WRITTEN BY DAVID PHILIPPS
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar says he will tighten regulations of the federal government’s wild horse program, restricting the number of horses people can buy and making it easier for the government to prosecute buyers who sell mustangs to slaughter.
Salazar laid out the plan in an interview Thursday with The Gazette in his Washington, D.C., office, saying the changes were in response to a ProPublica investigation published in September that questioned the fate of animals sold to Tom Davis, a San Luis Valley livestock hauler who has bought more than 1,700 horses through the program since 2009, 70 percent of those sold in that time.
Salazar has lived for decades in the same rural ranching corner of Colorado as Davis. In an interview this spring, Davis said he knew Salazar and had hauled cattle for him for years. The government started selling horses to Davis in large numbers shortly after Salazar took over the agency.
Davis maintains he has found the animals “good homes.” Wild horse advocates fear they ended up in Mexican slaughterhouses. Davis subsequently told Colorado officials that he shipped some horses out of state in violation of brand inspection laws. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has turned the case over to the district attorney in Alamosa for prosecution.
Those who buy horses from the federal government already sign contracts saying they will not resell animals for slaughter. Salazar is beefing up the language in contracts to specify that buyers can face prosecution for any “material misrepresentation” on sales applications or bills of sale, or for indirectly selling horses to slaughter by reselling to middlemen.
Under the new rules, buyers also will only be able to acquire five wild horses every six months. Any order larger than that will require the signed approval of the BLM’s deputy director.
Salazar said the changes should help prevent horses from ending up at slaughterhouses. He acknowledged, however, that fundamental fixes to the wild horse program, which has been dogged by controversy and mounting costs, have so far eluded his agency.
“It is a problem that has escaped resolution for a very long time for everyone who has tried to work on it,” Salazar said. “I don’t believe we have the solution yet at hand, but we need to continue to try to figure out the right thing to do.”
TUESDAY’S HORSE SAYS
Insofar as the new contracts go, they are like the failed Canadian equine identification document required for slaughter horses coming from the U.S. The documentation relies on the honesty of the killer buyer. There is no honor in horse slaughter or among killers.
At the end of the article, Salazar states:
“As vexing as the problem is, as difficult as it is, I think we have made progress,” he said, adding that the government is developing new drugs that are easier to use and longer-lasting. “Here is the reality. Unless we do something to get the horse and burro population controlled, the problem is going to continue to grow.”
Based on that statement alone, it is clear to see that Salazar is clearly out of touch and has absolutely no understanding of what his department is doing to our wild horses and burros, OR he is staying the course with same old pack of lies. Either way, our wild horses and burros continue to be abused and destroyed. This demonstrates that Salazar needs to go, and as quickly as possible.