BLM Probes Possible Illegal Mustang Trade

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is investigating whether more than 60 wild horses confiscated from locations in Utah were bound for processing plants in Mexico.

Prospective clients of the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program must demonstrate that they have not been convicted of animal cruelty violations and can provide appropriate care and facilities in a home within the United States. Adoptions of the formerly wild horses don't become final for one year, during which time BLM personnel may conduct home visits to confirm the animal is receiving appropriate care.

"Since 2005 the BLM has required buyers to sign a 'statement of intent' that they do not intend to slaughter the animals," said agency spokesman Mitch Snow.

Snow said that on Aug. 5 the agency seized 47 horses in Utah. Another 17 animals were confiscated from a location in Willard, Utah, over the weekend, he said.

The seized mustangs are now residing at the agency's facility in Herriman, Utah.

"The BLM does have an active investigation into the illegal trade (of) wild horses under way in the state of Utah," Snow said. "That investigation is being conducted in partnership with both state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as the United States Attorney's office."

It was not immediately clear why the BLM seized the animals, and Snow declined to disclose specific details connected with the ongoing investigation.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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