Wild Horse Education

Devils Garden; a good time to revisit jurisdiction and #wildhorses

2018_fcpc_422 - 1Devils Garden: 1000 horses at risk of slaughter A good time to revisit jurisdiction before the lines blur. The current administration does not respect past policy or your voice in law. Devils Garden, political window into the future of all wild horses?

In just a few days about 1000 wild horses will be rounded up from federal land in Northern California at a place called Devils Garden.

These horses will be put up for sale or adoption. However it is not a secret that many of them will end up in slaughterhouses. The younger ones will get a chance at adoption and sent to a BLM facility the older ones will get only 30 days before being sold for as little as $1.00 each.

The horses live in Devil’s Garden Plateau inside Modoc National Forest, which is near the Oregon border. It’s the largest herd in California and is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the federal agency that manages the vast majority of our free roaming horse and burro herds currently can not sell wild horses to slaughter, a debate in Appropriations bills every year. Using funding to do that would be illegal for the BLM.

Forest Service, which oversees only a small number of protected horses, isn’t bound by the same laws. Other administrations have followed BLM policy; the current administration does not.

However the state of California has a state law that prohibits all horses from being sold to slaughter.

This is a jurisdictional mess. It might be a good time for readers to renew their understanding of “jurisdiction.” We see a lot of comments being made on the internet by all sides in this conflict t hat are simply not accurate, legally. We see many writing to BLM thinking it is BLM.

If you want to tell Forest Service you can use this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/contac…/modoc/about-forest/contactus




The video above is the last of the Sheldons. They did not even have 30 days for you to go and get them. They were shipped to paid contractors and disappeared into the slaughter pipeline. You will see 1000 Devil’s Garden horses in pens, just like this soon. With Sheldon the herds exist no more. At Devil’s Garden? The horses left on the range will need a mobilized and educated advocacy. 

This feels like the same mess of confusion in which we watched the herds of Sheldon slide into the pages of history, over 90% landed in the slaughterhouse. The three herds of Sheldon exist no more. In truth a few stragglers have mixed with a handful of horses that have gone through a long broken fence that borders BLM lands. We know we will see this ugly mess of jurisdictional issues rise again. But we know that the horses in question will not be “Sheldons,” those horses are gone. We know that area is beyond corruption of any discussions based on fact and equity and “move ’em out” is the only concern. At Sheldon the horses were simply shipped to paid contractors, the older Devils Garden horses will have 30 days of adoptions before “ship ’em out” begins.

Discussions were had over years about doing fertility control and incremental removals in Modoc, Devils Garden. If we had “action, not words” from all parties, instead of the drama crews and entrenchment of cronyism,  engaged in years and years of chatter? What we are about to witness would not be happening. We would be seeing the effects of cooperation, fertility control and, maybe, small removals with organized adoption and training events.

As an “educated advocate” this is a good time to revisit and familiarize yourself with the life and work of Velma Johnston, Wild Horse Annie. Her life’s work was the establishment of federal jurisdiction; instead of broadening and strengthening that intention, it was eroded. https://wildhorseeducation.org/2016/03/09/velma-johnstonthoughts/

We are also seeing this current administration, not only fail in the specific instance of Devil’s Garden to follow past protocol, we are seeing an outright thumbing the nose at law.

In California it is illegal to sell to slaughter, not just a wild horse, any horse.

In broad sweeps west wide we are seeing an encroachment on habitat like never before. Within that process your voice is being ignored in law. An avalanche of projects are heading into our wild places that will destroy the land our wild horses stand upon that will push the political agenda forward to reopen BLM horses to exactly what we are seeing at Devils Garden, a month to get adopted and then sold to slaughter.

Devils Garden is a window into this political storm. Don’t ignore what you see. It is the vision for all wild horses in this nation and the intention is clear, your voice does not matter.

Another window that should not be ignored is the hit being prepared for the herd at Pancake, managed by the BLM. Learn more:    https://wildhorseeducation.org/2018/09/14/gold-rock-the-destruction-of-a-wildhorse-herd-begins-blmnv/

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The herds of Pancake are managed by BLM. A BLM approving mining without caring about the horse or your voice. This area, these horses, will lose their home and then their freedom.


What are we doing? Working almost around the clock to educate media and legislators. We are gathering field data that can be used to litigate. Preparing litigation.

This is BIG picture time. A must read for all public lands/ wild horse advocates: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2018/09/09/zero-accountability-factor-department-of-interior-blm-doi-zinke-wildhorses-publiclands/

What can you do? Contact your legislators and tell them you are tired of having your voice ignored in the public process of public lands. You are tired of the federal government managing our horses through myth and politics. Ask your legislators how they feel about wild horses, the cutting out of voices through the NEPA process. One of the only places your voice truly matters anymore is at the voting booth. Use it or lose it.



Accountability has quickly moved to zero.

Help us fight back.


This is “big picture” time.

Categories: Wild Horse Education