Washington, DC (September 5, 2014)….The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) today called for an across-the-board hold on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Wild and Horse Burro Program in the wake of exposed corruption and overpayment of approximately $2 million to the Utah Department Corrections Industries for “questioned” and “unsupported” costs related to the holding and training of captured mustangs. The Utah Department of Corrections has given the BLM 30 days to remove the more than 1,100 wild horses currently held at its facility in Gunnison, Utah.
AWHPC also called for an investigation into the agency’s cover up of the results of the September 2013 Interior Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report that uncovered the illegal expenditure of federal dollars.
Below is AWHPC's statement:
“The BLM wild horse program is plagued with corruption, mismanagement and incompetence. With more wild horses stockpiled in holding facilities than remain free on the range, no fertility control program in place and continued management of America’s public lands for livestock interests instead of the public, the program has gone from bad to worse in the last three years. This agency is on a collision course with disaster for America’s wild horses and American taxpayers. These latest development further highlight the need to end the BLM wild horse roundup-and-stockpile program and implement currently available solutions to humanely manage the horses in the wild as recommend by the National Academy of Sciences. As holding space continues to dwindle and prices for stockpiling horses rise, the need to halt the roundups and place a hold on the program becomes more urgent.
The BLM’s plan to proceed with the roundup and removal of thousands more mustangs over the coming weeks despite lack of space to hold them shows clearly that the agency is deliberately creating a crisis that will result in doom for America’s federally-protected wild horses.
The fact that the BLM apparently overpaid the state of Utah by approximately $2 million for the holding and training of captured wild horses is just more evidence of the agency’s gross mismanagement of the federal wild horse program. Worse, the BLM and the Office of Inspector General have kept the public in the dark about this corrupt expenditure of federal funds for a year.”
Another OIG report is expected to be released soon regarding other wrongdoings by the BLM wild horse division, including the sale of more than 1,700 federally protected wild horses to a known kill buyer between 2009-2012. The OIG has been investigating that situation for more than two years. Meanwhile BLM officials associated with the sale have been reassigned or have left the agency.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.