By Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. Of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved.
In this case, there was NO justice. Wild Horse Freedom Federation did an investigation and found that a BLM long term holding contractor, Spur Livestock, sold wild horses to well known kill buyer Joe Simon. R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, publicly presented an official government document with proof of this to the National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board at their meeting. Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, was present.
However, the Department of Justice (DoJ) only issued a letter of declination. A declination decision is generally viewed to mean that the DoJ , in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion, declines to prosecute or bring an enforcement action.
So, the issue of a current BLM contractor selling wild horses to a kill buyer, most likely for slaughter, was just swept under the rug.
Also, the 36 horses with the U freezemark were BLM sale authority horses. So, Spur Livestock sold 70 wild horses to well known kill buyer Joe Simon.
On the BLM FROM THE PUBLIC page for the National Wild Horse & Burro Program, it states this:
“Question: What is the BLM’s response to allegations regarding wild horse sales to a South Dakota long-term pasture contractor, known as Spur Livestock, in 2008? (Updated September 2014)
Answer: The BLM cares deeply about the well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range, and takes seriously all accusations of the slaughter of wild horses or burros. These accusations were thoroughly investigated and the case was presented ot the U. S. Department of Justice who issued a letter of declination. The case has been closed.”
But, this contradicts the BLM’s answer to the question about the 1700 wild horses sold to Tom Davis (see below), in which the BLM states “Anybody that is found to have violated the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act should be held accountable.”
In furthering proof of BLM’s lack of transparency, the BLM didn’t post the actual declination letter so that the public could read the details. The BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program should provide the public with information on all cases that it has brought to the attention of the DoJ, noting the reasons not to investigate or pursue prosecution, along with the rationale for those decisions.
As many of you know, the Department of Justice represents and defends the Bureau of Land Management in courts when wild horse advocacy groups and advocates file lawsuits against the BLM for it’s actions.
And, we’re all still sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the answer to this question:
“Question: What is the BLM’s reaction to allegations regarding horse sales to Tom Davis of Colorado, as reported by Pro Publica?
Answer: The BLM condemns any sale of wild horses for slaughter. We care deeply about the well-being of wild horses, both on and off the range, and it has been (and remains) the policy of the BLM not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter. We take seriously all accusations of the slaughter of wild horses or burros. The Office of the Inspector General at the Department of the Interior has initiated an investigation into the situation and will work in conjunction with the State of Colorado throughout its investigation. We look forward to the results of that inquiry. Anybody that is found to have violated the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act should be held accountable.”
Anyone who violates the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act should absolutely be held accountable. But they aren’t, and the BLM continues to spin public opinion with propaganda.