Friends of Animals filed a lawsuit last month in Washington, D.C., challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to begin selling some of the 932 wild horses who were rounded up from Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory “without limitation” starting on Jan. 10, providing incentive for slaughter.
Unknown to us at the time, two other groups had filed an identical suit the day before in San Francisco. Then a third suit was also filed in San Francisco.
Given that all three cases focus on the narrow issue of the sale policy change, FoA has decided not to pursue its case. Instead of duplicating the efforts of others, FoA believes it is better for America’s wild horses to direct our attention to our other wild horse litigation, such as the case we are pursuing in Oregon that challenges the Bureau of Land Management’s new wild horse sale policy, which also caters to kill buyers.
We are encouraged that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue warning that the U.S. Forest Service would be in violation of state law if any of the Devil’s Garden wild horses are sold for the purpose of slaughter. The Forest Service’s plan has also drawn condemnation from Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and from Republican California Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, who is now minority leader.
“To slaughter for commercial consumption mustangs that have roamed California for over a century is not only atrocious, but unlawful,” Becerra said in a statement reported by the Sacramento Bee. “These majestic animals captivate the imagination and symbolize the rugged independence of the American West.”