Citizen investigation exposes evidence of BLM wild horses sold to probable slaughter

Wild horse mares in holding (Photo © Anne Novak, all rights reserved.)

Wild horse mares in holding (Photo © Anne Novak, all rights reserved.)

Wild Horse & Burro Advocates Demand Congressional Investigation

For Immediate release:

WASHINGTON (January 24, 2013)–Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) released evidence exposing the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse long-term holding contractor selling wild horses to an alleged “kill buyer”. The BLM appears to be trafficking wild horses to slaughter through holding facilites. Debbie Coffey, volunteer director of Wild Horse Affairs at WHFF, uncovered evidence of the contractor selling at least 34 federally protected wild horses. In short and long-term holding, indigenous wild horses retain their wild status and protections but it appears some are being sold to slaughter.

“This evidence shows that the BLM is not protecting our wild horses and is allowing alleged kill buyers to purchase them,” explains R.T. Fitch, volunteer president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “The public wants Congress to enforce the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act that they unanimously signed into law in 1971.  A Congressional Investigation needs to happen now.”

WHFF joins with Protect Mustangs to call for a freeze on roundups, access to document all holding facilities as needed as well as an immediate Congressional investigation into the BLM and their contractors allegedly selling America’s iconic wild horses into the slaughter pipeline.

“It’s time for a deep investigation–done by an entity outside the BLM–to bust these crimes against the American mustang and champion the public who were deceived by officials in charge of protecting our icons of freedom,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “The public is outraged. Protests are being planned as a result of the evidence.”

Coffey, with the assistance of Animal’s Angels, researched and released Wednesday an in-depth article on the activities of a BLM contractor selling 34 BLM wild horses to a kill buyer, while under contract with the BLM and being paid with U.S. taxpayer dollars, to care for iconic wild mustangs on its pastures.  Evidence was obtained through South Dakota Brand Board Inspection records and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Information from government and public records show that Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson own Spur Livestock. They have a contract with the BLM for a wild horse long-term holding pasture on private land within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, as well as on Indian Trust Lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  This U.S. taxpayer funded facility is the Whitehorse Wild Horse Long Term Holding Facility.

WHFF received records from the South Dakota Brand Board that reveal on 11/8/2008, while under contract with the BLM, “owner” Spur Livestock sold 34 horses with “BLM tattoos” to JS Farms–owned by alleged kill buyer Joe Simon.

In a telephone conversation with Jim Reeves, Coffey reports that when asked about 72 horses he bought as alleged pack animals, Reeves said “I’m told not to talk about this kind of stuff.”  He added “I can’t talk about this” and “That’s BLM business.”

When asked about all the wild horses who disappear from their short-term holding facilities after the roundups, BLM officials inform the public and the media that they will be well taken care of on “grassland pastures”.

“The BLM leads the public to believe that captured wild horses are living out their lives grazing peacefully on long-term holding pastures, and claims they do not sell wild horses to slaughter, but at least one contracted middleman did sell BLM wild horses to an alleged kill buyer and the horses very likely met a horrific fate at a slaughterhouse,” explains Coffey. “We want a freeze on roundups, immediate access to document all long-term holding facilities as needed and a Congressional investigation into all aspects of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.”


Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a registered, Texas non-profit corporation with Federal 501c3 status and registered as a legal non-profit in all 50 states of the Union.  WHFF puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction through targeted litigation against governmental agencies whose documented agendas include the eradication of wild horse and burros from public, federal and state lands. WHFF is funded exclusively through the generosity of the American public.

Protect Mustangs is a California-based preservation group whose mission is to educate the public about the American wild horse, protect and research wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.

Media contacts:

R.T. Fitch, Volunteer President WHFF, 800-974-3684,
Debbie Coffey, Director Wild Horse Affairs WHFF, 800-974-3684,
Anne Novak, Executive Director Protect Mustangs, 415-531-8454,

Photos and interviews granted upon request

Links of interest:

Debbie Coffey publishes her research on PPJ Gazette (sources noted):

Native wild horses:

Petition to Defund the Roundups:

Wild Horse Freedom Federation:

Protect Mustangs: