by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
After the BLM got caught selling almost 1,800 wild horses to kill buyer Tom Davis, the BLM issued an Instruction Memorandum (IM) 2014-132, to limit the sales of wild horses or burros to 4 per person during a 6 month time period. If anyone wanted to buy 5 or more wild horses or burros, the BLM’s Assistant Director, Resources and Planning, had to give approval.
On May 24, 2018, the BLM issued IM 2018-066, now allowing 24 wild horses or burros to be purchased at a time. There is now no time period specified that a purchaser has to wait before buying another 24 wild horses or burros. When wild horses & burros are sold, there is instant “titling.” The buyer receives a title to the animal, and these wild horses & burros instantly become private property and lose their protections, and risk being sold into the slaughter pipeline. Kristin Bail, the BLM’s current Assistant Director of Resources and Planning signed this IM. Holle Waddell is the Branch Chief , Wild Horse & Burro Off-Range.
Both the 2014 IM and this 2018 IM have provisions that are troubling. For one thing, per the Guidance attachment, if the BLM can’t read a freezemark number, they just give the horse or burro a new freezemark number. Each BLM facility has an inventory that includes the freezemark number and signalment key (description) of each horse or burro, and they should be able to figure out the freezemark number of the horse. The BLM can’t even keep track of all the horses and burros as it is, without issuing 2 freezemark numbers to 1 horse or burro.
It also seems like BLM employees, their family members and contractors are encouraged to buy wild horses. Does anyone remember what happened during the Del Rio Investigations in the 90’s? Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press reporter, Martha Mendoza, wrote an article back in 1995 about BLM staffers selling thousands of wild horses and burros to slaughterhouses for $400 to $500 each and keeping the money. And high-level BLM officials tried to cover it up and intimidated whistle-blowers.
We don’t want history to repeat itself.
Thanks to advocate Cindy MacDonald, who maintains the American Herds blogspot, you can read about the Del Rio Investigations here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxhbWVyaWNhbmhlcmRzNHxneDo1ZTMzMWRhMDE2YTZkNzg5&pli=1
For your convenience, we are posting IM 2018-066 and the attachments below (click on each page to enlarge):