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Wildlife advocates want U.S. to stop rounding up wild horses, say some are put to slaughter

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 7:56 p.m.

DENVER — Wildlife advocates are calling on the federal government to stop gathering wild horses following an investigation showing some put to slaughter.

ProPublica published an investigation in the Denver Post showing livestock hauler Tom Davis, long a horse-slaughter advocate, had purchased up to 1,700 mustangs since 2009. Davis owns a slaughterhouse and the report said he has maneuvered around state law to take the animals out of Colorado. He denied violating the terms of a no-slaughter contract with the federal Bureau of Land Management, which would be a felony, the newspaper reported.

“Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt,” he said. “What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?”

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, an umbrella group encompassing more than 60 wildlife advocacy agencies, called on the BLM to cease the controversial horse roundups until it can guarantee none of the animals are going to slaughter.

A 1971 federal law declared the horses “living symbols” of American history and a 2004 addendum made it illegal to kill the animals.

Officials at the BLM said the roundups are necessary to protect the herd from overpopulation. Wild horses and burros lack natural predators.

“The BLM says it protects wild horses,” said Laura Leigh, founder of the Nevada-based advocacy group Wild Horse Education, “but when they are selling to a guy like this you have to wonder.”

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