Watchdog groups are accusing the Bureau of of Land Management (BLM) of illegally selling thousands of wild horses to be slaughtered between 2008 and 2012 under the office’s Wild Horse and Burro Program (WH&B).

A report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week, found that the BLM sold 1,794 federally-protected wild horses to a rancher in Colorado, who then sold the horses to be slaughtered in Mexico.

The American Wild Horse Preservation says selling wild horses for slaughter both violates BLM policy and a Congressional ban.

The BLM employee who sold the horses to Colorado rancher, Tom Davis, received monetary compensation based on the number of horses sold.

The detailed OIG investigation unearthed inconsistency among state-level brand inspectors and licensed officials in Colorado and New Mexico, in what reads like Jim Geraghty’s Weed Agency.

Summarizing the OIG’s lengthy report, the American Wild Horse Preservation wrote:

“It took more than three years for the OIG to confirm what we’ve always known – that the BLM sold 1,795 federally-protected wild horses to a known kill buyer who sold them to slaughter,” said Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC). “Unfortunately, there will be no justice for these mustangs, who suffered brutal deaths in Mexican slaughter plants. No one at the BLM is being held accountable for this betrayal, and Tom Davis is not being prosecuted for violating his contractual obligation to not sell the horses for slaughter.”

The report found that, “BLM did not follow current law while managing WH&B. BLM also failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered.”

“BLM employees never attempted to verify the information that Davis provided regarding his intentions for the horses, despite the unusually large number of horses being sold to him, and never stopped selling horses to Davis despite receiving information that Davis was sending horses to slaughter,” wrote the AWHP.

Cost to the taxpayer was $140,000, which was spent transporting horses to Davis who paid $10 a head. Davis then sold the horses, raking in, “$154,000 in profits by selling them for slaughter,” according to the AWHP.

To date, no government officials have been held accountable for the massive wild horse slaughter.

“Unfortunately, there will be no justice for these mustangs, who suffered a brutal death in Mexican slaughter plants,” said Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “No one at the BLM is being held accountable for this betrayal, and Tom Davis is not being prosecuted for violating his contractual obligation to not sell the horses for slaughter.”

“The solution to wild horse management is not selling horses and burros for slaughter,” Roy concluded. “It’s time for BLM to stop rounding up wild horses and burros, stop stockpiling them in holding facilities and start managing them humanely on-the-range using the safe and effective PZP fertility control vaccine, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.”

[Featured image from Wikimedia Commons]
[h/t The Hill]

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