Wild-horse activists are furious now that a government report has confirmed their suspicions: The Bureau of Land Management sold 1,794 federally protected wild horses to a Colorado rancher who sent them to slaughter.
The report by the U.S. Interior Department Office of Inspector General, horse advocates say, shows “a picture of government incompetence and a willful evasion of the law.”
Now they’re collecting petition signatures to pressure Western legislatures to overhaul the government program that removes wild horses from the range.
“The only thing standing between mustangs and certain doom is the American public, which opposes horse slaughter,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “We are putting a lot of effort to building a grass-roots army of activism.”
The BLM periodically rounds up wild horses and burros, supposedly to adopt them out to good homes and to prevent the range from overgrazing.
But for three years, ending in 2012, Colorado rancher Tom Davis purchased the animals through the BLM adoption program and sent them to Mexican slaughterhouses. Davis is a friend and neighbor of former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.