SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Animal rights activists are outraged over the U.S. Forest Service rounding up some 1,000 wild horses in Northern California, many of which could be sold to a distant slaughterhouse.
The roundup of the horses began Tuesday and is set to last through the month of October.
The captured horses are from a herd in the Devil's Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory inside the Modoc National Forest, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Forest officials say nearly 4,000 wild horses live there, but the area is supposed to have just 400. The animals enjoy a range of more than 250,000 acres within the national forest.
The American Wild Horse Campaign says the government is "exploiting a legal loophole" that will result in the slaughter of the animals.
The horses will be made available for adoption but after a 30-day period all horses 10 years and older - an estimated 300 animals - will be made available for sale without limitations for $1 each, "allowing kill buyers to purchase a truckload of 36 horses once a week until they are gone," the AWHC said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Round up of California wild horses, some which may be sold to slaughterhouses, sparks outrage