A livestock hauler and proponent of the horse meat industry is under investigation for accusations that he illegally sold protected wild horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Tom Davis, 64, has purchased more than 1,700 wild horses from the Bureau of Land Management, or about 70 percent of all wild horses sold by the government. Under the rules of the sale, designed to protect the animals, the buyers of wild horses are not allowed to sell any for slaughter.
Davis has documentation for about 756 horses, all of which were shipped to towns on the Mexican border in Texas, where Davis insists they found good homes.
Wild horse advocates point out that Davis has repeatedly advocated for opening up the horse meat industry in the U.S., and gives only vague explanations as to what he does with the horses he has bought. "Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt," Davis said in May. "What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?"
Population management for the species has proven difficult for the BLM, with more than 80,000 mustangs ranging over a shrinking habitat in the West. The animals were routinely abused and shipped to dog-food plants before President Nixon passed protective legislation in 1971, and a 2007 law banned commercial horse slaughter.