What We're Doing: Devil's Garden Wild Horses

By now you’ve probably heard about the situation in California, as a thousand federally-protected wild horses are being rounded up from the Devil's Garden Wild Horse Territory in the Modoc National Forest. Hundreds of these iconic mustangs are in danger of being sold without limitation on slaughter. AWHC is working on numerous fronts to address this crisis – and our activism is working.

Here’s an update on the work we’re doing:

  • Federal – We’re working to close the technical loophole that the Forest Service is using to evade the Congressional prohibition on selling federally protected wild horses for slaughter. Our team also reached out to California Senator Dianne Feinstein about this situation and she immediately responded with a strongly worded letter to the Forest Service.
  • State –  Under California law, the sale of horses for slaughter for human consumption is a felony. We worked with Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) to generate a sign on letter from 23 members of the California legislature opposing the Forest Service’s cruel plans. We’ve also asked the Attorney General to intervene to ensure that California’s law banning horse slaughter is enforced.
  • Legal – We’re teaming up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and our legal team at Meyer Glitzenstein and Eubanks to take legal action to stop the Forest Service from selling the federally-protected wild horses without limitation on slaughter.
  • Public Support –  We’ve generated thousands of phone calls and emails to the Forest Service and our media outreach has resulted in unprecedented local, state and national news coverage of the Forest Service’s cruel plan for our wild horses! Additionally, we have had observers onsite daily at the roundup to document, via photograph and video, the Forest Service’s treatment of these national icons.
  • We’re organizing a rally on October 24, 2018 at the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 headquarters in Vallejo, California.
  • Placement – We’re actively seeking options for placing larger numbers of Devil’s Garden horses who have been rounded up and are in need of safe forever homes.
  • Long-term Management  – We’ve offered to partner with the Forest Service to implement a pilot fertility control program in the Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory – at no cost to taxpayers -- as a first step toward developing a long-term, humane management plan for California’s largest, most significant wild horse population. We’ve also offered to facilitate financial compensation of ranchers for retirement or reduced use of livestock grazing permits for public lands within the territory. These are win-win solutions that can and should be implemented.

Here’s how you can help:

Bottom line: Our activism is working. The Forest Service has already decided to extend the time during which horses will not be sold for slaughter. The horses aren't safe yet, but we've got their attention and we must keep pushing!