Wild horse advocates react to the shooting of horses in eastern Arizona
ALPINE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Wild horse rights advocates are calling on authorities to find who is responsible for killing 14 wild horses this week in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Arizona. The horses were found near Forest Road 25 in the Alpine and Springerville Ranger District with gunshots to the abdomen, face, and between the eyes. Witnesses say many more herd members are missing and fear they may be injured or killed.
“The person or persons responsible for this act of premeditated, vicious animal cruelty poses a very real danger to people and animals,” said Scott Beckstead, director of campaigns and equine welfare specialist for the Center for a Humane Economy. “We hope to see swift and aggressive action by federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to apprehend the sadistic killer who committed these heinous acts and bring them to justice.”
The Alpine herd has been targeted for removal as a settlement between the Forest Service and environmental groups say that the wild horses harm sensitive habitats for endangered species. The Forest Service has already captured 20 horses, and due to their unprotected status, the horses are at risk of being killed and sold to buyers in Mexican or Canadian meat plants.
“They are not protected by federal government - not protected by state laws so it’s sickening that someone can just come here and kill them,” said Simone Netherlands, with the Salt River Wild Horse Management group. “This atrocity of the shooting shows just how much hate there is for these horses - it’s incomprehensible.”
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests says it’s coordinating with officials on the investigation of the dead horses and will share information when it’s available.
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