Success! Lawmakers Vote to Protect Beloved Salt River Wild Horses

A well-known herd of wild horses is now safe at their home in the Tonto National Forest, thanks to lawmakers in Arizona and pressure from animal activists.

The beloved herd, known as the Salt River wild horses, became the center of a major controversy last year when the Forest Service announced plans to remove them and auction them off. The agency argued they were stray livestock and not entitled to protection under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, and it was therefore not responsible for managing them.

In 1971, Congress recognized the value of wild horses as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” who “contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people.” It enacted the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which was intended to protect wild horses from “capture, branding, harassment, or death.”

Unfortunately, the agencies responsible for protecting wild horses, including the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service, have continued to fail them, and thousands continue to be rounded up and removed from their rightful place on the landscape.

The Forest Service’s plan to remove the Salt River wild horses sparked public outrage. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG), which has been stewarding these horses in the wild for years, filed an injunction to stop the roundup and thousands of people from around the world joined a chorus of voices so loud officials and lawmakers couldn’t ignore them. A Care2 petition asking the Forest Service to leave them be in the wild gathered more than 221,000 signatures.

The bill to protect the Salt River wild horses, HB 2340, is finally scheduled for a vote…

Posted by Salt River Wild Horse Management Group on Saturday, April 9, 2016

Now, advocates for these horses, the SRWHMG and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign are celebrating a major victory with the passage of an amended bill, HB 2340, that declares the Salt River wild horses are not stray livestock and criminalizes killing or harassing them. It also clears up who’s responsible for their oversight, and requires humane management that will involve partnerships between federal, state and local authorities, in addition to the SRWHMG.

“This is a historic day for horse advocates, the Salt River wild horses and for the public, which would not stand for the removal and disposal of this herd that is so historically and economically significant to the State of Arizona,” said Simone Netherlands, president of the SRWHMG. “We are so proud of our legislators for listening to the voice of the people and standing firm for protection of these irreplaceable Arizona treasures.”

Hopefully the Salt river wild horses will be around for generations to come and the awareness that was raised by their plight will encourage people to continue to speak up for thousands of other wild horses whose future in the wild remains in question.

The agencies responsible for their oversight should be managing wild horses under the intent of the law, not subjecting them to brutal roundups, destroying family bonds, warehousing them at holding facilities, or sending them to slaughter to benefit special interests who want to see them gone.

We did not let them become history!

Posted by Salt River Wild Horse Management Group on Thursday, May 5, 2016

For more info on how to help our wild horses and burros, check out the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


william Miller
william M2 years ago


Melania Padilla
Melania P2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

ANA MARIJA R2 years ago

221,000 Thank You & Blessings for Good morning (9:05 a.m.)

Saeeda M.
Saeeda Makhlooq2 years ago

Great news! Thanks for sharing.

Joao S.
Joao S2 years ago

This is great knews! So happy for our noble and elegant friends that can now enjoy a happy wild life free from harm.

Tanya W.
Tanya W2 years ago

How wonderful!!! Way to go Care2... horses saved 🐴🐎🐴🐎🐴🐎 ... onward and upwards..Elephants, tigers and lions - we are coming for you too 🐘🐅🐆

L Douglas
L Douglas2 years ago

Just read the fantabulous news!!! I don't know how I missed it. I'm crying for joy, another victory thanks to Care2 who continually keep us informed about the important issues facing us!!!

Lisa Hofmann
Lisa H2 years ago

Just saw this news from more than a month ago - so 'proud, pleased, thrilled' 😉 to have been a part of this campaign. Thanks to all who participated and thank you Care2 for the great news! Everyone let's keep our successful momentum going - FORWARD!

- L

Rosslyn O.
Rosslyn O2 years ago

Fantastic news for these beautiful animals. Thanks to everyone for their efforts.