New evidence obtained by Animals’ Angels raises concerns
by ANIMALS’ ANGELS
We’ve all heard about the Wyoming 41 – the herd rounded up in March of this year under the supervision of the BLM’s Wyoming field office as estray horses and sent to the Bouvry slaughterhouse in Canada.
The sad fate of these allegedly estray horses caused a media firestorm which even made national news. Read Fox News Report here »
According to the statement on their Facebook page, this is the BLM’s response to the controversy surrounding the incident:
“March 18 and 19, 2014, 41 unauthorized domestic horses were gathered from BLM public lands in northern Wyoming. The horses were not federally protected under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act as they were not located in a Herd Management Area or a traditional Herd Area. They were domestic horses that had been in trespass on public lands for many years. The original owner was notified several years ago of the trespass and although he claimed the horses as his private property, he was unable to control them. In recent years, due to the reproduction of these domestic horses, increased development in the area, complaints from landowners and safety concerns, the horses were gathered and turned over to the State of Wyoming under the state’s estray laws. A Notice of Intent to Impound was signed on Feb. 18, 2014 and was published in local area newspapers and posted in local post offices. Local permittees, affected land owners and local law enforcement were also notified, by phone call, prior to the gather. This trespass impoundment was conducted like any other trespass or unauthorized use-the same process would be followed for cattle or sheep in trespass.”
The BLM also claims that these horses were then shipped to the Worland Livestock Auction where they were sold on March 19, 2014 at a public sale to the highest bidder, Bouvry Exports. See Wyoming Brand Inspection Certificates (pdf); Documentation on Gender & Number of Horses Gathered »
Now on the face of it, this seems like a reasonable explanation albeit not necessarily a believable one. However, new evidence obtained by Animals’ Angels raises serious questions on whether or not the proper protocol was followed when these horses were sold.
Oddly enough, the first Health Certificate (pdf) for this group of horses was signed a full 7 days prior to the roundup. The second was signed 4 days prior to the roundup.
Documentation recently obtained by AA from the State of Montana clearly shows that veterinarian Amanda Thoet signed the WY Health Certificates (pdf) on March 11, 2014 and March 14, 2014.
Additionally, the State of Montana issued Permits of Entry (pdf) for these horses, also dated March 11th and March 14th. How did the State of Montana know that these horses would be shipped to Montana?
Even more disturbing is the fact that these Health Certificates & Permits of Entry already list Bouvry Exports as the consignee. Now how is this possible given the fact that, according to the BLM, the horses were supposedly sold in a “public” auction with three bidders in attendance days after the roundup and days after these documents were issued?
Dr. Thoet, the veterinarian who signed the health certificates, confirmed the dates on these certificates as well as the fact that the horses were slated to go to Bouvry Exports at the time of her inspection in a phone call with Animals’ Angels that took place this morning.
Another issue that should concern everyone, animal advocate or not, is the fact that the BLM spent over $28,000 of taxpayer money to round up these horses. The sale price for the horses? $40 a head. In other words, the entire herd sold to Bouvry Exports for $1,640. Not exactly an efficient use of taxpayer money.
While the comparison between taxpayer cost and BLM profit associated with this round up raises valid concerns — what truly raises a red flag are the veterinary inspections that list Bouvry Exports as consignee long before the roundup or this alleged public auction even occurred.
Was the fate of these horses sealed even before they were gathered? It certainly appears that way.
Animals’ Angels will confront the governmental agencies involved and keep you posted on the further development.