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May 01, 2014 7:33 am

18 horses saved from slaughter

Written by Gib Mathers

Wild mustangs from the McCullough Peaks Horse Management Area take a winter stroll with Carter Mountain in the background. These horses belong to Tecumseh’s, Medicine Hat’s and Tyke’s bands. Those are the names of some of the lead stallions but they are not pictured here. These horses tend to roam the south end of the 109,000-acre horse management range, which is managed by  the Bureau of Land Management office in Cody. None of these horses were part of the BLM-organized roundup. Wild mustangs from the McCullough Peaks Horse Management Area take a winter stroll with Carter Mountain in the background. These horses belong to Tecumseh’s, Medicine Hat’s and Tyke’s bands. Those are the names of some of the lead stallions but they are not pictured here. These horses tend to roam the south end of the 109,000-acre horse management range, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management office in Cody. None of these horses were part of the BLM-organized roundup. Photo courtesy Kristi Staebler

Nearly half the wild horses that were headed for slaughter following a roundup in March were rescued from the slaughterhouse.

On March 18-19, under Bureau of Land Management supervision, 41 horses were rounded up using a helicopter near Sheep Mountain north of Greybull. The animals were turned over to the Wyoming Livestock Board.

On March 19, the Wyoming Livestock Board sold the horses to the highest bidder, Bouvry Exports Calgary, Ltd., for $1,640. Bouvry maintains a slaughterhouse in Canada.

The horses were then shipped to Shelby, Mont. Of the 41, four colts were sold separately by Bouvry prior to shipment. Since then, 14 more horses were sold at Shelby.

“I do not know who bought them,” a Bouvry manager who declined to identify himself said Wednesday. “The other 23 went to slaughter.”

The manager said the Wyoming horses were 2-year-olds and colts.

There is a big market for horse meat in Europe and Asia, he said.

“There is a huge profit in horse meat, unfortunately, because it’s considered a delicacy,” said Patricia Fazio, Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition statewide coordinator in Cody.

Ginger Kathrens, board member of the Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group based in Colorado Springs, Colo., remained dubious of the rescued horses’ origins.

After the horses were shipped to a Bouvry feed ground facility in Shelby, Cloud members photographed equines in all the corrals but one. They estimated about 350 horses were at the feedlot, but none of the Shelby pictures matched horses previously photographed in the Sheep Mountain area, Kathrens said. 

Typically following a roundup, the bureau conducts adoptions to sell the horses.

At adoptions, bidding per wild horse starts at $125. The average price is around $400. Although she can’t verify it, she heard the 14 Shelby horses sold for $800 each, Kathrens said.

Horses for slaughter are sold at a cost per pound. The foundation hoped to rescue the horses. “We had a buyer for all 41 horses at the going per pound rate,” Kathrens said.

In Europe horse meat sells for around $20 per pound, according to American Horse Meat.com.

The BLM, which is responsible for the management of wild horses, labeled them unauthorized domestic horses that were offspring of abandoned domestic horses. The bureau said it had received complaints the horses were damaging private pastures and said the horses were a danger to the public.

In February the bureau published a Notice of Intent to Impound, in area newspapers and post offices, but it did not say what “unauthorized livestock” was to be impounded or where.

She didn’t know of the roundup until it was over, Kathrens said.

The Cloud Foundation hopes to work with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign to ensure greater transparency in Wyoming wild horse roundups in the future, Kathrens said.

Fazio would like to see a similar arrangement with agencies providing wild horse advocacy groups the opportunity to purchase the captured horses at a maximum price of $100 per head.

That outcome results in a mixed emotional bag for Fazio, whose goal has been to prevent horse slaughtering in Wyoming.

“I’m kind of sad and I’m kind of glad,” she said.

5 comments

  • Comment Link May 02, 2014 9:42 am posted by Sue Carter

    How sad... Where those horses hurting anything? I used to envision Wyoming as home to the Wild horses and Elk. Now, I see gas wells and cows. I'll never go back.

  • Comment Link May 02, 2014 11:50 am posted by Cheryl Bush

    Americans are swiftly loosing their crown jewels, it will all end as a crown of thorns.

  • Comment Link May 02, 2014 1:57 pm posted by Barbara Leonard

    None of these wild horses should have gone to slaughter. BLM will have a taxpayer uprising on their hands if they keep this up. Let everyone you know that OUR wild horses are being removed from their rightful legal lands to make room for more welfare cattle/sheep and fracking. Boycott beef!

  • Comment Link May 07, 2014 3:33 pm posted by Richard Roberts

    The biggest problem is calling them wild horses when in fact they are feral horses. There was never any horses wild to Norh America.

  • Comment Link May 08, 2014 7:30 am posted by Debra

    And this still continues. Wild Horses are part of not only America's heritage but also our freedom, which we seem to be losing more and more of everyday. Shame, shame,shame on the state of Wyoming.

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