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.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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