The Cloud Foundation presses BLM to focus on keeping horses on the range
Washington, DC – October 25, 2015 – After 3 years of waiting for the Office of the Inspector General to complete an investigation of Colorado rancher and livestock hauler, Tom Davis, their report has finally been completed and confirms what The Cloud Foundation (TCF) has been saying publicly since October of 2012. The report states, “During our investigation, Davis admitted that most of the horses he purchased from BLM went to slaughter.” The report also states that between 2008 and 2012 BLM spent more than $140,000 in taxpayer dollars transporting wild horses to Davis who admits to paying only $10.00 for each horse.
“BLM’s performance in this deadly incident is completely unacceptable. Who is being held accountable here?” asks Paula Todd King, TCF Director of Communications. “It appears everyone gets off—BLM, Davis, the Vet, the Brand Inspector and everyone involved.”
The Report states: “We referred this investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, who declined both civil and criminal prosecution. The State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office also declined to file charges against Davis. We referred the public health issue concerning a USDA-certified veterinarian signing IHCs without inspecting the horses (false statements) to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. The District of New Mexico formally declined prosecution.”
The OIG report also indicates that BLM law enforcement officers who looked into the background of Tom Davis “found no evidence of Davis selling the horses to slaughter.”
“This is surprising as Davis is well known in Southern Colorado and it is common knowledge that he buys horses for the purpose of selling them for slaughter,” states Ginger Kathrens, TCF Executive Director and producer of the Cloud films for PBS. “The law enforcement folks dropped the ball leaving wild horses and the American public to pay the ultimate price.”
“What is also shocking is Colorado’s failure to follow through with the prosecution of Tom Davis,” addedAnn Evans, a founding Board Member of TCF, “and that New Mexico too has turned a blind eye to the wrong-doing of the veterinarian who falsified documents, an action clearly out of compliance with his New Mexico State Veterinary License.”
“BLM believes they have eliminated the possibility of this crime being repeated by limiting the number of wild horses that can be purchased at any one time. But what does it say about how we go forward if no one is held responsible for the suffering that occurred to animals that only wanted to live their lives in freedom with their families?” continues Kathrens. “The best way to avoid a repeat of this tragedy is to keep wild horses on the range where they want to be, and where they are clearly the safest.”
The Colorado non-profit believes that field darting with the safe, reversible fertility control drug PZP will keep mustang populations at zero population growth and eliminate the need for removals.TCF has offered to work with the BLM to implement those fertility control plans to preserve genetically viable herds in the wild and reduce the cost of managing wild horses in less than humane holding facilities.
“Misstatements and untruths must stop,” adds King, “including covering up the inhumane treatment of wild horses by helicopter contractors during roundups, failure to provide adequate shelter to thousands of wild horses already in captivity, sterilizing vibrant, healthy herds of wild horses on the range, and skewing environmental analyses that blame wild horses for range damage caused by livestock grazing and energy development.”
“It is past time for BLM to turn the ship around and fulfill their responsibility to the American public to manage healthy herds of wild horses on public lands in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way,” Kathrens concludes.
Paula Todd King
The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.