Six wild horses rounded up from western ranges were sold for slaughter earlier this month. It is a first since the ban on this practice was lifted in December.
Animal activists are criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for allowing six previously protected wild horses to be slaughtered. They say it's proof federal safeguards repealed last year need to be reinstated.
The six wild horses were sold to an Oklahoma man, who drove them directly to a packing plant in Illinois. The meat will be shipped to Europe for human consumption.
Officials at the processing plant in DeKalb, Illinois are defending the disposal of the unwanted mustangs in a "humane manner" while turning them into horsemeat for sale overseas.
Cavel International General Manager Jim Tucker says they don't believe the government should be deciding for livestock owners how they dispose of their animals.
Local wild horse advocates are outraged at the news of the slaughter and are hoping Congress takes action.
Jerry Reynoldson, wild horse advocate, said, "What we need is a moratorium on future sales. Such a letter has been sent by the National Wild Horse organizations this afternoon to the Secretary of the Interior, asking her to halt, or put a moratorium, on future sales until we look at a rule making process, put some rules of engagement in place before we continue down this road."
The BLM says it works to make sure the animals are placed in good homes when they're sold but it didn't do a background check on the buyer in this case.
The BLM sold the six horses that had been rounded up in Wyoming to the private owner in Oklahoma earlier this month.
The sale was authorized under the change in law in December dictating the agency offer for sale any excess mustangs that are older than the age of ten or that were previously offered for sale three times unsuccessfully under a separate, long-running adoption program.
Trina Bellak is the president of the American Horse Defense Fund. She says the change in the law was a disaster waiting to happen. She says while only six horses were slaughtered, it easily could have been 200.
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