Horse News

Stopping Wild Horse Slaughter

By Assemblymember Marie Waldron, Patch Contributor

Protecting a National Treasure

Twin Peaks Horses ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

This year I was principal co-author of AB 128 (Gloria), which requires any person purchasing a horse at auction, many of which are rounded up on public lands, to sign a sworn statement that the animal won’t be sold for slaughter. Since 1971, federal law has required the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to manage wild horses. While the BLM has prohibited the sale of healthy horses to slaughterhouses, the Forest Service has not enforced a similar prohibition.

Earlier this year I also signed a letter, along with many of my colleagues, to Senators Feinstein and Harris asking that the Senate include language in Interior Appropriations legislation prohibiting the destruction of federally protected wild horses and burros, and their sale for slaughter. Fortunately, the House and Senate have just agreed to include that language in their appropriations bill for the coming fiscal year.

Few Americans eat horsemeat — the last horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007. California voters weighed in on this issue in 1998 by passing Proposition 6, which bans the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. Nevertheless, horses have continued to be shipped out of the country for slaughter, destined for dinner tables in some Asian and European countries.

In 2018, California’s Devil’s Garden Plateau, a preserve near the Oregon border, became seriously over-crowded with almost 4,000 wild horses in an area that could only support about 400. Hundreds of mostly younger animals would be available for adoption, but after 30 days, older horses could be sold for as little as $1 each. Those animals might go to sanctuaries, become ranch or pack horses, or sent to slaughter.

This was clearly not the voters’ intent when Proposition 6 was approved. With passage of AB 128 and recent congressional action, both federal and state governments are moving to finally ban horse slaughter.

Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.

9 replies »

  1. I appreciate what Ms.Waldron is doing – how many years has it taken for the right thing to be actually put in place? And will this really made law? I sure do hope so. We still need the SAFE Act. Our horses need the SAFE Act.
    Saw a segment of Saturday CBS Morning show that showed the Devils Garden horses being sold for $125. How someone – who qualified – could get a cheap horse etc etc. The one person they interviewed already had adopted a mustang & seemed to know what she was doing. But what about someone who just wants a “cheap” horse? With no knowledge of what they are getting into – thats how so many of these mustangs are ending up in kill pens.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much publicity being given to the 15 horses killed in KY but not any given about how many of our wild horses the BLM and USFS kill. I hate it that the 15 have been killed too but thousands are being killed in the West and sent to slaughter. When are people ever going to wake up ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This effort, while a good start, won’t dramatically affect the problems. For one, just signing a statement means nothing without monitoring and compliance enforcement. We’ve seen this with the predictable failures to prosecute those forging papers as they haul horses to slaughter in Mexico, for one example. This effort also suggests that people buying ALL horses sold at auction will be required to sign, but most auctions as a matter of routine sell “loose horses” which are typically sold to kill buyers by the pound. Does anyone really think someone buying a truckload of mixed horses by the pound will comply with a simple signature saying they won’t be resold for slaughter?

    Another problem here is that a lot of horses going through auctions have been through many hands prior, so the person signing the form can just resell the horse (even in the auction parking lot) and the next owner can do as they will. And as we’ve seen, there is an increasing demographic willing to kill and slaughter domestic horses for food, even though this is illegal.

    Like a lot of efforts, this will only affect honest people, who don’t represent the majority of the problem anyway.

    The answer is to pass the SAFE Act for nationwide legal protections and consequences. I don’t think any horses are safe in our country without this, and for that reason I will no longer ever sell any horses, to anyone, as there is no way to ensure where they will end up, perhaps several owners down the line.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Our Gov. has failed the Wild Ones that they are suppose to protect. The Appropriations Committee should go out to see what happens to these horses They are pent up like the prisoners that they are.. The BLM cries about how much the horses cost the American tax payer, but it is only because they are in corrals. They need to be back on their land that was promised them by law!! The majority of their land has been taken away from them by the cattlemen, mining, pipelines, fracking and recreational purposes. We subsidize the ranchers so we should have a lot more input about our horses than we do. The BLM is so crooked they stink, they get all the money for the horses from the Gov., but it isn’t spent for the good of the horses!!! It is barbaric what is happening to these fabulous animals and we need to keep the pressure on Senators and Representatives. I e-mail as many as I can get done every week. Also the ranchers pay next to nothing to use the horses land for grazing rights. It is disgusting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From AWHC

    The funding increase for the BLM wild horse program is the result of a backroom deal cut by Washington, DC lobbyists for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other livestock interests and the Humane Society of the U.S., the ASPCA, and Return to Freedom organizations that critics say literally “horse traded” the fate of America’s mustangs for ulterior purposes.

    Some deal supporters stand to benefit financially, either by the replacement of wild horses that are rounded up with commercial livestock on public lands, or from lucrative government contracts to warehouse thousands of wild horses and burros that will be captured, removed and incarcerated under the plan. These contracts are already attracting contractors with no animal welfare experience, like the company pursuing 5,000-horse holding facility that is a headed by a South Dakotan who government financial regulators called “a predatory businessman who has fleeced financially distressed consumers across the country with high-interest loans.”


    Liked by 1 person

    • How strange the LLC paperwork never describes the type of business or its activities, so it may include any sort of non-horse business as well, including perhaps running a slaughter pipeline.

      Please post if you have links to the actual contracts being let, who gets them and at what cost to taxpayers. I will be sending this information to my elected officials and hope others will as well.

      Liked by 1 person

Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.