BLM’s Bob Abbey Dances with the Truth and Drops the Ball AGAIN

(In My Humble Opinion) by R.T. Fitch ~ author of Straight from the Horse’s Heart

People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones!

Today Director Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), issued a statement which in a nutshell says that the “BLM’s goal is to enable healthy horses and burros to thrive on public lands”.  In the real world I would love to believe those words but the reality of the matter is that the statement is as far from the truth as is the freedom of 38,000 wild horses held in pens with no hope of living out their normal lives.

His statement is inserted in its entirety, below, and instead of going over and rebutting each and every word it is far better to simply state that the BLM has been in the business of using and abusing wild horses for decades.  The spirit of the law no longer applies to Mr. Abbey as is evident in the events of just the last several months.

Abbey, himself, cannot even get his numbers straight with against the latest press release from his own agency.  We have been reporting for the past year that the BLM does not have a clue as to how many horses are located on the public lands yet they continue to hand out grazing permits to private cattle owners so that the horses are so far out numbered that the going ratio is at least 50 to 1 in favor of the cows.

Abbey goes to quote that they managed to rip 1,922 horses from 550,000 acres of public land during the deadly Calico roundup.  He does NOT mention any horses released back to the range and he even goes as far to state that there as many as 1,140 horses left on the range.  Do I believe him?  Not for a second and here is why.

When the BLM concluded the bloody Calico roundup they did it very abruptly and caught all of us by surprise.  Their  2/5/2010 press release states that they stripped the 550,000 acre complex of 1,922 native wild horses.  They then estimated that 600 remain alive and free on the range.  The math indicates that there must have been a total of approximately 2,400 wild horses on the complex prior to the round-up.

Yet the BLM’s original plan stated that they had intended to gather approximately 3,000 wild horses, releasing 380 back to a remaining population of 220 which would leave 600 free in the complex.  But that equation would mean that the total population, prior to round-up, would have been around 3,200.  That leaves a difference of 800 horses from what actually occurred and what the BLM had proposed to do.  Where are the missing 800 horses?  Can the BLM add?  Do you know why they stopped the roundup so quickly? They ran out of horses to stampede and terrorize.  Both searches on the ground and by air, conducted by advocates and non-partial scientists, indicate that there are virtually no horses left on Calico complex, the BLM managed to zero out and destroy the entire herd.

But back to the math, this sort of blatant kindergarten arithmetic was highlighted in an Equine Welfare Alliance press release just this past week.  By their own accounting and utilizing the BLM’s own reports there are over 2,000 wild horses missing just in their recent roundups.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg; a federal judge warned the BLM that proceeding with the Calico roundup was not prudent.  Competent, degreed equine professionals warned the BLM not to proceed with the helicopter stampede in the dead of winter for fear of injury and/or death.  So what does the BLM do?  Kill horses, as predicted.  To date over 150 horses have died at the hands of BLM mismanagement, from either the gruesome helicopter stampede or at the feedlot,  and what does the BLM do to correct the problem, they fudge their numbers on their own website and zero out all of the deaths.  You can go there TODAY and see that they zeroed out the deaths and have altered the truth.  And we are supposed to go to for the REAL facts.  Not in your blinking dreams.

It gets worse, for months they have had three separate roundups scheduled for Northern Nevada.  Owyhee, Rock Creek and Little Humbolt areas were all listed and within just a week or so of the roundups the three disappeared and a singular “Tuscarora” roundup appeared.  Shell game?  You bet.  Even a Federal judge recognized what they were doing and after wild horse advocate Laura Leigh sued for a TRO the judge granted it while he attempted to sort out the BLM’s smoke and mirrors.  (They now have two different roundup schedules posted so no one has a clue as to what is going on.  Legal?  I doubt it.)

Unfortunately, between the BLM’s high priced publicity agents and attorneys the judge and the public were fed a cock and bull story about how the horses were dying of thirst and had to be “rescued”.  They did not need to be rescued the week before, the month before or whenever but just during the hearing, they were in danger.  (Of course, the BLM had sold off all of the water rights and has allowed private fences to be erected around water sources so that wildlife has no access but what the hay, it’s been like that since 1916).

The TRO was lifted and over 20, reported, horses were killed by the helicopter stampede in the desert heat the very first day, can you believe it, the very first day.  And to add injury to insult the judge did uphold Leigh’s first amendment rights to observe and document the operations of the roundup and the BLM and their controversial contractor moved the trap and holding pens onto a sliver of private land so that her entry would be construed as trespassing.  A half a million acres of public land from which to gather the horses and they located a little, teeny patch of private land, out of spite and fear of disclosure.  Hence, they went on to do the same at the other two roundups where they excluded the press and public outside of a quickly thrown together and limited media day long after the horses were killed at Owyhee.  And don’t believe that only 20 horses died for second, someday the truth will come out about how many the contractor killed and the numbers will appall you.

So why believe you Mr. Abbey, your bad numbers, poor science and documented lies do not sway us in the least.  We are here for the long haul as we believe in this country, its constitution and in ourselves as educated, enlighten and articulate taxpayers, you have not heard the last of us by a long shot.

Let us not forget to draw attention to your last paragraph and not so veiled parting shot at the taxpayers support your salary,

“While we respect people’s passion for our nation’s wild horses, some activists have undertaken a coordinated campaign to mislead the public and distort the BLM’s intent.”

No intent to mislead the public coming from this end, I think the bulk of that falls 100% on you, your staff and your boss, Ken Salazar.  It’s obvious that besides the dysfunctional relationship you have with math there is a total disconnect with facts and the truth.

And if you believe that there is a “coordinated campaign” in place, all I can say is,

“You betcha and you ain’t seen anything yet!

We are watching, documenting and keeping score.  Spending our hard earned tax dollars in federal courts in an effort to stop you while you spend our money to fight us and kill horses just is not going to cut it anymore.  It’s time to bring your crimes to the attention of a broader base of the public and to the higher courts because at the end of the day, your failure to follow the spirit of the law will be your downfall and finally, the horses will have their day in court.

That is, if there are any horses left.

(Update: Laura Leigh has re-filed contempt of court charges against Abbey and Salazar)

The Legal Voice of the Amercian Equine


Live link to this disgraceful sham is HERE you can comment, there!

Bob Abby:

“When people think about our country’s wild horses, many picture the horses sweeping across the desert landscape with manes waving in the wind. It is an inspiring image, and in a perfect world, it would be the only reality for these great animals.

This image, however, is only part of the picture. Wild horses and burros must share the public land with wildlife, livestock and people. Public land provides for uses as varied as energy production, mineral resources and recreation. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is charged with navigating a balance among all public land uses while preserving its health and productivity.

To help do this and to improve our management of these animals, we rely on the best science available along with public participation during planning and environmental reviews.

We recently completed a detailed aerial survey in the Calico Mountains to ensure that a proper number of wild horses remained on public lands after we gathered more than 1,900 wild horses in May. Our goal was to reduce the number of animals to a level that will ensure herds remain healthy in this fragile ecosystem. Our census showed that about 1,140 wild horses remain after the gather in the Calico complex — a number that is much closer to what the public lands can sustain.

The BLM is using fertility control and adjusting sex ratios in wild horse herds to slow the population growth rate and prolong the time before another gather is required. Earlier this month, BLM applied fertility control to mares from both the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt herd management areas before releasing them.

When we must gather, we are intent on improving how we do so to limit stress on the animals. We are now piloting a program with the American Horse Protection Association to provide observers at gathers. These observers will provide their findings to university researchers who will design tools to improve gathers.

We continue to face a number of challenges. We have removed these animals from Western rangelands since 1971 and placed them into private care through an adoption program. But adoptions have slowed considerably, and nearly 32,000 wild horses are now being cared for in short- and long-term pasture facilities, at great cost to taxpayers.

Today, nearly 12,000 more horses and burros remain on public lands than is sustainable. Last October, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and I introduced an initiative that would benefit the animals, the land and the American taxpayer. It includes the possible creation of wild horse preserves on grasslands of the Midwest and East.

While we respect people’s passion for our nation’s wild horses, some activists have undertaken a coordinated campaign to mislead the public and distort the BLM’s intent. Our commitment remains strong: to manage wild horses and burros so that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands for many years to come. For more information, I urge you to visit”

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31 comments on “BLM’s Bob Abbey Dances with the Truth and Drops the Ball AGAIN

  1. The BLM is an embarassment and shocking revelation to any American resident with any decency and integrity left in his mind.

    There are horse killers amongst us. They wear sweet masks to deceive you, the tax payer. May they come crashing down from their high throne of deception and lies.
    Keep up the good work, Laura Leigh. You and the mustangs are in my prayers.


  2. Gosh, you just look at Bob Abbey’s photo and it makes you want to take your pen and squiggle a dunce cap on him, and stupid features like we all did in grade school – lol! What a jerk!

    Also, one more comment. I know there was some talk about moving these horses east and us wild horse advocates are against that. I certainly don’t know all the details, but as I’m typing this, I feel like it should be considered because at least it would save alot of their lives and get them out of holding pens {a compromise when nothing else seems to be working}. However, I may be missing something, so maybe I’m not really qualified to say that ???

    Lastly, what’s going to happen one day in the near future when our horses have been managed to extinction? What’s the BLM going to say??? Who are they going to blame because it will be obvious they failed at their job. At that point, I feel like I should be able to sue their ass and recover all my tax money back and then be able to retire comfy.


    • Here are my thoughts … the horses were not supposed to be moved from their home rangeland in the first place, per the 1971 protections. Moving them east is a direct violation of the law intended to keep them where they already lived.
      It will still cost tax payers millions every year to operate these zoos, with vet and farrier expenses and feed bills, and so on. And, really, no one that I know of in the suggested states has expressed much support for the idea.
      Also, horses straight from the range most likely will not tolerate the rich grasses of the midwest and eastern states. They experience metabolic disorders, often colic and die. Even horses in short and long term holding may not adapt to changes in climate and feed. Sticking them on hundreds of acres of fescue could be a death sentence.
      We have literally millions of acres of public land in the west, much of which has been cleared of wild horses and burros. Why is the BLM in such a hurry to zero out even more herd areas?


      • And I missed one very important point. Ken Salazar wants non-reporducing herds on his preserves. Talk about managing to extinction.


      • And what are the biggest public draws at zoos? THE BABIES. The Albuquerque Journal does stories on many of the the births at the Biopark and invites folks to go to the zoo’s website and follow the young ones as they grow. After a while sterile wild horses will become just another herd of horses to the general public no matter how the BLM tries to spin it.


      • Nora, you are right about the non-reproducing herds, which will also be separated by sex – just to be sure I guess.

        Salazoo wants to spend untold millions of tax dollars to buy these “preserves” for horses that cannot reproduce. DUH? What I want to know is what the heck are they going to do with all that land when all the horses have died? It won’t be all that long after all.

        This is the most IDIOTIC idea I’ve heard of since Slaughterhouse Sue wanted – and still wants – to feed horse-meat to CHILDREN.

        I rest my case.


  3. First I want to point out Terri Farley’s counter point article and that we should all go over to her post and hit the recommend button and leave a comment even if its brief. They are keeping a tally of most recommended articles and most commented and if we want to educate and be heard first we must be read here’s the link supplied by Carrol Abel:
    Tami I had to laugh, that’ exactly what I think every time I see that photo–getting out the marker and drawing away. (that dress and push-up bra would still look mighty fine RT).

    Note that the BLM has not once come out with figures that can be verified or even come close to the truth. They can’t back up their claims with any documentation, any independent science and they haven’t produced any reports that agree with other reports on the same incident. And my their own admission they cannot do their job and need to do a major overhaul of the manner in which they do business to even come close to being effective. The only ones making a coordinated campaign to mislead the public and distort the BLMs intent is the BLM itself. You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch er I mean Abbey.


    • Read and recommended the article. Tried to join the site but it said “invalid e-mail address” Gosh its been valid for 30 years!!
      Sent more snail mail today. Will make calls and e-mail tomorrow. Was 102º here today.


  4. Abbey and all those who work fo BLM should have buttons sewn in the middle of their lips. In that way they can continue to speak out of both sides of their mouths and do it at the same time. To even discuss sustainable lands for healthy horses while at the same time turning over thousands of acres for cattle grazing is hypocritical at best. If Mr Abbey is so concerned about the “fragile ecosystem” then he should be getting cattle off the lands and promoting vegan living, not rounding up and killing horses.

    As for mineral resource concerns, one hardly can buy into the argument that we need to get rid of the horses in order to access those supposed minerals. That is just ridiculous. There are pelnty of recreational oppoutunies for people, without having to take horses off of the lands they use, and in the end, kill them. What Mr Abbey means is BLM wants the land for monetary gain, greed, and power… the expense of the lives of these horses.

    Next time Mr Abbey makes a statement, he should make sure that his speech writers put foward an argument for horse round ups and slaughter that is a bit more believable. A bright fifth grader could see through this pack of lies and flim flam.


  5. I just posted this on Abbey’s article, but the links were truncated and I had to post in 2 separate posts which now read from the bottom up. But BLM is watching everywhere, so I’m posting my comment here, and hoping Abbey will find it. How else will he be able to find BLM’s charts unless one of us gives him the links! He obviously couldn’t find the charts when he wrote his article.
    And Morgan, I absolutely agree, and hope everyone posts on Terri Farley’s article. I’m heading over now to do just that!

    Mr. Abbey,
    We are finding it very hard to believe anything BLM is telling us, and you’ve just succeeded in making it worse.
    The link below for the brand new BLM population facility chart for July 2010, shows us 34,229 animals are currently being held in wild horse facilities.

    You have stated that there are 32,000. You have just managed to lose 2,229 horses.

    And please do go to this link as well:

    Despite that there were over 158 deaths during the Calico gather reported by BLM, this report on your site shows us 0 gather related deats, and 2 deaths non-gather related.

    You can’t count the numbers of those that die or the numbers of those you have in your own holding facilities. How can you expect us to believe your numbers for the horses left on the range?
    How can you expect us to believe anything you say?
    And, Mr. Abbey, we are wild horse advocates, who are advocating for the protection of wild horses and burros. By calling us activists or stating that we’ve coordinated a campaign to mislead the public and distort BLM’s intent, is certainly not true. That’s your attempt to mislead the public and distort our intent, which is just one more reason that causes us to mistrust you.


    • That first gov. site said there were 29,000+ geldings in the holding facilities. Good gosh–WHAT ARE THEY DOING. WHAT IS THEIR AIM. As if we didn’t know. These wonderful bloodlines that will be lost. Shame on them. All the land that is available and the BLM acts as if it doesn’t exist.


  6. Since the BLM doesn’t seem to think any of the wild horses they’ve rounded-up are “healthy”, more “reason” for them to eradicate these beautiful wild horses, & burros!! They keep saying the horses aren’t in good condition, have “pre-existing” health issues, or they’re severely “dehydrated”, BS, BS, BS, etc., etc., etc. If they just want the wild horses & burros gone, why don’t they just tell it like it is, & tell the damn truth, instead of one lie after another, one excuse after the other?? I really do NOT think this will end, until one of 2 things happen, WE STOP THEM (however that may be!), or, until they have succeeded & ALL the wild ones are gone forever. And, if they sterilize the horses in captivity, yes, they will all die out & become completely extinct(which IS what they want!). “Mr.” Abbey, & any/all the rest of those idiots, do NOT deserve a title like “Mr.”(I won’t say what they SHOULD be called instead!).They are out of control, & are driving America’s wild horses on a one-way trip to oblivion. WHAT will it take, for US, you & I, to STOP them????


  7. So whos to say they didn’t move those 2200 horses that are missing from the totals over to the calico range..knowing people had already done arial counts and found no more than 30 to 40 horses every time??/a little too much effort in my opinion for an organization that appears to set the gold standard in laziness and ineptness..but none the if horses start popping out of the woodwork over at Calico..there you go…I am hardly going to be insulted by a group of people I consider to be inferior to any vertabrate i can think of..then of course you have these sale authority horses showing up in rodeos..Mr Abbey, I know you are counting on Joe Q Public not to be paying attention to these numbers like we are…but there is a set of numbers they are paying attention to..what you are spending…millions and billions of dollars to fund something we already for the horses…Honey you haven’t begun to see mad until this hits the fan in frount of congress this fall…


    • The only statistics I know that were being done are for the MegaPlex. Seidlitz was going to include me in the studies (conversation back in May) and I still have not received ANY schedule.
      I was precluded from participating in the areial count.

      So the data in any aerial count is as suspect as the condition of the horses coming out of Owyhee.

      Is the count for the entire MegaPlex or just the Calico? Has the actual data breakdown been provided for public view?
      (I already know the answers.)

      Also keep in mind that an EIS has been done for Sheldon (part of the MegaPlex concept where horses wree to be “managed across the landscape” ) where they now intend to zero out Sheldon NWR.


      • So what you are suspect of is that they are using the totals from Sheldon and area to say those are calico horses??/ By the way nice to see ya back! congrats on a job well done!


    • come to think of it BooooB, you know that “atta boy” you think you are going to get up there when they slap you on the back..bad news..its handcuffs being slapped on you and your little elves in the kiss it goodbye Bob..and say hello to Bubba, your new best a whole new meaning to “friend me”..LOL


  8. Having mulled this sitution over for some time now, I am struck by the fact that the last “gather” (doesn’t the word “gather” give you the warm fuzzies?) was moved to a private property because there were far fewer horses left than what BLM stated. In fact, i am wondering if there were more than a handfull? I think we might find out that the horses had been gathered and sold for slaughter long before this last roundup and that these roundups are simply a cover story for why the horses aren’t there.

    The cattlemen better grab their butts on this one. So much of the water in this area is contaminated with mercury and sulfur from all the strip mining going on that it is unusable. Unless they have cows that don’t need water….

    I had been told in the past that the BLM was sponsoring a series of documentaries that would be broadcast on the history channel or NGC, and sure enough they have started broadcasting them…..the series is called …are you ready???? The last Cowboys. I was told this series would be coming out to condition the country to the idea that this lifestyle, and beef ranching were on their way out. You’d think they’d get a clue wouldn’t you?

    All of it paid for, as I was led to believe, by the BLM and several of their mining ‘friends”.



    • That’s why I refuse to call them “gathers” or “roundups”. They are horse raids or just raids, which gives you the idea of storm troopers bursting down your door and absconding with you and your family–sound more on target? Funny I had DVR’d that series but decided with all that is happening with our horses I didn’t want to watch it as I knew it would be a whitewash. Now I wish I had watched at least one episode. Probably not too late altho I still dont know if I can stand to watch it.


      • “Gathers” and “round-ups” has always sounded like warm fuzzies to me as well. I can’t help but think of some sort of cowboy party and bar-b-que, with everyone gathered around the campfire. I think of them as “removals”, but “raids” probably is more on target, although that makes us sound like what Abbey accused us of. Geez….


  9. BLM Director Abbey is a public servant who is derelict in duty and his weak PR piece smacks of a fast-talking coverup; it’s just another example of the BLM’s attempt to defraud the public and place blame where it does not belong. WH&B advocates should be thanked for shining a light on the corruption that is rife within the DOI particularly the BLM’s WH&B Program.

    In his editorial, Director Abbey neglected to account for the following:

    a) Repeated violations of the 1971 WFRHB Act
    b) Violations of policies stated in the BLM’s WH&B Program Handbook
    c) BLM’s disregard of court orders, Congressional reprimands and GAO
    reports stating the need for improvements in the Federal WH&B Program
    d) Felony equine abuses committed by BLM helicopter contractors and wranglers
    during roundups and in BLM Long Term and Short Term Holding Facilities
    e) Repeated failure to allow observers at roundups and at BLM Holding Facilities
    when BLM Program Director Don Glenn stated that the public is welcome to
    observe all roundups at any time
    f) That BLM science is at times based on decades old documents because
    the agency has not bothered to develop anything current
    g) The cost of approximately $70 million taxpayer dollars per year to round up
    America’s wild horses and burros from their legal range lands and lease these
    range lands to private cattle ranchers, oil, and mining interests
    h) That 2,282 wild horses are missing from BLM Holding Facilities indicating that
    the numbers the agency is reporting are inaccurate
    i) That some captured WH&B’s (a.k.a. “slicks”) are siphoned off to kill buyers and
    others are cherry-picked out of the herd for personal profit

    Director Abbey and the agency he supervises should abide by the laws set in place to protect America’s wild horse and burro heritage herds. He should call for an immediate moratorium on all roundups and “clean house”. He owes it to what is left of these herds and to the American public.


  10. Abbey says: “Wild horses and burros must share the public land with wildlife, livestock and people:.

    No, there is no MUST SHARE with livestock except in BLM and DOI terms. This MUST be changed – livestock gone – tax savings begun – and a share of those savings go to the wild horses.


  11. There is enough documentation on record to make any concerned citizen ask some serious questions. One doesn’t have to be an “activist”.


  12. Mr. Abbey should be rounded up and ran for hrs in the hot weather and then refused water as he is allowing the Mustangs and Burros to be. He should be removed from office of BLM and thrown in jail, for abuse to animals. He is a liar and a hipocriate…he is inhumane, and disugsting thing….He is a cattle man that has been bought, anything that puts money in his pocket he will do , he has no concience and could care less about the horses. When is all of this animal abuse to these poor animals going to stop? Why hasn’t some one stepped up to the plate and stopped what is going on? Is there no one listening to the cry of the people for the safety of these innocent animals? All who are invovled with the round ups that they are doing, will pay for it in the long run, what goes around , comes around…I hope that each and every one of them end up in jail.


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