REUTERS (16 June 2021) — An animal advocacy group has accused the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Denver federal court of running a wild-horse adoption program that fails to prevent their resale to slaughter facilities that process them for meat, in violation of prohibitions by Congress and of federal law.
In a complaint filed on Monday, Friends of Animals alleges that the BLM through its Adoption Incentive Program, which pays $1,000 a head to people who adopt wild horses the agency rounds up on federal lands, unlawfully fails to prohibit the horses’ sales to “kill buyers” at auctions.
BLM spokesperson Richard Packer declined to comment.
Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral said in a statement the group wants the suspension of the “faulty program that removed any safeguard to prevent the horses from certain death.”
The government pays to house horses it captures in holding facilities or private ranches, the complaint says. BLM’s 2019 Adoption Incentive Program is intended to lower associated costs by encouraging individuals and groups to care for the animals.
Those who adopt the horses sign a contract prohibiting them from selling them to slaughter.
FoA’s complaint says auctions nevertheless abound with BLM-adopted animals whom so-called kill buyers purchase for slaughterhouses. The complaint cites a May 15 New York Times article that “revealed that wild horses and burros adopted under the AIP were dumped at slaughter as soon as the adopters obtained full payment and title,” it says.
The 2019, 2020 and 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Acts prohibit the sale of wild horses that result in their commercial processing, the complaint says.
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