Danielle LeVee, Global Animal
The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) collected 23 wild horses from the Virginia Range earlier this month. The range outside of Reno, Nevada is public land and thus unprotected by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which protects feral horses but only if they are on federal land.
The NDA sent the “South Reno 23” horses to the Fallon Livestock Yard where they were auctioned off. Purchasers of wild horses are known to truck their winnings to Canada or Mexico to be killed for human consumption.
Wild horse advocacy groups including Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, Let ‘Em Run Foundation, and Horse Power came together to bid for and save these 23 horses. Unfortunately, in order to rescue the horses, advocates were faced with a bidding war against kill-buyers. The advocacy groups expected to pay around $3,000, but ended up paying over $11,000 to save all the horses.
Advocates believe that Jack Payne, the owner of the livestock auction, was deceitfully driving up the sale price by bidding on the horses. Also known as “shill bidding,” shilling is illegal in many jurisdictions because it implies fraud. Yet, advocates are uncertain how Nevada laws treat this practice.
Today, an additional 25 wild horses from the same area will be auctioned off. Advocacy groups are hoping to raise enough funds to save these remaining horses. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has been unresponsive to public protest.
Sign the petition or call Call Nevada Governor Sandoval (775-684-5670 or 702-486-2500) and ask him to take action by working alongside advocacy rescue group to protect wild horses on both federal and state lands.