Horse News

Update: Citizen Investigation Exposes Evidence of BLM Wild Horses Sold to Probable Slaughter

Press Release from Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Protect Mustangs

Wild Horse & Burro Advocates Demand Congressional Investigation


WASHINGTON (January 24, 2013)–Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) released evidence against a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse long-term holding contractor, who sold wild horses to a “kill buyer” and appears to be trafficking wild horses to slaughter. Debbie Coffey, volunteer director of Wild Horse Affairs at WHFF, uncovered evidence of the contractor selling at least 34 federally protected wild horses to an infamous kill buyer (someone who knowingly buys horses to be sold for slaughter).

“This evidence shows that the BLM is not protecting our wild horses and is allowing alleged kill buyers to purchase them,” explains R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “The public wants Congress to enforce the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act that they unanimously signed into law in 1971.  A Congressional Investigation needs to be initiated and it needs to happen now.”

“It’s time for a deep investigation–done by an entity outside the BLM–to bust these crimes against the American mustang and champion the public who were deceived by officials in charge of protecting our icons of freedom,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “The public is outraged. Protests are being planned as a result of the evidence.”

Coffey, with the assistance of Animal’s Angels, researched and released Wednesday an in-depth article on the activities of a BLM contractor selling 34 BLM wild horses to a kill buyer, while under contract with the BLM and being paid with U.S. taxpayer dollars, to care for iconic wild mustangs on its pastures.  Evidence was obtained through South Dakota Brand Board Inspection records and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Information from government and public records show that Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson own Spur Livestock. They have a contract with the BLM for a wild horse long-term holding pasture on private land within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, as well as on Indian Trust Lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  This U.S. taxpayer funded facility is the Whitehorse Wild Horse Long Term Holding Facility.

WHFF received records from the South Dakota Brand Board that reveal on 11/8/2008, while under contract with the BLM, “owner” Spur Livestock sold 34 horses with “BLM tattoos” to JS Farms–owned by alleged kill buyer Joe Simon.

In a telephone conversation with Jim Reeves, Coffey reports that when asked about 72 horses he bought as alleged pack animals, Reeves said “I’m told not to talk about this kind of stuff.”  He added “I can’t talk about this” and “That’s BLM business.”

When asked about all the wild horses who disappear from their short-term holding facilities after the roundups, BLM officials inform the public and the media that they will be well taken care of on “grassland pastures”.

“The BLM leads the public to believe that captured wild horses are living out their lives grazing peacefully on long-term holding pastures, and claims they do not sell wild horses to slaughter, but at least one contracted middleman did sell BLM wild horses to a kill buyer, and the horses very likely met a horrific fate at a slaughterhouse.” explains Coffey. “We want a freeze on roundups, immediate access to document all long-term holding facilities as needed and a Congressional investigation into all aspects of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.”


Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with Federal 501c3 status and registered as a legal non-profit in all 50 states of the Union.  WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state lands. WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.

Protect Mustangs is a California-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.


R.T. Fitch, Volunteer President WHFF, 800-974-3684,
Debbie Coffey, Director Wild Horse Affairs WHFF, 800-974-3684,
Anne Novak, Executive Director Protect Mustangs, 415-531-8454,

Photos and interviews granted upon request

Links of interest:

Click (HERE) to download full release

38 replies »

  1. As easily as the BLM and their cronies got away with it in the nineties why would they stop now? This is what is driving the roundups everybody makes big bucks. I always suspected it but had no proof, now there is.


  2. more scandals…love it! now we have to disseminate this info on other sites like yahoo, new york times, etc…get the word out to the people and they will create an uprising we haven’t seen since vietnam! equine lovers unite! woo hoo! this just helps our cause. the blm is vulnerable now, with salazar’s “resignation” i.e., running for the hills like rats off the sinking ship. let’s sink this battleship!


  3. Heartbreaking, is the entire picture. I hope the U.S. does the wild horse right and very soon. That’s all we’re asking. Why does it appear so impossible that the voice of the wild horse be validated?


    • This has been going on for far too long and you’re right, it is very, very heartbreaking! Our wild horses need and deserve to be free and those responsible for the horrible acts against them must be held accountable.


  4. A couple of statements from BLM officials that are in charge of our wild horses after capture:

    January 11, 2011
    Lili Thomas – Wild Horse & Burro Prog Specialist – BLM:
    “All of our long term pasture facilities are designed for the horses to
    have a free roaming environment environment … unless we have a demand for large numbers of horses to be removed…”

    “BLM official Lili Thomas made “a tacit admission of back-dating documents.”

    March 2011
    Sally Spencer – BLM Marketing (WH&B Sales Manager)
    “The BLM does not offer … horses located at long term holding pasture facilities for adoption or sale, and does not offer larger quantities of adoption or sale animals from long term holding pasture facilities when adequate quantities of animals are available
    at short-term holding corral facilities to meet public demand. In the past when there were inadequate numbers of sale animals available at short term corral facilities, loads of 20 or more sale animals were indiscriminately removed from long-term holding pasture facilities.”


    • Yes, that is why the long term contracts state that the contractor must be able to off load and Load horses at short notice from the proper pens and chutes. It has been going on since BLM thought up this system to remove and stockpile and shuffle horses away from their designated ranges.

      Time to stop this, BLM/DOI.


  5. Do you know tipped me off about my suspicions about what has been going on is the fact that the BLM refused to allow anyone from the public to know where the ranches were located claiming it was private property and the owners couldn’t be disturbed. To me that was pure BS.


    • You know it was all a big cover up. Many thanks to those who uncovered the lies and deceit. Only wish it could have happened sooner fit the horses sake. God bless ya anyway


  6. As I said previously…it is time we had an independent group actually go to the various holding facilities and physically count and mark one by one each and every horse and burro. We need a complete audit of our inventory so We the People know what’s going on with the animals.

    Then we need the Burns Amendment repealed. No more selling off by the government. If they catch too many then they have to let them go back to where they got them. Hopefully they will come to their senses and leave our wild ones alone completely.

    I am also pushing for visual surveillance equipment to live stream video from roundups, holding facilities or any other place that is dealing with our horses. The technology is really cheap and we as owners should be allowed to see what’s happening at any given time. Maybe had this equipment been in place 19 horses wouldn’t all be dead in Canon City. Fran Ackley admitted they only check on the horses in the morning when they feed them then again in the evening. If someone had seen the first one go down in the middle of the night maybe the other 2 wouldn’t have been dead alongside the next morning. I can only imagine the horrible death of being poisoned. It is unacceptable and irresponsible.


    • My sentiments exactly. This agency has been one of the most fiscally irresponsible, corrupt organizations that one could have dreamed of. i think we might well-serve the needs of these horses by insisting that they be returned to the land following the complete dismantleing of the BLM, FWS, and USDA/FS. Can you imagine the amount of money tax payers will save if we do not have to fund this renegade organization. There does not to be an structure with built in oversight and accountability to assure the herds are healthy and living within a healthy ecosystem. But the BLM has had 40 years to get with the program, and they have consistently failed. Also, if we get rid of these federal land agencies that use fairy tales and myths instead of real science, the country might avoid so many lawsuits due to the malpractice of these land agencies.


      • We need to get the wild ones out of the hands of these lying, betraying agencies NOW. They need to be safe while the house of cards falls. Their budget and their equipment needs to remain with the wild ones and their lands and current long and short term contracts transfered to a new WH&B Department. This has all proven time and again to be the beginning of the end of all wild horses and burros on public lands and this is all a violation of a law that is is not enforced or respected anymore than the wild ones or the public is. But it is a law and it exists and it needs support and enforcement from all of us.

        Moratorium NOW!


  7. A huge kudos , to all for this one , now lets use it and get these rotten people bejind bars where they belong !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. How can one do business with the federal government getting paid by taxpayers to provide care for taxpayers property (our mustangs) have any protection from full disclosure to the taxpaying public? Under contract you assume responsibility of due care, this particular contractor frauded the taxpayers and the federal government by selling property they don’t own.

    Taxpayers should have the right to seek damages for this loss, considering we’re paying them for horses that no longer exist & the contractor should be sued for breech of contract.


  9. Amen. Maybe we could file a class action law suit against the DOI. The DOI has far too much control over how our natural resources are used and who can use them. When one stops to think of the sheer vastness of the American West and that one man can single handedly turn the old West into the industrial wasteland of the next decade to benefit companies that are not even owned by American citizens while American citizens are not permitted to have access to similar resources for those special situations that Congress has provided for, then there is something rather unholy about the whole set up.


    This is about more than just wild horses – it’s also about a lack of government oversight! Why has no Investigator General been appointed in what…5 years or more? The BLM and DOI have been getting away with breaking the law all this time and part of the reason is there is no other government agency checking up on their procedures – BLM can’t even fill out documents correctly much less follow the law. Don’t bother sending this to the BLM – they’ll just ask their PR department to come up with more euphemisms to explain it away. Our Elected officials need to see this!
    A facebook twitter campaign to send this blog post to all of our elected officials has just been launched. If you have a twitter account – please join this event and start tweeting.


  11. Here is another one – I can’t remember what happened to these two guys AND their associates at BLM who facilitated the fraudulent sale (anybody know the outcome?):

    Utah Indictments Come Down in BLM Mustang Killer Buyer Case
    September 15, 2011
    By Steven Long
    HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Two men from rural Utah were indicted by a federal grand jury following a rare investigation of a wild horse scam by the Bureau of Land Management
    The men, Robert Wilford Capson,, 59, and Dennis Kay Kunz, 56, face charges of wire fraud and making false statements after bureau agents impounded 64 slaughter bound horses on a one way trip to a Mexican abattoir.
    BLM Washington spokesman Tom Gorey declined comment on the case saying “It’s an ongoing case so all statements have to come from the Department of Justice.”
    The animals were impounded after a routine port of entry stop near Helper, Utah. Capson’s unlikely story that he planned to use the Mustangs as rodeo stock raised agents suspicions.
    The horses were purchased “on paper” from the bureau’s wild horse and burro facility at Herriman, Utah and were delivered to Willard whre Kunz’ residence is located. Kunz is a long time “killer buyer” for the slaughter industry. The horses were being loaded on a trailer bound for the notorious slaughter pens of Presidio, Texas which are now under investigation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and other agencies.
    The horses were purchased from BLM at a reduced rate.
    The indictment says the men used the Internet and phone lines to fax the transactions to the BLM.
    BLM requires buyers to sign a document that horses will not be re-sold as is typical in a slaughter transaction where the killer buyer sells the horses to a slaughterhouse
    The men are alleged to have falsified a federal questionnaire.
    Capson and Kunz face four counts of wire fraud, making false statements, and aiding and abetting. They could face up to 20 years in a federal penitentiary.


  12. So … we have known (Martha Mendoza research and more) and we know now and we have proof that would hold up in court that BLM and “associates” have been apart to fraudulent/illegal activities regarding our publicly owned wild horses and burros … what do we do next?
    August 2011
    “For the BLM to suddenly be concerned about America’s horses going to slaughter is laughable,” [Jerry Finch] told Horseback Magazine late Saturday. ”Since former Senator Burns gave them the out to dump horse by the truckloads, they have been disappearing by the hundreds, if not by the thousands.”


  13. The fact, that now it is in the open, ‘ the BLM is and HAS been selling our wild HORSES to the kill buyers’ why can’t we get this information to the PUBLIC , before all the horses will be send to their horrible ,[ no words for it,]. ‘HELL’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.! Where is ‘ 60 minutes’,they could inform with their program thousands of people, why can’t we get this information again to the White House, into congress, this is an issue concerning THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. All this time has been passing, while the Round Ups are resuming, and the horses been send to the slaughter houses. THIS HAS TO STOP every minute counts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. PLEASE, contact the radio stations, tv. stations, anything to be heard..of.


  14. Because , for some reason, the Conspiracy is being Played OUT! WHY? It is time, with overwhelming evidence surrounding BLM and cohorts, to extract our wild ones from this program and begin a recovery and preservation effort under their own management.


  15. Gazette
    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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    Font Size [smallest] [smaller] [larger]
    AP File
    Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar said his department is investigating allegations of wild horses going to slaughter.
    Congressmen call for answers on federal wild horse program
    January 30, 2013 5:25 PM
    ShareThis| Print Story | E-Mail Story
    By Dave Philipps

    A bipartisan pair in Congress is demanding to know what the Department of Interior has uncovered in an investigation of more than 1,700 federally protected wild horses that may have been illegally sent to slaughter.

    In September an investigation by ProPublica, published in The Gazette, uncovered how the department sold truckloads of mustangs to a Colorado horse slaughter proponent named Tom Davis who quickly shipped them out of state. The fate of the horses is unknown.

    Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky, wrote a letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar this week saying, “As you are aware, the ProPublica revelations have provoked a substantial public outcry. Leading organizations and the public have stepped forward to express their concern with the idea that America’s wild horses could be sold by their government to be slaughtered.”

    The pair began circulating the letter in Congress, collecting signatures from other lawmakers this week, according to Adam Sarvana, a spokesman for Grijalva, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations.

    The department has not explained what role it had in selling so many horses to what the letter called “a longtime kill buyer,” the lawmakers said.

    In the wake of the ProPublica report, the Bureau of Land Management announced an investigation of Davis. The Department of Interior’s Inspector General took over the investigation in October, as it became clear that the wrong-doing could also include the BLM, Salazar told The Gazette. An unnamed federal law enforcement agency is also investigating, according to an agent who contacted The Gazette. The Inspector General has not released its findings.

    “We are troubled by your Department’s lack of response to the legitimate concerns,” the lawmakers said in their letter. Sarvana said the lawmakers want answers before Salazar leaves his Cabinet position at the end of March. He is expected to return home to Colorado. “We respectfully ask you to give a written response within the next ten days,” Grijalva and Whitfield conclude.

    Sarvana said that a growing number of lawmakers has signed the letter. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-El Paso County, did not sign the letter, according to his spokeswoman.

    Read more:


  16. SO here it is March 26 2013 still waiting for an explanation into the investigation and have not heard anything about Salazar explaining what was going on!!! Will it be next year before we find out the out come ?????


    • Well … in my opinion … the agency will continue to ignore these facts and this (obvious to me) deceit and fraud that the BLM was aware of (if not directly orchestrated) until we make a BIG stink about it over and over by asking direct questions of as many BLM “persons in charge” as we can find in addition to media and our representative etc. Why would the agency (or any attorney general office etc,) offer to investigate if they don’t have to? They won’t.

      On the other hand, BLM has stated that they will investigate any FACTS pertaining to wild horse and burro abuse. If selling our wild ones to a kill buyer is NOT abuse then what is? We got the facts, as shown in this article and apparently it was brought to the attention of the recent WH&B advisory members but have we seen any action? I have not.

      As my grandaughter likes to quote me: “If there is cat shit and you ignore it or sweep it under the rug … it is STILL cat shit”. It has not gone away and we need to press this issue and these facts.


      • just take a look at Palomino Valley Nv. What happened to the horses that were at the sanctuary. BLM should be ashamed of themselves.


  17. Tell me what happened to all the horses that were to be cared for in Palomino Valley NV this year? They were supposed to be cared for yet they had no shelter from the hot sun. No fresh water to drink.
    Our country spends billions to support other countries. Why cant they look in their own back yard?


  18. There have been several sold at the kansas and Texas horse auctions and some are coming in from the east coast auctions all wearing the wild horse brands…




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