Horse News

BLM Will Not Move Captive Oklahoma Wild Horses Despite New Dust Bowl Threat

Story by Steven Long ~ publisher/editor of Horseback Magazine

“Wild horses are *not* being taken in the dead of night from long-term pastures to slaughter…?!?”

Private, Closed to the Public, BLM Long Term Holding in Oklahoma ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Little has changed in the federal Bureau of Land Management’s handling of wild horses under its Wild Horse and Burro Program, this in spite of the worst drought affecting Midwestern states since the dust bowl of the 1930s. What’s more, nothing will change, despite a threat from nature that could put thousands of animals in jeopardy.

Asked by Horseback if the BLM was making any special arrangements to move wild horses held captive in giant pastures in Oklahoma and Kansas, national BLM spokesman Tom Gorey responded:

“Despite the current drought conditions in the Midwest, wild horses on long-term pastures continue to thrive,” he said. “If current weather conditions do not change, pasture contractors may have to begin supplemental feeding earlier than normal.  Therefore, these wild horses will have the advantage of having someone that can address their immediate needs.”

The BLM holds tens of thousands of horses in giant pastures in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Horseback also asked Gorey if the press and public would be given unlimited access to the secretive boarding procedures at the privately contracted pastures. Recently the magazine has had increasing anecdotal reports of horses being removed from those pastures in cattle trucks to be sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico.

Such reports may be pure fantasy since no animal advocates have actually trailed or photographed trucks carrying horses from BLM’s private secretive pastures to slaughterhouses abroad. Moreover, there have been few substantiated reports of horses in slaughterhouses with the distinctive BLM neck brands.

“Wild horses and burros removed from the range are branded immediately,” Gorey said. “Wild horses are *not* being taken in the dead of night from long-term pastures to slaughter, as I’ve stated before.  This is a myth.  Wild horses are branded by the BLM after they are gathered from the range.”

Yet the rumors persist and come from credible sources near BLM holding facilities.

“With regard to public and media access, you no doubt are aware that we have started annual pasture tours that are open to the press and public,” Gorey said.

The tightly controlled pasture tours the spokesman mentioned are of limited duration and are held only intermittently.

“ 24/7 access is not possible because the pastures are privately owned,” Gorey said.  “As I mentioned, there are currently no emergency situations at our contracted pastures.”

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22 replies »

  1. Where are these “long term holding facilities?” Who is the main “person in charge,” to call?? There are doubts, about which anything the BLM says!!! Wicked people. The horses should have been left on their home ranges, PERIOD!!


    • It’s tragic that there is no person to call because the justice department doesn’t do their job either. The corruption and crimes just go on and on and on for decades and they don’t stop until the very last one is gone which will be very very soon.


  2. Mr Gorey is a liar…..the government sets the terms on these “contracts”. They could easily stipulate unannounced visits in those contracts, plus they can do just about anything they want as the Feds.

    In addition, there is a theory that the contractors aren’t branding all collected wild equines.

    Mr. Long, please collect the number of wild equines branded in feedlots. Let me guess…no one is checking, especially in Mexico; nor can anyone identify origin (previous adoption, LTH, etc).


  3. The entire BLM is a shame.

    Why doesn’t the BLM just come out and tell the truth?

    I mean, why dont they publicly state: “We dont care about wild horses and burros. We will continue to eradicate them in favor of the ranchers and extractive industries. Our goal is extinction, by any means, and as quickly as possible” Instead they continue to try and give the impression that they give a crap, by soliciting public input, which is inevitably dismissed and ignored.




  5. None of the wild horses in long or short term captivity have ANY access to escape from the elements. No run in shelters from the heat, sun, dust storms, wind, sleet, rain anything. NONE OF THEM CAN EVER GET a break, even for a few minutes, from the elements. Topped 113 degrees in Oklahoma. Streetlamps melted in this heat, yet no access to any shade for the horses. This is not how they live in the wild. It is abuse. Funny how they can pay illiterate contractors millions to round them up, yet can’t even earmark of few thousand of our taxpayer dollars to install inexpensive run-in shelters at all facilities.


  6. No one knows how many are actually in LTH, how many go in, how many come out. Births and deaths are not recorded. These are black holes therefore no accountability to prove they are not going to slaughter exists. Wild horses/burros are PUBLIC property, they were stolen from PUBLIC lands and keeping them on private property is just another way to hide what they are really doing to them and with them.
    All of this abuse and contractor subsidies are funded by the taxpayers. Anybody pissed off enough yet? Congress says there’s no money for schools but there’s money to roundup wild horses/burros who can take care of themselves, give them birth control drugs, pay lucrative contracts to black hole holding facilities, AND subsidize the welfare ranchers and extractionists destroying our PUBLIC lands. It’s defies common sense.


    • Exactly right – The USDA should not have jurisdiction over wild/domestic horses either. The USDA has been talking to China about trading in American horse meat according to Allen Warren.


      • wow, why so hateful? As far as I know, they are the only ranchers willing to publish photos of the mustangs they feed. I think it should be a requirement for all of the ranchers being paid to feed the mustangs.


    Where Have All The Geldings Gone?
    According to Ms. Patton’s letter, over 2,000 geldings have been sent through one particular slaughter port from New Mexico to Mexico this year alone. According to the report, this year’s number of geldings is twice as high as it was for the same time last year.

    The geldings are the exclusive class of animal being shipped through this port under a “non-slaughter” listing, begging the questions-

    -Why only geldings?
    -Where are all the geldings coming from?
    -What is Mexico doing with only geldings and no other class of horse?

    They can’t possibly be for breeding purposes and once they cross the border, there is no legal limitations that prevent them being greeted by a slaughterhouse fate. Geldings are also worth more by “the pound”.

    So what is going on?

    Anyone remotely familiar with how BLM conducts wild horse removals knows that almost all wild stallions are gelded when they are removed from the range. Considering BLM has removed over 70,000 wild horses and burros between October, 2001 and March, 2007, logic would suggest the geldings being supplied to Mexico may be coming straight from our own wild American Herds.

    At the very least, it should be investigated as to the where this many geldings are coming from and why Mexico needs over 2,000 “non-slaughter” geldings.

    Another consideration is, according to BLM, as of July 30, 2007, over 2,500 wild horses and burros have been sold under the “Sale Authority” clause granted to BLM by Senator Burns, supposedly as a “stealth rider” that Congress has yet to repeal. This is an amazingly similar number to the geldings shipped for “non-slaughter” purposes through the New Mexico port to Mexico.


  8. This is a 45 page document, including UDSA export charts.

    Click to access Investigation-Gelding%20Exports_Final_VJP_11-13-2007.pdf

    Investigative Report
    Case Study
    Suspected Illegal Exports of
    Geldings by Non-Slaughter Shipment
    From New Mexico to Mexico
    By Valerie James-Patton
    November 2007

    After several months of tracking the numbers of horses on the USDA Market News –
    New Mexico Livestock Export to Mexico Reports, and comparing the numbers to the
    USDA Texas Livestock Export to Mexico Reports, an unusually high number of geldings
    being exported to Mexico from New Mexico under the non-slaughter status were noted.
    Questions regarding these disproportionately high non-slaughter gelding exports are
    compounded by the fact that no breeding females or breeding males are being exported from
    New Mexico while the Non-Slaughter gelding exports continue to climb to record levels.
    Page 1

    Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Long Term Hold Facilities
    As of Sept 9, 2007, BLM has contracted 10 long-term holding facilities in the United States, two
    of which were recently added after July 2007. Six of the facilities are in Oklahoma, three in
    Kansas, and one in South Dakota, with each facility being either a ‘mares only’ facility or a
    ‘geldings only’ facility.
    Geldings Only
    Six out of BLM’s ten long-term holding facilities are exclusively ‘gelding only’ facilities and
    according to the September 9th, 2007 BLM Facility Inventory Chart, there are 11,756 geldings in
    these long-term holding facilities. (Attached)
    Whitehorse, South Dakota, the newest long term gelding facility, is starting out with 580
    geldings and the Kansas, Tetervillw East gelding facility currently holds 2,083.
    The other 4 gelding facilities are all located in Osage County, all of them holding over 2,000
    geldings at each facility, with the current total for Oklahoma at 9,093 geldings. The facility in
    Foraker, currently holds 2,495 geldings, and the Hulah facility holds 2,199 geldings.
    The other two Oklahoma BLM long-term ‘gelding only’ facilities are contracted to John Hughes,
    an Oklahoma cattle rancher, who keeps about 4,400 geldings between his two 2 ranches, both in
    Osage County, one located in Bartlesville, and the other located in Catoosa.
    BLM does not report the flow of horses that are sent to long-term facilities and there is virtually
    no way to track this flow. In other words, they don’t show the flow of horses being sent to each
    facility or of those deceased. One hundred horses could easily disappear and be replaced
    within a week and the reports would not show these figures. BLM facility reports only provide
    a “snapshot” of containment numbers, not the flow of horses moving in and out of the holding
    Additionally, all the paperwork for the Oklahoma and Kansas BLM long and short term
    holding facilities, as well as the processing of all the adoption paperwork of wild horses for both
    Oklahoma and Kansas, is handled by the BLMs Administrative Program Office in New Mexico.
    (As shown on the BLM facility reports by state initials next to each facility – Attached)
    Geldings shipped from New Mexico to Mexico are obviously not being exported for breeding
    purposes. What other purposes could be served for exporting thousands of non-slaughter
    geldings into Mexico if their final destination is not slaughter? There is little doubt that most, or
    even all of these geldings are actually going over the border for slaughter as their final
    destination due to the sheer numbers being exported.


    • Louie, this is so disheartening. No way to trace the animals. Someone should be able to do a little bookkeeping.
      The saddest thing is the thought of all the genetics lost to our wonderful Mustang herds. Some of those bloodlines will never be seen again.


  9. They were being shipped out before because packages of horse meat was seen in Markets in Europe listed as grass fed wild horse meat from the US. There is nothing to stop them from doing it again. The only way this will ever stop is when the last mustang is loaded up on the range and is driven off never to be seen again. This is the reason for the secrecy and you begin to wonder just who is getting the benefit of collecting the taxpayer dollars that should be going to take care of the mustangs in these holding’s?


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