BONSALL, Calif. — Members of a San Diego horse rescue said they’ve saved 17 wild horses from slaughter and need the public’s help.
It’s a complex and dividing issue between federal authorities who claim the population of wild horses in the open range must be controlled and animal activists who say these animals should be left alone.
“How could you hurt those beautiful gracious creatures?” asked Lynne Hayes, owner of Horse Spirit Ranch in Bonsall. Hayes has been working through the holidays, taking care of the newly arrived Mustangs, said to have run away from a herd round up.
“The Bureau of Land Management will come in with helicopters and chase down the horses, it’s pretty brutal, they run for miles,” said Katia Louise with the Wild for Life Foundation, who brought the Mustangs to San Diego.
Since August, the Federal Bureau of Land Management has been capturing wild horses to control its population.
Federal officials said currently their numbers are too high and with many of its predators like the mountain lion disappearing, it keeps growing, depleting the open range and destabilizing the ecosystem.
The federally funded operation sells the horses to those who can take care of them, but Louise said the harsh reality is more and more of these federally protected creatures are being sold for inhumane slaughter.
“Just since October we’re estimating over 2,000 horses were rounded up and sold for slaughter,” said Louise.
She adopted the horses in New Mexico and brought them to San Diego to give them a second chance.
“I hope somewhere, some how things change so we don’t have to plead like this to save them,” said Hayes.
Horse meat consumption is illegal in the United States, but legal in many countries around the world.