News broke last week of a Federal report which states that wild horses who were intended to be sold to good homes were instead sold to slaughterhouses in Mexico. According to the report, rancher Tom Davis bought 1,794 horses from the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program, and when recently asked by investigators how many of those horses had in turn been resold for slaughter, Davis answered "Probably close to all of them."
According to a recent article published by The Denver Post, "Between 2008 and 2012, Davis spent $17,940 on horses from the BLM." According to a post by The Washington Times, "The wrongful sale also cost taxpayers $140,000 to deliver truckloads of horses to Mr. Davis. He paid $10 a piece for the horses, or less than $18,000 total, and made as much as $154,000 in profits by selling them for slaughter."
The program which was originally designed to control the population of wild herds has been facing issues from all sides over the course of the past ten years. Men like Davis are not alone in their actions, and try as they might the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program can't seem to put a stop to the practice altogether. But the bigger question becomes, do they even want to?
Countless other pro-slaughter ranchers have petitioned and made calls for there to be less oversight in regards to the program. For years, the BLM has been rounding up thousands of wild horses all over the country, without large enough facilities to hold them. So naturally, when a man like Davis comes along and agrees to take a large portion of the animals off their hands, they see the man as a god-send.
What is that old saying that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is? Davis himself even told investigators "in selling so many loads of horses, BLM had to know that the horses would end up at the slaughterhouse."
Since the program's inception in 1978, it has been against federal law for buyers of these wild horses to resell them for slaughter. But even though news of this travesty just broke, the name Tom Davis in relation to the sale and reselling of wild horses is nothing new. News of his actions first broke in 2012 where both the federal and state authorities in Colorado have decided not to prosecute Davis.
According to Colorado law, a state brand inspection is required whenever livestock is shipped or sold 75 miles or more away. Out of the 1,700 horses Davis had in his possession, only 765 were reportedly "shipped" - meaning that roughly 1,000 horses were shipped or sold without an inspection and seemingly disappeared.
When first confronted with his actions by a reporter in 2012, Davis said, "What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?" When then confronted with the illegality of his actions, he followed up by asking "Since when is anything in this country done legal?"
For more information on how you can help combat the federal government's continued plans for rounding up more of our nation's wild horses, check out the American Wild Horse Preservation group.