Horse News

Its time to dismantle the BLM, a criminal enterprise

Source:  The Independent


by Jack Ferm

It’s time to dismantle the BLM, an agency that follows no barrier of law.

This agency has been one of the more corrupt Federal agencies ever since it’s founding by President Harry Truman in 1946. In their tenure over public lands, they have done more to destroy watershed than protect it, their incompetence as an agency of government has been unprecedented, and they have allowed cattle and sheep to overgraze the land to the extent that much of our range lands are today closer to wastelands. They have pitted cattle and sheep ranchers against the American wild horses and burros for grazing rights while making secret deals to sell wild horses and burros to slaughterhouses in the U.S. (before they were shut down) and later to slaughterhouses in both Canada and Mexico or illegal slaughterhouses that still are operating in the U.S. This agency has been involved in knowingly fraudulent adoption schemes and fictitious “sanctuary” herds to facilitate the needless removal of horses off the range.

dismantle the BLMThis has left us, we the people, no option but to dismantle the BLM. It’s time to shut down this criminal enterprise and perhaps transfer these lands to the states with agreements that the wild horses and burros are to remain free protected and unmolested.

BLM employees and contractors have been the driving force behind the horse-to-slaughter program, which has been ongoing since the 1980s and possibly even prior. This has been demonstrated by the criminal prosecutions of horse theft and sales to slaughterhouses by such cases as have been filed in Texas, Wyoming, Oregan, and Utah. But none have been filed in Colorado, which has been the hotbed of agency corruption. See U.S. v. Hughes and U.S. v. TOMLINSON.

BLM director Jim Baca, had a short-lived tenure of only nine months as head of the agency. Baca’s concern for the wild horses and their plight under the corrupt BLM led to his being fired by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in 1994. His termination was cheered by the Cattle Association and in particular by Mike Fusco, field coordinator of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. Fusco said, “One down and 99 to go,” as Babbitt, whose family was in cattle ranching and tied to slaughterhouses, would request and accept Jim Baca’s resignation and put to rest the investigations into BLM degradation of the American wild horse.

Jim Baca was intent to clean up the BLM, but the cattle barons would have none of it. They have always been in control of this agency. They have since the beginning wanted all wild horses sent to slaughter. That war continues today between the horse and the cattle interests.

Baca found evidence of a number of dubious activities that warrant the call to dismantle the BLM:

dismantle the BLM—Wild horse theft during roundups.

—“Black Booking,” or phony double-branding in order that horses rounded up could vanish from all paper trails and end up at the slaughterhouses.

—Manipulation of wild horse adoptions where one holds proxies for a group of kill buyers and the horses all end up at slaughter.

—Use of satellite ranches where horses are held for days or weeks as stopping points on the way to slaughter.

—Fraudulent horse sanctuaries subsidized by the government to care for unadoptable wild horses deemed excess and removed from the range as fronts for commercial sales to slaughter while ripping the government off at a price of $1.10 a day for phantom horses that have already been sold and slaughtered.

One of Jim Baca’s investigations accepted for prosecution centered on BLM employees’ direct participation, with the approval of BLM managers, to sell wild horses to slaughterhouses by using the satellite ranches as holding facilities.

BLM drivers would deliver the horses to kill buyers or these satellite ranches and share in the money the horses brought in from the slaughter facilities. The money was then divided among the BLM employees who were participants in the horse-for-slaughter scheme.

dismantle the BLMBLM managers getting wind of the investigation obstructed justice and the investigation. The Department of Interior went so far as to attempt to quash the investigation: they were able to limit the prosecution to low-level employees but protected the higher-ups at the BLM. Then they interfered with the Department of Justice to such an extent that the DOJ finally just gave up, and no one was even prosecuted.

Lawyers from the Department of Justice urged that no prosecution be carried out because of the extent of tolerance for the program within the BLM for this horse-to-slaughter program, which was widespread within the agency, including those in management.

The philosophy of the BLM is “Nobody gives a damn about these horses.”

Note to BLM: We do!

dismantle the BLMBy the beginning of the 20th century, there were an estimated 2 million wild horses roaming the American range. Many were shot to make room for cattle and sheep grazing. Waterholes were poisoned, and horses were hunted, trapped, run over cliffs, and killed. By 1970, estimates were that less then 10,000 wild horses still remained free.

Congress was persuaded to pass the Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, brought about by a groundswell of humane organizations and individuals that cared for the plight of these animals and their torrent of mail to Congress.

This legislation was intended to end the sale of wild horses to slaughter, but it did not.

The mixed land use authorized by Congress in the 1978 amendment has left much of the range unsuitable for grazing and has resulted in overgrazing by cattle and sheep ranchers, to the detriment of that wild horse and burros that do not impact the land.

dismantle the BLMIn 1987 and 1988 alone, thousands of wild horses are believed to have been captured and sold to slaughterhouses through BLM employees. And the tragedy continues.

Here’s how one leg of the scam works: They capture 65 horses and only report 50. The remaining 15 horses go directly to satellite ranches where they are held temporarily before being shipped to slaughter as demonstrated in the White Paper — a 1997 horse-to-slaughter report. BLM employees can get as much as $300 to $500 a horse or more. The sale of 15 horses brings in $1,875 to the employees, but the number of horses was probably in the hundreds for each roundup. One hundred horses at $300 a horse is $30,000; at $500 a horse, it’s $50,000.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

16 replies »

  1. Another good article – cant agree with turning public lands over to the states – way too much corruption there, also. Giving states the public lands will guarantee more mining, drilling & cattle! Anything for a buck because at that point the federal govt. & taxpayers will not be handing out money!


    • I share your fears Maggie. If the states got complete control over the management of their wild horses and burros, these animals would be at the mercy of the states’ governments. Take Wyoming for example. It seems clear that they’d eradicate all of their wild horses and burros if they were given such authority. MAYBE a state like Arizona would feel obligated to manage them humanely due to the conscientiousness of their constituents — remember how hard the people fought for the protection of the Salt River wild horses — but after the recent fiasco regarding the states mismanagement plans for their wild burros, I have lost quite a bit of faith in them too. I would support it IF and ONLY IF the states agree to enacting policies that would protect these animals and that failure to do so would result in the immediate discharge of state employees responsible for neglecting their duty.


  2. How many more roundups have there been since this video was made?
    How many more Wild Horses and Burros have disappeared from Public Land?
    How much LAND has disappeared from Wild Horse & Burro Herd Management Areas?
    WHO benefits from these removals? Certainly not the American taxpaying Public:

    America’s Mustangs & Burros


  3. I left a comment at the Independent when Jack Ferm’s article was in it explaining what I suspected the BLM had been doing, was doing all this time with the wild horses after I read the PEER White Paper. He contacted me and I told him where he could find the information I imagine he was stunned when he read all of the 35 pages and just how dirty that Jim Baca was treated when he tried to get the killing stopped. All of the people working under him was in on the killing of our wild horses they thought Baca could be bought off when he refused they managed to get him tossed out. Somebody like Baca is the kind of people that is needed to protect whats left of the wild horses on the range not in pens. The BLM and all of the management need to be fired and along with federal charges of defrauding the government of millions of dollars which could really add up over 20 years or more it could be close to a half a billion dollars which means more than 20 years in a federal prison. Put these bastards behind bars where they belong.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent article and absolutely true!! The problem is all of us following this disaster have known this for a very long time. The problem is the American people. They have no idea what corruption, background deals, kick backs and the killing of the Wild Horses and Burros exist. I’m totally disgusted with our national news media. It’s OK to bombard us with crimes and mrders all over the country, but when it comes to one of our last national heritages, they are Absent and want no part. Who wants to take a vacation to a Western state only to see oil wells, mining equipment and a damaged environment. Just disgusting!! Every time I see Burros and Wild Horses in the Kill Pens who have been weighed and tagged for the ride down the Highway to Hell, I write the info down and call my Legislators. I go to all the town hall meetings too and speak up. The BLM is out if control!!! As I said everyone should be FIRED from the TOP all the way down.. Let’s not forget to push the Safe Food, Safe Horse, if passed the outlets and borders will be closed as well as the airports. And no equines will leave US shores!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have a feeling that Baca might have been threatened if he didn’t back off of his investigation of what was going on, possibly his family. I know he went on to be the mayor of a city in New Mexico in later years. I found his website and sent him a email but he never answered it. I guess all he wants to do is forget it because its like fighting the crooked government with one hand tied behind your back. This is another reason that I suggested that anyone that can should follow the trucks after a roundup I don’t mean right behind them but far enough back so your not noticed to see just where they are headed. You might be surprised to follow them all the way to the border either Mexico or Canada. The drivers already have been given all the paperwork they need to take them across, I have a good idea they won’t even have to slow down. Another thing that I have noticed too is that every time that there is a lawsuit filed against the BLM to stop a roundup the horses always lose, the reason I believe is because the judge that is presiding over the case gets a call from someone high up at the BLM and is told to rule against the wild horse advocates no matter if the advocates do have standing to file the suit.


  6. Lest we forget, Dave Phillips reporting then DOI Secretary Salazar’s own words:

    “The agency has claimed it screened buyers and that no horses in its care went to slaughter, but did nothing to verify what happened to horses after sales to Davis and others were complete. For years, the agency’s sale director in Washington sold Davis truckload after truckload, sometimes contacting him to see if he would like more.

    “When I became aware of the magnitude of his purchases and the concerns of illegal activity, I asked the BLM to open an investigation of Tom Davis,” Salazar said.

    The investigation, opened in June, was initially headed by the BLM, but was transferred to the Interior Department’s independent Inspector General in October when it became clear that people in the agency could come under scrutiny too, Salazar said.

    “If there was impropriety on the part of the BLM or on the part of BLM officials, the investigation will tell us,” Salazar said.

    Salazar has lived for decades in the same rural ranching corner of Colorado as Davis. In an interview this spring, Davis said he knew Salazar and had hauled cattle for him for years. The government started selling horses to Davis in large numbers shortly after Salazar took over the agency.”

    And this:

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

    What possible reason could there be to not prosecute? I have as yet seen no explanation from those in a position to prosecute Tom Davis as to why they have declined. This doesn’t pass the smell test and should be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.


  7. The BLM being corrupt has nothing to do with turning Federal land over to the states….other than perhaps seizing the opportunity to take advantage of the fact that this Malheur Refuge situation is also sighting BLM corruption……Dismantling the BLM does not equal the land being transferred out of Federal hands…… The two issues do not need to move as one, except in proving the BLM is corrupt in every aspect.


  8. Amen! I say to you Jack Fern. How does that happen? How is a government agency disband? How do you tell the Department of Interior to fire the BLM? Or should the horses be managed by an independent non-government organization contracted through the Department of Interior? Over and over we are disgusted and dismayed by the routine elimination and torture of our equine friends. How does that change.


    • Tina, as I understand it Congress gave the authority to the DOI BLM, so it is unlikely any realistic change would come from any other source. The President might be able to direct authority to a completely different agency but I think Congress could object and stop that process. I agree a new entity should be given control over wild horses and burros, and that entity should have this task as their sole responsibility. Funding currently diverted to the BLM which feeds the corrupt processes described here would also have to be withheld from BLM bank accounts, this is about half their operating budget today from some sources.


  9. Where do we sign? Wild Horse Annie pulled it off..we thought. There is entirely too much truth in this report. Criminal proceeding should be pursued against any of the employees who profited at the expense of the land and the wildlife!

    Liked by 1 person

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