AWHC Applauds New California Bill to Protect Wild and Domestic Horses

Sacramento, CA (December 4, 2018)... The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) today applauded California Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) for introducing legislation AB128 to protect the state’s wild and domestic horses. The bill, introduced during the December 4 organizational session of the legislature, aims to strengthen and improve enforcement of Section 598 of the penal code, which makes it a felony to sell, import, export or possess a horse for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption.

In a press release, Asm. Gloria stated, “Californians have made very clear that they oppose the slaughter of wild horses, but the Trump Administration still does not seem to get it. That is why I put forward AB 128 to implement stronger protections for California’s wild and domestic horse population. Horses in California should be treated humanely and wild horses should be able to live freely on our public lands.”

The legislation was prompted by the ongoing controversy over the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to sell federally protected wild horses captured this fall from the Modoc National Forest for $1 a piece without limitation on slaughter. In October, Asm. Gloria and 22 of his legislative colleagues joined U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in opposing the inhumane plan. Earlier this month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra weighed in, warning the Forest Service: “To slaughter for commercial consumption mustangs that have roamed California for over a century is not only atrocious, but unlawful.”

“On behalf of our more than 700,000 supporters and followers, we thank Assemblyperson Gloria for his leadership in protecting California’s domestic and wild horses from the cruel practice of horse slaughter,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. “The vast majority of Californians and all Americans want to treat horses humanely and keep wild horses running free on our public lands. We look forward to working with Asm. Gloria to strengthen California law to improve enforcement and prevent the illegal sale of horses in California for slaughter.”

According to AWHC, no horse slaughter plants operate in the U.S. However, tens of thousands of American horses each year are transported across the border to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico that supply horsemeat for human consumption overseas.

Most of these horses are domestic, not wild. Each year in appropriations language, Congress prohibits the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency charged with managing the vast majority of federally protected wild horses in this country, from selling horses to anyone who intends to sell them for commercial slaughter. In proposing to sell federally protected horses in California for slaughter, the Forest Service is taking advantage of a loophole and clearly violating Congressional intent to prevent federally-protected horses from being sold for slaughter.

AWHC and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have sued to stop the Forest Service’s mustang slaughter plan, and on November 27, filed a motion for preliminary injunction to block the federal government from selling horses without limitation on slaughter. A decision in that case is expected before the Forest Service begins selling horses for slaughter on January 15.

More information here.


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.