Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Buyer of wild horses from BLM under investigation by feds, state of Colorado
A southern Colorado man under investigation for his handling of protected wild horses has admitted to state regulators that he shipped animals out of Colorado in violation of brand inspection laws, officials said. Officials with the Colorado Department of Agriculture's Brand Inspection Division have turned the case involving Tom Davis over to the district attorney in Alamosa for prosecution. "The brand laws are some of the oldest laws in the state. They are there to prevent livestock theft and we take them very seriously," Brand Commissioner Chris Whitney said. Davis, 64, a livestock hauler and proponent of the horse meat industry who lives in La Jara, 15 miles southwest of Alamosa, has purchased more than 1,700 wild horses from the federal Bureau of Land Management since 2008 — roughly 70 percent of all horses sold by the agency. Davis signed agreements with the BLM, which is charged with managing and protecting wild horses, promising not to sell any to slaughter. As detailed in an investigation published by ProPublica in September, Davis has brand inspections documents for 765 horses, which say he shipped these animals to Texas towns near the Mexican border. There is no information about disposition of the other horses he purchased from the BLM. Davis is also the subject of a federal investigation. The probe was opened in June by the BLM's law enforcement division, but is now being handled by the U.S. Department of Interior Office of Inspector General, according to Interior spokesman Blake Androff. Often the inspector general takes over cases in which there is a potential conflict or involvement by the agency. Wild horse advocates welcomed the news of the potential prosecution, but said any investigation would be incomplete until it includes the actions of the Bureau of Land Management and its parent agency, the Department of Interior. "Let's get real. There is no way the BLM could think someone was buying that many unadoptable horses for anything but slaughter," said Laura Leigh, director of the Nevada-based advocacy group Wild Horse Education. "The people who sold those horses are just as culpable. This is a breach of public trust and there needs to be some accountability."...more