Horse News

Lawmakers Call for Action in Wake of Mass Slaughter of Wild Horses

Source: Michael Markarian as published on Animals & Politics

“The agency not only ignored its own rules, but also flouted congressional mandates that horses not be sent to slaughter…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are weighing in on the recent damning investigative report by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General, about the Bureau of Land Management’s mismanagement of our nation’s iconic wild horses.

The report concluded that the agency, under then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, failed to prevent a notorious livestock hauler named Tom Davis, with connections to kill buyers, from acquiring 1,794 wild horses and burros between 2008 and 2012. Davis subsequently funneled these horses to Mexico where they were slaughtered for human consumption, all under the nose of the BLM, which failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered.

The agency not only ignored its own rules, but also flouted congressional mandates that horses not be sent to slaughter. The Interior spending bill passed by Congress in 2009 included a provision stating that none of the BLM’s funding could be used “for the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros in the care of [BLM] or its contractors or for the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.” This prohibition was renewed in appropriations bills for subsequent fiscal years, covering the period that BLM was selling horses to Davis, and is still in place in the current budget.

It’s now come to light that the BLM did not heed this appropriations language. Indeed, the investigative report found that while Tom Davis purchased each horse for $10, for a total of $17,490, the BLM spent approximately $140,000 in taxpayer funds transporting those horses to Davis. Talk about government waste—for every dollar the BLM took in, it gave back nearly 19, with the net loss associated with conduct that was inhumane and criminal.

Several members of Congress are rightly calling for answers from the BLM. Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., sent a strong letter to the Secretary of the Interior demanding an explanation for why the agency ignored congressional directives. He noted, “It is unacceptable that BLM’s disregard of the law resulted in the use of taxpayer funds to facilitate the inhumane slaughter of iconic American wildlife.” We couldn’t agree more.

Congressman Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., also weighed in, requesting information on how the agency plans to recover the approximately $140,000 it spent in taxpayer funding transporting horses to Tom Davis. They also demanded a detailed explanation on what steps the BLM is taking to ensure that America’s iconic wild horses are not sent to slaughter again. They rightly observed that “BLM actions, which led to the slaughter of horses, are completely unacceptable and while BLM cannot reverse these serious errors made in the past, it is essential that the Bureau act expeditiously to prevent them from happening again.”

We are grateful to Representatives Buchanan, Farr, and Lujan Grisham for speaking out for wild horses and burros and holding the BLM to task for its actions, as well as for their leadership on H.R. 1942, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, a bill to prohibit the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption. We are hopeful that their advocacy on this issue, and the spotlight on BLM’s actions in previous years, will help ensure these iconic and majestic animals are protected from similar mismanagement and government failures in the future.

If you have a moment, please contact your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators and ask them to support H.R. 1942/S. 1214 to protect horses and consumers.

16 replies »

  1. These people need to be prosecuted for their involvement. They all knew what was going on. If, the BLM can’t be disassembled, cause they are not protecting our WILD HORSES & BURROS, then we need new people in there. This organization is a disgrace!!!!


  2. The BLM would like this to be forgotten and the entire thing swept under the carpet. The public often does “forget” and we can NOT let this be forgotten. The wild horses and burros were tortured (see videos of horse slaughter) and are dead but we can NOT allow them to have died in vain. ALL the persons involved in this need to be behind bars.

    Please contact your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators and send them the above article and ask them to give you their view on this governmental illegal activity and ask them to push for this this congressional investigation.

    Also send the above article to any media you can think of and ask them to publish it.
    And as the article says above: ask them to support H.R. 1942/S (the S.A.F.E. Act).


    • I sent Rep.Buchanan’s letter to all 3 of my NY reps. I know my Senator does and has supported the Safe Act. Could it be possible that finally the horses are getting the publicity they deserve? I sure do hope so.


  3. I will keep sharing this info!! How is it the Tom Davis continues to not give names or where those horses he had went. He is very cocky about where they went from what I have read…I think he should be ordered to show on paper etc.


  4. Thank God this is being shown some light. I’m grateful to Michelle Lujan Grisham who is a New Mexico Rep, where I live. She is in the thick of it, as our new Land Commissioner is the father of the lawyer for Valley Meat. In all efforts combined, from the smallest advocate to the most mighty, Washington is waking up. Keep calling 202-445-1111. Do NOT leave a message! Wait for the prompt for a LIVE operator. Tell the President what you think.


  5. I received an email from AMODEI stating the same BS that BLM puts out. There are too many wild horses. WTH they are just trying to get us all to believe that same crap we hear from law breaking corrupt BLM and lets not forget Salazars role in this. So disgusting that our Government would allow this to take place. I will not accept that no one in Congress etc had no idea this was place. If they try that then they all need to be replaced. ASAP


  6. The article fails to mention the $30K plus profit Davis made on the backs of these slaughtered wild horses. 1700 mustangs @ an average of 900 lbs x an average of .45 cents a lb equal a bonanza of blood money. Not like they, the government = politicians, congressmen, BLM and DOI officials, weren’t well aware of this malfeasance. Inept, corrupt and totally led blind by the interests of welfare ranchers, mining, mineral, gas and oil corporations. It’s all about the money and in the case of wild horses and burros, this means blood money. How despicable and not much different a climate than before the Wild Horse and Burro Act. Glad that this negative publicity is FINALLY hitting the general public. With the support of Congress horse slaughter has not been funded, however, we must be ever vigilant to prevent the export of our horses, wild and domestic, for slaughter to Canada and Mexico as it continues to happen every damn day. Me, for one, is wondering where the hell all these domestic horses that flood the Oregon and Washington kill pens are coming from???? I’m not breeding and creating new horses. I see previously adopted mustangs in the kill pens every day. No one wants to have to adopt a mustang, and it’s apparent as mustang adoptions are 70% lower than ever. It’s also a colossal waste of tax payer money to warehouse mustangs when the simple solution is to cut off the welfare ranchers and other resource greedy corporations from our public lands to let our mustangs live free from enslavement. If the welfare ranchers had to pay true cost-of-living, nominal grazing rates, they wouldn’t be so greedy (currently only pay about $13.50 per yr for cow/calf pair or 5 sheep). Also, the Grazing Permit program would be self-supporting and not cost 1.5 million per year to administer. Yep, it’s always about the money, mustang BLOOD MONEY.


  7. I will go to the ends of the earth to stop horse slaughter so you know what if you want or more you got it you have no reason to hurt is magnificent animals horses are like the bald eagle they are liberty and freedom and you have no right to slaughter these animals these animals have a purpose and I don’t know if you understand what’s inside the horse meat but there’s a lot of chemicals to the medicine and drug that people give the horses to feel better and you know I don’t know what your perspective is but you need to quit it these horses are magnificent animals I know I speak for all but this is ridiculous you should be doing this to these horses and I have rights to state my complaint Horse matter not just people


  8. Oh my God when does this crap stop. Humans are the most deadly dangerous animal on the planet. And the things we do are disgusting. Will we not ever learn?


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