Utah BLM also supplied Animals’ Angels with mortality records for the Delta, Gunnison and Salt Lake Facility. According to Juan Palma, State Director of the BLM in Utah, the BLM utilizes five landfills for dead horse disposal: Iron County Landfill, Sevier County Landfill, Millard County Landfill, Sanpete Landfill and Salt Lake Valley Landfill.
Iron County Landfill
Per the BLM, disposal at this landfill was rare. There was no charge for disposal, nor were any records kept by either party. Associated numbers for the word “rare” are left open to interpretation.
Sevier County Landfill
Per the BLM, there was no charge for disposal at this landfill, nor were any records kept. Exact totals were unknown.
Millard County Landfill
Per the Millard Landfill, records were not kept regarding horses/burros disposed of by the BLM. Sheryl Dekker, Office Manager at the landfill, also indicated that they did not invoice for the service and that the landfill does not monitor if & how many animals are delivered to their “flesh pits”.
According to the BLM, this landfill was utilized quite frequently for dead animal disposal from the Gunnison facility. Per the Sanpete Landfill’s Chairman Scott Bartholomew (who referred us to the UT BLM), records are not kept regarding the BLM’s disposal. However, a portion of Utah BLM’s internal records received with the FOIA included receipts for Sanpete. Money was exchanged for the service, but the BLM was again charged for tonnage, not for individual headcount, which makes it difficult to compare these figures with mortality report numbers. Exact totals are unknown. According to the mortality records, 131 horses died at the Gunnison facility in 2011. The Sanpete Landfill invoices indicate disposal of carcasses with a total weight of 56,780lbs.
Salt Lake Valley Landfill
The Salt Lake Valley Landfill provided BLM disposal records to Animals’ Angels. This landfill was paid by the BLM for tonnage. The tonnage records provided by the landfill do not match the number of dead horses listed on the mortality records. For example, according to the mortality records, no horses died at the Salt Lake Facility between April and July of 2010. However, the landfill records show several BLM disposals during that timeframe.
Incongruent record keeping by all entities proves only one thing: there is no way to accurately determine the death rates within Utah BLM, as concrete figures are completely unavailable.
According to Amy Dumas, Wild Horse & Burro Program Manager, California BLM buries deceased horses and burros on-site at their holding facilities. The California BLM did provide mortality reports for the Litchfield and Ridgecrest facility. Without any external audit system, confirmation and accuracy of these figures is subject to believing that they are undeniably true. Based on the other FOIA’s we have received, it would be hard to imagine that the California holding facilities properly document the number of deceased animals.
The public needs to understand the autonomous nature of BLM operations. Autonomy cannot be an attribute of a Government-run agency. Inaccurate documents, specifically those regarding mortality rates, lead to suspicion. If this was indeed a transparent agency, the numbers wouldn’t lie.
Animals’ Angels is awaiting FOIA responses from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Oregon and Arizona. We will continue our investigation into the BLM’s practices, and will update our report with our findings. As always, we greatly appreciate your continued support.