May 27, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Animal Mutilations Are Back In The News - In A Strange Way

Since at least 1967, reports have surfaced throughout the United States of animals – but, chiefly, cattle – slaughtered in bizarre and unsettling fashion. Organs are taken and significant amounts of blood are found to be missing. In some cases, the limbs of the cattle are broken, suggesting they have been dropped to the ground from a significant height. Evidence of extreme heat, to slice into the skin of the animals, has been found at mutilation sites. Eyes are removed, tongues are sliced off, and, typically, the sexual organs are gone. While the answers to the puzzle remain frustratingly outside of the public arena, theories abound. They include extraterrestrials, engaged in nightmarish experimentation of the genetic kind; military programs involving the testing of new bio-warfare weapons; occult-based groups that sacrifice the cattle in ritualistic fashion; and government agencies secretly monitoring the food-chain, fearful that something worse than “Mad Cow Disease” may have infected the U.S. cattle herd – and, possibly, as a result, the human population, too. Cattle mutilations are a deep topic of UFO researchers and conspiracy theorists. From the mid-1970s to the dawning of the 1980s, however, the phenomenon was of deep interest to another body: the FBI. Now and then, the topic of the mutilations still pops up. And, not only that, the subject is back. Not in relation to cattle mutilations, I should stress, but to the death of a horse named Snippy. Today, in a strange way, Snippy is back. As for the reason, I'll let you see.

It's a little-known fact that Snippy was mentioned in an almost legendary 1979 event that occurred in New Mexico. As a result of the growing concern surrounding the cattle mutilations, a conference on the subject was held, on April 20, 1979, at the Albuquerque Public Library. There was a heavy concentration of FBI agents at the conference, something which resulted in the following, official document being prepared, which summarized the various theories, cases, and ideas advanced at the conference: “Forrest S. Putman, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Albuquerque Office of the FBI, explained to the conference that the Justice Department had given the FBI authority to investigate those cattle mutilations which have occurred or might occur on Indian lands. He further explained that the Albuquerque FBI would look at such mutilations in connection with mutilations occurring off Indian lands for the purpose of comparison and control, especially where the same methods of operation are noted. SAC Putman said that in order for this matter to be resolved, the facts surrounding such mutilations should be gathered and computerized." It was at this point that the reference to Snippy popped up, making it clear that the poor horse had died in such a terrible and strange fashion. The event wasn't over, though: numerous figures descended on it, many from the Bureau.

Note: this FBI document has been declassified into the public domain, thanks to the U.S. Freedom of Information Act

As one particular FBI reports: “District Attorney Eloy Martinez, Santa Fe, New Mexico, told the conference that his judicial district had made application for a $50,000 Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) Grant for the purpose of investigating the cattle mutilations. He explained that there is hope that with the funds from this grant, an investigative unit can be established for the sole purpose of resolving the mutilation problem. He said it is his view that such an investigative unit could serve as a headquarters for all law enforcement officials investigating the mutilations and, in particular, would serve as a repository for information developed in order that this information could be coordinated properly. He said such a unit would not only coordinate this information, but also handle submissions to a qualified lab for both evidence and photographs. Mr. Martinez said a hearing will be held on April 24, 1979, for the purpose of determining whether this grant will be approved." The FBI had more to say:

“Gabe Valdez, New Mexico State Police, Dulce, New Mexico, reported he has investigated the death of 90 cattle during the past three years, as well as six horses. Officer Valdez said he is convinced that the mutilations of the animals have not been the work of predators because of the precise manner of the cuts. Officer Valdez said he had investigated mutilations of several animals which had occurred on the ranch of Manuel Gomez of Dulce, New Mexico. Manuel Gomez addressed the conference and explained he had lost six animals to unexplained deaths which were found in a mutilated condition within the last two years. Further, Gomez said that he and his family are experiencing fear and mental anguish because of the mutilations. David Perkins, Director of the Department of Research at Libre School in Farasita, Colorado, exhibited a map of the United States which contained hundreds of colored pins identifying mutilation sites. He commented that he had been making a systematic collection of data since 1975, and has never met a greater challenge. He said, ‘The only thing that makes sense about the mutilations is that they make no sense at all.’”

The FBI carefully listened to what was going down in the library: “Tom Adams of Paris, Texas, who has been independently examining mutilations for six years, said his investigation has shown that helicopters are almost always observed in the area of the mutilations. He said that the helicopters do not have identifying markings and they fly at abnormal, unsafe, or illegal altitudes. Dr. Peter Van Arsdale, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Denver, suggested that those investigating the cattle mutilations take a systematic approach and look at all types of evidence is discounting any of the theories such as responsibility by extraterrestrial visitors or satanic cults. Richard Sigismund, Social Scientist, Boulder, Colorado, presented an argument which advanced the theory that the cattle mutilations are possibly related to activity of UFOs. Numerous other persons made similar type presentations expounding on their theories regarding the possibility that the mutilations are the responsibility of extraterrestrial visitors, members of Satanic cults, or some unknown government agency."

(Nick Redfern) As the FBI noted, where there were animal mutilations, there were also unmarked black helicopters

Things got even more intriguing, as the FBI records of 1979 show: “Dr. Richard Prine, Forensic Veterinarian, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL), Los Alamos, New Mexico, discounted the possibility that the mutilations had been done by anything but predators. He said he had examined six carcasses and in his opinion predators were responsible for the mutilation of all six. Dr. Claire Hibbs, a representative of the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, said he recently came to New Mexico, but that prior to that he examined some mutilation findings in Kansas and Nebraska. Dr. Hibbs said the mutilations fell into three categories: animals killed and mutilated by predators and scavengers, animals mutilated after death by ‘sharp instruments’ and animals mutilated by pranksters. Tommy Blann, Lewisville, Texas, told the conference he has been studying UFO activities for twenty-two years and mutilations for twelve years. He explained that animal mutilations date back to the early 1800’s in England and Scotland. He also pointed out that animal mutilations are not confined to cattle, but cited incidents of mutilation of horses, dogs, sheep, and rabbits. He also said the mutilations are not only nationwide, but international in scope."

Also from the FBI: “Chief Raleigh Tafoya, Jicarilla Apache Tribe, and Walter Dasheno, Governor, Santa Clara Pueblo, each spoke briefly to the conference. Both spoke of the cattle which had been found mutilated on their respective Indian lands. Chief Tafoya said some of his people who have lost livestock have been threatened. Carl W. Whiteside, Investigator, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, told the conference that between April and December 1975, his Bureau investigated 203 reports of cattle mutilations.” Now, things get very interesting: one month later, the District Attorney’s Office for Santa Fe, New Mexico, secured $50,000 in funding, to allow a detailed study of the evidence to commence – specifically in New Mexico. Very suspiciously, when it was announced that the program was going ahead, the FBI noted that the mutilations came to a sudden halt. This gave rise to deep suspicions that the mutilators were all too human and, having heard of the planned investigation, hastily backed away until matters calmed down, which they did, when the number of new reports trailed off to nothingness. The mystery of animal mutilations is still around.

Nick Redfern
Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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