The historic Virginia Range Horses – wild horses that free range on local, state and private lands near Reno, NV – have been afforded a layer of protection today that will keep these horses out of the auction yards and kill pens. AB 264, signed into law today by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, allows for the humane oversight of wild horses by nonprofit wild horse groups. This comes on the heals of the momentous agreement reached between Return to Freedom and the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA), which allows Return to Freedom to purchase any captured wild horses directly from the NDA, rather than compete with kill buyers at the auction yard.
“This is a huge step forward for protecting wild horses under the state’s jurisdiction,” said Neda DeMayo founder and CEO of Return to Freedom. “Cooperative agreements for on-the-range management of the Virginia Range mustangs are a win-win situation for advocates, the State of Nevada and the horses. The wild horses of the Virginia Range are an important cultural and historic resource, and we look forward to working with the state to preserve them.”
The Virginia Range horses have been on that land for more than a century and are the ancestors of the horses that inspired Wild Horse Annie. It was her historic letter writing campaign with school children that lead to the first wild horse protection laws. The current effort to protect this historical herd was spearheaded by Deniz Bolbol, Communication Director for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and is just another step towards RTF’s ongoing proposal for minimally intrusive management solutions that will prevent, or at the very least minimize, capture and removal.
Return To Freedom has advocated for and presented proposals to the BLM and The Fish and Wildlife Service for over 10 years. We hope that the support for this approach from the recent National Academy of Sciences Report signals that it is time for a new direction, and the concepts we have been proposing and utilizing at our sanctuary will come to fruition.