The case of the missing mustangs; what happened to 1,700 wild horses?

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NBC News, Lisa Myers and Michael Austin, May 14, 2013

Tom Davis at his corrals in La Jara, Colo. Photo by Dave Phillips

Tom Davis at his corrals in La Jara, Colo. Photo by Dave Phillips

The semis would rumble down country roads packed full of wild horses. Truckload after truckload, sometimes 36 horses at a time, all with the same destination: a ranch in the small town of La Jara, Colo.  

 

Records show that for years, the Bureau of Land Management sold and shipped more than 1,700 wild horses from its animal holding facilities to just one rancher. Now federal investigators are trying to figure out:  What did he do with all those mustangs? And did any of them ultimately end up being butchered in the slaughter plants of Mexico? 

 

Wild horse advocates fear the worst. They want to know the truth about the fate of the horses and whether the U.S. government looked the other way as the federally protected animals seemingly disappeared. 

 

“I want to know where the horses went,” said Laura Leigh of the group Wild Horse Education, which advocates on behalf of the wild mustangs. “It’s disgusting, it’s abhorrent.  Whoever signed that slip to approve those sales, I want to look them in the eye and say, ‘What were you thinking?’” 

 

Federal investigation
The BLM is charged with protecting wild horses under federal law and has confirmed that the Interior Department Office of Inspector General is investigating the agency’s sale of mustangs to rancher and livestock hauler Tom Davis. 

 

The Davis investigation comes amid a growing controversy over the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. The agency faces a dire situation: Nearly 50,000 horses captured during frequent roundups, so-called “excess animals,” are living in government holding facilities that are nearing capacity.  Horse adoptions are down, so the BLM has turned to selling the animals. 

CONTINUED – Read more at NBC News




AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
15 Comments
  • BLM is all about the cattle rancher….not the horses…….Hey Davis what did you do with all the horses? Let me guess…..

    May 15, 2013
  • Mary Ann Gardne

    This is a cruel thing, stay behind it! THANKS!

    May 15, 2013
  • janwindsong

    Whatever the pundits in this issue come u, hot air and pointless statements – the fact is horses from some of our most precious HMAshave gone to slaughter. You can po. Mr Davis came to my attention after the Adobe Town roundup. If you remember when Mr Phillips first published his report, he provided details of the individuals sold to this man, including 39 pregnant mares from the Burns facility. Horses from Twin Peaks, a couple hundred stallions from Adone Twn.

    There has been some followup by private citizens who do not stand to gain which revealed foals sold en masse to this man, some of whom had the presence of wild babies. The advocate mentioned in this story did not raise a hand to help.

    When we find the strength to take a stand, publicity will actually work to stop the trade. to remind us

    May 15, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    I really hope they get some answers and hope with all my heart that we all will FINALLY know what happened to all the horses for sure and this investigation will punish all who where involved……

    May 15, 2013
  • Daryl

    Just how big do these men feel after kicking a burro when it is down because they just run it by plan, chased it by horse back, pulled it by it’s ears & tail trying to get it up on it’s exhausted feet from miles of the chase. You are working for BLM who is to protect these animals, this is their job. You men sicken me. Your the jack ass’s this entire place needs to be looked in to, and new people in charge that will give these animals who are protected by the government, the protection they need. Their were Mother’s with babies by their side who were run to death. You people sicken men to no end, what low animals you have become. This is the USA and we dont do this.Our president has allowed this to happen, waht else has he done, looked the other way for the sale of these animals to go to slaughter? Will Davis have to pay, & jail term for what he pulled? Lets see.

    May 15, 2013
  • I want those responsible prosecuted, so please sign my petition-http://www.thepetitionsite.com/508/648/531/prosecute-those-at-the-blm-responsible-for-1700-disappearing-mustangs/#next_action

    May 15, 2013
    • sherriey

      i signed!!!!! thanks Lisa!

      May 15, 2013
  • please sign and share– this is not an ”over sight” this is blatant horse stealing.

    May 15, 2013
  • CJ Leonard

    What does this mean: “adoptions are down, so the BLM has turned to selling horses”? Ive followed the Davies story, but Who are they selling to now? And is the restrictions that have buyers sign a no slaughter order still in effect? I know with adoptions, folks have to sign that the horses they are adopting will not be slaughtered. Tom Davies signed this, but is there new protocol since there are 50,000 in holding and not too many adoptions?

    May 15, 2013
    • Jade

      CJ – the BS about adoptions being “down” is amazing when they are charging the public $125 per head to adopt (with an additional $25 if you want a “companion animal” as well) so last year I paid $150 for two ($75 for each) and they are selling them out the back door to a kill buyer for $10 a head? Why not offer them to the public for that and see how many would be adopted!

      May 16, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    what i find odd just yesterday i received in the mail a letter from senator harry reid stating this doesn’t happen so this just through more fuel on my fire I am gonna do somethings that not to many will but i will i miss my wild horses in my yard they were my friends & i can’t sleep anymore at all from what i have seen “as wyatt earp said “…& HELL IS COMING WITH ME”

    May 15, 2013
  • Linda Parker-Fedak

    Sounds like the BLM and this buyer have broken Federal Laws! This agency and this buyer need to be held accountable! Anyone else would go to jail. This agency needs to get rid of the criminals!!! Everyone knows those missing horses were sold for slaughter! Goes against everything that the wild horse program stood for. I am mad, disgusted and have no more faith in our government! As far as I am concerned, a bunch of criminals have stolen our horses!

    May 15, 2013
    • please sign my petition to hold these people accountable, thank you!!!

      May 16, 2013
    • Judy Wendt

      Yes, those were OUR horses since there were taken from OUR public lands. If any of the horses the BLM sold were to a known kill buyer then federal laws were violated and we DEMAND that there be a criminal investigation. An attorney/law firm needs to be hired by combinations of animal advocacy groups to pursue this on behalf of the public.

      May 16, 2013
  • Daryl

    Why does a kill buyer get a horse cheaper he will sell them and make money, we want to get a horse & pay a much high price and we want to help them, keep them train them or let them run free. Not fair again. Not to the public or the horses. the ones who have done wrong need to got to trial and pay the price for
    breaking laws.

    May 16, 2013