A Pelahatchie man embroiled in a national controversy over the fate of wild horses rounded up from federal land in northern Nevada received a shipment of wild horses on Monday, despite warnings he was giving them away, a national preservation group claims.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign this week sent an official request to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Committee for immediate action and investigation of the Fish and Wildlife Service for the shipment of 252 wild mustangs to Stan Palmer of J&S Associates, the campaign said in a news release.
In October, Sheldon began shipping wild horses captured the previous month from refuge lands, to Mississippi, the campaign says. Horses began leaving the Palmer property by the truckload, the campaign said.
The horses were captured from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada; the campaign calls Palmer 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,” the campaign’s release says.
The campaign is asking the Senate committee to investigate the FWS/Palmer government contract, and to put a hold on Palmer’s dispersal of any additional Sheldon horses while the investigation is under way. The campaign also hopes that the committee will ask the refuge to reconsider its plan to eradicate wild horses and due to their historic and cultural significance to the area.
The government pays Palmer more than $1,000 per horse “to take the horses off the government’s hands, despite the department’s own internal investigation that showed wild horses previously sent to Palmer have ended up in the slaughter pipeline,” the campaign says.
The ancestors of the Sheldon horses fought in battles as cavalry mounts through World War I, the campaign says.
In a letter to the chair and members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has jurisdiction over FWS refuges, the campaign 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, the campaign says. 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, the campaign says.