Target: Governor John Hickenlooper
Goal: Punish a rancher who purchased 1,794 wild horses and allegedly sold them to slaughter houses in Mexico.
Rancher Tom Davis allegedly sent a total of 1,794 wild horses to slaughter for a healthy profit, costing taxpayers a total of $140,000 for transport, according to an article in The Denver Post. These horses were bought for roughly $18,000 then sold by Mr. Davis to Mexican slaughterhouses for roughly $154,000. Mr. Davis is also quoted saying he’s sold “almost all of them” when asked how many of the horses have been sold to slaughter.
Mr. Davis is only one of many pro-slaughter ranchers, and many of them advocate for less oversight when dealing with wild horses purchased from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is also noted that only 765 horses purchased by Mr. Davis were actually inspected during transport, which leaves an unaccounted for 1,000 horses. It is also convenient that the state of Colorado has decided not to prosecute Mr. Davis for these questionable practices.
The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is designed to manage herd sizes of wild horses by catching and selling them to interested owners. The intent is for these wild horses to go to good homes. Instead, they are being bought by ranchers for low prices and then sold for profit to slaughterhouses in Mexico. This has been a pervasive problem for the program in the last decade, with more and more people buying and re-selling the horses.
The next big problem is that there seems to be a lack of consistent attention given to what happens to horses sold by the BLM. That the bureau seems to be against any legislation preventing the sale of purchased horses to slaughter is only one of many questionable practices.
This problem is exacerbated by the BLM catching more wild horses than they have facilities to contain and care for. So when men like Mr. Davis show up and offer to take a few thousand of them off their hands, the BLM is more than happy to comply. This produces a situation of zero accountability for the BLM, as they can sell off the horses and by the time anyone outside of their system becomes aware that the animals were sold to slaughter, it’s too late to do anything.
The situation is profitable for the BLM and for the ranchers, but wastes taxpayer money and the lives of wild horses. Of course, this situation is also exacerbated by ever-intensifying demands that all sports and jobs utilizing horses be shut down. So the only people left who can afford or have the means to care for horses are these ranchers who sell them to slaughter.
Regardless of what causes this situation, these men should still be held accountable for their actions. Do not allow men like Tom Davis to walk free of repercussions and work a system designed to benefit everyone but taxpayers and wild horses. Sign and urge authorities to at least demand this man take responsibility for evading customs checks for 1,000 animals, and for questionable business practices.
Dear Governor Hickenlooper,
Colorado rancher Tom Davis recently purchased 1,794 wild horses from the Wild Horse and Burro Program, paying roughly $18,000 and costing about $140,000 in taxpayer money for their transport. He then turned around and sold these horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico for about $154,000.
This is not an uncommon practice between ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management. In fact, Colorado prosecutors decided not to prosecute Mr. Davis despite the fraudulent business transaction and the questionable practices of turning a profit on taxpayer money. This practice is one that will prove a threat to diminishing wild horse populations in America.
It is disappointing that Mr. Davis is not being held accountable for his actions. While legislation doesn’t specifically address re-selling BLM purchased horses to slaughterhouses, that this practice takes place under-desk is enough to encourage an investigation. At the very least, Mr. Davis should face the consequences of only 765 horses being properly inspected when transported to his property in Colorado–that a glaring 1,000 animals weren’t does not speak well of him or those in charge of inspections.
It’s a disappointing mark against Colorado when so many have praised the state for its otherwise generally progressive practices. Please don’t allow men to walk free from these questionable practices. Consider the effects this will have on America’s wild horse population in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management