Horse News

BLM Wild Horse Slaughter Case Moves to U.S. Attorney

Story by Steven Long ~ publisher of Horseback Magazine

Long Term Holding Horses Lives Turned Upside Down

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The case against individuals involved in the transport of Oklahoma based wild horses in the custody of the federal Bureau of Land Management has taken another turn, this time to the office of the United States Attorney in Salt Lake City. The 64 horses were seized from a Utah slaughter kill buyer and impounded August 5 and 6.

“The case documents have been forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s office for
review,” said an informed source within the agency familiar with the case. “It is our understanding that, given the caseload at the U.S. Attorney’s Office we likely will not see any additional action on this case until mid-September at the earliest.”

All questions regarding 64 wild horses in two separate cases allegedly moved from a holding pasture of theBLM in Oklahoma and seized from a well known slaughter killer buyer were being  by the agency spokesmen in Washington to federal law enforcement.

A federal law enforcement source confirmed to Horseback Magazine earlier this mont that the horses were part of the BLM’s program that sells older horses which can’t be trained. The horses did not come from the agency’s adoption program, he said.

The probe centers on the removal and seizure of the horses in Utah by local BLM officials. The FBI has been involved in the case Horseback’s earlier sources said. The questions have been referred to the Salt Lake City office of the Department of Justice.

Multiple individuals are targets of the probe. Department of Transportation registration for a cattle truck shown in video by Salt Lake television station KSL was traced by respected animal welfare investigators Animals Angels to Willard, Utah based DK Ranches owned by alleged longtime killer buyer Dennis Kunz whose transaction records with American slaughterhouses date back to at least 2003.

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39 replies »

  1. I don’t really know what this means. Yes its going to the US Attorney but it sound more like they will do nothing about this like usual. Why can’t the horses catch a break?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had the same thoughts, Lynn.

      Horseback article didn’t read well (editing, typos, etc) and the comments from the BLM “insider” sounded like excuse making: DOJ-SLC, UTAH too busy, not adopted/adoption fails/not eligible equines, etc. It seems like this is just all over the map of confusion.


  2. The Evidence against the BLM on every count is positively astounding, and ever mounting !!! It is just a matter of reviewing it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,b y the proper authorities………………..There is positively no reason for them to delay a this any longer , obviously their guilt is OUT IN PLAIN SIGHT , any delays are departmental to the Mustangs lives…………… A decision should be made immediately , we are not talkin something that can wait, and be stalled………….If they chose to stall, then put the Mustangs back where they belong on the Range , then they can stall around however they wish…………………. Time is very precious here we are dealing with LIVES here !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, the US Gov has no right to sell our living wildlife heritage, they are native by fossil evidence, Wild and free roaming by case law findings, and Congressional designation.The older pregnant mares are carrying the genetic future of the herd, and they cannot be designated as excess for removal. Age is not necessarily the critieria
      factor for training. We had 4 older Coyote Canyon Stallions under saddle in 6 weeks.


  3. I fear that a response similar to one I received recently from an Ohio congressman will be what we end up with….nothing pending in congress…please direct your comments to the BLM with a whole lotta b.s. about how they will take care of the horses AND how he will keep my concerns in mind in the event of a new bill, blah blah blah….It all translates to if WE don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, so they don’t care.


  4. Because of the ‘Sale Authority’ law re wild horses/burros, it’s not currently illegal for three-strikes horses to be sold for slaughter, right? Do these horses not fit that category? BLM claims that no wild horse is sold for slaughter, but the legal standing is in place for them to sell ‘unadoptable’ horses to kill buyers if they want to, right? Please correct me if I’m wrong.


    • The BLM may NOT knowingly sell mustangs to slaughter. It is illegal to do so. If they sell to a known killbuyer, that is selling them to slaughter. But I am sure they have been doing it for years and turning a blind eye. I am sure there is a constant trail of older horses moving out of longterm holding just for this purpose.


  5. Remember Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, with the apparent support of Senators Byron Dorgan, of North Dakota and Harry Reid of Nevada secretly inserted into the Senate appropriations bill a rider that directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to dispose of excess wild horses and burros “without limitation” including at livestock sales and public auctions. After two groups of Sale Authority horses ended up at the Cavel International Slaughterhouse in DeKalb, IL, the BLM temporarily suspended sales. The BLM subsequently issued new sale guidelines and required buyers to certify that they were not purchasing horses for purposes of reselling for commercial products such as slaughter. Considering the specific language used in Senator Burns’ rider, some legal analysts have expressed their doubts as to whether BLM’s requirements are legally binding.

    Given this how much do you want to bet that the U.S. Attorney will not be able to prosecute given that the Burn’s Amendment was never repealed or amended.

    Here is the actual language of the rider.

    (a) In General. – Section 3 of Public Law 92-195 (16 U.S.C. 1333) is
    amended –

    (1) in subsection (d)(5), by striking “this section” and all that
    follows through the period at the end and inserting “this section.”;

    (2) by adding at the end the following:

    “(e) Sale of Excess Animals. –

    “(1) In General. – Any excess animal or the remains of any excess
    animal shall be sold if –

    “(A) the excess animal is more than ten years of age; or

    “(B) the excess animal has been offered unsuccessfully for adoption
    at least three times.

    “(2) Method of Sale. – An excess animal that meets either of the
    criteria in paragraph (1) shall be made available for sale without
    limitation, including through auction to the highest bidder, at local
    sale yards or other convenient livestock selling facilities, until such
    time as-

    “(A) all excess animals offered for sale are sold; or

    “(B) the appropriate management level, as determined by the
    Secretary, is attained in all areas occupied by wild free-roaming
    horses and burros.”


  6. The Lies and deception coming out of the BLM have to stop………….. All of their lies and deception have all been at the expense of the Wild Mustangs lives , quite frankly I am sick of it…………………….


  7. All of this is such BS. Where are the horses now and who is keeping them? I haven’t heard that yet. Are they on private property or what? It is up to us to keep the heat on and keep reinterating that this is NOT NEW. How do you expect a horse of any age to welcome the advances of human beings after what they have experienced. Our hoofed humane society adopted out some mustangs and burros several years ago and it was a real experience. Some of the adopters had the idea that the horses and burros would run to them because they were being adopted. I saw a different view of this. Many were so frightened and rightly so that they remained in the flight mode. This woke me up to the real story regarding the Wild Horses and Burros. The older ones remained somewhat wild and I could NOT blame them. They developed these skills during their entire life and that is how they were able to survive. I agree that there are skilled people who are able to work with the Wild Horses and Burros and obtain wonderful results. The average horse man or woman may not have skills necessary or the much needed time to understand the horse or burro. After this experience, I felt it was best to leave them in their family herds back on the range. Its sick to see how some low lifes see this as a means to make money. What we can never forget is that these people WORK FOR US, WE pay their salaries including those that represent us in Washington and at the state level. Elections are just around the corner and one vote could make difference in electing someone who will support the horses and burros or one that does not give a damn. It sounds like the Ohio Legislator fits that bill. If he/she doesn’t represent their constitutents, ELECT someone else. Make some posters and have a small rally outside his/her office with pictures showing the roundups where horses have been killed and injured. Your poster should indicate that Rep blank or Senator blank supports this kind of treatment of one of our last living icons in the West. I will guarantee you that you will have local coverage of your event, Call the news media a day before so that ypu
    can have coverage. Once this happens you may be surprised at the air time that you may given to support your position. We are in the process now of getting someone on the board who supports the horses and burros. If we all care, we will get out and make sure that those who don’t give a rat’s butt are gone. You have to play them at their own game as sad as it is. Many of those Legislators have spent to much time at the prom. Write, call and email and DO NOT GIVE UP because we do meed Legislators who are trying to make a change. Let the UGLY TRUTH get out and expose your Legislators for not taking some action. The more we do this the more we will be putting the pressure on them all. We should all try and keep this case in the fore front. I know that they are hoping it will all go away and nothing will be done..Sorry, you are dealing with the “Warriors for the Horse.” A true group to be rekoned with! Who knows when people are in the DC area for that conference, it would be a good time to walk the halls of Congress and remind them that WE ARE ALL VOTERS as well as SUPPORTERS FOR THE WILD HORSES AND BURROS!


  8. OK, so these poor horses were the “lucky” ones who got saved before going to slaughter, what’s wrong with this picture?? Well, these are the ones that didn’t slip through the cracks, how many others weren’t so lucky??!! The BLM has NO right to dispose of, kill, or sell ANY wild horse to kill buyers, regardless of age, condition or adoptibility!! What the heck is wrong with our government that they can’t over-rule, & STOP the BLM! What exactly are they afraid of?? While I am very grateful this truckload of wild horses was caught in time, I can’t help but think about all the fear, anxiety, & pain these creatures have had to endure!! Once wild & free, roaming happily together with their family bands, to be suddenly run to death & torn apart in sadistic, cruel, unfounded roundups, thrown into short or long term holding facilities( that really don’t matter much to a horse, captivity is captivity), castrated, beat, branded, shipped off to God knows where, maybe, adopted by a caring, loving family (but highly doubtful), forced to live in filthy, overcrowded pens with very little, if any, shade, shelter or clean water, then forced into big, cold, dirty trucks filled with the stench of death, awaiting for (& probably hoping it will all end soon) your own terrifying, painful & tragic death! Dear God, what is WRONG with this country, what is WRONG with people!!!!!!????


    • Not that I disagree with you, Valerie but the Burns Rider does appear to open a wide swath of options for DOI/USDA outside the original language of the !971 Act…as was it’s (Burns) original intention.

      Never understood why a law suit hasn’t been filed against the Burns rider(s)/amendment/supplement to the 1971 Act as it allows reduction, 3 strikes, sale authority and flat out permanent removal and sterilization of these wild equines out of their HAs/HMAs….plus reduction of those same areas acreage, fencing off water and seasonal grazing areas.

      What part of “where presently found” with 1971 population counts and Burns poop do I not understand as being incongruent with one another?


      • Conrad Burns first and only lobbying job he got immediately after he retired from the Senate was from AQHA. The American Quarter Horse Association, the mass breeders and discarders of equines who absolutely benefit from the slaughter pipeline remaining wide open. Any surprise he got this rider inserted secretly into a budget bill at the 11th hour? Why he focused on wild horses is a mystery, as Montana, his state, is not exactly overrun with wild horses. This is our United States Congress. For sale to the highest bidders. The longer they stay in office the sleazier they get, except for a handful who manage to hang onto their souls and integrity. Until we get corporate lobby money out of campaigns, it will continue.


      • It is up to us. If we have not done it that is why. We need to do this and add some other things to protect the remaining herds and the captives. Specifically; protection. Then we need access to all the info.

        We also need to start following BLM on hay contracts and be sure our short and long term horses will be fed well all winter. Hay is being exported and this summer destroyed many hay crops in drought. WILL THERE BE ENOUGH HAY? If you worry about this with your own horses then think about it on the level of all these captives needing a HUGE amount of hay and for many months! This could lead to some ugly situations for our wild captives. I do not
        want to risk their lives but help guarantee them food this winter.


  9. I missed something. I know at one point there were 47 and now it’s 64? Where did the other horses come from.

    The wheels of justice moves like molasses but just so long as folks are held accountable–that’s the important thing.


    • The additional equines were found at some transporter/kb holding area related to the investigated parties (Kunz, etc)…ergo the increase.


  10. Anyone find it odd how the authorities can speed up rounds, dismiss injunctions quickly, but drag their feet on prosecution of suspected abusers and relief for the wild equines or any equines (Presidio, TX, etc)?

    More than suspicious…on a regular, predictable basis?


    • They have been doing this unchallenged for so long , they are good at it, The greed there is astronomical……………….. They again I say are on a greed Mission…………………………… Thats why I keep saying there is only one way to stop them…………………..Everyone must commit or that wont work either, The BLM is at the point of no return , at least not quick enough……….for it to help the Mustangs , they all will procrastinate until the Mustangs are no more,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Time has always been of the utmost importance for the Mustangs, , now more then ever………………….


  11. We have known in our hearts that BLM was selling wild horses into situations were they were being sent to slaughter. Now we are sure.
    It is time Americans, to demand this never happens to another of Americas wild horses again!
    Let’s do what ever it takes NOW to get this message to the Department of the Interior officials, BLM officials and our representatives in congress!!


    • Last info I had was they were in holding Henneman (?), Utah….RT knows for sure. Don’t know if they are still there. I believe the BLM was taking “care” of them during the investigation. Anybody know more?


  12. The DESERT INDEPENDENT needs some comments from us:–0817.html

    • The Yakama, Warm Springs, Shoshone-Bannock, Paiute, Crow, Apache, Navajo, and Pueblo tribes are among those expected at next week’s summit to talk about horse troubles, as herds keep multiplying on tribal lands, destroying a fragile balance of land and wildlife.
    The horse has proved tricky to reckon with: Neither wildlife nor livestock intentionally grown for slaughter, growing horse populations have defied a solution since the U.S. slaughter industry for horses was shut down in 2007 by animal-rights activists, many of whom objected to the way the animals were treated and killed.
    Populations have been building ever since, as the bottom fell out of the market that helped tribes and other horse managers keep numbers in check. Today, horses are trucked to Canada and Mexico for slaughter, and many more are overpopulating public and tribal lands, to the detriment, land managers say, of wildlife, native plants and the health of the range.The Yakama reservation offers a good look at the problem. There, wild horses pour over the backcountry of the reservation, fast, liquid — and in growing numbers. Their beauty is part of the problem, stoking a mystique around wild horses that has made them a hard problem to talk about.Like feral cats, the horses multiply at a prodigious rate: With no natural predators, and these days, no market for purchase, the herds are estimated at about 12,000 animals and growing.That’s up from about 500 animals in the 1950s; 2,500 in the 1990s, and more than 4,500 in 2006. Carrying capacity of the tribe’s rangeland was about 1,000 horses in 2007, and it’s significantly less than that today, because of continued degradation from overgrazing, said Jim Stephenson, big-game biologist and wild-horse project leader for the Yakama Nation.By now, deer are mostly gone from several of the game units he helps manage for the tribe, Stephenson said, because of competition from horses. The tribe is also worried about how grazing pressure from horses is affecting its efforts to re-establish populations of sage grouse, and reintroduce pronghorn antelope to the reservation this winter.On Toppenish Ridge, horses move like smoke over the open landscape. The tallest thing around is the piles of manure, all that’s left on rangeland cropped bare by herds of horses. Their hoofs have corrugated hills with hoof-beaten trails, and the ground is eaten to blowing dust.


  13. I should have stated that the above was a comment from one of the readers, not the position of the DESERT INDEPENDENT


    • Well thank you Louie…I was just getting ready to reply to you that I have posted and hope more mosey on over. It’s easy to post.

      BTW, the second link you referenced for the article didn’t work for me…I clicked and succeeded using the first link you posted.

      p.s. If a concerned advocate does this long enough, the advocate can shoot down each and every one of the lies, myths and spin the horse eaters/haters throw up.


  14. I’m doing my best, Denise. There are a percentage of readers who do see any and all information posted. When you get a chance, pull up the link that I posted there….I also posted it here. There is some GOOD information in that article and they really crunched the figures. Lisa LeBlanc and Craig Downer are credited in it, as well. It won’t copy so the only way to read it is to click on to the link.


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