Arizona Senator Files Bill to Ban Killing of Alpine Wild Horses for Their Meat

By Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein
Allan Stein is a national reporter for The Epoch Times based in Arizona.
February 8, 2023Updated: February 8, 2023

A bill filed in Arizona’s Senate would make Alpine wild horse killing or slaughter for human consumption illegal while promoting humane birth control to stabilize the population.

Known as the Alpine Wild Horse Act, SB1057 would provide greater legal protections for the Alpine herd, currently facing systematic roundup and removal from federal lands throughout Arizona.

Filed by Sen. John Kavanaugh (R-Ariz.) in late January, the bill states a person may not “harass, shoot, injure, drive, kill, take or slaughter horse that is part of the Alpine horse herd.”

The bill’s language includes interfering with the Alpine population or euthanizing horses without written permission from the state or county sheriff’s office.

“This bill will make it illegal to kill and slaughter them [for human consumption]. It won’t make it illegal to remove them,” said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group in Prescott, Arizona, which supports the bill.

“Anyone who comes up against this bill would have to say they want to see wild horses killed and slaughtered. That’s difficult to say,” Netherlands told The Epoch Times.

The bill states that Alpine horses are not stray animals, a definition that contradicts the U.S. Forest Service’s branding of them as “authorized livestock,” making them subject to legal removal.

As unauthorized livestock, the Forest Service has been rounding up dozens of horses within the Apache-Sitgreaves forests and selling them at online auctions.

Netherlands said 178 horses found good homes and sanctuaries through the fund-raising efforts of wild horse advocates.

Roughly 200 of the original 400 Alpine herd numbers are left to roam half a million acres of Apache forest.

In October, unknown perpetrators shot and killed more than 40 horses in the forest near Alpine, Arizona.

Alpine Wild Horse Advocates volunteers counted 43 dead horses and 11 still missing as of Oct. 5. The group has set up a Facebook page with periodic updates about the massacre.

Netherlands said SB1057 is similar to the Salt River Horse Act of 2017. Its goal is to protect historic wild horses on the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest.

Through humane birth control, the Salt River group reported only one foal was born in 2022.

In Wyoming, state lawmakers have proposed a resolution asking Congress to allow the slaughtering of wild horses for sale in domestic and foreign markets. However, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) opposes the measure as inhumane.

As “beloved icons of the American West,” wild horses are protected by federal law, the ASPCA told The Epoch Times.

“While there is still a long road towards achieving sustainability [of the herd], horse slaughter will never be the solution, and the American public will not stand for such inhumane treatment of a cultural icon.”