New restrictions on wild horse sales as BLM investigates mass buyer

Posted on January 6, 2013


The Bureau of Land Management is subjecting all sales of wild horses and burros to new rules after disturbing news that the largest U.S. buyer of wild horses supports the horse meat industry.

Tom Davis has purchased 1,777 horses since 2009. Wild horses are protected under federal law and can’t be sold for slaughter, and Mr. Davis has signed agreements that he would not sell the horses for meat. He maintains his innocence, but horse advocates are concerned he may have sold the animals to Mexico. The investigation, published by ProPublica last month, is ongoing.

In the meantime, new restrictions limit buyers to no more than four mustangs or burros over a six-month period without prior approval from a BLM assistant director. Also, buyers have to describe where they will keep the animals.

Critics say the new rules are insufficient, and some call for horse sales to end altogether.

The old BLM policy required adoption only. That changed in 2005. Now, folks who want 20 or more horses can buy them for a mere $10 each.

There are currently over 37,000 wild horses in the western United States. Every year, hundreds or thousands are rounded up to help curb the population..

(Information from the Associated Press.)