By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Texas Parks and Wildlife, the state agency charged with the welfare of animals in their natural habitat didn’t have enough respect for 11 domestic horses to give them a quick and painless death. Instead, on the orders of park superintendent Barrett Darst of Big Bend Ranch State Park, the horses, mares and foals, were sent to a painful slaughter, Mexico style
Friday a TPWD lawyer complied with a Horseback Magazine open records request and released documents already provided to by an animal cruelty investigator. But the state parks department went a step further and released photos of some of the condemned animals.
One of the horses clearly was not an easy keeper or was underfed, its ribs showing. The horse was also missing a hoof.
Yet the horse was ridden on the ranch as evidenced by saddle marks near its withers.
TPWD could easily have dispatched the horse with one of the guns used to kill 70 wild burros it considers a non native species earlier this year. Critics claim the park is ridding the donkeys to make room for big horn sheep, a big game animal coveted by hunters who will pay mega bucks for a permit to hunt them.
Despite the extensive documentation provided to Horseback Online regarding the slaughter sale, State Parks Director Brent Leisure denied park officials knew they were selling horses to known killer buyer Ruben Brito.
Big Bend Ranch is the states largest park. It is 70 miles across and lays on the banks of the Rio Grande near Presidio.
During the past year the Texas Department of Criminal Justice sold about 60 prison horses to longtime killer buyer Trent Saulters who took them directly to the slaughter pens of Presidio.