RENO, Nev. (AP) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein is calling on federal land managers to conduct an investigation to determine how many of the wild horses captured on public lands in the West end up at slaughterhouses.
The California senator also wants the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to re-evaluate the $1,000 cash payments it offers those who adopt the mustangs.
Horse advocates say the money provides an unintended incentive to obtain the mustangs then illegally resell them for slaughter.
Feinstein urged Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a letter Monday to investigate how many adopters of wild horses have violated regulations protecting the animals and how many have been sold or transported for slaughter historically.
The department’s Bureau of Land Management announced last month it is tightening protections to guard against illegal resale of the animals, including stepping up compliance visits following the adoptions and increasing warnings to sale barns that they could face federal prosecution if they violate the prohibitions.
But horse protection advocates who say they have documented the resale of horses for slaughter for nearly a decade insist the practice will continue until the agency ends the $1,000 payments it has offered in recent years to try to jump-start lagging demand at overstocked holding pens.