A southern Colorado man under investigation for his handling of protected wild horses has acknowledged shipping animals out of the state in violation of brand inspection laws, multiple news reports say.
KOAA.com reports that the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Brand Inspection Division has turned 64-year-old Tom Davis’ case over to the district attorney in Alamosa for prosecution.
Davis, a livestock hauler, has purchased more than 1,700 wild horses from the federal Bureau of Land Management since 2008 — roughly 70 percent of all horses sold by the agency.
ProPublica reports that Davis signed agreements with the BLM, which is charged with managing and protecting wild horses, promising not to sell any to slaughter.
A ProPublica investigation published in September says Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter and admits that he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up.
Animal welfare advocates, including American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, fear the mustangs purchased by Davis were exported to Mexican slaughter plants.
"The BLM turned a blind eye to the intentions of a known kill buyer in selling thousands of federally-protected wild horses for slaughter in Mexico,” said Suzanne Roy, director of AWHPC, whose coalition includes more than 50 horse advocacy, conservation, public interest and historic preservation organizations. “This unconscionable and illegal treatment of these American icons deserves immediate investigation and action. “