Senate Investigation Sought for Federal Agency Misuse of Tax Dollars on Laundering Scheme to Send Wild Horse to Slaughter Pipeline

Washington, DC (November 6, 2013). . . .The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign today sent an official request to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee for immediate action and investigation of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the shipment of 252 wild mustangs, captured from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada, to a slaughter middleman in Mississippi.  Sheldon officials sent the last of the horses to Mississippi on Monday, despite warnings that the middleman, government contractor Stan Palmer of J&S Associates, was giving away horses by the truckload.

AWHPC is asking the Senate Committee to investigate the FWS/Palmer contract, and to put a hold on Palmer’s dispersal of any additional Sheldon horses while the investigation is underway. AWHPC also hopes that the Committee will ask the Refuge to reconsider its plan to eradicate the wild horses and burros of the Sheldon Refuge due to their historic and cultural significance to the area. The ancestors of the Sheldon horses fought in battles as cavalry mounts through World War I.

Sheldon mustangs at Stan Palmer's in Mississippi await their fate.

In a letter to the Chair and Members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), which has jurisdiction over FWS refuges, AWHPC wrote, “The FWS has gone to great lengths to continue its relationship with J&S in order to continue the laundering of wild horses captured from the Sheldon Refuge. The FWS has spent nearly $1 million tax dollars in this scheme that has placed the fate of hundreds of mustangs in jeopardy. The actions of the FWS in this matter are inconsistent with the Obama Administration’s public stance against horse slaughter. You are the last hope for holding this government agency accountable and securing a humane fate for these horses.”

The FWS continued to contract with Palmer in 2013 despite an internal investigation documenting that Palmer could not verify the whereabouts of as many as 200 of the 262 horses placed with him between 2010 and 2013. Under the government contract, Palmer is supposed to find quality, long-term homes for the horses. He is prohibited from selling them for auction or slaughter.

                                                                Trailer loads of wild horses leaving Stan Palmer's on October 31, 2013.

In October, Sheldon began shipping wild horses captured the previous month from Refuge lands, to Mississippi. On October 28, a Palmer employee posted a Facebook notice seeking people to “show up with your trailer and load em up…. need gone asap!!!!..... when they leave my house they are no longer my business." Horses began leaving the Palmer property by the truckload shortly after that posting. 

More info:

AWHPC Letter to EPW Committee

AWHPC Letter to Secretary Jewell

Sheldon Refuge Wild Horse Controversy

Wild Horse Education Lawsuit and Sheldon Campaign

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, founded in 2004 by Return to Freedom, 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.