A hard-earned VICTORY for the Devil’s Garden Wild Horses
The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:
Many of us have more time on our hands these days and we wanted to give you some important news and provide some interactive materials about wild horses that you and your family can utilize while staying at home.
A Hard-Earned Victory for California’s Devil’s Garden Wild Horses
Back in 2018, AWHC joined forces with the Animal Legal Defense Fund and California local advocate Carla Bowers to file a lawsuit to stop the U.S. Forest Service from selling California wild horses for slaughter. The horses in question were captured in fall 2018 from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory in northeast California’s Modoc National Forest.
We’re pleased to report that this litigation blocked the Forest Service from selling the Devil’s Garden wild horses for slaughter, giving Congress time to act.
In December, after U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, 66 members of Congress, and 22 members of the California State Legislature joined the public in opposing the slaughter plan, Congress passed legislation to prohibit the Forest Service from destroying healthy horses and selling them without limitation on slaughter.
This is the same prohibition that Congress has long imposed on the Bureau of Land Management. We’re grateful to all the AWHC supporters who donated to support our litigation, which played a critical role in securing this prohibition on slaughter of wild horses and burros under U.S. Forest Service jurisdiction.
But, the Devil’s Garden Wild Horses Still Aren’t Safe Yet (Action Alert)
In fall of 2019, the Forest Service rounded up and removed 499 more wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory. The majority of the horses have been adopted or sold, some, disturbingly, for $1 a piece. Approximately 100 wild horses — including older horses, pregnant mares and foals — remain in corrals in the Modoc National Forest.
Unlike the BLM, which has halted sales and adoptions of horses and burros during the COVID-19 crisis, the Forest Service continues to dispose of these federally-protected animals for $1 a piece. Worse, a single buyer can purchase 24 horses at a time, and the government will transport them for free, including to states as far away as Arkansas and Florida!
The Forest Service has no adequate system for vetting potential buyers or following up after horses are purchased to ensure their welfare.
By selling horses in bulk for $1 a piece and shipping them for free across the country with no safeguards to protect them from abuse and slaughter, the Forest Service is creating an avenue to sidestep Congress’ slaughter ban.
Got Questions? We Want To Answer Them!
We’ll be the first to say it: It can be difficult to stay up to speed with the complex issues affecting our nation’s wild horses and burros. With so many federal agencies, acronyms and applicable laws, it’s easy to get confused.
That’s why we’re going to break it down for you on Thursday, April 16, with the launch of our ‘Wild Horses 101’ webinar series.
We want this to be an interactive experience! Which is why we’re encouraging you to submit questions so we can address them as we tackle some of the most important topics.
Our first segment will go over the history of wild horses and how we arrived at the place we are now. We hope you’ll tune in.
And Finally, A Fun Activity For The Kids At Home
We know that many of you are juggling a number of responsibilities at home, and for those with young kids, we’re offering a way to keep them entertained!
We took a bit of inspiration from Velma Johnston, aka “Wild Horse Annie,” who was the influential wild horse advocate responsible for some of the most important wild horse protections on the books. As part of her campaign to save America’s mustangs, she organized a wildly successful children’s writing brigade that generated national support for mustangs and led to the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
AWHC hopes to harness that spirit again by getting kids involved in the fight to save our mustangs. A great place to start is with our official children’s activity book: it’s available completely for free and includes coloring pages, a word search, and writing prompts!
That’s our news for the week… our best wishes to you and your loved ones during this difficult time.
American Wild Horse Campaign