Rescued from starvation, Leachman horses may now be eaten

Horse from the Leachman Cruelty Case
The horses at the center of the James Leachman cruelty case in Montana are now slated to be sold as part of a Crow Indian tribal sale where seven killer buyers are said to be attending.

The Leachman horses of Montana, who were rescued from starvation, now need rescuing again — this time from slaughter for human consumption.

This is yet another example of how irresponsible breeding and management of horses can result in a brutal and terrifying death, profiting the owners when the horses go to slaughter and ending up on someone’s dinner plate.

The tragic tale has more twists and turns than a Texas tornado, especially when trying to arrive at just who owns these horses.

Jan Falstad has reported in detail on the fate of the Leachman horses for the Billings Gazette. She is the source of all linked content below.

In an article on January 22, 2011, Falstad tells us:

The Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office on Friday filed five primary misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and five alternative counts against James H. Leachman of Billings.

But the legal action may have come too late to save many of the estimated 450 horses starving to death on a ranch east of Billings.

Leachman, who bred cattle in Montana for nearly four decades and turned to horses when his cattle empire collapsed, faces a total maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

To the rescue road local residents airlifting hay and providing water to the starving and thirsty horses, abandoned out in the frozen tundra of the foreclosed property, some spilling over onto other properties looking for food and water, including Crow tribal lands.

Falstad reports:

More than 100 horses have broken through barbed-wire fences and are roaming on neighboring ranches or on Crow tribal land where they have a much better chance of surviving the winter, said Peila.

It was Shepherd veterinarian Jeff Peila who first warned that hundreds horses trapped in one pasture of the Leachman (later found to be Stovall) property with no grass were on the verge of mass starvation in late December.

The same article mentions:

All ranchers lose a small percentage of stock running on the range, but this death could have been avoided, Peila said.

“It’s poor livestock management to band the horses and turn them out into the damn wilderness,” he said.

No one yet knows how many horses are roaming the vast range, including deeded and Crow tribal lands near the Pryor Mountains. What is different about this winter is that these horses cannot roam freely to find grass because Leachman doesn’t control the land anymore.

continuing with:

After telling a bankruptcy judge last winter that he had no income after the collapse of the Leachman Cattle Co., and a price collapse in the horse markets, Leachman said he would hold his annual fall Hairpin Cavvy sale.

That didn’t happen.

“I planned on having a sale this fall, I just couldn’t have it. Sure, I could have it if I wanted to sell my horses for 200 bucks,” he said in December.

In mid-February, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a Department of Interior agency (also responsible for the Bureau of Land Management), moves in on the horses.

In an article dated February 15, 2011, Falstad tells us:

As 14 round hay bales were dropped by helicopter Tuesday morning to hungry horses east of Billings, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs was moving closer to rounding up the horses and moving them off the Crow Indian reservation and possibly selling them this spring.

The BIA has solicited bids to capture, treat and transport hundreds of Jim Leachman’s horses ranging over 20 miles of private and tribal lands east of Billings on the former Leachman Cattle Co. Home Place Ranch.

Yet, at the same time:

Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder drove the tractor Tuesday and loaded the large round bales into the helicopter nets. During the last cold snap, the sheriff’s office and other volunteers fed the horses by truck and tractor, but many of the pastures are getting too wet, so another airlift was scheduled.

As required by the court, Leachman called the sheriff’s office to ask permission to check on the horses, and Saturday he took away about five horses, Linder said.

The Crow tribe have now rounded up 700 horses for sale in late March or early April. Numbers from various reports do not add up, so presumably the Leachman horses are only a fraction of the horses going to the block.

In an article on March 21, 2011, Falstad reports:

In a colorful roundup on Monday morning, about 50 Crow horsemen spent the day gathering about 700 horses in bands of 80 to 200 and driving them through a gap in the rimrocks toward their last home before they are sold.

The mares and colts trotted, galloped, snorted and whinnied, but willingly followed the lead rider into the wooden pens.

Jay Stovall, 71, who grew up on this land and now owns the former Leachman Cattle Co. ranch 16 miles east of Billings, said the sight was thrilling.

This is the same Stovall that Leachman claims fenced the horses he left behind out with no forage or water to die.

The sad story unfolds further:

With the help of two months of eating 150 tons of donated hay, the horses came back from the brink of starvation last winter. Leachman has pleaded not guilty to 14 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years and $7,000 in fines. His jury trial is scheduled for June 3.

Beginning Thursday, the horses will be sorted by age and gender, identified and have temporary neck bands attached.


The BIA impounded the horses in early March after serving Leachman with a legal notice that his horses were trespassing on tribal lands and neighboring ranches.

The BIA is paying the tribe $45,000 to round up the horses and feed them until a March 31 sale that could be moved to April 2 and 3.

ending with:

Memories of the roundup will stay with Jason Shigley, who was shooting video for the Crow Tribe to document the day.

“This is a historic event,” he said. “The Crow people are horse people. Everything that has to do with the horse is in our makeup.”

Including selling them to slaughter?

In comments to the March 21st article, montanavoter says “There will be seven slaughter buyers there according to the people we have talked to.” countrgirl4life states “So all this hay and money was donated so we could round up these horses and kill them in inhumane and cruel ways?”

Related Reading:

Who is responsible for the Leachman Horses?, Tuesday’s Horse, Jan. 31, 2011 >>

21 thoughts on “Rescued from starvation, Leachman horses may now be eaten”

  1. This is ludicrous if any one should be slaughtered it is leachman the crow tribe and Stovall these beautiful creatures are survivors and need to be treated with respect honor and dignity!stop this animal cruelty INSANITY!!! LET THESE HORSES FINALLY BE FREE THAT IS THE LEAST WE CAN DO TO START TO TRY TO MAKE A WRONG BY SO MANY IGNORANT PEOPLE RIGHT FOR THE ANIMAL THAT FEELS LOVE PAIN AND FEAR AND HAVE SURVIVAL SKILLS AND THE WILL TO LIVE!!!!!!


  2. I am ashamed about this and all transgressions against the horse and all animals, they bring to us, beauty , unconditional love, wisdom , pride , trust, and show to us freedom in such a way it is the most beautiful thing you will ever see, throughout our daily lives it is so easy to forget all these things, they remind us to be humble and appreciate what we have…………… they never kill to be cruel…………………the horse is the perfect example of all good things all rolled up in one…………….. he stands before us perfect in his creation, he stands before powerful , yet demure, He stands before us showing to us family is the most important thing in our lives , he is willing to die to protect his, he can take away your stress in a heartbeat, he is a healer, no drugs from him……. yet he is fragile, and needs us to be his caretaker, what a small price to pay to sustain such a wonderful ally, what he has done , what he will do in the future is unmistakable, to not be able to see his total worth is to be blind………….. And for those of us that are that blind , Iam Ashamed……… It is true that the breezes of Heaven blow gently between a horses ears…. All this is NOT MOOT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


  3. ***How can we get the general public to correct the loophole in the laws that protect wild and domestic horses from going to auction and bid on by Kill Buyers…we have got to close that loophole…Change the status of a horse from LiveStock to Companion…***


  4. We know all about the DOI through its notorious Bureau of Land Management, destroying this nation’s wild horses and burros. We also know about the DOI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and how evil they can be. The problem is, there are tribes who are happy to sell horses to slaughter. Whether or not the Crow is one of these tribes, we can’t say. A lot of these transactions are agreed to secretly and covered up. What is very clear is that a lot of people have been involved in this and have made stupid, greedy decisions that have absolutely nothing to do with the welfare of these horses. It is the human tribe who should be blamed, of all races, color, breed and creed. Throughout history humans have sold each other out over and over and over. We have learned nothing. We should be ashamed.


  5. The tribe gathered them it is the BIA that is selling them because LEACHMAN the overbreeding creep can’t pay his bills. If you want to blame anyone blame him. We have known him for years he is a jerk.

    There is a difference between the BIA and the tribe.. the BIA is part of the US INTERIOR.. look it up. Gosh people… Some of us Indian families are doing good.. And my husband is Rod Rondeaux of the Crow Tribe… educate yourselves.. we save horses all the time and have our Native youth wild horse program with Lifesavers.. Don’t blame the “indian” this time it is a once rich old white man’s fault.


    1. Stop with the. white man stereo type these animals have survived and defied death who ate you to decide their fate horses have helped the Indian win wars hunt food so do the right thing horses ate not livestock and I have seen horses being slaughtered it is animal cruelty at it s worst they feel fear and do not slaughter easily they never give up they have the will to live and be free just like the crow tribes people stop with the white man blame! And my mother is 100 % Cherokee Indian! it s not about Indian issues with the white man as u say but about freeing beautiful horses that are livestock and want to always live!


  6. If the Crow people truly are horse people, why can they not stipulate to whom they will or will not sell these unfortunate horses, who have already suffered so much….if they care for the horses with reverence & regard, would they not want them to be only in the hands of equally caring people….to the absolute exclusion of any kill buyers whatsoever….this is not about economics alone….it is about values….I can only exhort my Native American brothers & sisters to set a positive example in their ultimate treatment of these, our fellow creatures of the earth.


  7. This is very unsettling. With billings livestock involved – they are founding leadership of United Organization of the Horse – this just is too bizarre.


  8. OMG horses ARE NOT LIVESTOCK ! For petes sake…………. These people need to be reminded of exactly what horses have done for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do they think they were put here with us for sport and to murder them, I think there is and always was a much more important reason for them being here, are these people that dense that they dont see a much more viable service they can provide, like they havent been doing it since forever already, and never being acknowledged for??????????? No pill can ever boast the no side effects quite like a horse, he is capable of relieving stress, he is capable of putting a smile on a childs face that has never smiled or communicated before at anyone because of a devastating birth defect??????? Does he not give peace from the effects of being in a war coming with syndromes of the most devastating kind?????? He is a natural healer when asked to do so…………………. In more areas that I can mention here, it is only a matter of using our brains!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to figure out what a prized work of art he is………………………. and how we can help each other and have this be a most wonderful alliance…………….. and meeting of the souls….. Those who cannot see this I feel really sorry for………….those of us who can will stop at nothing to save them…………………


      1. Get a grip educate your ignorance in your self- centered world you 4 words speaks VOLUMES OF YOUR IGNORANCE AND LAVK PF EDUCATION


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