23 Wild Horses Rescued After Nevada Sent Them to Slaughter

Last week, wild horse advocacy groups came together to save 23 wild horses that were taken from the Virginia Range outside of Reno, Nev., by the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDOA) and sent to an auction in Fallon to be sold for slaughter for human consumption.

Advocates from the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, Let ‘Em Run Foundation and Horse Power, among others, organized a rescue effort to save them, but were forced into a bidding war against  kill-buyers and someone who was believed to be owner of the auction, Jack Payne, that resulted in them paying over $11,000 to save them, far above what they should have had to pay.

“That’s way over what we had anticipated even budgeted for,” said Shannon Windle, President of Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, who spearheaded the fundraiser that garnered donations from across the country and abroad.

The average price came out to be around $475 a horse, while other non-range horses sold for around $150. According to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, someone from the department was overheard saying that, “They took it pretty well.”

The effort was also joined by the Alliance of Wild Horse Advocates, the Starlight Sanctuary and Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC). California-based Protect Mustangs also stepped in to help raise awareness about the issue.

The horses, now known as the “South Reno 23″ were removed as “nuisance” animals. Since they’re not on federal land managed by Bureau of Land Management, they are state property and the responsibility of the NDOA. However, Nevada has a fence-out law that requires property owners, namely developers, to put up fencing to prevent unwanted wildlife from entering.

Wild horses were previously offered to the public for $90, but a recent policy change that has drawn anger from wild horse advocates put an end to that. Now, any horses that are removed will go to the Fallon Livestock Yard.

“We hope Governor Sandoval realizes that outside of Nevada, 80% of Americans are against horse slaughter,” said Anne Novak, Executive Director of Protect Mustangs. “This could be a pivotal point in his political career–the point where he tarnishes himself to the extent that he will never win the hearts of the 80%. He still has time to take action and become a hero and we hope he does.”

The NDOA is believed to have removed at least 60 more horses. 25 of them are scheduled to show up a the auction TOMORROW.

The groups are continuously working to find foster homes and adopters, in addition to raising funds to care for the rescued horses and to save the remaining ones.


Please sign the petition asking Governor Brian Sandoval to stop ignoring the public and take action to ensure that more horses are not sent to auction.

If you would like to make a donation to help with these efforts, visit the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund.

Related Stories:

Law Would Leave Nevada Littered With Wild Horses

Lawmakers Seek to Stop Abuse of Gaited Horses

Horse Slaughter Legalized in the U.S.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Karen S.
Karen S.10 months ago

Sad! Please visit:



Gina H.
Gina H.2 years ago

Well Ed F., keep giving over public land to developers for pennies on the dollar and naturally there will be urban sprawl, more roads and more land fenced off so wild horses have no habitat left. Then we can add in the big game hunting outfits and ranchers. How convenient. It's also about egotistic morons paid by these corporate greedmongers to do their bidding and make "horse lovers/advocates" pay literally.

Bronwyn Mackay
Bronwyn Mackay2 years ago

Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour of mankind rode upon a donkey whilst on this planet however He is to return mounted upon a white HORSE! The horse is a magnificent, regal, intelligent, loyal and hard working animal that has been revered and loved since time began. No way should people be eating horse meat, no way at all. Only animals with cloven hooves are said to be suitable dietary meat for humans and this by Almighty God maker of Heaven and Earth and every living creature and being. Stop being so bloody ignorant and GREEDY, and start doing the RIGHT THING by these enigmatic equines before it's too late . . . you'll stand before God and give account for your decisions . . He told us to "BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THE ANIMALS" and good stewards do NOT eat them!!!

Tamara r Pearlman

Unconscienceable in any state or country. And, pushing bids up on rescue groups thwart our efforts to rescue more horses.

Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

Signed with tons of relief but this horse business is becoming a real problem. Sadly more and more horses are being sold for slaughter,just heartbreaking as i believe horses should never be killed for us to eat.

ed Foster
ed Foster2 years ago

This story is total hype. The Nevada Department of Agriculture did not send any horses to slaughter. NDA was forced to sell these 23 horses at a Nevada livestock auction! Luckily, Shannon, HVWHPA, was able to put together the money to accquire these 23 horses. They could have been legally sold to anyone, that's the law! The horse "advocates" were buying the horses for $90 a head from the State until one morning about a year ago. When a dozen horses or so were offered for sale at $90 a head, a local "advocate," apparently speaking for about 10 people gathered said, "we're not buying any horses this morning and we'll just see what happens." Well here's what happened. By statute, NDA took the horses to a local livestock auction yard to sell. At that point, the "advocates" were bidding against "kill buyers" and the owner of the livestock yard. Over the last year the groups have paid tens of thousands of dollars more than they should have for these horses. It's not NDA's fault that these horses are being sold at auction. I won't devulge the name of the "advocate" that basically made this happen, but ask Shannon, or anyone else involved with these horses in Nevada, who that was. For the record, these Virginia Range horses are classified as estray or feral in Nevada because they are not on Federal land. NDA does not gather horses! NDA does pick up horses, mainly in urban areas, when they get complaint calls from citizens and there's a public safety issue. These are the facts folks!

Judie Braaten
Judie B.3 years ago

Any politician who supports such abhorrent action clearly does not have the public's best interests in mind. Governor Sandoval, Jack Payne, and all their ilk should be run out of town...chased by helicopters for miles.

Amy Orvin
Amy Orvin3 years ago

Signed!! Horses are AWESOME, don't kill them!

Ann B.
Ann B.3 years ago

Petition signed - glad to hear these horses were rescuded.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.3 years ago

I can't believe anyone would think that it's OK to slaughter horses!