Horse Slaughter

Federal report: Colorado wild horse buyer sold mustangs for slaughter

By John Ingold of The Denver Post

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did little to follow up in making sure wild horses went to good homes

Tom Davis...Dealing death to American federally protected wild horses

Tom Davis…Dealing death to American federally protected wild horses

The nation’s largest buyer of wild horses repeatedly lied to federal officials and sent roughly 1,700 mustangs to the slaughterhouse, according to a scathing report issued Friday finding significant oversight lapses within a Bureau of Land Management program that is supposed to provide the horses with good homes.

Between 2008 and 2012, La Jara rancher and livestock hauler Tom Davis bought 1,794 horses from the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, which manages tens of thousands of mustangs that roam across the West and are, to many, potent symbols of the land’s unbridled majesty. The next largest buyer purchased only 325.

When investigators from the U.S. Department of the Interior‘s Office of Inspector General confronted Davis about the purchases and asked him how many of those horses had been re-sold for slaughter, he told them, “Probably close to all of them.”

According to the report, Davis sold many of the horses to buyers near the Mexican border. Investigators found records indicating those same buyers transported large numbers of horses across the border to slaughterhouses in Mexico — though, because local inspectors who certified the transports often didn’t actually inspect the horses, the inspector general investigation could not verify that they were the same horses.

Davis told investigators that he assumed the wild horses would be slaughtered, saying there was only “one place to go … to the kill plant.”

“I’d rather see me send them down there than I would see the Government send them down there,” Davis told investigators, according to the report.

Investigators first began looking into Davis’s dealings after news reports, including some published in The Denver Post, raised questions about where he sent the horses he bought.

Since 1978, when the BLM first implemented a sales program as a way to control herd sizes, it has been against federal law and policy to send wild horses sold through the program to slaughter.

In purchasing the horses, Davis had to tell federal officials that he would not re-sell them for slaughter. According to the report, Davis told BLM marketing specialists that he was selling the horses to good homes, either to people wanting “pasture pets” or people hoping to graze the animals on their lands for tax breaks. He repeatedly refused to name his buyers, and BLM officials apparently did little to follow up on where the horses went…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to comment directly at The Denver Post

52 replies »

  1. it just makes me so sick, wish Ellen De generes and Donald Trump, Robert Redford anyone that will be able to get something done step up, PLEASE


  2. Scum, scum scuuuuuuuuum!!! So the truth finally comes out. What will be done about this crime, I wonder, if anything now? What a heartless man. I’ve always wondered what his connection was with Ken Salazar too.

    From the article:

    “….horses to good homes, either to people wanting “pasture pets” or people hoping to graze the animals on their lands for tax breaks.”

    Lovely. Here’s the reality of ‘good homes’, people. Coldblooded.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is an archived article…read the comments (these are just a few)

    Breaking News: Wild Horses Sold to Kill Buyer by BLM Contractor
    by Debbie Coffey PPJ Investigative Reporter ~ Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved
    Director of Wild Horse Affairs Wild Horse Freedom Federation
    “I’m told not to talk about this kind of stuff.”

    And perhaps Francis Ackley (Colorado WH&B program leader) didn’t call you back because his assistant Lona A Kossnar is the person who signed the sales agreements for the sales to Tom Davis from Cannon City from 2008 to 2012 and most likely either he or she signed the sales agreements for Reeves’ purchases too.
    To take it a step further, Reeves and Anderson were APPROVED by BLM as guardians for our Wild Ones.
    Shall we start our list of “Who’s Who” in this big mess? So far, it appears that the BLM Washington D.C. office and the Colorado state office and some of the BLM short term offices/managers and some of the long term holding facility operators knew for years what was going on and had an active part in the conspiracy.

    Sandra Rogers Longley
    It was Sally who signs off on large sales..they have to be approved by the DC office…I was approved by Lona on the purchase of Grey Beard, but when I decided to take a semiload it was kicked up to her…and I had to fight to gt that approval for 4 months..Davis was already approved within days of the arrival of the adobe town mustngs at the take ALL the 235 SA wild horses from the roundup…they allowed me to take a semi-load despite the fact Davis had spoken for them

    The wild horses and wild burros are not giving up and neither can we.
    Along with sending this article to government representatives and media and NAS and GAO [] below are some links to the BLM persons in charge of decision making. Although I realize that it is like asking the fox why he stole the hen from the hen house … I will be sending these BLM employees the article and asking the BLM to explain to me why they have allowed (encouraged and/or assisted) these illegal activities.
    (I am not naive … just stubborn)
    And if I can be so bold as to suggest:
    Ed Roberson
    Sally Spencer
    Lili Thomas
    Bea Wade
    Dean Bolstad
    Mike Pool

    1Sandra Rogers Longley
    2 years ago, I went thru every quarterly report for all holding facilities in the US..BLM claims a death rate of 3% per year..using the oct and jan reports of additions and subtractions..I noted mare facilities death fractions, and gelding facilities death fractions(as they do not list sales in the subtractions from facilities…mare facilities reflected what would be a “normal” death rate..whereas geldings facilities were missing semi loads of animals in a 3 month period…I would like to point out -the preferance of kill buyers are large geldings, recent stallions which tend to be bigger and larger boned which enhances their profits..I would also like to point out, the horses that are held at Canon City come from the HMAs-which are home to some of the larger bodied, heavier boned and taller than average mustangs as a whole…such as the Adobe Towns..There is an accounting of horses held at LTH, and STH…but there is no documentation of open accounting as to the sales of horses from the facilities, which explains why this buyer who had LTH facilities would rather buy from holding..he gets paid by the documentation of how many horses are at his facility and there is a record..if you go outside of LTH it requires a FOIA to get the information because the BLM will claim “protection of privacy”
    Prior to these most recent cases of kill buyers at Canon City…there existed other cases of the same thing at this facility..Canon City should be closed down and all connected employees fired immediately..they had a responsability to be whistle blowers
    A reminder that BLM policy states there wil be no individual sales from LTH only semi loads and not by “choice”


  4. Despicable to read the NM brand inspectors didn’t inspect brands, and the USDA certified veterinarians required to inspect horses never saw them but signed off on papers provided to them, insisting the Mexican veterinarians would catch any problems and notify the proper authorities ??? Colorado’s brand inspectors were either colluding or were never notified.

    If our government of checks and balances still works at all there should be a major housecleaning going on in NM, CO, and the BLM. I suggest starting at the top.


  5. I left a comment on the newspaper article stating that I do not believe that 50,000 horses are still alive they have some on farms and ranches scattered all over the us to fool the public into thinking that all of the horses removed from public lands are fine when they are not even here anymore. I have thought this for years because the BLM will not give you the addresses of a list of the ranches where the horses are boarded claiming that owners don’t want to be bothered with the public wanted to check on the horses. The BLM needs to be forced to hand over the whereabouts of the 50,000 horses millions of taxpayer dollars are supposed to be feeding because I think this is one of largest frauds that has ever been pulled off on the unsuspecting taxpayers among many other frauds this government has pulled off over the years.


    • Well said. The privacy excuse is a lame, half-baked one. As government contractors, their names should have been anounced and published in the federal register, together with the terms of the contract and money received… they are not different than calls for tenders for any public service. All this information should be provided at least by FOIA.

      BLM can’t just pretend they can get away with this privacy / “national security” BS.


  6. I agree with Barbara. We must DEMAND the prosecution of this guy. For years they have lied to the American people over and over again. The roundups, the inhumane care are against the federal laws. Why do some get prosecuted and not others. I think it’s a bunch of bs. The BLM knew exactly where those horses were going. They also should be prosecuted and fired!!! We pay their salaries!!


    • From the report:

      “We referred this investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, who declined both civil and criminal prosecution. The State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office also declined to file charges against Davis.
      We referred the public health issue concerning a USDA-certified veterinarian signing IHCs without inspecting the horses (false statements) to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. The District of New Mexico formally declined prosecution. We will refer this issue to the USDA Office of Inspector General for any action deemed appropriate.”

      Can anyone find any published reason why all these authorities, when confronted with massive, fatal violations of the law, “declined” to prosecute? No reasons were provided in the report; I doubt any would hold up in court. I will be writing my elected officials since I live in CO, where this occurred and is being buried. Perhaps due to the stench?


  7. Here is the truth again, now, what are they going to do about it? (gov.) How much more proof do they need to change the cruelty done to these animals? I hope they throw the book and throw away the key. (NOT)


  8. Look how long it has taken for this report to be released. The whole thing is a disgrace, and our wild horses have no protection. They need protection from the BLM, the very agency who is charged with their care.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lest we be deemed “hysterical”, please read the entire USDA OIG report and the BLM response (including “deceitful actions”). Note that Dennis Chavez of Southwest Livestock in Los Lunas, NM, was involved. It talks about veterinary “inspections” (of records, not horses). FYI, a NM Livestock Board inspector is present during each horse auction. Even if freezebranded mustangs weren’t run through the normal auction, it’s possible he or she saw them. Unfortunately, as stated in the SftHH archived post: ” … state brand boards do not ‘recognize’ BLM freezemarks”, but that policy doesn’t mean Dennis Chavez, his employees, and NMLB inspectors were blind – although NMLB inspectors have been known to look the other way.

    Click to access WildHorseBuyer_Public.pdf

    As Sir Walter Scott wrote in his epic poem, Marmion:
    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practise to deceive!”

    These conspirators count on that “tangled web” to cover their tracks. The question is, will Congress ever hold hearings or will this report (including “declined to pursue” by Colorado and New Mexico), and the BLM’s “go and sin no more” response be sufficient to sweep it under the rug? Imo, unless PEOPLE die (as in the Gulf disaster), Congress is reluctant to investigate government agencies.

    At any rate, I doubt a hearing would happen until after the 2016 elections and would likely depend on which party comes to power.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The BLM had this report on July 7, 2015, LONG BEFORE the last National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting on Sept. 2-3, 2015. Although Board member Tim Harvey has repeatedly asked for this report, the BLM withheld it from the public not only at this meeting, but even up until now. Shame on the non-transparent BLM management.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, not “recognizing” freeze brands is BS. The brand inspectors are supposed to not any identifying features – including any evident brands, scars, tattoos, and coat patterns. These are indicated on every brand inspection I’ve ever had performed on any horse for decades. It may mean they don’t decipher and correlate what the BLM brand refers to but in no way excuses them from failing to observe the brand exists.


  10. I think Animals Angels has photos of BLM branded wild horses sent to slaughter in Mexico.
    Who in Congress will do an investigation of BLM now ?


  11. The guy who looks like Draco Malfoy who’s been grilling Hillary Clinton about Benghazi? She’s showing that she can stand up to these guys in Congress, and trying to embarrass her is a big fail. She has my vote in November, and I’m counting the minutes.


  12. List of Reagan administration convictions.

    James Watt, Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior was indicted on 41 felony counts for using connections at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help his private clients seek federal funds for housing projects in Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Watt conceded that he had received $500,000 from clients who were granted very favorable housing contracts after he had intervened on their behalf. Watt was eventually sentenced to five years in prison and 500 hours of community service.


    • BLM to remove MORE Wild Horses from Public Land
      DATE: October 22, 2015

      CONTACT: Heather Tiel-Nelson, 208-736-2352
      BLM to Gather Remaining Wild Horses at Sands Basin Following Soda Fire

      Public Asked to Avoid Area Where Stressed Horses Remain

      BOISE –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Owyhee Field Office plans to conduct a bait/water trap gather of the remaining wild horses within the Sands Basin Herd Management Area (HMA), located about 13 miles southwest of Homedale. Approximately 31 Sands Basin wild horses eluded capture during the emergency helicopter gather that commenced shortly after the Soda Fire that burned nearly all of the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger HMAs and about a third of the Black Mountain HMA. A bait/water trap gather is a passive method to capture wild horses, and it requires minimal activity in the area so the horses will not be spooked away from the feed and water that will be set in temporary corrals with trigger closure gates.
      It is important that BLM capture these horses for two reasons: there is not enough forage to sustain them long term, and to protect the ongoing re-seeding efforts to rehabilitate the burned areas. If at all possible, the BLM asks that members of the public avoid riding or recreating in this area to relieve any additional stress or pressure to these horses.

      An emergency wild horse gather was conducted immediately following the Soda Fire, where 279 horses were gathered and are being cared for at the Boise Wild Horse Corrals or at the Palomino Valley National Adoption Center in Reno. Once the range recovers and rehabilitation objectives have been met, wild horses will be returned to the Sands Basin and Hardtrigger HMAs.

      Public viewing of the wild horses at the Boise Wild Horse Corrals will take place Oct. 29 -30 from 1- 3 in the afternoon. Additionally, several of those horses gathered will be available for adoption Nov. 6-7 at the Boise Wild Horse Corrals.


      • Hmmm. The public is being asked to stay off public lands to avoid “stressing” wild horses which are facing capture, branding, removal and covert death by BLM policies? (no mention here of any plans to return them, either).

        Who is left to protect these innocent creatures from their “protecters” EXCEPT the American public? There is no justice left in the justice system for them.



    A few notes on BLM’s marketing specialist, Sally Spencer selling wild horses and burros to Tom Davis with the assistance of two BLM short term holding facility managers: BLM’s Litchfield holding facility NE California and BLM’s Burns holding facility, Oregon:
    Litchfield California
    “In March [2012], a corral manager emailed Spencer to say he had 92 “nice horses” just rounded up in High Rock, Calif., and to ask if Davis could take some of the geldings.”
    A day later Spencer replied, “Davis told me that if the geldings are in good shape he will be able to place them into good homes.”
    “How many would Mr. Davis want to buy?” the corral manager asked Spencer. “And are there any specifics that he is looking for?”
    “He said he’d be interested in all of them, no specifics,” Spencer replied.”
    Burns, Oregon
    In January [2012], the manager of the agency’s corral in Burns, Ore.emailed superiors in Washington, D.C., to ask what to do with 29 mares, almost all of which were pregnant. Spencer replied that Davis would take them.

    So then what happened we may ask?

    Below are just some of the horses BLM sold to Tom Davis. (Per FOIA Data)
    Calico Horses 2009/2010 Roundup
    13 mares sold from Indian Lakes Road BLM’s facility on 2/2/2011
    Twin Peaks Horses & Burros 2010 Roundup
    84 Mares, Geldings and Burros sold from BLM’s Litchfield and Fallon facilities in 2011
    Fox Hog/High Rock Roundup Fall of 2011 – All Sold From Litchfield
    65 Geldings sold from BLM’s Litchfield facility in 3/23/2012

    These were not just numbers on a list for BLM to sell as things sold on a store close-out sale rack … these were beautiful wild burros and stallions and geldings and mares (some pregnant) of many colors and markings. Our wild horses and burros … gone forever to a fate worse than just death.

    From the top of the BLM pile to the bottom … they “all” knew what was going on and they “all” conspired, facilitated and/or participated in it and they “ALL” need to go. Why has this been covered up? Because if one is found guilty, they will “all” be found guilty. It is the domino effect and it is way past time for them to FALL.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It should start at the very top and all should fall. What a scandal this is !! Surely some news media or politicians ought to be glad to expose it.


  15. “SO” Davis is going to fall on the sword for what the BLM has been doing——and do they think that is going to make the public “happy”?Articles I’m reading he is not the only one to buy horses from the BLM (just the only one to get caught)
    I want to know where the tens of thousands of other mustangs are. And hope we don’t settle on this small piss ant, but go after the bigger fish.


  16. I don’t know how many on this blog has ever seen this but it was put out in April 1997 by Peer Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility which is a very trustworthy organization I found a copy of this White Paper titled Horses to Slaughter Anatomy of a Coverup within the Wild Horse & Burro Program of the Bureau of Land Management. I found this a few years ago so I don’t know if its still on their site or not this information is what led me to the conclusion that most of the mustangs have been sent to slaughter. It covers a lot of ground and it involved a lot of BLM employees that probably have retired by now. But hauling the horses to slaughter is something that had been a ongoing for a long time. This where the pkg’s of horse meat that was found in a European market that was advertised as being from grass fed wild horses in the USA with a picture of horses on it came from. This is why they let some of the public take their little guided tours on one or two larger BLM holding areas where they have the larger pens to fool the public. This is one of the reasons I mentioned at one time that anyone that is allowed to watch the roundups to try to follow the trucks to see where they are going are the trucks headed to the BLM holding pens or do they head for the nearest interstate going to the Mexican border or depending on the state the horses are rounded up in a Canadian border crossing. If someone could catch them armed with a camera or video camera you have them right there with proof.


    • You are exactly correct Barbara.
      From a 1997 news article:
      Asked about the AP’s findings, Tom Pogacnik, director of the BLM’s $16-million-a-year Wild Horse and Burro Program, conceded that about 90% of the horses rounded up go to slaughter.
      Has a program intended to save wild horses, as a symbol of the American frontier, evolved into a supply system for horse meat?
      “I guess that’s one way of looking at it,” Pogacnik said. “Recognizing that we can’t leave them out there, well, at some point the critters do have to come off the range.”
      At the Cavel West slaughterhouse in Redmond, Ore., for example, the proprietor, Pascal Derde, displayed a sheaf of BLM certificates for horses he recently butchered and sent to Belgium for human consumption.


  17. This is one persons comment I found on one of the articles—-we need to remember this come election time.

    I think I’m gonna vomit..  And former Sec of the Interior Ken Salazar is a Democrat…and a prominent Dem politician here in Colorado.  Keep that in mind.  If he had been a Republican, this story would be EVERYWHERE.  But, it isn’t anywhere in the dominantly liberal mainstream media..and it was buried for 3 years.  Typical..



    The False Claims Act (FCA) is a whistleblower reward statute.
    If you know of private parties (such as government contractors) defrauding the government, you as a whistleblower may bring a court action, called a qui tam suit, and be awarded a portion of the damages if the case is successful.
    There are also other federal whistleblower reward statutes, for tax, security and other types of fraud.
    In addition, 30 states have “Little FCAs” –these provisions can also be seen in the context of other state whistleblower laws.

    Remedies against the Violator:
    Civil penalties
    Treble the amount of damages sustained by the government as a result of the fraud
    Exclusion/debarment from government programs
    Remedies for the Whistleblower:
    15 to 25% of the recovery if the government intervenes
    25 to 30% if whistleblower succeeds in a case which


  19. This shows only one (~30 wild horses) load that the taxpayers paid to haul a
    load of wild horses to Tom Davis. This load was shipped from Burns, Oregon to Tom Davis in Colorado. If this was about 30 horses … then you can use some math to estimate the total cost to the taxpayer for hauling about 1784 WH&B = about $267,600 total @ $150 per horse/burro. This hauling was done by multiple haulers but this one is just for J C Ourada who just happens to be the owner/contractor for the Elm Creek BLM WH&B holding facility.

    Contract Transaction #6eec157f2f0c2c8dd37a962cb1fb8055
    (FY 2000-2012)
    Award #1

    Dollars Obligated $4,520
    Current Contract Value $4,520
    Ultimate Contract Value $4,520

    Purchaser Information
    Major Agency Dept. of the Interior
    Modified Contracting Agency 1422: Bureau of Land Management
    Contracting Agency Bureau of Land Management
    Contracting Office OR020
    Major Funding Agency Dept. of the Interior
    Modified Funding Agency 1422: Bureau of Land Management
    Program / Funding Agency Bureau of Land Management
    Program / Funding Office OR020

    Contract Information
    Date Signed 02/29/2012
    Effective Date 02/29/2012
    Current Completion Date 03/07/2012


    • So, as if it wasn’t bad enough that Tom Davis sold our wild horses and burros to slaughter (how much worse could it be!!!) but it looks like you and I paid about a quarter of a million dollars to haul the horses TO him! What a scam! A very sick scam but it was no “accident” that our wild ones were sold to him … it appears that all this was known and facilitated and assisted (if not pre-planned) by the so-called leaders of the BLM WH&B program. Those people as well as Davis need to do serious prison time and although the innocent wild ones cannot be brought back from the dead … those that are guilty need to pay we tax-payers back this quarter of a million dollars out of their own wallets … or will the BLM pick up the tab for that also as they continue to do an apparent “cover-up” and protection of the so-called WH&B “leaders” who are guilty?


  20. It appears that not only Tom Davis but also the BLM employees who signed and authorized and facilitated and/or participated in these sales are all guilty of one or more of many illegal activities, not limited to conspiracy. Conspiracy is two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an event or situation which is typically taken to be illegal or harmful. One conspiracy example is the United States President Richard Nixon and his aides conspiring to cover up the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.

    Re: Sales Document
    “This document serves as both a sales contract and proof of ownership.
    The BLM will seek criminal penalties against the purchaser if, in
    the course of this sale, the purchaser knowingly and willfully falsifies,
    conceals, or covers up a material fact; makes any materially false, fictitious,
    or fraudulent statement or representation’ or otherwise violates 18 U.S.C $ 001.
    Purchaser agrees to provide humane care and to not maliciously or
    negligently injure the listed animals.
    Purchaser agrees not to process any of the listed animals into
    commercial products. Purchaser agrees not to knowingly sell or transfer
    ownership of any listed animals to any person or organization whose intent is
    to process the animals or their remains into commercial products or whose
    intent is to resell, trade, or give away the animals or their remains for processing
    into commercial products.”


  21. USA TODAY, DEC. 12, 2012

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is restricting the number of wild horses people can buy from the federal government and promises to prosecute those who sell mustangs for slaughter.

    Salazar’s announcement comes after reports about Tom Davis, a southern Colorado livestock hauler and horse slaughter proponent who has bought more than 1,700 horses from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) since 2009.

    Davis’ purchases account for 70% of BLM wild horse sales since 2009.

    The Gazette of Colorado Springs previously reported that the BLM sometimes contacted Davis to see if he would like to buy more horses.

    Davis has told Colorado officials that he shipped some horses out of state, in violation of brand inspection laws. The Alamosa County district attorney is investigating the transfers. Davis has said he honored contracts promising the animals wouldn’t be slaughtered.

    Salazar told The Gazette in an interview that buyers of wild horses can be prosecuted for falsifying sales applications and for indirectly selling horses to slaughter by reselling to middlemen.

    Salazar also said buyers will be limited to five horses every six months. Larger orders must be approved by the deputy director of the BLM.

    The BLM oversees most of the 35,000 wild horses roaming public lands in the western United States. The horses are protected by law from slaughter.

    The agency has struggled with how to manage growing horse herds, which can double naturally within five years if left unchecked. Horses have been injected with drugs and vaccines to slow reproduction and also are rounded up for adoption.

    The BLM currently has more horses in captivity — more than 45,000 — than are left roaming the range.

    (c) USA TODAY, 2012


  22. These icons belong to the American people. America’s wild horses and burro when viewed in the wild, heal people.
    Wild horses and burro’s, Stop fire storms. Wild burro’s and Horses can get up into steep terrain where cows can’t. (Welfare Cattle should not be on public land)
    Since 2008, around 70k wild horses and burro’s have been eradicated like rats off the public lands by the BLM.
    The Annie Act of 1971 was hard fought to protect are wild ones to give them land to live on. Stop the BLM’S, assault on our wild horses. These wild ones belong to you and I.
    Give our wild ones back land that is sustainable to them. remove them from the gold mining areas and out of Nevada completely.


    • Yes.
      The Court concluded [IBLA 89-33], to wit:
      “It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free roaming horses and burros to “manage” them, Congress intended to permit the animals’ custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by capturing and removing from the wild the very animals that Congress sought to protect from being captured and removed from the wild.”


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