Modoc Wild Horses Op-ed

Release Date: Oct 10, 2018  

 

Dear Editor:

In regards to the article you published on the U.S. Forest Service’s wild horse gather that began on October 10th, I am writing to correct some inaccuracies, make clear our intention and inform citizens on how they can help.

The Modoc National Forest began gathering roughly 1,000 of about 3,900 wild horses on the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory. This is an extraordinary effort, alongside our staff, partners, and a dedicated group of volunteers, to gather these horses for adoption. Our intention is to place as many of the horses as possible in good homes. Citizens and horse advocates can best help the horses and the environment by locating responsible owners willing to adopt approximately 300 of these wild horses. Reducing this growing population will allow devastated range and river banks to recover, while supporting the health of the horses by reducing competition for limited food, water, and habitat.

The USDA Forest Service takes pride in overseeing wild horses; but we are equally committed to balancing their care with ensuring the health of natural resources, wildlife and communities that also depend on these lands. Each year the horse population grows 20 to 25 percent. We estimate the population of horses on Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory on the Modoc National Forest to total more than 10 times the environment’s carrying capacity of 206-402 horses. The longer it takes to balance the level of horse populations, the greater the risk to the health of these lands and all that depend on them and the horses themselves. We are nearing the point where the environmental degradation is irreversible, and we need to take immediate action.

Horses that do not get adopted will be offered for limited sales. With these sales, we will include stipulations for buyer, one of which prohibits using horses for food consumption. We also include requirements for adequate space and healthy accommodations for the purchased animals. In other words, we are taking definitive steps to ensure humane treatment.

This is the last resort, so every effort is being made to encourage adoption and limited purchase of the gathered horses. After that, the only remaining path for the U.S. Forest Service is to pursue unlimited sale without restrictions.

We thank those who have already offered their support; we have benefited from support of partners. They remain deeply involved in all aspects of planning—including finding homes for gathered horses. In addition, the work of the dedicated Placement Promotion Committee is increasing the placement rate and surpassing the national average. We can use more help. Please contact the Modoc hotline at 530-233-8738 or email modoc_info@fs.fed.us to help us to find appropriate homes for these horses.

/Randy Moore/. Regional Forester
Pacific Southwest Region



Key Contacts

Media Relations Main Line:
707-562-9004

Email (send questions):
MediaDeskR5@fs.fed.us

Brenda Kendrix (Media Relations Officer):
707-562-9011

Paul Wade (Media Relations Back Up):
707-562-9010



https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD599094