BLM ‘opted for’ horse slaughter
The 41 horses quickly shuffled off to a kill-buyer this spring have NOT been forgotten. The Bureau of Land Management used horse slaughter as method of “taking care of” horses they were to protect. Beyond “for shame” – there should be more of a public outcry. ~ HFH
From: Cody Enterprise
By: Patricia Fazio
Letter to the Editor
Whoa. The article last month “Park County supports BLM on horse roundup” gave the impression that all wild horse advocates fail to understand federal land policy and law, and operate strictly on sentiment and outside the sphere of either reason or current statute.
While some groups felt this small herd of 41 free-roaming horses should be left alone, those of us who understand the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (1971, as amended) and the accompanying Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR Part 4700 – Protection, Management, and Control of Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros) realize the Cody BLM Field Office acted legally in gathering these horses.
While this herd had gone wild, i.e. had gradually organized into natural family bands, they were not located on a legal BLM Herd Area or Herd Management Area. While some horses could have come from the Foster Gulch/Dry Creek HA, zeroed out in 1987, we neither have DNA evidence nor solid proof.
Conversely, it appears the report of their origins from rodeo stock may be hearsay. In any event, these horses were in trespass (estray), and the BLM had the perfect right to round them up.
But the core reason the Cody BLM Field Office is being beaten up is these horses were sold to a killer buyer at Worland Livestock Auction, with or without the assent of local BLM officials.
Once the Wyoming Livestock Board took possession of these animals, that state agency had a choice. Under W.S. 11-24-102, “Taking up estrays; generally,” disposal of these horses could have been through sale, slaughter or destruction. Sale, to me, implies sale to horse advocates or caring individuals, who would have paid far more than the $43 the killer buyer (Bouvry Exports Calgary LTD) paid per head.
In fact, the ultimate slaughter rejects – 14 horses that were saved – were sold to horse advocates for an alleged $800 per head, a hefty profit that took unfair advantage of detested “horse lovers.”
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has requested, under the Freedom of Information Act and Wyoming Sunshine Laws, all public documents relating to this case. Both the Cody BLM Field Office and the Wyoming Livestock Board knew (or should have known) horse groups would be ready, willing and able to purchase and re-home these horses. The fact that they opted for slaughter is what has caused all the commotion.
What’s wrong here is that both the Cody BLM and the Wyoming Livestock Board know many of us who work to protect both wild and domesticated horses. One phone call (rather than an obscure “Notice of Intent to Impound”) could have saved all 41 horses and showed that public agencies actually do have a heart.
We hope to correct this with an MOU that gives Wyoming’s estray horses a good life, not a gruesome death, through an agency/horse advocate agreement.
(s) Patricia Fazio,
Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition
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