Major Victory! Salt River Wild Horses Are Now Officially Protected From Being Captured & Slaughtered; Sign Petition To Protect More Herds

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Animal advocates are enjoying a major victory for a herd of wild horses in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, who, as of January 1st, are now officially protected from being removed and slaughtered.

The plight of the beloved Salt River wild horses and the campaign to protect them became the center of a major controversy in 2015 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.

That legislation was passed to protect wild horses from “capture, branding, harassment, or death,” but the agencies responsible for protecting wild horses, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service, have continued to fail them, and thousands continue to be rounded up and removed from their rightful home.

Fortunately, these horses were not without advocates such as the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) and the American Wild Horse Campaign, and news of the Forest Service’s plans sparked fierce public outrage.

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, 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 made calls to protect them, so loud officials and lawmakers couldn’t ignore them. A Care2 petition requesting that the Forest Service leave them be in the wild also gathered more than 220,000 signatures.

As a result of public outcry over their potential removal and slaughter, the Salt River Wild Horse Act was passed to protect them.

“We are deeply grateful to Governor Doug Ducey for his compassion and dedication to protecting these cherished wild horses, to State Rep. Kelly Townsend for introducing the bill that made this agreement to protect the horses possible, and to the Forest Service for recognizing the public’s strong interest in protecting this historic and popular horse herd, ” said Simone Netherlands, President of the SRWHMG.

The new law requires the Salt River wild horses be protected from harm, harassment, and slaughter, and are humanely managed in the wild through partnerships between federal, state and local authorities, and a non-profit such as the SRWHMG, which stands ready to help.

“The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, with our 100 volunteers and daily presence on the Salt River, is ready to roll up our sleeves and enter into an agreement with the state to continue our management of this wild horse herd that people from all over the world travel to see,” added Netherlands. “We are grateful for the enormous public support for our work, which has included the rescue and treatment of seriously injured Salt River wild horses, fixing miles of fencing to keep horses out of roadways, and education/outreach activities to keep the public and the horses safe.”

The agencies responsible for managing wild horses should be protecting them, not subjecting them to brutal roundups or sending them to slaughter to benefit special interests who want them gone.

Tragically, though, thousands more wild equines remain at risk because of the House Appropriations Committee recently passed 2018 budget. Through the Stewart Amendment which was part of the package, BLM would still be allowed to send 92,000 healthy wild horses and burros in holding to slaughterhouses, along with those who are deemed excess on the range.

Please sign this urgent Care2 petition demanding that Congress protect other wild horses and burros from roundups and slaughter HERE!

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