(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart”
I have had to take a deep breath and look around in an effort to make some sort of sense out of all the nonsense and garbage that is flying not only around us but at us; if not managed correctly it could quickly become overwhelming. Here are just a few examples:
A California Judge just gave the BLM the thumbs up to strip 2,000 horses from Twin Peaks
To date, Judge Hicks has not said whether or not he would hear Laura Leigh’s contempt of court case over the Tuscarora fiasco
The BLM is frantically attempting to get their numbers on their web site straight full knowing that we are watching and reporting their documented errors and sloppy accounting
The BLM and Cattoors have colluded and are landing on 34 (not counting the shot mare and her foal) dead wild horses from their mess at Tuscarora
The captured survivors of the Calico massacre now have over 150 herd members dead
54 Congressmen signed a letter to Salazar calling for a moratorium on murdering wild horses and no one has heard squat
BLM helicopter stampede contractor, Sue Cattoor, wants more of the lime-light (as usual) and writes a rebuttal to Horseback Magazine
I, personally, get close to the truth and BLM’s marketing specialist calls me “rude”
…and the cattle poop just keeps on mounting up. (I used cattle poop as a stinky example as horse poop actually smells rather pleasant, if you like horses)
Looking over the above list I believe that we will leave the roundup/court cases to the AP and the big boys as that is news on a much grander scale but down here in the trenches I feel obligated to drive a “Why Tree” all the way down to its roots and those roots are embedded firmly in the truth where the hearts and souls of the good American taxpayers reside.
So I will leave firstname.lastname@example.org ‘s comments for another commentary as I feel addressing Mrs. Cattoor’s statement to be of a much higher priority. It’s time for those who do not have the best interest of the American equine in mind to learn that we will respond to their rhetoric quickly, effectively and with full disclosure. The days of the American public sitting back and watching the train wreck only to comment after the fact are over; we are proactive not reactive.
First, Sue, what can I say; you gave it your best shot, you had several weeks to think about it, massage it, rationalize it and sadly your statement fell flat on its face in front of God and your fellow countryman. I actually believe that I heard a wet, squishy “splat”, or was it a “plop”, when reading the last line of your letter in Horseback Magazine. In retrospect, it was sort of a nasty sound from a visceral point of view.
I won’t beleaguer your “point/counter-point” with Steven Long on the details of your “justification” and rebuttal, folks can click on the link above to read that in full, but instead I would like jump to the “statement” (inserted <unedited> below) to which you beseeched Steven to include in his magazine. Now that is worthy of comment.
“You need to understand why I think the wild horses have to be managed and why they should not just be left alone and let nature take charge and overpopulate until they run out of food or water and die. My family and all of our wranglers really love horses and that includes wild horses and we have seen horses dying of starvation and dying of thirst and we get really upset .
Ginger Kathrens filming Sue Cattoor at Cloud's Roundup ~ Photo by R.T. Fitch
Dying of thirst is the worst – horses that starve to death have an easier time. We know we are doing the right thing by gathering wild horses and we know using the helicopter is the most humane way to do it. We know after we finish an area that some of the wild horses we have caught will maybe be adopted and some will go to pastures where there is plenty of food and water. And the ones left on the range will have enough water and feed also. Steve you just told me you were not by your computer but out feeding your horses. So you love horses too, right. What would you do if you could no longer feed your horses or if you no longer had water for them and they were slowly dying of thirst or starvation? You would feel really sad and you would do all you could to see that they did not die of thirst or did not starve to death. I know Ginger Kathrens has said just like you that she would rather let nature just take charge. But I bet if Cloud and his family were dying of thirst or starvation she would want to do all she could to save them. That is exactly what we – meaning all of us and our wranglers and the BLM are trying to do when we do roundups.”
My thoughts (Remember the First Amendment?):
1.) With all due respect, I don’t “need” to understand what you think, we all have a pretty good idea as to what energizes your motives and it is obvious to all that the primary driver is money and money alone. It does not have one single thing to do with love, care or consideration; it is all about the bank account and the spotlight. If you really “cared” about the horses you might consider donating some of your millions of tax payer’s dollars to a wild horse sanctuary and put your money where you is, just like the rest of us. In this economy there are huge numbers of Americans who are taxed without representation to pay your inflated and unwanted day rates, with one hand, while they donate to rescues, foundations, sanctuaries and are now giving additional funds to legal services trying to fight the likes of the BLM and you as their contractors with the other. Caring Americans get screwed from all sides but then, you don’t see that do you? Your tunnel vision is limited to your fiscal needs today and the concept of the “big picture” has yet to permeate your consciousness. Are you not aware of the fact that you are working yourself out of a job; that your business is not sustainable as you wipe out entire herds and what horses remain, elsewhere, are no longer considered to be viable herds? You are rapidly destroying your own sordid business and it does not appear that you have a clue. Are you cognizant of any of that?
2.) “horses have to be managed and why they should not just be left alone and let nature take charge and overpopulate until they run out of food or water and die” Good grief, dear lady, I pity you for the burden that you feel you are forced shoulder. You actually believe that you hold the power of God and Mother Nature over these wild horses and it is you who decides who lives or dies. What did those poor horses do for the hundreds and hundreds of years prior to Sue Cattoor? How egotistical is it that you believe your intervention into the balance of nature actually helps and promotes the future for these horses? What a load you must carry. The American public has yet to see “proof” that the wild horses are over populated, in fact visual observations point to the contrary. Even if there was an ounce of truth, in your statement, it would only point to the fact that the BLM has whittled away at the land that was rightfully given to the wild horses and burros and they are now encroaching and crowding them into much smaller areas. But even then, swooping in and stampeding them into holding pens where they will never again know freedom is not the answer. Your arrogance is stunning.
3.) “My family and all of our wranglers really love horses” That is all relative, Sue. A wife abuser “loves” his wife as he beats her to death so your comment is out of scope and therefore invalid in this discussion. But I will give you this; on the last day of the Pryor debacle, when the survivors were released from their imprisoning pens, your wranglers on horseback were very kind and gentle while guiding the horses out of what had been the trap chute. Maybe it was because on the bluff, overlooking the operation and within ear-shot, were some of the world’s best known wild horse photographers and videotagraphers but none the less, the guys did a fine job and we waved and thanked them. (Being the cold and heartless tree-huggers that we are) But if you really loved wild horses then why did your husband sell them to slaughter; you can’t escape that. Why do you aid and abet an agency that wanted to sell ALL of the horses to slaughter just two short years ago. Leopards don’t change their spots that quickly and we have memories like the horses; we don’t forget. And how do you sleep at night knowing that the BLM accelerates the adoption process so that they can get the 3-Strikers out the door, quick and easy, and into the hands of killer buyers so they can hustle them down the road to Mexico for butchering, how do you manage Sue? If you really loved those horses wouldn’t you do something to aide and assist their condition instead of acting as the leech that sucks the blood out of the horses until they are dead and then takes the very bread out of the mouth of American children, huh Sue? Don’t BS us; we can see right through it.
4.) You asked Steve, “What would you do if you could no longer feed your horses or if you no longer had water for them and they were slowly dying of thirst or starvation?” Well, I can tell you that my good friend Steven Long would not sell his horse to slaughter like your family members have been known to do, that is for sure. Steven would do whatever it took to ensure that his horses would be cared for, anything, you name it as no job would be too small for him to take in an effort to take care of his family because he is a man of honor with an impeccable record and because he is honest to a fault; he does not have to make excuses. Can you say that? Steve has something else that you may not know or understand; he has friends, a very deep and sincere following of friends that would help him and his family to ensure that no one went without sustenance. In this part of the world we call that caring, compassion and the American way.
5.) And in closing you have to take yet another swipe at one of America’s last true pioneer women, the much respected and loved Ginger Kathrens. Her success really gets to you doesn’t it, just eats at your core so much that you seethe with envy and anger. It shows in public and you can’t keep it out of your comments. Don’t worry, honey, you’ll never get there so you really need to give it up. Ginger’s pinky finger contains more knowledge about wild horses than you will ever hope to perceive. She has spent over a decade and half roughing it in the Pryor Mountains doing one thing and one thing only, observing the behavior of wild horses. Her documentaries are a testament to a patient and kind soul that only exists to share the wisdom and insight into the magical life and relationships of the wild horse. Ginger gladly imparts her knowledge to friends and foes, she does not care. I watched her spend time with Ken McNabb’s children, at the Pryor’s, even though McNabb did his best to publicly embarrass her. I watched her tolerate you, Sue, and your friends who made comments and continually sniped at her and the rest of our advocate contingent for over a week. But you just can’t leave it alone, can you? You even tried to steal our one and only happy moment with Cloud last September. That was his release. We were in awe watching him “snake” the tattered remnants of his herd as he wanted to stay and find his other family members; the ones the BLM had ripped from him only minutes before. We commented on his strength and commitment to family and how it was a valid lesson to humans while you stood behind us and picked, pooh-poohed and laughed at us like an adolescent school girl. You wanted to steal the spirit of Cloud as it once again soared and when you could not succeed, even with the help of the BLM guards, you slipped back into the shadows from whence you came as you had lost and we had won. You will never, ever steal the spirit of the wild horse from our souls; never.
So give it all a rest, Sue, we don’t care. No animosity on that point but its just that you are a government contractor (that we don’t want) hired by a federal agency (that is out of control) so your point of view, personal issues and business justifications mean nothing to us. It’s bad enough that we are paying you so it only adds injury to insult when we are forced to hear you.
We would, respectfully, like to see you go away and for the care and management of our national icons to be overseen by a scientific and knowledgeable body of professional individuals who use science, experience and facts to govern their actions/decisions versus “shoot from the hip” junk science and conjecture. Simply go home, leave our wild horses at peace and retire your shrill rhetoric to the ancient archives of “How Things Used To Be” so that the rest of us can get back to living life in the “now” versus being dragged back to the 1800’s. Sue Cattoor, please, just go home.