Capitol Alert

Stop wild horse roundup, potential slaughter, Feinstein says

The Forest Service wants to round up 1,000 wild horses in this California forest

The wild horses of Devil's Garden, inside California's Modoc National Forest, is the largest wild herd in the state. But the feds say the herd has grown large and unmanageable, and so they are planning to round up 1,000 horses for adoption and sale.
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The wild horses of Devil's Garden, inside California's Modoc National Forest, is the largest wild herd in the state. But the feds say the herd has grown large and unmanageable, and so they are planning to round up 1,000 horses for adoption and sale.

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.”

California's wildfires continued to spread under the influence of strong winds on Tuesday, so much so that animals were left behind to fend for themselves. At one point, a horse was even seen galloping across a highway in an attempt to save itself

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.

At the Wild Horse Program at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center inmates train wild mustangs to become adoptable to the public. Changed by his love for a wild mustang, Zephyr, Chris Culcasi struggled towards a life outside of crime.

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.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler
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