I wanted to send you a final update from the Fallon slaughter auction, which I attended on Saturday with my colleague Deniz Bolbol and many other horse advocates.
Late Friday night, we received a Temporary Restraining Order, as a result of our lawsuit against the federal government, to block the sale of all unbranded horses at the auction. All of the horses had been captured from the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation and surrounding public lands. The horses were separated -- branded from unbranded -- on Saturday morning. After visually inspecting every pen, we ensured that approximately 149 unbranded horses were pulled from the sale.
The horses remain at the livestock auction, now in the care of the U.S. Forest Service, while we continue to fight to have them returned to the range. A federal court hearing on our case is scheduled for Wednesday, August 21.
A special thanks to those of you who have given to our legal fund in the past. You make litigation like this possible and play a critical role in helping us save these 149 horses and ensure that their federal legal protections are upheld.
Please consider pitching in to our legal fund today to ensure that we have the resources necessary to keep fighting for these horses.
Sadly, until the SAFE Act is passed to ban horse slaughter, there is no legal way to protect privately owned horses sold for slaughter. In the end, approximately 316 horses were sold at Saturday's auction. The kill buyers got about 200, while about 100 or so branded horses were rescued.
Kill buyer Ole Olsen drives off with branded stallions purchased from the Fallon Livestock Auction on 8/17/13. Our lawsuit saved 149 unbranded horses from this same fate - at least for the moment.
It was devastating to see horses -- including mature stallions and mares who had just had their young foals pulled from them -- sold in lots to the kill buyers. We saw very lame horses, horses with what appeared to be spinal injuries barely able to stand, horses with gaping wounds on their chests, bloody faces, orphaned foals.
There is no mistaking what a tragedy this was. But we also have to think about what has been achieved so far.
Before we got involved, the Forest Service was going to round up 700-1000 horses and send them to the slaughter auction. This was a backroom deal to launder federally protected wild horses through a tribe and use federal dollars to send them to a slaughter auction, allowing the tribe to reap the profits. We stopped this action, and took a stand against these kinds of sordid backroom deals.
Thanks to our legal and public relations efforts, the Feds pulled out of the roundup, and far fewer horses -- approximately 467 -- were actually captured. Of those, 149 unbranded horses were pulled from the auction, and another 100+ horses were saved by hard working rescue groups.
We'll continue to fight for the unbranded horses whose fate will be decided at Wednesday's hearing. Will you continue to fight with us?
We need your help to ensure that we have the resources to take on the Feds in the courtroom this Wednesday. Will you please donate to our legal fund today?
We are proud to be joined in this litigation by our founding organization Return To Freedom, The Cloud Foundation, Western Watersheds Project and Laura Leigh of Wild Horse Education. But AWHPC alone bears the financial burden for the substantial legal bills we are accumulating to help these horses.
This weekend was a strong reminder not only of the unfinished business we have before us, but also of what we can accomplish when we all work together. We hope that you will continue to stand with us, and we thank you very much for your compassion, caring and support.
You are subscribed to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign email list.
Click here to unsubscribe.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving American wild horses and burros in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.