Day 1 of Modoc Wild Horse Roundup: 66 Captured With No Change in Plan to Sell Hundreds for Slaughter

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Alturas, CA (October 11, 2018)… Day 1 of the U.S. Forest Service’s wild horse roundup in the Modoc National Forest near Alturas ended yesterday with 66 horses captured and no reported deaths.

The American Wild Horse Campaign released photos from the roundup, taken by field representative and photographer Steve Paige, that provide the first glimpses of captured wild horses whose fate is uncertain, thanks to the Forest Service plan to sell hundreds of them by the truckload for $1 a piece without limitation on slaughter.

The photographs also show the Forest Service’s new holding corrals in the Modoc Forest revealing a sprawling network feedlot pens like those commonly seen a livestock slaughter auctions. The Forest Service did not provide a public observation viewing area that afforded a view of the helicopters stampeding horses into trap pens, as usually is provided at BLM roundups.

“These magnificent California wild horses are state and national treasures, and the federal government must follow the will of the people by protecting and humanely managing them,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. “The plan to sell hundreds of them by the truckload for $1 a piece including for slaughter is a gross violation of the public trust, the intent of Congress and the State of California, which has banned the cruel practice of horse slaughter for two decades.”

The Forest Service plans to round up 1,000 wild horses from the Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest.

  • ~ 700 of the younger captured mustangs will be sent to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facility in Susanville, California where they will be offered for adoption.
  • ~ 300 captured horses over age 10 will be sent to the new holding pens in the forest, where the Forest Service will send them with limitation on slaughter for 30 days. After a period of 30 days, horses not sold will be offered without limitation on slaughter, by the truckload for $1 a piece.

AWHC is also raising the alarm bells over the fate of horses sent to the BLM facility who are not adopted after one year, which is likely to be the vast majority of them based on BLM adoption statistics. The Forest Service has indicated that it intends to sell those horses as well, placing hundreds more in danger of slaughter.

In order to prevent the sales program from becoming a laundering operation, AWHC is demanding a system of accountability so that the whereabouts of each and every horse can be traced.

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The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.