A herd of 41 horses abandoned on public land were rounded up in March and sold to a Canadian slaughterhouse.

Sarah Beckwith, a spokesman for the Worland office of the BLM, confirmed that on March 18-19, 41 unauthorized horses were rounded up on land between Greybull and Lovell. The horses were turned over to the Wyoming Livestock Board.

“They went to the Worland Sale Barn and were sold to the highest bidder,” WLB Brand Commissioner Lee Romsa said. “The highest bidder was Bovary Exports. They were shipped from Worland to Shelby, Mont. I’m not sure what they do.”

Bovary Exports is a firm based in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, that slaughters horses for meat.

BLM does not sell wild horses for slaughter. But at the time the Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed, wild horses were defined as existing herds living on wild horse management areas.

“These were abandoned,” Beckwith said. “The original owner of the herd, Andy Gifford, kept the herd for rodeo stock. As time went by he was unable to round them up. When he passed away about eight years ago his children wouldn’t claim them.”

The original herd multiplied and was in trespass on private irrigated pasture and public lands, according to Beckwith.

“When no one comes forward to claim livestock, cattle, horses or sheep, we post notice of intent to impound unclaimed livestock and they become the property of the state.

Beckwith said there hasn’t been a roundup of this sort in the area for several years.

But horse expert Nanette Till said abandonment of horses on public lands is a problem around the country.

“People can’t take care of them or don’t want to and don’t have the guts to put them down humanely, so they abandon them.” Till said. “People think they can survive but, of course, they can’t. They suffer an agonizing death.”

According to Till, since all slaughterhouses for horses shut down in the U.S., the alternative is to ship them to Canada or Mexico.

Patricia Fazio, statewide coordinator for the Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition, said selling the horses for slaughter was not justified, and the herd may be remnants of a wild horse herd that formerly inhabited the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Area.

In a letter to the WLD, Fazio said, “All activities surrounding horse slaughter are, in my view (and in the view of 80 percent of Americans) callous, brutal and extremely inhumane.”

Fazio said the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has hired an attorney to investigate whether any laws have been violated.

(Steve Browne can be reached at steve@codyenterprise.com.)

(5) comments


I agree with most of what was said.in the comment section.
Nanette Till is wrong.Domestic horses can and do survive very well in the wild. These horses were healthy and thriving on the land. There was no reason to remove them there is plenty of land for livestock and Horses alike.


There was no auction. There is no company that auctions horses in Worland. This is a complete lie and people all over the country are furious about it -- even people that are for horse slaughter are appalled that this has happened. Pregnant mares sold for slaughter. This is completely over the top.

Carol Cecil
Carol Cecil

BS on brand inspector not knowing Bouvry is slaughterhouse. He knows or should be fired! These animals were not handled as they are legally required to. BLM and livestock commission and all involved blew it. No notification, no brands, no proof they werenʻt wild horses, no chance for advocates to buy them at auction house. A back door deal all they way thru! Advocates tried to buy them, were told they are at Bouvry for slaughter and thatʻs where theyʻll stay. Bouvry needs ʻcleanʻ (no meds) horses to satisfy demand for high-priced clean horsemeat. Four tiny foals were held back at auction house and are now being fostered by horse advocates. Itʻs a set up by all involved. Disgusting!!


[sad] They did NOT notify people about these horses AND an actor tried to buy the horses from Bouvary and was denied by the slaughter house. This was orchestrated by the BLM and the livestock commission... What they did was illegal. These were Pryor Mountain mustangs and have been tracked by Ms. Catherines for years. It's a darned conspiracy and you all know it. I'm trying real hard to be civil but it's getting harder and harder to do so. The BLM should be disbanded and the Brand Commissioner should be tried for horse theft. Both parties broke the federal law and there's no getting around that. I've had more than I can stand.


First of all, "unauthorized" horses rounded up. How does this happen in the context of this story? If they were on public land then wouldn't a brand inspector have to first verify whos horses they were - which sounds like was done after the fact. Then if this was unauthorized - that would indicate that just anyone went out & rounded them up, and took them to the sale barn. What? Then are you trying to say that the brand commissioner doesn't know who Bovary is ? Really? Then if notice of intent was really posted, how long before they were sold was this posted? Was it posted in a place where someone would easily look and be able to find such a posting? And what was done to insure that ALL of the horses were ex-rodeo stock? I love this great state - but I think our BLM / Brand Commissioner need to be re-schooled.

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