Horse News

1,000 Wild Horses in Holding Being Transferred by Alleged BLM Slaughter Dealers?

By Stephen Lee as published on Capitol Journal

“Below is an interesting, local news article that might have otherwise slipped beneath national press radar if enlightened eyes had not been watching. 

Remember back in early 2013 when our own VP of Wild Horse Freedom Federation uncovered that BLM long term holding contractors, Spur Livestock, sold former wild horses to known kill buyers?  click (HERE) and (HERE)

Likewise, remember when I presented the documentation to the members of the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board in Oklahoma City, the same year, complete with signed BLM documents and the agency swept the whole thing under the carpet with the Department of Justice refusing to take any action? click (HERE)

Well guess what, the BLM and the slaughter boys from Spur Livestock are at it again and there is a whole bunch of smoke and mirrors surrounding the deal detailed below.  Good luck at following the cast of characters as it reads like some sort of spy novel but I believe this little transaction might bear some looking into, what do you think?” ~ R.T.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

More than 1,000 wild horses from the former Triple U ranch northwest of Fort Pierre now owned by Ted Turner will be moved to a ranch in Butte County owned by Neal Wanless, the once-poor cowboy who won a huge lottery prize in 2009.

Federal officials with the Bureau of Land Management, who oversee such wild horses relocated from federal lands in western states, discussed the relocation plan with the Butte County Commission on Tuesday, July 14, according to the Black Hills Pioneer.

It’s the latest development with what media mogul Ted Turner is doing with his newest buffalo ranch, the one a few miles from Fort Pierre and famous as the setting 25 years ago for many scenes from the Kevin Costner film, “Dances With Wolves.”
Turner bought the Triple U ranch last year for $32.4 million in a deal made public in September that included 45,000 acres, about 1,500 buffalo, the wild horses and ranch buildings.

About 10 years ago Turner bought the Bad River Ranch west of Fort Pierre, which has a corner just a few miles from the former Triple U Ranch. Turner is said to own more buffalo than any other private owner.

The former Triple U, known again as its historic name of the Standing Butte Ranch, was sold by Kay Ingle. She is the daughter of Roy and Nellie Houck who bought the ranch in 1959 who built it into one of the largest buffalo ranches in the country. The Colorado firm that had planned to auction the ranch last summer billed it as a place that remained pretty much the same as it was 210 years ago when Lewis and Clark passed near it. 

Seven years ago, the BLM wild horses were brought to the Triple U as part of a program BLM uses to find private ranch properties relatively untouched by modernity to place wild horses crowding federal lands in western states. The BLM pays a lease fee for such use.

Spur Livestock, owned by Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson of Midland, South Dakota, have had the contract with BLM to manage the wild horse herd and will be part of the re-location, the Pioneer reported. Anderson declined to comment to the Capital Journal on Saturday.

Spur Livestock will lease land from Wanless, using the BLM rental revenue…(CONTINUED)

Please comment directly at:

Wild Horse Freedom Federation President, R.T. Fitch, presenting Spur Livestock evidence to BLM

Informational links, please feel free to reference:


27 replies »

  1. My two bits… who bought the slaughtering facility and where will it end up? And recalling the fatal move of so many horses in Scott City, KS, will there be any public oversight of moving so many of our horses, and what will be the accountability to the public for any deaths? We still never got anything accurate out from Scott City, despite the BLM publishing that necropsies were done within days of them being notified of the initial deaths, which eventually exceeded 100 animals. Various causes were given but were vague, as in “stress” and “age” related, but necropsies are much more specific, were conducted, and have been kept from the public. How do we prevent another Scott City scenario here? I was told by the BLM public relations agent to “keep checking” online for updates, and did so for over a year before abandoning that hope of transparency.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From an article today in the same paper, how about using cameras on the people paid to move and manage our wild horses if the public is prevented from doing so. It looks like the cameras cost around $3,500 each, but can of course be used for years. If they used even one camera for this move of 1,000 horses it comes to $3.50 per horse, or about the cost of one day in holding for one horse.

      I have some concerns also about the number and identity of these horses, since they admit in the original article they aren’t too sure even of the Bison numbers. A camera or two could easily scan a brand on each animal transported which can be traced, and at least it would also provide an accurate head count with no additional labor involved.

      GFP ready to give Conservation officers body cameras
      By Stephen Lee Jul 10, 2016

      Members of the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission reviewed a plan Friday for providing body cameras to more than 100 wildlife and parks law-enforcement officers for the agency across South Dakota.

      The final contract hasn’t been drawn but the cost could be in the range of $300,000 to $350,000 over five years for three generations of equipment and data management through Taser International, according to GFP officials.
      They said the cameras last 2.5 to three years under normal conditions….

      The Taser is continually recording but doesn’t store until the user hits the activation button, he said. There is a 30-second backup of video but the audio doesn’t start until it’s activated. Taser provides an EvidenceSync platform for storage. The officers upload the recordings but can’t edit them.

      The Aberdeen police department has used them for several years, Gust said.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Good points all around IcySpots- my first thought was the slaughter plant also- with drones and go pro cameras these days to not have documentation is just irrisponsible

        Liked by 1 person

    • On the issue of slaughter, there are no facilities in the U.S.. The horses are quietly shuffled across the border to Canada or Mexico for some quick cash in a few low-life’s pockets.


      • Correction, there are no LEGAL facilities. As you know, there are numerous incidents of horses being illegally slaughtered within our borders even today, usually in small numbers but this is happening. Hence my question about the sold slaughter equipment – and the truth that once our wild horses are shipped to private property, the public rarely knows what happens to them. Another good reason for cameras to ID each animal as it is released to private management, and for this information to be readily available to the public in real time.



    HMA Freezemark Signalment Key *DEATH DATE* Death Location

    Twin Peaks 90608398 HG1AAAAAZ 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Twin Peaks 90608251 HG1AAAAAG 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Twin Peaks 90608259 HG1AAABAB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Twin Peaks 85608277 HG1AAAEIF 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Twin Peaks 90608311 HG1AAAABE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Twin Peaks 90608391 HG1AAAAFB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 82611633 HG1ADADBB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 83611450 HG1AFAFHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 83611801 HG1FFAFHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 85611303 HG1FFAFHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 85611544 HG1AEAAHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 85611630 HG1FFFFIP 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 85611722 HG1AEAEAD 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 86611795 HG1AEAEHD 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 87611505 HG1AFAFHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 87611529 HG1AEAEBE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 87611693 HG1AEAEFB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 87611786 HG1AAAFID 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 88611464 HG1AAAABE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 88611710 HG1AAAABD 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 89611441 HG1AAAFHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611237 HG1AEAADP 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611238 HG1AAAAIN 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611291 HG1ADAAAB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611313 HG1FFFFJP 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611331 HG1AAAABE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611339 HG1AAAABE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611353 HG1AEAFHE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611384 HG1DEAEED 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611393 HG1AEAEAB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611458 HG1AFFAIE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611484 HG1AAAEIE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611551 HG1AAAAAD 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611562 HG1AEDEHD 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611564 HG1AFAFBE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611602 HG1FFFFIE 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611617 HG1AAAEAB 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611641 HG1AAAAAN 11/28/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 80611721 HG1AEAAIE 1/1/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 90611333 HG1AFBFHD 3/10/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 95611574 HG1ADADRB 3/10/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF
    Calico 98611416 HG1EAEABO 3/24/2011 (MTF94) Mission Ridge GPF


    • Thirty eight by my count dead in a single day, at a single location. No disease epidemic indicated, so maybe a meteor landed in the herd? What was the official explanation given, if any?


      • Death Cause “Died: Unexpected”
        Death Reason “Old Age”

        (Age range: 13 to 31)
        And keep in mind that these are not all horses at Mission Ridge at that time – these are only a few that I have information for, i.e. Calico and Twin Peaks.


  3. According to BLM facility reports, there are NO mares at Mission Ridge LTH or at Whitehorse LTH; ONLY geldings. I hope the author will explain their statement, “The wild horses are geldings and mares…”


  4. US v Hughes findings excerpt
    Finally, we believe that this holding is the most consistent with the purposes and approach of Congress. As initially enacted, the Act granted the Secretary of the Interior authority to have “excess wild free-roaming horses . . . captured and removed for private maintenance under humane conditions and care.” 16 U.S.C. s 1333(b) (amended 1978). It appears that from the beginning of the Adopt-a-Horse program the government has taken the view that when it loans these animals to private parties, it retains an ownership interest as the means for retaining the ability to control the use made of the horses. In its dealings with Hughes, for example, the government had Hughes sign an agreement in which he acknowledged that the adopted horses remained the property of the United States. While the view of the administering agency is not necessarily conclusive on congressional intent, its view is lent strong support by recent amendments to the Act. The new provision authorizes the Secretary of the Interior “to grant title” to individuals who demonstrate that they have “provided humane conditions, treatment and care.” 16 U.S.C. s 1333(c) (1978). The Secretary’s statutory authority to grant title reflects our conclusion that the government claims an interest in the horses when it captures them..
    Even if the language defining wild horses was intended to have the significance which *623 Hughes attaches to it, see note 1 supra, it does not foreclose the conclusion that the government claims an interest in the horses when it captures them. The statutory definition of wild horses is limited to those “on public lands of the United States,” 16 U.S.C. s 1332(b), and yet the horses placed on private lands continue to receive protection as wild horses under the Act. The definitional language thus identifies the horses protected by the Act, but does not condition their continuing protection on the continuing existence of those identifying characteristics. Thus, adopted horses continue to receive protection as “wild free-roaming” horses even though they are neither roaming on public lands nor, strictly speaking
    ). The Supreme Court has stated that “(t)his guide to statutory construction has special cogency where a court is called upon to determine the extent of the punishment to which a criminal defendant is subject for his transgressions.” Id. Whereas under section 1338 the offender is potentially subject to a fine of $2,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, under section 641 Hughes was potentially subject to a maximum ten-year sentence and a fine of $10,000.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From Kill Buyers Exposed

    Kill buyers Don’t pay taxes – they do all their dirty deals in cash. If you know something say something.
    Whistleblower – Informant Award
    The IRS Whistleblower Office pays money to people who blow the whistle on persons who fail to pay the tax that they owe. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30 percent of the additional tax, penalty and other amounts it collects.


    • Julie, can you provide any information or sources about this? I’m sure I’m not the only reader here who doesn’t know anything about this situation.


  6. Wild Horses Sold to Kill Buyer by BLM Contractor
    With BLM Knowledge

    February 5, 2013
    Debbie Coffey

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been trying to convince the public that the BLM does not sell wild horses to slaughter, but the Wild Horse Freedom Federation has obtained proof that a BLM Long Term Holding contractor sold wild horses directly to kill buyer JOE SIMON, who is well known for sending horses to slaughter, and who owns JS Ranch (“Farms”) in Perkins, Oklahoma.

    To give a little background, the BLM uses lame excuses to remove wild horses from their federally protected Herd Management Areas while letting other “uses” take over. For instance, BLM claims wild horses cause “degradation” to the range, but then allows oil and gas drilling (and fracking) on the same land, which does far more damage. The BLM uses helicopters to round up the wild horses, then puts the horses in short-term holding facilities, maintenance facilities, and ultimately, ships horses to same-sex long-term holding pastures, where the public is led to believe the horses will spend the rest of their lives.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has actually rounded up so many wild horses off of public lands that were designated as the horses’ federally Protected Herd Management areas, to make way for oil & gas drilling, mining and other “uses,” that the BLM now has more wild horses in same-sex holding facilities than are on public lands.

    The BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program is facing mounting costs, too. The BLM is requesting over $44.5 million for short and long-term holding facilities in the 2013 President’s Budget. The BLM is using a loophole created by the Burns Amendment to sell/give wild horses to people who then sell the horses in a pipeline to slaughter. The BLM states that they don’t sell wild horses to slaughter, but the reality is that the agency turns a blind eye to obvious signs on documents they see, as the wild horses are being sold to slaughter.

    Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson own Spur Livestock, and have a contract with the Bureau of Land Management for such a long-term holding pasture for wild horses on private lands within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, as well as on Indian Trust Lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This facility is the Whitehorse Wild Horse Long Term Holding Facility.

    Wild Horse Freedom Federation received records from the South Dakota Brand Board that reveal on 11/8/2008, while under contract with the BLM, “owner” Spur Livestock sold 34 horses with “BLM tattoos” to JS Farms, owned by kill buyer Joe Simon.

    Photo Wild Horses with the BLM’s “no brand” brand on their necks awaiting their fate (photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation)


    • Louiee, I was unsuccessful in finding out about fatalities (if any) at Whitehorse during that extreme blizzard in SD a few years ago now. Please post such information if you find any, as I’m sure they suffered some losses but (being privately managed) no information seems to be available.


    What is the price tag for suffering?
    JOE SIMON, from Webster, MN is one of the nation’s larger kill buyers

    JOE SIMON, from Webster, MN is one of the nation’s larger kill buyers. He has been in the horse slaughter business for a very long time and, despite an endless list of violations, he is not showing any signs of slowing down. Joe Simon operates Joe Simon Enterprises Inc., the JS Horse Company and several other companies in Minnesota and Oklahoma.
    What else do we know about Joe Simon? We know that very few people violate the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Act as often as he does. When we look at USDA Case # TX-04228, we note that this case includes 70 different violations, 12 of which involved horses dying during transport, and/or obtaining the most horrific injuries imaginable.


    Slaughter Tag #3522: Grey mare, broken left hind leg with multiple fractures somewhere between the stifle and fetlock, “went down twice in trailer” while in transport, and was down in trailer upon arrival. The mare was euthanized via gunshot on the trailer upon arrival at the slaughter plant.

    Slaughter Tag #5304: Chestnut,broken left rear leg.”Horse completely severed its leg between ankle and hock. Leg bone was broken in half.” This incident occurred when the horse slipped into a gap at the ramp leading to the upper level of Simon’s double decker trailer.Plant workers used a pipe to pry the leg out, the horse then hobbled off the trailer at the plant and was slaughtered.

    Slaughter Tag #5922: Bay Quarterhorse gelding, completely blind in both eyes.

    Slaughter Tag #1997: Bay gelding, broken right hind leg, dead in trailer upon arrival. Showed signs of rigor mortis.

    Slaughter Tag #5013: Stallion, not segregated from other horses, dead in trailer upon arrival.
    Slaughter Tag# 2246: Chestnut Quarterhorse gelding, three-legged (unable to put weight on all four legs) due to existing injury on left front leg. Slaughtered upon arrival.

    Slaughter Tag #9326: Severe cuts on hind legs, obtained when leg became lodged in hole towards the bottom of the trailer. “The photographs of the wounded leg indicated active arterial bleeding over a six hour period.”

    The court transcript from this case reads like a horror story. Simon’s own drivers described “blood on the trailer” and “horses raising hell”, while the USDA staff documented bone fragments and blood spatter patterns inside the trailers.

    Although Thomas Bolick (USDA Office of General Counsel) requested a total fine of $84,625 for all associated violations, the ultimate civil penalty imposed by the court on August 15, 2009 was only $36,500. AA is currently researching the status of this fine.
    Only a few years later, Joe Simon found his way into the courthouse defending himself, yet again, against 6 similar violations. On July 15, 2011, a settlement was negotiated and a civil penalty of $24,000 was assessed, to be paid in 48 convenient installments of $500.00. As a special treat, the settlement includes every non-adjudicated violation of the regulation committed by Joe Simon up to the effective date of the order.


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