Wednesday, October 28, 2015

BLM Illegally Sold Thousands Of Wild Horses For Slaughter

Under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the BLM is responsible for protecting and managing wild horses and burros to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands.

Per the BLM website, "The mid-20th century harvesting of wild horses for commercial purposes induced a Reno, Nevada, secretary -- Velma Johnston -- to begin a campaign that led to passage of a 1959 law to protect these iconic animals.

While driving to work one day in 1950, Ms. Johnston noticed blood leaking from a livestock truck. She followed it and discovered that horses were being delivered to a slaughterhouse. Ms. Johnston responded with a massive letter-writing campaign by students to prevent other wild horses from meeting a similar end. The campaign became known as the 'Pencil War' and Ms. Johnston was affectionately dubbed 'Wild Horse Annie.'"

Legislation that followed resulted in the enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the landmark law that directs Federal management of wild horses and burros on our public lands, Federal property. The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 declares wild horses and burros to be "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West." 

Under that law, the Interior Department is responsible to care for our wild horse herds. The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service manage the herds in their respective jurisdictions.

To help carry out its assignment, the BLM established the Wild Horse and Burro Program which the agency uses to manages and protects wild horses and burros, both on and off the range, while striving to maintain rangeland health.

Environmentalist groups, who care more about the flora and the fauna and less about wild horses, burros, cattle, and the American people, have consistently tried to rid the rangelands of wild horses, burros, cattle, and people like ranchers and farmers. 

In reality, Environmentalists have used all sorts of political influence, from bribes and lawsuits to lobbing and huge campaign donations, to get their way. And yes, many top Federal government officials are in the pockets of wealthy Environmentalist groups. 

On October 24, 2015, the Washington Times reported that the Bureau of Land Management, the agency responsible for protecting America's wild horses on public grazing lands, broke the law by selling 1,794 federally-protected wild horses to a Colorado rancher who sent them to slaughter.

According to the report from the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General, between 2009 and 2012, rancher Tom Davis purchased the horses through the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Program and knowingly illegally sent them to slaughter.

According to the allegations and news reports, rancher Davis also had farming and trucking connections with former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar is member of the Democratic Party. He previously served as a United States Senator from Colorado from 2005 to 2009. Salazar resigned his Senate seat on January 20, 2009, upon his confirmation by the Senate to become Secretary of the Interior under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. 

Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General Investigators wrote in the report, "We determined that BLM did not follow current law while managing WH&B. BLM also failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered,”

Davis admitted that most of the horses that he purchased through the BLM went to slaughter. He told investigators that "in selling so many loads of horses, BLM had to know that the horses would end up at the slaughterhouse."

According to the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General  report, the wrongful sale also cost taxpayers $140,000 to deliver truckloads of horses to Davis. He paid $10 a piece for the horses, or less than $18,000 total, and made as much as $154,000 in profits by selling them for slaughter.

The report also states that no one BLM representative tried to stop the sale or the slaughter. Speculation ranges from someone in the BLM simply giving their approval by looking the other way, to BLM employees being bribed to disregard the unusually large purchases.

The report does state that BLM employees never attempted to verify the information that Davis provided regarding his intentions for the horses he bought, despite the unusually large number of horses being sold to him.

Investigators also wrote that the BLM also did not stop selling horses to Davis after receiving reports that he was sending the horses to slaughter. Why, since he and they were clearly breaking the law? Who knows. But it must be nice to have friends in high places.

And yes, if you are wondering, the Interior Department's Office of Inspector General declined to investigate ties between Davis and former Secretary of the Interior Salazar who still has connections in the department he managed while being a part of the Obama administration.

According to the report, the investigation was referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado as well as the State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office. Frankly, it is not a surprise that both declined to seek civil and criminal prosecution, prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Ken Salazar served as Attorney General of Colorado from 1999 to 2005

Suzanne Roy, Director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) stated, "It took more than three years for the OIG (Office of Inspector General) to confirm what we’ve always known -- that the BLM sold 1,795 federally-protected wild horses to a known kill buyer who sold them to slaughter. Unfortunately, there will be no justice for these mustangs, who suffered a brutal death in Mexican slaughter plants. No one at the BLM is being held accountable for this betrayal, and Tom Davis is not being prosecuted for violating his contractual obligation to not sell the horses for slaughter."

No one was surprised to hear the response to the report when BLM officials said they are "taking the matter very seriously and have taken preventative measures to ensure horses sold by the agency do not end up at slaughterhouses in the future."

While not a single BLM employee has been charged for illegal activities relating to the sale of those 1,794 wild horses that were slaughtered,  neither has the Colorado rancher Davis.

While that should piss most people off, BLM officials tried to make it sound like Davis was getting punished when they said, "the agency no longer has any business relationship with Tom Davis and will not in the future."

Frankly that's not much of a penalty for anyone who knowingly kills 1,794 "federally-protected" wild horses. In fact, I'd bet a few bucks that the Colorado rancher who sent them to slaughter, and made well over $100,000 in that sale, is probably very happy that his illegal activities won't even warrant a slap on the wrist.

Friends, my opinion is that if he is close to BLM officials, then that Colorado rancher found out that the term "federally protected" means absolutely nothing if you have friends in high places. As illegal as his activity was, the government gave him a pass -- most likely because who his friends are.

And yes, "illegal" activity not being prosecuted is why we have the society we have today. The term "illegal" means very little because we have people in government who pick and chose what laws are truly "illegal" and what laws mean nothing even when violated to its fullest.

From Illegal Aliens killing innocent people in Sanctuary Cities that see nothing wrong with that being done, to doing businesses illegally because no one cares if they do or no; from illegal behavior like that of Hillary Clinton with her breach of national security by putting her e-mail on a non-secure computer server, to Democrats like California's Governor Jerry Brown giving "Illegal" Aliens rights reserved for "legal" citizens; we live in an era when the term "illegal" means less and less.

And frankly, that is especially true when it comes to how the law is applied to some groups over others. Today, Republicans, Conservatives, Gun Owners, and Christians, are all held to a higher standard to where even the smallest infraction of the law could amount to huge fines, lawsuits, criminal charges, arrest, and prison.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.
Tom Correa

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