Activists send letter denouncing wild horse slaughter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

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Responding to a report by ProPublica that detailed the possibility wild horses were being slaughtered, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign delivered a letter with 25,130 signatures to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar demanding action.

The letter seeks to stop the Bureau of Land Management from rounding up wild horses and selling them.

It notes that the Department of the Interior launched an Office of Inspector General investigation, but there is no date for the findings to be released while the sale of horses continues.

According to the ProPublica article, the BLM roundup program for wild horses is to keep populations stable on government lands. But as pens and stables used to house the horses became overcrowded — and attempts to adopt the horses out failed — the agency needed a way to relieve pressure on the system. Buyers like Colorado's Tom Davis were "willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head," according to the article.

In a release from the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Suzanne Roy, director of the organization, is quoted as saying:

Secretary Salazar owes the American people a guarantee that no more wild horses will end up in slaughterhouses. Instead of taking decisive action, Secretary Salazar has allowed the BLM to continue to roundup and stockpile thousands more wild horses removed from Western public lands. As the agency’s holding facilities for captured mustangs reach capacity, these cherished American icons are in real jeopardy of being slaughtered.

The release also states that there are more wild horses now in holding facilities than on the open range:

Under Secretary Salazar’s tenure, the BLM has rounded up and removed over 35,000 wild horses from their homes on the range on Western public lands. Only a third of these horses have been adopted. Most captured horses are warehoused in holding facilities. Currently, there are more wild horses in government holding facilities (50,000) than are left free on the range (32,000). Wild horses are removed by the thousands from public lands to make room for taxpayer-subsidized livestock grazing. Private livestock exceed wild horses on BLM lands by at least 50-1.

The release links to this YouTube video, which claims to show BLM horses being unloaded as part of a shipment to a Mexico horse slaughter plant.

Comments

Deborah MacIntyre 1 year, 5 months ago

Although I own a wild mustang, only because he was in a holding pen, we need to support their freedom. These are "wild" animals. Lets treat them as such. I have put many miles on my 4wheeler watching them at the Sand Wash in Moffatt County and have seen no signs in the BLMs care for them or understand the cost they claim to keep them free.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 5 months ago

Like it or not, “support[ing] their freedom” has to include population management and working towards a sustainable balance that will support an entire ecosystem that doesn't crowd out cattle and native wildlife competing for limited resources. Slaughter may have to be part of the equation.

The ProPublica article appears to be well researched, and it seems BLM is in an uncomfortable hole. Interesting that BLM has – at least publicly – rejected slaughter as undesirable. Not because it's impractical, but because it's bad PR. Enter a “relief valve” like Mr. Davis and BLM appears to have little choice but to look the other way.

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