“This is not a game…”
The president of a wild horse advocacy group has reacted with dismay over the publication of a report by Propublica.org questioning the fate of a significant number of wild horses sold under the Bureau of Land Management’s adoption and sales program.
Wild Horse Freedom Federation volunteer president and co-founder R.T. Fitch argues the report is incomplete and had gutted an investigation by advocates “that could have actually helped and saved the lives of tens of thousands of wild horses”.
Fitch said writer Dave Philipps “grievously failed to wait for the story to conclude with final proof and verification of exactly when, how and where the horses actually went”.
He said Philipps’ “itchy trigger finger” had resulted in the outing of an investigation that could have had significant legal merit and long-term benefit for wild equines.
Fitch argued its publication was premature, given that it lacked documented proof of where the horses actually ended up, and said the piece would ultimately compromise other investigations.
“This is not a game. It is about the wild horses, burros and the brave people who voluntarily put their lives on the line to investigate the operations of kill buyers …”
Philipps’ inquiries would have tipped off parties involved, making it harder for those in the field to track the movement of the shipments of wild horses and to observe hauling and the drop-off points.
“Carelessness like this puts the lives of volunteer investigators in the field at risk and does not encompass the big picture of shutting this blood trade down once and for all,” Fitch said.
“The end result of what occurred above produced nothing more than a ‘he said, she said’ tale that touches on some verifiable facts – which is good – but in the end misses the entire point as the final facts are not verified.
“What will this limited information accomplish? Will the BLM, which acts with impunity, just continue its shell game by replacing Tom Davis with another hauler?”
“The BLM’s investigation of Tom Davis seems to be another internal investigation, and we know what happens with those.”
Fitch said advocates had been “screaming from the rooftops” for years that wild horses had been going to slaughter.
He said advocates had been close to getting the facts that would have verified what was happening, and in doing so would have saved the lives of tens of thousands of wild horses.
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