, is “exploiting a legal loophole” that will result in the slaughter of hundreds of animals.

The roundup is set to begin Oct. 9 and last through the month, and will target 1,000 horses from a herd in the Devils Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory inside the national forest.

The purpose is to reduce a population that is well outside of Forest Service management levels, according to a Forest Service statement.

“Our territory is supposed to have 206 to 402 animals, we have almost 4,000 horses,” Modoc National Forest Supervisor Amanda McAdams said.

Those horses enjoy a range of more than 250,000 acres within the national forest. “It sounds like a lot of acres for 4,000 horses, but there’s not a lot of vegetation and not a lot of water,” McAdams said.

While the U.S. Department of the Interior — which oversees most of America’s wild horses and burros — prohibits selling them to slaughterhouses, the Forest Service is underneath the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has no such restriction.

While all of the horses will be made available for adoption, after a 30-day period all horses 10 and older — an estimated 300 animals — will be made available for sale without limitations for $1 each, “allowing kill buyers to purchase a truckload of 36 horses once a week until they are gone. The horses are shipped to Canada for slaughter. — The Tribune

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