A deal has been struck for the sale of 148 unbranded horses seized from public and tribal lands in Nevada to horse advocates.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the animals have been sold to a coalition of animal advocates. A philanthropist is said to have funded the dead.
The horses were set to be sold at auction in Fallon, Nevada, on August 17, with advocates fearing most of the unbranded animals would go to slaughter buyers.
The horses in question were rounded up by the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone tribe with the approval of the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
A total of 467 animals were delivered to the auction.
However, several horse advocacy groups alleged some of the horses were likely federally protected wild horses originating from the nearby Little Owyhee Herd Management Area.
They went to court and were granted a temporary restraining order by a federal court judge, Miranda Du, sitting in Reno, Nevada.
However, Judge Du rescinded the order at a later hearing following further legal arguments, clearing the way for the sale of the horses.
Arlo Krutcher, the vice chairman of a northern Nevada reservation, said he was annoyed that the tribe was being made out to be greedy mercenaries looking to bring the horses to slaughter.
“These activists were making us out to be the bad people. If we were doing that, we could have sold those horses for slaughter right there at the reservation,” he told The Times.
Krutcher said he resented the attitude of the animal advocates, but struck a chord with Reno-area advocate Sally Summers, the founder of Horse Power, who managed to organise a deal to save the horses.
He indicated the tribe did not get enough money to pay for its fees from the sale.
The Fallon auction went ahead without the unbranded horses on August 17.
More than 300 branded horses were sold. About half were bought by private individuals and rescue groups. The rest were purchased by kill-buyers.
The full LA Times report can be read here