Horse News

California AG warns felony charges if wild horses are sold for slaughter

By Andrew Sheeler as published on the Sacramento Bee

“To slaughter for commercial consumption mustangs that have roamed California for over a century is not only atrocious, but unlawful,”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a letter that the U.S. Forest Service would be in violation of state law if any of the wild horses rounded up in Modoc National Forest are sold for the purpose of slaughter.

“To slaughter for commercial consumption mustangs that have roamed California for over a century is not only atrocious, but unlawful,” Becerra said in a statement. “These majestic animals captivate the imagination and symbolize the rugged independence of the American West.”

The Forest Service announced in early October that it planned to round up an estimated 1,000 wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory inside Modoc National Forest, located in northeast California.

The stated purpose of the gather was to reduce a herd size that has grown to an estimated 4,000 horses — roughly 10 times what that area can actually support, according to the Forest Service.

While approximately 700 of the mustangs were to be handed over to the Department of the Interior to be adopted out, another 300 horses — aged 10 or older — would be given 30 days to be adopted and then sold for $1 each without limitation, meaning slaughterhouse buyers could purchase them.

The plan drew considerable condemnation, from wild horse advocacy groups like the American Wild Horse Campaign and the Humane Society of the United States, from Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and from Republican California Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, who is now minority leader.

Federal law prohibits the Department of Interior, including its Bureau of Land Management, which oversees most of America’s wild horses, from selling horses for the purpose of slaughter. However, the USDA and Forest Service have no such restriction.

Becerra warned the Forest Service that selling horses to a slaughter buyer is a felony in California, punishable by up to three years in prison.

It’s unclear whether state law would be applicable for horses gathered on federal land; neither Becerra’s office nor representatives for the USDA and Forest Service returned requests for comment.

The horse gather concluded on Thursday, with a total of 932 horses gathered, the Forest Service reported…(CONTINUED)

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9 replies »

  1. Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Emergency Rescue–SAVE the DG 300 from Slaughter!

    Carla Bowers: Many of us fought & fought for Modoc FS to freeze brand the older DG horses, to no avail so far. Not having the brand visible will make itI IMPOSSIBLE to track or ID these animals at the auction yards/kill pens or at the borders. Horses must bemicrochipped to cross the borders.
    The microchip should be implanted in the nuchal ligament in the neck, halfway between the poll and the withers on the left side of the horse.


    • There MOST DEFINITELY are Conflicts of Interests IN THE DEVIL’S GARDEN

      Attorney General


      Conflicts-of-interest, pdf laws are grounded on the notion that government officials owe paramount loyalty to the public. Thus, personal and private financial considerations on the part of governmental officials should not be allowed to enter the decision-making process.

      The Conflicts of Interest guide summarizes and discusses the numerous conflicts-of-interest laws in California. The purpose of this guide is to assist government officials in complying with California’s conflicts-of-interest laws and to assist the public and the news media in understanding these laws. By providing information about the requirements of these laws, the ways in which they have been interpreted and the ways in which they can be enforced, government officials should be able to avoid conflicts-of-interest situations and members of the public will be better able to determine whether a conflict exists.


  2. From Louie’s link, some info on how to find these horses, as I’ve had little luck finding any website photos of horses who need a chance at life. Once again it is hard to believe our paid managers cannot provide even the most basic of a website showing individual horses to the greater American public. It seems you need to live nearby or make an apt. to visit in order to even take a look at these horses, though there are over 300 million citizens who already “own” them and pay for their care.

    Update from Placement Group member, Bonnie Kohleriter, who is at the Adoption/Sale Event at the Double Devil Corrals, 11/16 and 11/17/18 (paraphrased):

    “The DG wild horses are majestic, beautiful animals. Plus, their dispositions are very calm compared to other wild horses I’ve seen just rounded up and in corrals. There are approximately 280 older DG horses at the DDC, which includes 25 horses under 10 years old that are available for adoption only at $125/horse (not sure of sex at this point). Out of approximately 124 stallions, 54 had been gelded before the event. There are approximately 156 mares available that have been processed. All the horses at the DDC have tags or numbers on their bodies for ID purposes.”

    According to the Modoc FS, after the event, adopter/purchaser viewing opportunities will be by appointment on Wednesdays and Fridays every week and the first Saturday of every month beginning Dec. 8, 2018. Appointments must be confirmed at least seven days in advance by calling 530-233-8738.

    There are 652 youngers DG wild horses and foals at the BLM Litchfield corrals. The management there is allowing the horses to settle and then they will start processing them in December. The management requested that people NOT call to inquire about the DG horses. They will put out a notice when DG horses are available for viewing and adoption.

    We will post photos of the DDC horses and the ones at Litchfield when they are available or will refer you to other FB pages where photos can be seen.

    Thank you for your interest in the DG horses and patience in this matter!


  3. From AWHC
    Prepared by Mary Koncel
    Incompetent and Dangerous Management of Corrals on Full Display at Adoption Event

    (November 20, 2018) On Saturday morning, I returned to the Double Devil Corrals in the Modoc National Forest near Alturas, CA for the sale/adoption of recently captured wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory. Seeing wild horses who weeks ago were living freely on our public lands now separated into pens from their band members – numbers spray painted on their backs to identify them and their age – was nothing short of heartbreaking.
    But on Saturday afternoon, the worst was yet to come – witnessing the incompetent and dangerous handling of the horses by members of the Modoc County Farm Bureau and wranglers hired by Farm Bureau representatives. (The Forest Service awarded the Farm Bureau a four-year $500,000 contact to help build and apparently operate the corrals.)
    That’s right, the Modoc County Farm Bureau, and specifically Laura Snell – a vocal pro-horse slaughter cattlewoman who shockingly represents the University of California as a cooperative extension agent. Ms. Snell has previously agitated on behalf of other cattlemen for the removal of wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Territory, but she has zero experience handling wild horses. Yet, she is apparently in charge at the Double Devil Corrals and was the lead in sorting and loading horses, assisted by her summer intern and several wranglers who also had no wild horse handling experience.


    • Just got this from AWHC! Certainly is clear very few of the people doing the sorting etc know what they are doing! Also read that the “count” of 4,000 wild horses at DG is an estimate from an older estimate! So pretty much no one actually knows. Allowing the “farm bureau” to get a half million dollar contract with absolutely NO experience with wild horses sure does explain the havoc going on. Still find it hard to understand how any veterinarian would allow horses exposed to a contagious (even tho not deadly) disease to be sold and moved out of the area – many of the “geldings” not allowed a decent time to recover! Essentially, every horse & trailer could potentially be spreading pigeon fever into their home barn! Was it never mentioned that possibly they should have had a quarantine pen – at the least?


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