To the editor:

Whoa. The article last month “Park County supports BLM on horse roundup” gave the impression that all wild horse advocates fail to understand federal land policy and law, and operate strictly on sentiment and outside the sphere of either reason or current statute.

While some groups felt this small herd of 41 free-roaming horses should be left alone, those of us who understand the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (1971, as amended) and the accompanying Code of Federal Regulations (43 CFR Part 4700 – Protection, Management, and Control of Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros) realize the Cody BLM Field Office acted legally in gathering these horses.

While this herd had gone wild, i.e. had gradually organized into natural family bands, they were not located on a legal BLM Herd Area or Herd Management Area. While some horses could have come from the Foster Gulch/Dry Creek HA, zeroed out in 1987, we neither have DNA evidence nor solid proof.

Conversely, it appears the report of their origins from rodeo stock may be hearsay. In any event, these horses were in trespass (estray), and the BLM had the perfect right to round them up.

But the core reason the Cody BLM Field Office is being beaten up is these horses were sold to a killer buyer at Worland Livestock Auction, with or without the assent of local BLM officials.

Once the Wyoming Livestock Board took possession of these animals, that state agency had a choice. Under W.S. 11-24-102, “Taking up estrays; generally,” disposal of these horses could have been through sale, slaughter or destruction. Sale, to me, implies sale to horse advocates or caring individuals, who would have paid far more than the $43 the killer buyer (Bouvry Exports Calgary LTD) paid per head.

In fact, the ultimate slaughter rejects – 14 horses that were saved – were sold to horse advocates for an alleged $800 per head, a hefty profit that took unfair advantage of detested “horse lovers.”

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has requested, under the Freedom of Information Act and Wyoming Sunshine Laws, all public documents relating to this case. Both the Cody BLM Field Office and the Wyoming Livestock Board knew (or should have known) horse groups would be ready, willing and able to purchase and re-home these horses. The fact that they opted for slaughter is what has caused all the commotion.

What’s wrong here is that both the Cody BLM and the Wyoming Livestock Board know many of us who work to protect both wild and domesticated horses. One phone call (rather than an obscure “Notice of Intent to Impound”) could have saved all 41 horses and showed that public agencies actually do have a heart.

We hope to correct this with an MOU that gives Wyoming’s estray horses a good life, not a gruesome death, through an agency/horse advocate agreement.

(s) Patricia Fazio,

Statewide Coordinator

Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition


(5) comments


Thank you, Patricia Fazio, for writing this letter, and thank you Shane for making such a great comment. You have both said it all and I have nothing left to say, which is a rare occurrence.

Patricia Fazio

"reason"... You have it all wrong... Horse protectionists knew nothing about the impending gather of these Bighorn County estrays from BLM land until a tipster notified The Cloud Foundation in Colorado Springs. By then, the horses had been sold by the Worland Livestock Auction to Bouvry Exports and were in holding in Shelby, Montana, prior to being exported over the Canadian border. The Cloud Foundation did offer to buy all 37 horses (and had already arranged for the rescue of four foals). Bouvry refused a generous offer for purchase of all of these slaughter-bound horses... until 14 horses had been rejected for slaughter in Calgary. It was then that the slaughterhouse folks asked a rescue to pay $800 per horse, when they had only paid $43 at the Worland Livestock Auction. Nice profit, huh? These people don't play fair. Had the Cody BLM Field Office properly notified any one of us in the horse community, we would have offered to buy them on the spot. Their "public notice" titled NOTICE OF INTENT TO IMPOUND was legal, but it was also extremely obscure. The word "horse" was not even mentioned in this written notice that appeared at several post offices and in a few area newspapers' Public Notice sections. That policy has to change. We have made progress in communicating with both the Cody BLM, the Wyoming BLM state office, and the Wyoming Livestock Board and intend to receive direct notification from these agencies in the future, so that nothing like this ever happens again. Your ire is misplaced and based on poor information. Please get your facts straight before attacking others.


Wyoming Wild Horse Coalition - please make a standing offer that you will take all estrays, no strings attached, and I bet you would never have to write another article like this. If there is no problem in finding these horses homes I don't even see why this is an issue. Obviously you knew where the horses where sold, why wasn't your behind there with a number in your hand? If you didn't know until later why didn't you find the buyer and offer him a small profit to take them out of the slaughter pipeline? There are many things you could have done at minimal investment to acquire the horses. How about some action instead of the editorial.


North America was built on the backs of horses.

They should be left alone; not slaughtered. Anyone who advocates slaughtering horses has no conscience or heart.


Thank you Patricia Fazio for pointing out that neither the BLM nor the Wyoming Livestock Board acted within the spirit of the laws to protect horses, whether they are classified as "wild' or 'estray' according to their own directives. By failing to notify the public of the chance to adopt these horses, sending them to slaughter immediately, both entities knowing violated the spirit of the law and possibly the letter of the law as well. The 1971 federal law protecting free roaming and wild horses and burros was precisely so worded so that there would not be these situations where horses could be driven from federal protection onto state or private lands and thereby an entity like the Wyoming Livestock Board could claim they had the authority to round them up and slaughter them up as they pleased. The reason this keeps occurring is that the amendments to the 1971 law contradict the clear intention of the law that horses, whether they are called wild or free roaming or estray should not be harassed or rounded up by any agency, including the BLM, as they have become part of a natural herd existing on public land. The notion that they are part of the public land itself, not to be removed, and remain part of it even if they leave federal land, is the meaning which is being lost here. This has led to the absurdity, because of the Burns Amendment, which was never authorized by a vote in Congress, that a wild horse may be sent to slaughter once it is captured because by definition it is no longer "wild" or "free roaming" and therefore has lost its federal protection by law ! No ! The 1971 law's original intention was that their right to exist on public land was inalienable like the natural right of the citizens themselves who own the federal lands. The original intention which has been contradicted by the amendments was that it should be impossible for them to be sold into slaughter. This the BLM has betrayed, Judas like, by claiming to follow the letter of the 1971 law while in fact violating the spirit or original intent of the law.

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