Nov. 9 update: Return to Freedom is making preparations for the rescue of the older horses captured at Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory. Should the U.S. Forest Service go forward with their disastrous plan to lift all restrictions on sales of an estimated 300 wild horses ages 10 and older from Devils Garden Wild Horse Territory, this puts them in jeopardy of being purchased by kill buyers as soon as Jan. 10. RTF is working with supporters who can provide homes for the older wild horses that will be put up for sale as well as those interested in adopting those 9 and younger. RTF is helping to coordinate transportation with our fellow nonprofit Fleet of Angels and volunteers on-site to assist our supporters with purchasing and adopting horses.
The Forest Service has announced plans to hold a wild horses adoption / restricted sale event on Nov. 16-17. The event will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on both days. Horses ages 10-older will first be available to adopters, based on the order in which they’ve applied, then to buyers for restricted sale, at the Double Devil Corrals at Modoc National Forest. Restrictions include not purchasing wild horses for slaughter and ability to provide an adequate home and transportation. The Forest Service will retain the title on adopted wild horses for one year, meaning that horses can be returned during that time. Those that buy wild horses will receive the title immediately. As of Oct. 31, more than 200 older wild horses had been captured, including pregnant mares, according to the Forest Service. Older mares with foals are being transported to the BLM’s Litchfield corrals in Susanville, where they will be offered for adoption along with younger horses starting in early December. The Forest Service plans to geld older stallions on or around Nov. 12, unless adopters or buyers make arrangements to take intact mature stallions. For more information, including adoption and sale forms and links to photos of captured wild horses, see https://bit.ly/2yJT4xI
RTF has also joined other advocates to file a lawsuit against the Forest Service to stop the sale. At the same time, we’re working hard on the advocacy side to persuade the Forest Service to abandon its plan to sell wild horses without limitation, meeting with lawmakers, working with other advocacy groups and providing a way for our supporters to send messages of opposition to the sale directly to the Forest Service. We’re deeply grateful for those who’ve stepped forward to make donations that make our legal, advocacy and rescue efforts on behalf of the Devils Garden wild horses possible. Thank you!
Background: The U.S. Forest Service is conducting a helicopter roundup of 1,000 horses at the Devils Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory at Modoc National Forest near Alturas, Calif. Wild horses are being separated from their family bands and herds and sorted by age and gender, with the older horses – including pregnant mares – in greatest jeopardy of being sold to kill buyers who will transport them to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.
The Forest Service is transporting captured an estimated 300 wild horses ages 10-older to corrals on forest land, where they will be put up for sale with limitation for 60 days after being made ready for placement, or no earlier than Jan. 10. The agency says that it will sell horses with limitations including prohibiting the purchase of wild horses for human consumption as well as providing adequate transportation and adequate accommodations.
After that 60-day period, however, the Forest Service plans to sell remaining wild horses without no restrictions for as little as $1 apiece.
Captured wild horses estimated to be ages 9-under are being transported to Bureau of Land Management corrals in Susanville, Calif., where they will be offered for adoption. Forest Service officials have said that arrangements have been made for BLM to keep captured wild horses there for one year, but no longer, possibly placing them in jeopardy of eventually being sold to slaughter, as well.
After rescuing about 120 horses last year, RTF’s own American Wild Horse Sanctuary is at capacity, already providing care for a total of about 550 wild horses and burros at five locations. We’re marshalling interested supporters to make the greatest impact for the wild horses at risk in the most efficient way that we can.