Nevada News Service
Despite receiving 14,000 faxes and emails from concerned
citizens and inquiries from Congress, the U.S. Department of the
Interior (DOI) is still poised to turn over an estimated 240 wild
horses, captured in Nevada, to a slaughter middleman in Mississippi.
The government will pay the middleman — Stan Palmer of J&S Associates
in Pelahatchie, Mississippi — over $1,000 per horse to take the horses
off the government’s hands, despite the department’s own internal
investigation that showed wild horses previously sent to Palmer had
ended up in the slaughter pipeline.
A total of 400 wild horses were captured in a helicopter roundup in
the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northern Nevada. They are
being held and processed in corrals at Sheldon for the next 30 days.
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), a division of the DOI, operates
the refuge is prohibiting the public from viewing the captured horses.
FWS plans to turn approximately 160 of the animals over to legitimate
adoption contractors, leaving 240 for Stan Palmer.
The FWS intends to eradicate wild horses and burros from the refuge,
despite excellent range conditions, broad public support and interest
in viewing the horses on the refuge, and the animals’ historic
significance to the area.
“The wild horses of the Sheldon Refuge are America’s war horses. Their
ancestors were cavalry mounts who fought in battles through World War
I. These historic animals should be protected and preserved, not
eradicated from our public lands and callously dumped into the
slaughter pipeline,” said Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild
Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a national coalition of more than
The Coalition is calling on the FWS to return to the range any
captured Sheldon wild horses that cannot be responsibly adopted out.
The horses could be given fertility control or sterilized before being
returned set free. In addition to appealing to Interior Secretary
Sally Jewell and FWS director Daniel Ashe, advocates have turned for
assistance to Senator Barbara Boxer, whose Environment and Public
Works Committee in the Senate has jurisdiction over FWS refuges.
Laura Leigh, Founder and President of Wild Horse Education has filed a
lawsuit against the FWS over its plans for the Sheldon horses.
“We stand ready to do anything and everything we can to prevent these
amazing horses from landing in a sale yard,” stated Leigh “it would be
a tremendous American tragedy if we as a nation forget the
contribution these animals played in our history and betrayed them,
Although the Obama Administration is publicly opposed to horse
slaughter, the FWS is just the latest federal agency to engage in
plans to send wild horses from public lands to the slaughter pipeline.
Last month, the U.S. Forest Service backed out of a plan to round up
wild horses from public and tribal lands in Nevada and deliver them to
a slaughter auction, but the tribe continued the roundup on its own.
Next month, the National Park Service will roundup approximately 100
wild horses from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North
Dakota badlands and sell them on October 23 at a livestock auction
frequented by kill buyers.
“It’s time that federal agencies align their wild horse policies with
the Obama Administration’s stand against the cruel practice of horse
slaughter,” said Neda DeMayo, President of Return to Freedom, AWHPC’s
“America is not a horse-eating culture and the vast majority of
Americans are opposed to horse slaughter. It’s an ongoing travesty for
our government to use our tax dollars to deliver historic and
cherished wild horses from our public lands into the slaughter
pipeline, either directly or by third party laundering.”
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, founded in 2004 by
Return to Freedom, is a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy,
public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to
preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for
generations to come.
Return to Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity
and habitat of America’s wild horses through sanctuary, education and
conservation, while enriching the human spirit through direct
experience with the natural world. Return to Freedom provides a safe
haven to 400 wild horses and burros at its sanctuary in Santa Barbara,
California. Wild Horse Education is a non-profit organization
dedicated to protecting America’s wild herds from roundup, slaughter