Debunking: Myths and Facts

The Bureau of Land Management currently has a “Myths and Facts” page on their website. They print this page and include in press packets.

Wild Horse Education has created a page that we have created to be included in a folder to hand to media at roundups. The entire pdf is available in the sidebar under our pamphlet.


Myth #1:  The BLM is selling or sending wild horses to slaughter.

BLM “Fact:”  This charge is absolutely false.  The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management care deeply about the well-being of wild horses, both on and off the range, and the BLM does not and has not sold or sent horses or burros to slaughter.  Consequently, as the Government Accountability Office noted in a report issued in October 2008, the BLM is not in compliance with a December 2004 amendment (the so-called Burns Amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act) that directs the Bureau to sell excess horses or burros “without limitation” to any willing buyer.


BLM “off limits to the public facility” Broken Arrow, Indian Lakes Road, Fallon Nevada.

Our Response

BLM has sold horses into the hands of kill-buyers and has not followed up on the whereabouts of the horses and has ignored public concern.

As scrutiny and criticism of the agency increased after horrific images of conduct by roundup contractors escalated last year Gus Warr, the Utah state lead of the program, intercepted two truckloads of slaughter bound wild horses.

Two men from Utah, Robert Wilford Capson and Dennis Kay Kunz, were indicted by a federal grand jury following an investigation by BLM. The men face charges of wire fraud and making false statements after bureau agents impounded 64 slaughter bound horses on a one way trip to a Mexican abattoir.

In an interview with KSL TV in Salt Lake one of the accused men, Dennis Kunz said, “The BLM is only trying to make him look bad, and the entire operation was a set-up to make the BLM look good for future funding for the Wild Horse Program.”

Wilford Capson plead out to the charges and the conclusion for Dennis Kunz is yet to come.

This year a private investigation by journalist Dave Philipps, assisted by Wild Horse Education, revealed more startling evidence that BLM may be knowingly selling to kill-buyers. The piece was published in ProPublica and an interview with Dave Philipps about the investigation on DemocracyNow can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AKEVdP4WRM

In the current sale to a known kill buyer, Tom Davis of Colorado, more than 1700 wild horses were sold and their whereabouts currently unknown. But Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own. Yet BLM continued to sell this man wild horses as it reassured the public it was doing “all it could” to ensure horses sold did not go to slaughter.

BLM has now assured the public that the IG’s office is involved in an active investigation on this matter yet no specifics have been given.


Wild horse loaded onto semi-truck

Please recognize that the number represented, in the specifically listed instances above, do not represent all of the purchases of horses for “sale.” BLM currently sells horses it considers un-adoptable, (the parameters of that status such as age and condition are not clearly defined), for $10.00 each by the truckload. In the above mentioned instance of Tom Davis, who is an acquaintance of Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the shipping costs were paid by the tax payer as well. BLM does not do any compliance checks that are available to the public on horses “sold.”

To compound this issue Long-term holding facilities that “sell” wild horses  by the truckload are off limits to “adoptions” by private individuals. BLM set up these facilities as “private” without allowing public input. No comment period was ever given to the American public as to how their money would be spent housing wild horses and burros. No private citizen can enter a facility to purchase a single animal. Requests to purchase animals that have been sent to long-term by the public have met with a response that it is “too difficult” to track the whereabouts and sell a horse to an individual and have been refused.

BLM claims in it’s published statement on sale authority to do everything in their power to offer the animal for sale and to find them a “good home.” When facilities are off limits, no inventory is published and requests are refused to adopt single animals.

Links of Interest:

BLM page on sale authority: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/What_We_Do/sale_authority.html

Interview with journalist Dave Philipps on his investigation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AKEVdP4WRM