Feds stand by as unbranded, federally protected wild horses captured, sent to slaughter auction

Roundup Proceeds on Tribal Grounds Despite Federal “Stop Work” Order; Documents Implicate Feds in Horse-Laundering Scheme

Wild Horse. Photo (c) Terry Fitch.
Wild Horse. Photo (c) Terry Fitch.


Winnemucca, NV (August 12, 2013) — Late yesterday, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) notified a coalition of wild horse advocacy and conservation groups that it was “issuing a stop order” to helicopter wranglers hired to roundup hundreds of wild horses on USFS, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and tribal lands on the Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation on the Nevada/Oregon Border and transport them to a slaughter auction.

The Forest Service’s decision to pull out of the roundup operation came after the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and its parent organization, Return to Freedom, The Cloud Foundation and the Western Watersheds Project sent two letters to the USFS outlining the multiple ways in which a stealth agreement between the Service to conduct the operation violated federal law.

However, the Forest Service also informed the coalition that the tribe was proceeding with the roundup, and, in fact, had captured 277 horses and already shipped 130 of them to the Fallon Livestock Exchange as of yesterday afternoon. The Forest Service also stated that it also had “no specific information about whether any of those animals came off National Forest or outlying Bureau of Land Management [BLM] lands.”

The participating agreement between the Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt Tribal Council and a separate agreement between the BLM and the Forest Service, previously authorized the tribes to push wild horses from public lands onto reservation lands for the purpose of capture and sale to a slaughter auction. The area in question is in close proximity to the BLM Little Owyhee Herd Management Area (HMA) where federally-protected mustangs live.

“The Forest Service and the BLM have a responsibility to protect unbranded horses in this roundup. It is well documented that horses from the Owyhee Complex range outside the HMA to the border of the Forest Service lands in question,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “Although the Forest Service has issued a ‘stop order’ to the helicopter wranglers in response to our legal letters, serious questions remain about whether the federal government continues to be complicit in this shady operation where federally-protected wild horses are headed to a slaughter auction this Saturday. ”

“The Forest Service and BLM should be equally as concerned about these horses as we are if the are to uphold their legal responsibilities under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom, AWHPC’s parent organization. “In our negotiations, the Forest Service was willing to guarantee that any unbranded horses captured in this operation would be returned to federally-protected wild horse areas. This responsibility does not end now. We call on the BLM and the Forest Service to ensure that no unbranded wild horses captured from public lands around the Fort McDermitt reservation are sold at the auction for slaughter.”

“The Forest Service cannot just wash its hands of this situation now, after putting in place a stealth agreement to roundup these horses and send them to slaughter, and after admitting that the tribes have been working ‘for days’ to push horses off public lands and onto tribal lands toward the traps,” said Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “This is a betrayal of the American public and our wild horses. This entire matter must be investigated and the sale of all unbranded horses must be halted immediately.”

Today the groups sent another letter to the Forest Service demanding that officials verify the origin of all horses sent to auction by the tribe and prevent the sale of any unbranded horses at the Saturday auction. They also released the agreement between the Forest Service and the Tribe, which documents the intention of the FS to turn all horses – branded and unbranded – to the tribe, as well as use tax dollars to pay for the roundup and to ship the horses for slaughter.

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>> USDA/Forest Service shuts down public observation at controversial wild horse roundup; Tuesday’s Horse; Aug 8, 2013


>> Horse gathers to be conducted in Fish Lake Valley due to drought; KRNV & MyNews4.com (video); Aug. 12, 2013

10 thoughts on “Feds stand by as unbranded, federally protected wild horses captured, sent to slaughter auction”

  1. Vivian, Thank you for the update. The problem with the Indians is there aren’t any left that respect the old ways. The old that still honor the sacred animals, the land, their heritage and old ways are so in the minority and so abuse by their own that they no longer have a say. The ones that control the Indian Nations now have been so influenced by the White Mans Ways and Rules, his corruption and disregard for anything good and money, money money money. That is the American Way no matter what it harms, destroys, kills or ruins. So the Indians now are not really Indians, Native Americans. They are just more corrupt offshoots of Whites living off the dollars they can make doing what is wrong and trashing the respected ways of their elders.


  2. The so called Native American (Indian) has lost their respectied way long ago when they adopted the white mans way of greed. They have forgotten the old ways, the respect for Mother Earth, the respect for the Great Creator and the honor of the sacred horse, the wolf, the land. There are no real Indians left, just greedy ones who prey on their own less fortunate. They have no pride and no respect. The brave Indian who once protected their land, their people, their sacred animals are now no more than a white mans pawn to make money. I will continue to fight for our horses and will fight with words. When that doesn’t work then I will fight with whatever other means are needed to stop killing our horses, our natural landscape.


  3. I find it EXTREMELY sneaky on their part to carry out this roundup as soon as they did when they claimed it was going to be postponed for 90 days. They probably said so on purpose to keep our attention off the operation so that they can carry it out without having to deal with the public. Maybe not but, still, when the federal government makes a deal, it, like any good government, should keep its word. What a bunch of dirty double crossers. -_-


  4. I just wish there was some lawyer out there to take these bastards to court… NOTHING we all do or say means ANYTHING to the Forest Service or BLM it is disgraceful and I mean I am LIVID, but what good does that do for me, it just continues ON and ON and ON, NO ONE is STOPPING it… Unbelievable, please someone in the powers that be THANKS Sally Jewell…. DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRR


  5. Shared this video and article on face book asking them to go viral to save “our” wild horses!
    I am so sick of the lies and subterfuge that the feds use to get their own way!


  6. Just a little item of note. “Round ups due to drought” has to go away. It has been raining in many areas still referred to as the “drought” area. Within ten or less days, grass will be growing in New Mexico, Northern Texas, Kansas, and over most of the mid and south west.


    1. So glad to see weather reports showing rain, although it may mean washouts. In NM torrential downpours can cause people their lives. The good note is that grasses are regenerated, and we’ll have to continue to think positive thoughts about our horses welfare.


  7. Here is a link to a video I uploaded to YouTube that I took today, August 12, 2013 of the Piute-Shoshone (and probably protected federal and/or state wild horses) reservation horses at the Fallon Livestock Exchange sale yard in Fallon, Nevada on Trento Lane that are supposed to be going to auction on August 17th. I also fear that some may go through the weekly kill sale TOMORROW and will disappear to slaughter:


    1. Bless your heart, Laura, for providing coverage of this roundup to the public and planning to rescue some of these beautiful symbols of freedom. I wish you the absolute best. :) <3


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