Horse News

Slaughtering Wild Horses and the BLM: A Fatal Mix

By Jack Ferm as published in The Independent

“We don’t need these federal land leeches who promote slaughtering wild horses and burros that belong on the land more rightfully than cattle or sheep.”

“We at Wild Horse Freedom Federation would like to thank Mr. Jack Ferm for not only being a very loud voice for the Wild Horses & Burros but for also acknowledging the efforts of our volunteer non-profit, Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  My hat is off to him.” ~ R.T.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild horses have long been the victims of U.S. government aggression by “intentional” slaughter. In the 1830s the Choctaw Indian Pony was ordered destroyed to separate the Native Americans from their war mounts. They were a gentle breed that would carry women and children over the nefarious “Trail of Tears” after Native Americans had been ordered to relocate from their ancestral lands to the reservation in what is now Oklahoma. They were also the preferred war pony for Native Americans during the Indian/settler wars, because of their agility and speed. Some settlers hid a few so that today we have almost 300 surviving Choctaw ponies roaming free on private reserves.

We are now seeing a replay of the 1830s, but now it’s a different story: cattle, oil, gas, mineral rights, solar, and wind farms have made wild horses and the BLM a fatal mix.

The Trail of Tears is another story of U.S. aggression against a people who only wanted to live free, wherein 16,000 Cherokee people were forced to travel 1,200 miles, walking and riding; 4,000 died. Likewise our wild horses and burros want to be free and to live out their lives without being chased to death by helicopters or captured and sold to slaughterhouses by individuals who lack compassion for living creatures. This is not the end they deserve!

I have written, researched, and spoken to individuals about the plight of our mustangs but have failed to learn how many of these wild horses and burros have been captured from their rightful place on public land (roaming free as they are meant) and sold to slaughterhouses in Mexico. What I have learned is that some 140,000 horses are sold to slaughterhouses in Mexico annually; the thought of these majestic animals reaching that end angers me. This needless slaughter must be stopped, even if we must march on Congress to make it happen!

Over 92 percent of horses sent to Mexico for slaughter are healthy and in good shape. They are able to live out productive lives. These horses would be sold, donated, or otherwise provided a new home; however, kill buyers outbid legitimate horse owners and rescuers at auctions, robbing horses of ever having a second chance at life. Right after the auction, the horses are boarded onto trucks for their last ride in life.

Modern western civilization considers horses companion animals and not part of any food chain. We would no sooner eat a horse than our dogs! But this is not how some people feel; horses and dogs are a delicacy for many people around the world. Slaughtering wild horses and dogs for food is something I don’t understand.

Ken Salazar may be gone but the damage he caused the wild horses and burros still remains.

Ken Salazar may be gone but the damage he caused the wild horses and burros still remains.

Unfortunately, we have agencies that employ monsters like Ken Salazar, a cattle rancher and neighbor of the now infamous Tom Davis, who have no concern or compassion for wild horses or for America’s heritage. The BLM has been fully aware of him slaughtering wild horses but have turned their back on the laws that protect them. Former Secretary Salazar, our number one lawbreaker, gets a free pass from liability.

Within two weeks of his confirmation in 2009, Ken Salazar began shipping truckloads of horses to Tom Davis, Salazar’s neighbor and business associate. Salazar is a fifth-generation rancher; ranchers throughout the western U.S. lobby for the removal of mustangs from public lands to make room for their cheap, taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing. The livestock industry has been a very vocal advocate for slaughtering wild horses.

In my opinion, if a rancher doesn’t have enough grazing land to raise cattle or sheep, he should not be in ranching but should find a different profession or raise fewer animals that his land would be capable of supporting. It is not my job or the public’s job to subsidize ranching that isn’t necessary as evidenced by the 779,000 ranchers who have shown that this grazing permit program isn’t needed to support their ranching or ability to be in business. There are about 800,000 livestock operators and cattle producers in the United States. Of those, fewer than 21,000 benefit from the Forest Service and BLM grazing programs in the West. We don’t need these federal land leeches who promote slaughtering wild horses and burros that belong on the land more rightfully than cattle or sheep. The wild horses and burros should rightfully be protected, not slaughtered.

When ranchers like Salazar and Davis lobby for removing and slaughtering wild horses, they engage my ire.

If I am going to subsidize ranchers by financing their cattle and sheep grazing and feed, am I not entitled to a part of their profits? Why is it that the BLM does not make a profit on cattle and sheep grazing? Perhaps they need to raise the grazing fees — or better yet, end this worthless program.

This to me is just another range war, but instead of the cattle vs. sheep wars over government grazing lands in the 1880s, now we have cattle and sheep ranchers against the horse — an animal that has no protection against the rim-rocking of the powerful cattle lobby and no ability to fight back against a worthless BLM that itself is no better than a domestic terrorist.

Tom Davis and other large BLM buyers pay $10 a head for horses captured by the BLM. They sell these horses to kill buyers who pay around $500 a horse. Tom Davis bought 1,794 horses from the BLM and paid them $10 each or a total of $17,940. He sold them immediately to kill buyers, generating $897,000 and a profit of $879,060 through a fraud scheme to acquire slaughter horses that by contract he was not allowed to resell to kill buyers. Yet he did.

I have even personally attempted to speak with U.S. Attorney for Colorado John Walsh, but when he heard I wanted to discuss his failure to bring criminal charges and possibly a civil complaint against Tom Davis and that I was from the media, he went dark and most likely hid under his desk. I have learned that to mention wild horses and the BLM in the same sentence evokes a state of panic in both the BLM and law enforcement. Everyone goes into hiding at the mention of wild horses and the BLM and for good reason: this agency is at the top of the Obama administration corruption list, and that list is a long one.

I want to acknowledge and thank two organizations that continue to make a difference: The Wild Horse Freedom Federation and the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, an 11,000-acre reserve where Dayton O. Hyde continues to save wild horses and the land they inhabit. Hyde, with his passion for life, allows our wild horses to remain wild and free and to reproduce while living out their lives as they are meant to.

You can view some of the lucky horses Hyde has adopted and set free here. You can even become a sponsor and help feed them, which is always greatly appreciated.

Hyde even has Choctaw Indian Ponies on his reserve where they roam free and breed naturally…(CONTINUED)

Please click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment (thank) Jack for his continued support of our wild horses and burros

14 replies »

  1. Thankyou Mr Fitch for the very nice article and your input on the wild horse slaughtering.
    I have often thought as you said that the slaughtering of our American Wild horses echos the very same treatment our Native Americans did as they were killed or run off ther lands by the greedy Government .

    These Native Americans just wanted to be free and live peacefully in their communities without harming anyone or the environment.

    They believed that the animals and the land were not really tbeirs but theirs to take care of and live in harmony together. They revered the horses, the wolves, the buffalo, the owl and worshipped them as great spirits of the spirit world who all were part of the circle of life .
    They were great stewards of the land.
    Today. History is repeating itself with our wild horses, wildlife, public lands bring destroyed.
    What will be next?
    “Whatever happens to the beast soon happens to man. All things are connected” Quote of Chief Seattle


  2. Well stated Mr. Ferm, and thank you.
    Another point for consideration is the question of income taxes and did Tom Davis pay income taxes on the large amount of money he got for selling our wild horses and burros to slaughter? I know that tax evasion doesn’t seem too important until you realize that the notorious criminal Al Capone was not imprisoned for murder and extortion but he WAS eventually imprisoned for tax evasion. We need to push for an audit of Tom Davis’ income taxes and hopefully that would put him behind bars for a long time.
    In addition of course, the BLM employees ALL need to be imprisoned for their conspiracy to sell our wild horses and burros to slaughter via Tom Davis and others. They also are guilty and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. It won’t bring our wild ones back from their terrorized death but we owe it to them to keep fighting.


    • GG, also regarding finances, I thought i read here somewhere that the BLM spent something like $140,000 on DELIVERING captive wild horses to Tom Davis, so any lawsuits should also seek return of these funds (plus interest and penalties) to taxpayers.


      • True… if we account for the $140,000 BLM spent on him, useless Davis pocketed almost a million dollars, more than enough to retire. And since the transactions were always carried out in cash, it was easy for him to avoid taxes, although I’m sure IRS can get him if they do a throughout audit of his bank accounts and real estate purchases (unless he is hiding the money on the freezer or something like that)


      • Daniel, do you have any information about what justification was given by John Walsh regarding NOT pursuing either Davis or Salazar? It’s clear both broke federal laws, so the decision not to pursue charges against them had to have some degree of justification, but I have not come across it. Simply not wanting to press charges doesn’t make an illegal action legal, and this sort of dodging should not be tolerated by citizens. Mr. Walsh needs to provide some explanation, or prove he is worth his paycheck.


      • There is no explanation at all, other than what we can figure out from the mindset and background of those involved in this case. DOI didn’t request an explanation to Walsh nor to David Mahonee (Conejos County DA who is the one that shoud have actually prosecuted Davis) and Salazar was simply left out of the question as if he had legal immunity like the queen of England.

        Why? These are my assumptions as to why no prosecution took place and no explanation was requested by DOI or BLM:

        a) Both Walsh, Mahonee, Salazar and Davis don’t think the WFHBA is a “real law” but rather a “toy statute” for “horse hughers”, ecologists, liberals, hippies and so on… you get the idea. Therefore they not only don’t think it is not applicable or enforceable but also feel entitled to violate it whenever they want and not to expect any punishment or retaliation, as if it didn’t exist. In the case of Davis, we can confirm that sense of entitlement is extensive to everything, not just wild horses, that stands in his way to make a dollar.

        b) Davis is part of the good-ole boy network… they are not going to file any charges against him because he is one of them. It’s like a highway trooper pulling someone over to the road side for speeding and not issuing a ticket because he is pals with the driver… but on steroids. A sad state of affairs which can partially explain other issues such as Bundy getting away with it for +20 years.

        c) The same applies to Salazar. Prosecuting Salazar would imply uncovering and airing all the corruption and crap associatied to BLM’s wild horse program for the last 45 years. Salazar is a bomb that needed to be defused… so no question asked.

        d) Davis was careful not to sell the horses directly to the plant himself (although if DOI deigned to make a foresincs investigation of all the documents, phone records, bank accounts and computer equipment -in the remote case he uses that- they should find a clear connection). At any rate, that shouldn’t matter because in many cases US killer buyers don’t go the plants themselves. A Mexican driver comes to the USDA border entry port to pick up the load. There are however receipts of payments (import duties) linking the horses shipped to the slaughter plants, as well the USDA and SAGARPA export / import documents, of course.

        e) Even if Davis and Salazar, or just Davis, were charged with anything they will likely be exonerated due to lack of evidence or a similar subterfuge. State authorities wouldn’t make a great effort either at finding proof.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. leave our wild horses alone they are not hurting any one but the people who are so heartless people who don’t have a heart.


  4. This is an excellent article, thank you.

    On a separate topic, this organization of cattle and sheep BLM land users is actually placing ads on our local Denver TV news with propaganda claiming over population of wild horses, etc. — the usual claims but I have never seen TV ads before: Check it out.


    • Ozzie – did you look at the list of members of this organization? Farm Bureau-Cattlemens – beef org, etc! Pro-slaughter creeps pushing for horse slaughter to get rid of all those “starving” wild horses! There should be some push-back to that ad!


  5. Please remember that the cattle industry exists because Americans support the meat and dairy industries. If you buy these animal products you are supporting them. We need to stop supporting them. Please educate yourselfs as to how much resouces it takes to make that steak you must have and how much resouces it take to have cheese. If you are part of this problem there will never be a solution, Educate yourself then make a real difference Stop supporting these industries!


    • Michelle, I suggest we need to support those producers who are NOT grazing livestock on public lands, so we need to start asking about origins and demanding labeling of any meat and dairy products we purchase. Those without grazing permits (on the order of 800,000 people) have to compete against those that do (around 20,000) in an open market. As consumers we can demand better information about where our food comes from, then vote with our purchases accordingly.


      • Unfortunately Congress already repealed COOL… all at the behest of big $$$ agribu$iness using as an excuse a trade dispute involving NAFTA.


      • Its hard to believe that the 800,000 ranchers who dont use the grazing allotments continue to remain silent about the 20,000 who do! Thats a very small percentage that are collecting subsidies, getting away with pennies to graze their cattle & sheep – wouldnt you think the “good” guys would have a bone to pick about that??


  6. There has to be something we can do. I will personally contribute whatever I can to help these horses and to get these monsters prosecuted. I have a BLM mustang that I’ve trained and they’re just as good as any other horse if not better in hundreds of ways. He’s the smartest horse I’ve ever met. These mustangs do not deserve this end. If it’ll help I can start a petition in California in order to get these men prosecuted.

    Liked by 1 person

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