By Debbie Coffey, Vice President and Director of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.
In reading the BLM Press Release below, a few things stand out, besides the fact that we don’t see the names of Ginger Kathrens or R.T. Fitch on this list of people who were just appointed to the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.
Advisory Board Nominees R.T. Fitch and Ginger Kathrens speak at press conference during BLM Advisory Board meeting in March 2013 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
While Ginger Kathrens (Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation) has spent many years studying actual wild horse behavior on the range, BLM’s new appointee Dr. Sue M. McDonnell “maintains a semi-feral herd of ponies specifically for the study of their physiology and behavior under semi-natural conditions.” McDonnell’s books are published by The Blood Horse and Eclipse (Blood Horse Publications) Blood Horse Publications is owned by the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, which promotes thoroughbred racing and breeding.
According to the BLM Press Release below, Dr. Robert E. Cope moved to Idaho and was “elected as a Lemhi County Commissioner in 2001 and currently serves in that position.” Dr. Cope has been “active in the National Association of Counties” and served as the vice chair of its Environment, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee for nine years.
This is kind of interesting, because the Nevada Association of Counties recently filed a lawsuit against the BLM to remove wild horses, and to euthanize all wild horses in holding. The White Pine County Commissioners (Nevada) voted to donate $5,000 to support this lawsuit, and Elko County Commissioners (Nevada) voted to donate $10,000 to support this lawsuit. BOTH of these counties are members of the NATIONAL Association of Counties. Meanwhile, Iron County Commissioners in Utah are threatening to illegally roundup wild horses. It seems we’re seeing a pattern with counties.
In documents received in a Freedom of Information Act request, even Edwin Roberson, BLM’s current Assistant Director of Resources and Planning, noted that county interests could be seen as representing livestock interests. Robertson noted “Wild Horse and Burro Advocacy Groups may see a county elected official position on the Board as an attempt to make the Board membership weighted towards livestock interests, which is already represented. Many of the Wild Horse and Burro advocacy groups have already accused the Board of this. Livestock interests in the many western states and groups like the Public Lands Council will likely be in favor of a county official position on the Board.”
Roberson also noted “The Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and the Western Counties Alliance (WCA) have requested that a county elected official position be added to the Board. Director Abbey responded to NACO in the attached letter, dated September 27, 2010, explaining that any change in membership categories will require a change in the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s Charter and encouraged NACO to nominate individuals that qualified for the present existing positions.”
And then, referring to WH & B Advisory Board member Callie Hendrickson, Roberson noted “Presently one of the public interest representatives now on the Board is closely aligned with county representation in Colorado as the Executive Director of Colorado Association of Conservation Districts.”
Finally, in the press release below, it states “In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.”
In other words, in only one year, the BLM sold off over 4 1/2 billion dollars of public lands and public resources, so if you hear anyone bring up the money BLM spends on holding facilities for wild horses at this National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board, direct their attention to the money BLM rakes in on our natural resources.
Bureau of Land Management Contact: Tom Gorey For immediate release: Friday, April 11, 2014 (202-912-7420)
BLM Announces Three Selections for National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board
The Bureau of Land Management announced today that the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture have made selections for the three open positions on its nine-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Dr. Sue M. McDonnell of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been appointed for the category of wild horse and burro research; Fred T. Woehl, Jr., of Harrison, Arkansas, has been appointed for the category of public interest (with special knowledge of equine behavior); and Dr. Robert E. Cope, DVM, of Salmon, Idaho, has been appointed for the category of natural resources management. Each individual will serve a three-year term on the Advisory Board. Dr. McDonnell is Clinical Associate and Adjunct Professor of Reproduction and Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Also, as a certified applied animal behaviorist, she consults privately on equine behavior and welfare. Dr. McDonnell, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, co-edited the current leading academic book on horse behavior, titled “The Domestic Horse: The Evolution, Development and Management of its Behaviour,” published by Cambridge University Press. Mr. Woehl has been involved in the horse community for more than 40 years as a trainer, natural horsemanship clinician, and educator. He is actively involved with the Equine Science Department at the University of Arkansas and taught Equine Science at North Arkansas College. He has served as a volunteer for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program for 10 years, conducting demonstrations of wild horse versatility and assisting with adoptions. Mr. Woehl worked as a senior agricultural adviser for the U.S. State Department from October 2008 to November 2009 in Iraq, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of agricultural programs and policy for the Ninewa Province. Dr. Cope, who earned his DVM at Kansas State University, has practiced veterinary medicine since 1975. After relocating to Idaho, he was elected Lemhi County Commissioner in 2001 and still serves in that position. Dr. Cope has been active in the National Association of Counties (NACo), serving as chair or vice chair of NACo’s Environment, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee for nine years. As a veterinarian for nearly 40 years, Dr. Cope has focused on large animals, particularly range livestock. The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board advises the BLM, an agency of the Interior Department, and the U.S. Forest Service, part of the Agriculture Department, on the management and protection of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands and national forests administered by those agencies, as mandated by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Members of the board, who represent various categories of interests, must have a demonstrated ability to analyze information, evaluate programs, identify problems, work collaboratively, and develop corrective actions. Information about the board can be found at: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/Advisory_Board.html The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under its mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.