HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management is in all likelihood investigating allegations that a Colorado kill buyer catering to the equine slaughter industry has bought and taken scores of wild horses to slaughter.
Asked if the BLM has an active investigation underway on the matter of killer buyer Tom Davis buying horses and allegedly selling them to slaughter, chief Washington spokesman Tom Gorey told Horseback, “I can’t comment on that.”
The “no comment” from the highly placed BLM source indicates something is in the works since an outright denial would have sufficed to end the questioning. When told Horseback was going to publish our assumption that an investigation is underway, Gorey had no further response.
National attention focused on Colorado’s Tom Davis after a Pro Publica article by Dave Phillips, a freelance writer. According to reports, the writer spent months on the story in the field as well as working with longtime respected wild horse advocates such as Reno’s Laura Leigh. The result was the story which alleges that as many as 1,700 federally protected wild horses and burros bought at fire sale prices likely went to slaughter.
Commenting earlier on the Phillips article, Gorey told Horseback, “The Pro Publica/Denver Post article on Tom Davis, it should be noted, does not provide any evidence that wild horses sold to Davis have gone to slaughter. The BLM will investigate any credible claims that horses sold by the agency have gone to slaughter.”
The Denver Post, as well as other media outlets in the West has taking an active interest in the Davis story.
Gorey was asked last week if the agency would investigate Davis. At that time, he did not issue the telling “no comment.”
Gorey then went on to say, “Our law enforcement personnel will make that determination on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “The overriding goal in such matters is to prevent horses from going to slaughter.”
BLM does indeed have a policy which states horses sold off its massive feedlots are not to be sent to slaughter, however, critics claim federal bureaucrats are desperate to thin the hordes of horses being held in massive pastures at taxpayer expense and pay scant attention to a buyer’s background in the horse business, including longtime killer buyers such as Davis, who was widely quoted regarding the quality of horsemeat as food for humans.
“Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearly colt,” he told Phillips in his story. “What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant.”
About 60 wild horses were sold to a Utah killer buyer earlier this year with scant scrutiny from BLM sales personnel. Two men were arrested and indicted.