A scathing federal report released Friday found that the Bureau of Land Management knowingly sold thousands of wild horses for slaughter.
The BLM, which is charged with protecting wild horses actually sold more than 1,700 of them to a Colorado rancher who illegally sent them to slaughterhouses in Mexico.
Over the course of four years, from 2008-2012, the rancher, Tom Davis, purchased loads of horses for $10 each and resold them for meat.
Davis told BLM officials he was sending the horses to good homes, but the report criticizes the bureau for failing to check on where the animals ended up, even after receiving complaints.
The BLM released a statement saying it had taken steps to improve its oversight of wild horses, including limiting purchases to just four per buyer.
But wild horse advocates are condemning the department for its mismanagement.
Deniz Bolbol is with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
“Everyone at the BLM knew what was going on, from the bottom to top, and they let it go on despite it being against the law,” she says.
More than 60,000 wild horses and burros roam federal lands across the West — almost half of them in Nevada. Mustangs are routinely sold or put up for adoption to control herd sizes, but it is against the law to slaughter horses purchased this way.
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