Horse News

A Slick In The Night

Guest Editorial by Valerie James-Patton of The Equine Welfare Alliance

New BLM Logo, only thing missing are helicopter blades

We keep hearing the upsetting stories from our wild horse advocates living in Nevada near the BLM wild horse holding facilities about wild horses being hauled in the middle of the night and disappearing. We hear it often.

We’ve been told by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), that’s to prevent the horses from getting overheated during the high temperatures in the hot summer months, but that doesn’t fly when we hear of it happening during the cold winter months.

When numbers from BLM reports don’t add up, and large numbers of horses are missing from the charts, all those stories of night-time hauls come to mind.

So does the story from a BLM informant, who anonymously gave his testimony to a special agent from the Department of Justice back in 1994, and was exposed in the 1997 PEER Review Report: Horses to Slaughter – Anatomy of A Cover-Up.

Sure, it’s an old document from the past, telling how BLM escaped a grand jury trial over BLM’s decades long horse theft program, which was concluded to be so vast and wide spread throughout the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program that no one could be held accountable, but has anything changed? Or has BLM just gotten better at covering the trail of disappearing wild horses?

In a condensed version from 3 pages of testimony from the PEER report by a BLM informant in the horse theft program, he explains that, 50 head out of 65 horses would be reported at a location, the excess 15 horses would be transported to satellite ranches which are actually holding pens. The ranch receives money to hold the horses for a certain time until they’re picked up again. They may be hot-branded with different brands, or transported as “slicks”, meaning they have no brand at all. Most of them over a time period will go to the killers. Sometimes the horses are transported during working hours, but “most of the time it’s been at night, after the count’s been jimmied around. You strictly drive down to a certain location, open a gate and dump those horses in with a bunch of other horses. The BLM guy goes home around 4:30 and guys would load up the stolen horses, take them to satellite ranches and be back by the next morning for business as usual.”

Double-booking or black-booking is when more than one horse is branded with the same brand, and one set of legitimate paperwork is filled out to go with one horse, and depending on how many horses are wearing that same brand, a fake set of paperwork is made for them. “They are sold as legitimate horses, and sold within a week to sale barns or… The odds of you ever being checked are 100 to 1, and I’ve never seen a title on a wild horse.”

When asked if this was a pretty good organization, the informant replied that it’s very well set up, and “nobody that participates in it isn’t well known, and it can’t be done without the BLM guy standing right there.”

He further explained that “You can’t enforce a common practice that’s been going on for years and years. You can’t stop everybody that’s in it. You catch one guy, so there’s 50 more out there doing the same thing.”

The informant justified and summed up the operation by saying, “It’s not actually stealing in our way of looking at it. It’s just a way of life, you know. It’s been a common practice for numbers and numbers of years. There’s never been any paperwork ever required. If we wanted to trade horses, move horses, you know, it’s just a way of life. You’ve got ranchers out there that are paying the permit fees on grazing, and then they have a bunch of wild horses move in, they’re losing money because they’re paying for that grass. These wild horses come in and are eating up the grass, so sure they’re pissed off. It’s our job to disburse those horses, you know, so we do our best to get rid of as many as we can. I don’t really consider it stealing”.

But we do. And we currently have a large number of horses missing.

Flash forward to June/July 2010:

As we explained in our EWA press release, (7-27-2010), it appears we have at least 2,282 horses missing from the BLM wild horse holding facilities, and no rocket science is needed to add and subtract the numbers in the BLM population facility reports and compare those to horses removed from the range along with the reported deaths, adoptions and sales of the wild horses.

Even though there are questions on BLM’s math skills, it’s important to remember we’re not just questioning calculations on paper, but we’re questioning the lives of horses that have disappeared. There’s a huge problem taking place in BLM’s wild horse facilities and the horses removed from the range than just what paper work reveals, and much more than what BLM is willing to tell.

One can only wonder if they became “slicks” quietly hauled away in the night.

Even a rocket scientist adding the numbers up would not be able to give us an answer to that question.


Valerie James-Patton
Vice President, Equine Welfare Alliance
EWA Research Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Bookmark and Share

Enhanced by Zemanta

40 replies »

  1. When Nevadan’s tell us this does not go on it is likely they know someone in this trade and are just part of the cover up. We get criticized for listening to rumors and questioning what is going on. The truth is the WH&B program is entrenched with these attitudes and people who have no problems selling off these horses or hiding the fact it goes on. My opinion here is not printable. mar


  2. Its scary to see to what lengths they have gone to in the past, and to what lengths they went to that never came to the surface. There is no evidence, inspite of Ms. Debbie’s tacky little responses, that they have changed their tune. Someone should tell Debbie that if you are able to truly use your facts and figures to support your “truths” you don’t need to get snippy. When your own reported facts (and easily uncovered evidence to the contrary) blow continual holes in your truths you have to have the big boys get pushy and intimidating and turn into a drama queen (Sue Catoor–people are mean to me boo-hoo) and send out snarky little replies. I’ll but our known facts up against their pick-a-number-any-number reports any day they want to throw down the gauntlet.


  3. If it weren’t for Advocates like Valerie & and the Herds of independent experts posing and answering the questions, all we’d HAVE is rumors.
    We also get nicked for not believing the BLM, who have proven to us time and again that they simply can NOT be trusted – in any capacity – whether it’s the WH&B Program or the Management of the Land.
    So the Bureau has no one to blame but themselves when we fight hard to disprove every little detail that comes out of their collective mouths.


  4. yes I can see how easy it would be for numbers tampering to go on in the BLM hidden shell games.

    Also whats stopping the contracter from bringing in his trailers full and dumping out a couple hundred more ‘slicks’ to round-up and get paid for by our taxes? desn’t he make 400 dollars for each horse his helicopters get into the pens?

    I want to know EXACTLY how much and how many horses the contracter rounds up at each round-up to compaire to how many make it to long-term holding and adoptions.

    At least half the mares should be counted as PAIRS. as most mustangs especially pregnant mares crammed in ‘safe from the wild’ holding pens have their foals live.

    where are the missing foals blm? exactly how many horses have the cartoors been paid for each year at each round-up? what about all the foals born the next year off all the thousands in holding BLM?? who did you give all those foals to?

    no more numbers games BLM


      • Roxy, email me at the email address above – I’ll send you the report. I need to ask you something anyway – Thanks!


  5. Don’t forget about those internal documents that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. That ISN’T rumor.


  6. Geez, and just when I thought I was done puking my guts out..Still waiting on a call back from News Channel 4..they have plenty of interesting interviews and stories from Calico on in their archives…
    Started on a screenplay for TV, haven’t come up with a name for the movie yet..any ideas? how about a good name for the helicopter owner…pussy galore has already been taken..too many of the names I come up with are unprintable


  7. Just to throw this in the mix…at the recent Cheynne frontier days rodeo…sale authority wild horses were used in the wild horse race on awful, one of the horses horribly injured and no doubt put down..Even for a rodeo person back in the day -it was hard to watch..most rodeos have eliminated this event…I gave the rodeo a piece of my mind on their website..I thought this was illegal..but sounds like its business as usual for the BLM


    • can’t find the vid using search for ‘Cheynne frontier days rodeo’

      do you have a link? please post it, thanks!


      • here shark did this one and a wild horse is crippled right in front of the crowd 😦

        BLM you suck!!


      • I know many are going to say to me “I know lots of good cowboys”.

        Folks, if we don’t don’t start holding people accountable this just continues on.

        I worked in Real Estate in the 70s on the edge of one of the worse real estate scams in history that had started a few years before with Lake Havasu land sales from Chicago organized crime. That investigation led to uncover even more real estate corruption throughout AZ, reporter Don Bowls was murdered by a bomb in his car, the Banano family crime spree was finally stopped, etc, etc,. It took public pressure against he entire industry to turn it around, most of the new laws were supported by the real estate industry (the good guys in the midst) to get rid of this corruption otherwise the “whole” industry was messed up. I know that I experienced shun from friends – and that is what makes change!

        We, the people, DO have to, MUST exercise our power – blame them all – because THEY MUST start making choices about what they are doing and THEY MUST be part of the change – it will never change from outside – it must change from inside too.

        Right now – American Cowboys and Ranchers either be part of the change or join/stay in the criminal element scum and go down!


    • All good names, but this is going to be a dark murder mystery, full of slimy low lifes, drug addicts and child abusers-people that had been abused as children, so tortured animals in their adult lives, maybe Bowel L. Movement…see what I mean..I am just to literal. Who would go to a movie named that!


  8. It sure doesn’t take a vet to see the horse has a neck injury!!! Dingbats!! (I’m trying to be nice here, why I don’t know….)


  9. So, my drug gang criminal antic of moving trap sits like drop houses was pretty much on the mark.

    Crime families are what we are dealing with – crime families that cross BLM with ranchers. This is what our Amreican Rancher has stooped to. If I were not one of these welfare taking crime family public lands ranchers I would be trying to distance myself and I would have plenty of angst about this disparaging shadow they have cast over this entire industry.

    I will be posting this Article everywhere I can – every news story that has anything to do with corruption – I will post – “want to see more corruption – see this”

    I’m back to 1) legislation 2) ridding public lands of cattle – period 3) fire or relocate everyone at BLM in the FRWH&B program 5) set up a new organization under “community building”, TQM, CQI, whatever you want to call it – and make it accountable and transparent, 6) last, for me personally eating South American beef, not buying HP, Anhieser Bush, Hilton (thats all I know at this time).


  10. This is a PRCA sanctioned rodeo, the PRCA is not going to appreciate this, where they have tried so hard to clean up their image..What about the people cheering and clapping in the stands? Is that Sue and all her closely related relatives?? Is that what you think tourists want to see at your rodeo? I suggested to them they replace it with bull poker, fans really seem to like that..where those injured are the drunks sitting around the table..I’d pay to see that!!! And if they were all BLM drunks..I’d pay double


  11. I really want to see that logo on every BLM uniform and the sides of the truck..its perfect…can you sell t-shirts with the BLMs new emblem on them????


  12. Whew! I know crime and corruption are ever present, as are the the black hearts and actions of so many, and its the likes of the people fighting this wild horse battle that keep that at bay and how different our world would be without that constant fight by so many.

    My heart aches for these animials and also for those little kids at that rodeo and I know what they are experiencing and their parents are working on them, skewing their emotions, spinning a web, I know this because I was once one of those kids. Now I’m old and tired.

    All of life is like the movie “Its a Wonderful Life” (BTW – who did Cheney remind you of at Obamas inauguration?) and it takes a lot of luck, angels, scrappyness, and hard work to keep us out of the muck.


    • LOL right on ROX!..I had the same impression…old grumpy didn’t want to go either..he hadn’t quite destroyed everything in sight. there were still one or two symbols of freedom and democracy left, like the mustang.but oh, he will be remembered…What is it about WYO..I know there must be some fine americans there that we never hear about…and how about that name Sue…there must be a curse on it…


  13. Roxy, you are so right. It takes all of that and a certain kind of sheer hard headedness and steadfastness to keep on going–and going–and going.


    • I stronly recommend all of you to read the PEER Paper linked in the article. Believe it or not, the informant’s testimony was only a small part of the document, which reveals so much more information about BLM’s corruption. I’ve been receiving emails about getting another OIG investigation, but OIG answers to the DOI (Salazar). What good is that going to do for us…or the horses?
      BLM has promised transparancy, but look at their charts. They can’t even give us accurate charts. They’ve promised to manage the horses based on “science”. How can they begin to do that when they still have wild horses listed as feral, despite scientific evidence of fossil findings within the past few years that prove the horses are native to North America? To BLM the horses are little more than feral weeds…so much for their promise of science. And how can we forget Brooks and Campbell? BLM altered their scientific report to please cattle ranchers, causing Brooks and Campbell both to quit BLM.
      And BLM threw us a new bone today by extending the comment period for the Salazoo program. Now they’re going to accept emails! What a crock! As if they ever did anything more with public comments than ignore them entirely.
      You guys are right in that we have to keep going and going, keep digging deeper for the truth and exposing every untruth found in order to get justice for our wild horses.
      They deserve to have the millions of acres of land back that BLM has taken from them, and they deserve to live in their rightful homes on the range, where they were found in 1971 according to the Act. They don’t need agressive fertility control that leaves herds unviable and unable to reproduce or live out their lives in mid-west and eastern state Salazoos.
      We’ve got to keep pushing and keep on going. Future generations depend on it.


      • I ain’t stopping, never no how. Besides giving valuable information these blogs help to spur us on (thanks RT) and give us an outlet to keep us from climbing a clocktower with a rifle (really thanks RT). As long as there is a mustang and/or burro still alive on the range or in holding I’ll be there and I know I’m going to have a lot of company. There is so much research both thru records and on the ground that could be done. If you can think of a question on any of the blm activities somewhere there are docs that cover it, it just needs to be unearthed. That’s our job, then we need to get it out in the public in a big noisy way. We really need a master database, oh pleez don’t look my way, of lies that have been uncovered. How many gigabytes do you think all the info that has been researched and found fault with would eat up? Keep digging someday I know it will mean something big, just don’t get disheartened in the meanwhile, we have each other and we do it, not for personal aggrandizement but for the horses. They need us as much as we need them.


      • read that peer paper. It is sickening how corrupt the blm employees and the contractors are. They must have poached thousands of wild horses by now and made millions of dollars. Stole millions of taxpayer dollars with fake counts and numbers games.

        Bet none of them paid income taxes on their 40k plus under the table deals did they?

        Irs has a VERY easy reward system on their website to turn in tax frauds. can earn up to 10 million dollars in rewards. Even more if one gets a big cheese like some of those names in the white paper seem to be.

        private people like a fellow employee can be turned in for reward or big groups like the BLM can be turned in. Heres a url for the big guns fraud-


  14. This got me to thinking about the memo from Canada about the 10,000 horses. That number and more could be gone and, without independent observation, who would ever know? And a horse thief is a horse thief, not matter how he (or she) tries to justifiy it. What’s the punishment for theft of government property these days?


    • Linda, as long as BLM sends horses to these rodeos that glorify and romantisize the “old west” through displays of animal cruelty for sport, I contend that BM should be treated as horse theives in the good ole days of the west and should al be hung at daybreak! Firing would do just as well.

      You know it was one thing that humans captured and treated horses like this at one time out of necessity and not knowing any better – but to make it a sport! We have stopped many things since cave man days and old wild west days, why can”t we stop this insanity?


      • Even Spain banned bullfighting in Catalonia and Spain (along with Greece) has a horrendous record of animal cruelty in the name of sport and tradition. This is the same country that puts pitch on a bulls horns and lights it on fire and lets the bull run.


  15. This is like that cowboy up in another state that has a wild horse. He lost his land and rather than keep the horse for another month or to send him back to the BLM–he tried to dump it on an auction. Fortunately the brand inspector got involved and another horse advocate. The BLM said this horse could go to the horse warrior only if they promised not to move the horse out of the County for one month. Don’t worry–not gonna happen. That horse almost went to slaughter.

    We applaud the cowboy who kindly donated his horse to a rehoming program and took the financial loss but learned something new in the process.

    We need open and honest dialogue with the BLM. It’s obvious that it needs to go both ways. Such a shame that the BLM refuses to let the people count horses and range conditions when we go out there. I believe that WE ALL own the horses. We all have a vested interest in them. The people can learn to count. They can learn to subtract too! You go out there and count horses. Take a total and subtract the number of carcasses you find. It’s a great learning tool for a kid who hates math!

    BLM can have online classes that teach us about how to tell a dry range from an drought caused dry range. They should open things up to teach us what they want us to not only observe but let them know about.

    I’m sorry but I think its kinda tough luck for the cattle ranchers when it comes to grazing permits. They are paying so little and the horses keep losing out. A small rancher (as in family) might be a bit different but so many of the permits relate to big corporations that can easily afford to pay the proper permit fees and don’t. And those breaks don’t stop there. How many of those corporations pay a fair and honest tax??? They get huge tax writeoffs for so many different donations.

    How about an adopt an on the range wild horse? The horse is more sponsored if you will. You dont’ have to worry about day to day management or board bills. I could go for a program like that. That kind of program would have to be handled by a totally independent third party–so no one is accused of a conflict of interest. Individuals could donate x amount of money to sponsor one horse or that herd. Those monies could be used to help buy hay for ALL THE ANIMALS. Not just the horses, but cattle and other wildlife.

    I guess I’m thinking that each HMA would be its own sanctuary. They are handled independently and separate from each other financially.

    I have some more to add but need to get some things done. I’ll be back in a day or two to continue this.


    • Margaret, I had a similar thought to that a while back. What if every high school and grade school in the USA adopted an HMA? Had a couple of car washes a year.

      Great idea, better on-line education – this is the 21sst century after all. Do you think they want to educate us though? They don’t even use real science themselves. The more educated we are the more we see right through their antics. This would be great though if it can be pulled off..

      About communicating with BML – they have made it very clear that they cannot communicate with us – they stab us in the back every time. They are only interested in continueing their crime ring.

      Having said that, I congratulate anyone that attempts to open this channel and keep it open – because I hope I am wrong and that you are correct and there can be some coming together. And you are stonger and tougher than I am

      But in my heart I know I will see pigs fly first.


      • I would love the idea of sitting down and cut the bullsh** and really talk out the REAL situation on the range, invite the cattlemen, invite all the concerned people. Expect the blm to come in and LISTEN. We are going to be continually at war until that happens and there is no reason on this big green earth for that. They know their program isn’t working. But every single time that we have tried to hammer out a solution they have pulled their stinking shenanigans while the talks were going on. Every war ever fought has been settled and treaties signed in a whole lot less time than we have been fighting with the blm. It’s absurd and pointless and I think that is what has so many frustrated to tears and hair pulling. BLM just let the past be the past and just sit down and listen, put your egos in your hats, hang them on the hat racks and open your minds and your ears. This whole thing is completely absurd from beginning to end.


      • I do not think we will be able to continue with BLM managing wild horses. The horses and their lands plus the wild life on them needs to be managed by people who are actually looking to the long term future of all those animals. We need to be connected to education and science and research and study in the field. If the horses are saved and we can create new management there should develop a cycle of life that comes out of this. Life and learning and preservation and sharing. mar


    • Margaret and Roxy, It is quite nice we have been thinking about some of the same things. We need to see a future and that should be our goal. This is what I just sent to Sandra;

      National Wild Horse Public Lands Preservation System
      With a modest budget we could create a wonderful National Wild Horse Public Lands Preservation System. Even slowly return our geldings and mares from LTH at least to places where they are free and not warehoused any longer. Each of the remaining herds could be given mares from their closest regions to increase herds to a viable size again. Geldings and those born in captivity could be allowed status for life on reserves where horses were zeroed out. Cattle allotments could be cut back and dismantled and eventually zeroed out. I like the sound of that.

      Management of each herd area would be developed to protect and preserve the horses in the most natural way for that ecosystem in balance with wildlife and as little interference as needed. Camping and some development would be allowed on the perimeter of these preserves. Tourism and jobs for wild horse programs for all would be developed by locals and professionals to promote enjoyment and education for any who wish to learn about our wild herds from children to College and University programs where we train new science professionals to always study and manage the herds.

      It is such a lovely thing to envision. There would be writers and photographers and artists all contributing to the celebration and the expressions of wild horses. I think sometimes I have to see it in me mind in order to know it is possible. Possible and wonderful. All the horses known and loved and appreciated.

      Is it corny to want this?? no…… Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help this come about? If only we were at this stage now. mar


  16. I think that one thing us advocates should do is to take as many pictures of the horses as we can and then put them on a website so we can match them up. Sort of like what they do with whales. We need to have identity records of each horses. Maybe then we can ask them “what about this horse; where is he?”


    • Lynette, Every time there is a roundup and we are not documenting we are losing the chance to do this. Our horses need to be recognized and their lives documented so we will know them always. When we are able to do such a thing it will likely be once we pry their freedom from the greedy and violent hands of BLM managers.

      But this is precisely what is needed. A registry for all our wild horses and burros. All foals counted and followed for life. When I saw the Calico horses what struck me was all the individuals there are. So many and so different yet similar. Knowing them, their families and the lives they live will be a great pleasure. Ginger has showed us that. We are being played for time and the destruction of the herds by these greedy good ‘ole boys. If the directive is elimination then we must end that directive. mar


  17. Morgan, that is what Herd Watch is working toward–a database. I see that as a good start. Mar can speak to this more than I can, but I think part of the goal is to also bring students into the program. There are wonderful young people who are filled with ideals and energy. They desperately need the guidance and experience that a program like this can give them.


    • Thanks Louie, I belong to HerdWatch. I’m sure we all have tons of info we have gleaned sitting in our computers. I just don’t know if there is a central database and how it would be set up to access–probably still in the works as this would be a pretty monumental undertaking when you consider how much info each of us has collected and is stored on our individual hard drives. Some brave soldier will pick up the sword on this I’m sure.


  18. Morgan, I think what we do have is a network. The links are connecting by leaps and bounds. We are the central database.


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.