Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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.