RENO, Nev. (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service has built its first corral for wild horses, a Northern California facility that could allow it to bypass federal restrictions and sell the animals for slaughter.
The agency acknowledged in recent court filings that it built the pen for mustangs gathered in the fall on national forest land along the California-Nevada border because horses held at other federal facilities cannot be sold for slaughter.
The Forest Service denies claims by horse protection advocates that it has made up its mind to sell the more than 250 horses for slaughter. But it also says it may have no choice because of the high cost of housing the animals and the continued ecological impacts it claims overpopulated herds are having on federal rangelands.
The agency's new pen is in the Modoc National Forest, about 170 miles northwest of Reno.