U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called on the U.S. Forest Service to halt a planned wild horse gather in California’s Modoc National Forest out of concern that hundreds of the horses could be sold to slaughterhouses.
The horse gather, which will round up an estimated 1,000 horses in order to reduce herd over-population, is set to begin Wednesday.
In the letter to acting U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, Feinstein wrote, “ I ask that you promptly respond to the following questions and halt any sales of wild horses until I receive a response to the following questions.”
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Those questions include how the Forest Service determined the appropriate population for the Modoc National Forest herd, what steps the agency will take to ensure the safety of the horses during the roundup and what steps the Forest Service is taking “to enhance the likelihood of adoption or sale of wild horses.”
Feinstein also asked Christiansen if she can certify that no horses will be sold to slaughterhouse buyers.
In a previous statement, Modoc National Forest spokesman Ken Sandusky said that an estimated 300 horses 10 and older that are not adopted after 30 days will be sold without limitation for $1 each.
Sandusky said the alternative was long-term holding of the horses, which he said was not fiscally responsible.
Other groups opposing the planned horse gather include the American Wild Horse Campaign and the Humane Society of the United States.
More information about the planned horse gather can be found here.