Horse News

BLM Blows Off EWA’s Research on Board Member

Story by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine ~ (LIVE LINK)

When Faced with Facts the BLM turns Silent

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance issued a press release Monday alleging a Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board member, Robin Lohnes,  may be working behind a shell organization to bolster her position as an equine welfare advocate on that board.

A Doorway to Nowhere?

“Lohnes is the executive director of the American Horse Protection Association (AHPA). The AHPA has no website and maintains only a small, unoccupied office on the lower level of a Georgetown hotel,” EWA stated.  “If the organization has been involved in any activity (horse protection or otherwise) since the 1990’s they have managed to conceal it both from Google and from the hotel’s maid who told an EWA investigator that she had never observed anyone in the office.”

Horseback Magazine did a Google search for information on the organization and confirmed the findings of EWA. The magazine then asked  BLM chief Washington spokesman, Tom Gory, if the agency was investigating the animal welfare organization’s allegation regarding Lohnes and her group.

“Simply put, the BLM does not accept your contentions about this organization,” was Gorey’s reply.

Horseback Magazine made no contentions about Lohnes or her organization, yet in an interview with her earlier in the year the board member claimed her organization was legitimate and had thousands of members. At that time we confirmed what EWA recently found. An office in a Georgetown hotel sat vacant and was not used although Lohnes name as well as the name of the American Horse Protection Association was on the door.

Horseback asked EWA Vice President Vicki Tobin to again confirm her organization’s recent findings.

“I just called the hotel where her “office” is located,” she said. “I said Iwas going to be visiting DC in the near future and wanted to visit the AHPAoffices but haven’t been able to get in contact with them. I asked if the lower level office was still there and she (the hotel official) said yes, but there is rarely anyone in the office and to make sure I contact them because if I just stop by, chances are nobody will be there.”

“In the 80s and early 90s AHPA was a huge advocate for the horses,” Tobin continued. “Obviously, things have changed.”

“Clearly Lohnes got control some how and left the organization in cold storage so she could play on its old reputation,” said EWA President John Holland of Virginia. ” But that only works for a short time. Sooner or later someone is going to notice the corpse isn’t breathing.”

The office is located at 1000 29th St. NW.

For an organization with such a low profile, the AHPA appears to be well funded. In its most recent IRS filing required of non profit cheritable organizations, the group had assets of $985,848 and income of $1.417,718 for 2008.

Lohnes appointed four academics to determine if BLM “gather” procedures were humane. The group, some longtime supporters of horse slaughter, gave the agency a clean bill of health. In 2009 BLM discussed euthanizing thousands of wild horses because it’s program of captureing them was out of control and over budget. But the discussions were leaked to the Associated Press which did a story. A firestorm of protest erupted among wild horse advocates and the horse loving public. The agency shelved the proposals.

“If the observers think butchering a live horse is humane, they certainly wouldn’t find fault with the BLMs handling of wild horses.” Tobin said.

Horseback also spoke with the EWA investigator who originally went on site to determine if Lohnes’ organization staffed a viable office.

“This is exactly what the person behind the hotel desk told me when I went to see her,” said the investigator who declined to be identified. “There are no posted hours outside the door and there was no one in the office. There was one light on in the office. It looks like a hotel room was converted to an office because the basic layout is what you would see in a hotel room and there is a bathroom. The front part of the office (the only part I was able to see) had pictures of Robin on horses and there was one empty desk with a small desk lamp.  On either side of the door is a large window and the door was locked with no sign that anyone would return to the office.”

Horseback Magazine’s questions to the BLM spokesman, Gorey, were journalistic, reasonable, and polite. We said:

“In light of the issue raised by the Equine Welfare Alliance regarding BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Member Robin Lohnes organization – what is the agency doing to verify the information in the release they sent out and that we printed. FYI, months ago I received the same information they used from a source independent of them and confirmed that her offices is really just a shell, or mail drop, and is never used.  My confirmation came from sources within the building. Further, I had highly respected and trustworthy investigator go to the building and confirm what was reported. I didn’t do the story on this months ago because I was just too busy to get to it. Further, I’m pretty well connected in the equine community and can’t find anybody who has crossed paths with Lohnes or her organization in a very long time other than one horse rescue organization that said in a blog post they had received a questionnaire. Lohnes purports she is the head of a 10,000 member equine welfare organization. When I interviewed her months ago she was sketchy in the information she was willing to provide to me regarding her membership and funding. I have never heard of a single person who is a member.”

We continued in our note to Gorey, “So the question is this. If this organization is bogus, as it appears, is BLM investigating? Has homeland security been called in? Is the director considering asking for her resignation from the board? As you know, if this continues to check out it will reflect badly on the administration and there tends to be a domino effect when things like this surface. Has the White House been notified of EWA’s findings? Has BLM received instructions in the matter from Pennsylvania Ave?”

Gorey would not respond Horseback’s questions regarding Lohnes’ organization.

“We continued, asking, “Also, the EWA is claiming that some of the handpicked experts Lohnes chose and you named in your press release are longtime horse slaughter advocates. In light of Abbey’s attendance and speech at the upcoming Vegas event will BLM now acknowledge that despite its stated prohibition to slaughter it in fact supports the slaughter of wild horses?”

Gorey responded saying, “The BLM does not support the slaughter of wild horses, as made clear by Director’s statement at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2010/december/NR_12_03_2010.html

Our inquiry continued saying, “Finally, I continue to hear of unbranded wild horses being taken from BLM lands and ending up in slaughter auctions. Is BLM doing anything to police its contractors and truck drivers to determine if there is trafficking in stolen government property (horses) going on?

“If you have any evidence whatsoever that wild horses are being stolen from BLM-managed public lands, please provide that information to the BLM and our law enforcement rangers will look into it.”

Horseback Magazine has recently been informed that BLM rangers have un-holstered their weapons in the presence of wild horse advocates and threatened them. BLM has consistently refused to call in outside law enforcement organizations or observers.

Click (HERE) to Read Story in it’s Entirety

49 replies »

  1. So… is this Robin Lohnes a “real” person? I wonder where the donations went? Maybe this American Horse Protection Association is one of those scams? Seems like the government should be investigating them as a ponzi scheme?

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  2. Does anyone have a manner in which to contact Robin? I would think that a few letters suggesting that she resign and take her trained monkeys with her would be in order. Of course the BLM does not care if they get embarrassed, or they seem to be beyond realization that they should be embarrassed. Mr. Gorey seems to want us to believe him because he, like my mother can state, “because I said so”. Sorry Mom this line didn’t work so good for her either. Guess I’ll be making calls to Feinstein and many others today.

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  3. Sorry for posting at the last minute–just saw it:

    Please call Feinstein’s office in DC at 202-224-3841 all day this
    >Thursday with the message: “Defund the wild horse and burro roundups
    >through the FY11 DOI appropriations process, either through a
    >Continuing Resolution or an Omnibus Spending Bill”. (We need a minimum
    >of 200 calls to go in to her office on Thursday to make an impression.)
    >
    >Also, please use her webmail form to send the same message on Thursday, 12/9/10:
    >
    >http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactUs.Email
    >Me

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  4. From allbusiness.com:
    http://www.allbusiness.com/social-services/social-services-not-elsewhere/4036697-1.html

    “American Horse Protection Association(AHPA)
    Address: Address unknown. Washington, DC 20007 USA
    Contact Name: Lohnes, Robin C.
    Phone: (202) 965-0500
    URL: http://www.equineprotectionnetwork.com

    Founded: 1966
    Members: 15,000
    Membership dues: individual, $20 annual; organization, $25 annual.
    Staff: 4
    Budget: $298,000

    Description: Individuals interested in the protection and welfare of horses, both wild and domestic. Gained passage of the Horse Protection Act of 1970, which makes illegal the showing of sored horses in interstate commerce, and the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act of 1971 and the Commercial Transportation of Equines for Slaughter Act of 1996

    Publications: AHPA Newsletter, quarterly. Contains news of association efforts to end abuse of horses and burros. Includes schedule of activities. PRICE: included in membership dues. CIRCULATION: 15,000.”

    Other publications (I’ll try to backtrack the citations) represented Nancy Gardner Hargrave as the President of AHPA; another stated Ms. Hargrave was also recently an advisor for the Sabin Vaccine Institute.

    Any info on this organization is spotty at best. Historic accounts, however, show that at one time about a decade ago, Ms. Lohnes and this organization were vocal & active in Equine welfare issues.

    So I have to wonder what’s happened in the interim to render this organization a ghost & Ms. Lohnes virtually impotent. Except, of course, for the outstanding, unbiased report authored by 4 unbiased experts, on the Bureau’s stellar handling of Public ‘livestock’ – namely, Wild Horses and Burros.

    Bitter? You have NO idea.

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    • Lisa I too am just ballistic about this. I see my friend who single-handedly runs a rescue pulling horses off the feed lot. She has to scrounge for funds just to pay her vet bill and between this and that Sharon Catalano-Crumb miscreant I’m livid. I see the death and destruction of our horses that could have been saved by the over a million dollars that has flowed through AHPH hands. Instead they are nothing but pawns hired by BLM. Turncoats to the very people who supported them all these years. How low can a person sink, what floats around in those depths Robin?

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      • From Page 2, August 2007 issue, “Equi Biz”:

        Click to access aug2007_equibiz.pdf

        “However, the site also categorized the average salary by segment groups and found that those among animal
        charities averaged $104,000. The 2004 990 filed by the Humane Society of the United States, for example, showed
        that Executive Vice President of Operations Andrew Rowan received nearly $200,000 in compensation, while Robin
        Lohnes, Executive Director of the American Horse Protection Association received $53,000 in 2005.”

        Of course, that was 5 years ago. But from the organization’s annual budget of $298,000?

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    • Interesting Lisa that the link to the Equine Protection Network listed on AHPA info has the following information about one of the chosen by Ms Lohnes– “BLM Observers” Dr. Sarah Ralston–who obviously is pro-slaughter.

      From website Equine Protection Network site–
      Read EPN Response to Dr. Sarah Ralston, Rutgers University, a pro slaughter vet who calls Americans
      whose culture finds the slaughter and consumption of the horse, a non-food animal repugnant, “humaneniacs” her name for
      PETA wannabees. One has to wonder if Dr. Ralston calls her colleague Dr. Patty Hogan,
      who testified before Congress in favor of ending horse slaughter, a “humaneanic” to her face.

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    • I looked at this listing on Robin and AHPA months ago when it was announced about the “independent Observer” program. Astounding to me that anyone should believe this APHA is real – – they have virtually NO record via google in this century, only from years ago and even then, mostly for sored walking horses (noble humane issue). No press releases, no editorial articles on their works, no petitions, no events, no fundraisers, no goals/projects.

      The website given equineprotectionnetwork.com is basically a PA humane group it seems and has not been updated in years. It’s so convoluted you must search and search to find multiple buried menus to find links to anything of any value. I did find a yahoo group that looks like it might be the “newsletter” – it has had only a few updates this past year and they were notices of missing horses. In short, there is no substance to EPN, it’s a dormant shell where there evidently used to be a local humane group. Further, there is no stated connection of APHA to EPN anywhere except in the business listing Lisa shared. Coming from a background in corporate credit/finance, this is a big red flag, this lack of acknowledged connection, all of it really.

      At the time, I posted a query to BLM’s WH&B fb page asking why there was nothing accessible on APNA (they’d been chosen to oversee the independent observer program). The BLM admin did reply with a short sentence “from Robin” offering a phone # for anyone who had queries. Sorry now I did not call and ask then….

      The details in this article that the hotel resident employees state the office is “never used” is really damning. One has to wonder where did Robin get her $300,000 annual revenues – or I guess that is actually $1.4 million (via charitable reports?) and where are those 10-15K “members” ? Will anyone be surprised if it is found the $$$ came from a certain lobbyist? This is so appalling….

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  5. This would be the very same organization that stabbed wild horse Annie in the back and stepped over her body in order to try and grab the limelight for the 71 bill which was annies lifes work..different people at the top..same result

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  6. Oh by the way, I called Feinstein’s office and they said that they had gotten a number of calls but it doesn’t sound like they are being overrun. I’m lucky they at least give me the time of day because I live in Jamul, CA 91935 and work in El Cajon, CA 92020 with friends in Lakeside CA 92040 and in La Mesa 91941. Just saying.

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  7. i talked to the DC office yesterday and in the course of my discussions asked Sally why these ‘slaughter vultures” came out of the closet and descended on the wild horses as their “prime rib” corresponding to these massive removals of wild horses, and asked if there was something we were not aware of..she responded, oh, they don’t really want to slaughter wild horses, they are just a “sexy issue”…HUH..does nothing filter into the Dc office..are they surrounded by marshmellow walls..its a war for the carcases of wild horses out here..I told her it was making the advocates very tense and that anyone buying large numbers of sale authority horses would make us “very nervous”..think she got another call today..LOL

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  8. We need to start petitioning for Congress to spend LESS time in D.C. and MORE time in their respective states and districts. Shorten Congressional sessions and make them go home to their home offices and listen to their constituents instead of lobbyists.

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  9. And here I thought Robin was one of the good guys since she was the only one for the wild horses. Where in the HELL did I get that info from???
    Stupid me!! I should know that any one who has anything to do with the BLM must be a cattle rancher or cattle lover. But of course then you have the one guy who is an animal murderer who represents the hunters. Oh gee, I guess that is so they can pass the wild horse and burro hunting season. Over my dead body!!!!

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      • I will step out on a limb, yet firmly state, that to mount any sort of protest to the “Slaughter Scummit” would be playing into their hands as it would give them validity while easily painting our side as the emotional radicals. The summit is nothing more than a heap of unsubstatiated lies and sooner or later that house of cards will crumble. This is a last ditch, yet well funded, effort to pull the wool over American’s eyes by trying to paint bloody horse slaughter as something it is not. Although I invest time and effort on the internet to debunk their B.S. I most assuredly will not recognize any sort of legitimacy by personally attending their insane Bloodfest.

        Ain’t happening.

        In the big scheme of things they are non-entities; a loser is a loser and there is just no way that you can polish a turd.

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      • I agree with R.T. I’ll blast SS Wallis on-line from the Internet to DC, but I’m not setting foot in Vegas while all those Horse Eaters are there. I can only take just so much, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m an eco-terrorist just because I start screaming epithets at the lot of ’em.

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  10. I just used that web form. Hope it’s in time. And I’d like to give credit to this california senator. When I was trying to use the form for the House appropriations member for my state, it refused to let me in just because I wasn’t in his district. I’m appalled by that. The appropriations thing affects everyone in the state and the nation, not just his own district! I don’t always have access or time to use the phone when I’m working on something, so not allowing that internet access is maddening, especially when it’s too late for snail mail.

    So does anyone know if anyone is still giving to the AHPA in ignorance? Are they counting people that signed up for membership years ago and just forgot about it? I’ve known people that just automatically renew those things without thinking about it. Or are all the so called members really BLM and slaughter people in disguise? Or are they just numbers?

    The good news is, it’s not just the politicians on holiday. I hope to use some of mine figuring out what to put in these letters and e-mails, so when I’m too busy with school/work I’ll not miss the opportunity to pipe up.

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  11. Hmmmm, could this be why she can’t be in the G’twn office?

    Robin C Lohnes
    Warrenton, VA 20186-2156

    For those of you not from DC, Warrenton is about 40 miles from D.C. Commuting takes ~1.5-2 hours each way.

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    • Lots of people do this kind of commute if they have jobs in DC. I have a relative in Conn. who commutes about the same time to NYC.

      I wonder if all this slaughter stuff is a tease, so we won’t figure our what the government is really doing. For example, in his speech about a possible trade agreement with S. Korea, President Obama mentioned that one of the sticking points is that he wants S. Korea to open up its agricultural markets, particularly beef, so that American ranchers and farmers could benefit. At the current time, S. Korea imports its beef from Austrailia, but the President indicated that he was still going to work on getting S. Korea to open up its beef market for US Farmers and Ranchers (wonder if this is a deal between Senator Reid and the President). I don’t think the treaty is in writing at this point, so its hard to know how much support the treaty will have. Once it is written the treaty will have to ratified by the Senate. But when I heard the President’s comments about expanding the beef maraket, my heart sank. No mention was made regarding horse slaughter or horse meat, but the thought has crossed my mind that this possibility might be discussed at some point.

      In another similar matter, I am curious if the sites of the Wyoming uranium mines that are going to be operated by a majority Russian owned company (purchased from Canada) is another area where our horses are being reduced or removed. I don’t know enough about Wyoming to ask the right questions at this point. If Wyoming’s Reclusive state representative was really interested in the welfare of her state and the rest of the country, she might be worried about something a little more serious than what she’s going to take with her to Vegas.

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  12. looks like AHPA is sitting on a bunch of $$ they don’t seem to be using for the “unwanted” horse problem or assistance to those who need it. About a million bucks, which is a lot especially when you have no overhead or staff!

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  13. So WHO and WHEN will investigate this fraud woman Lohnes ??? Do the lies ever end ? Or the evasiveness of government, when asked questions ? Gorey refused to have a comment on the incident with the helicopter touching a horse… I guess they are excempt from FAA rules as well. Heck they resemble a clan of Godfather alikes – with such funding is it any wonder they buy out their “humane” observers who are in fact puppets on the strings of BLM corruption.
    This must be exposed nationwide – Lohnes’ throne must be dismantled now – and Gorey and the PR head honchos quit hiding from the truth.

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  14. Maybe this was posted earlier, but since when is a person that represents a portion of the government in any advisory capacity NOT VETTED BEFORE nomination, much more even seated without vetting???????

    BTW…are the board members compensated by the feds and states in any way?

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  15. I’m gonna wax all ‘conspiracy theory’ here for a sec, but Ms. Lohnes & AHPA WERE an effective voice for American Equines in the not-too-distant past. Somehow, that effectiveness has been rendered null & void for Equines. Yet she finds herself in a position of representing this organization either by providing the Bureau with a B+ Report Card or having to contend with the beauteous Larry Johnson, he of the ‘Save the Big Horns So I Can Shoot ‘Em’ League, (whom she shared a post with on the Advisory Board & during the Wild Horse Workshop this past year) in a voice like a churchmouse.
    How would a previous powerhouse of a non-profit get whittled down to a voiceless shell of it’s former self while retaining Ms. Lohnes as it’s director? AHPA was a credible threat at some point, and while we’re justifiably venting our anger at this report and Ms. Lohnes, maybe we’re venting in the wrong direction.
    I would be interested in knowing the down-low skinny: How do you go from being an erudite and formidable Advocate for Equines to the Bureau’s ______ (fill in the blank with the appropriate expletive)?

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    • Familiar refrains, Lisa: money corrupts and follow the money.

      If you do the math, the biz directory listing of revenues for APHA/EPN shows @ $300K. This is the product of those 15,000 phantom members X $20/yr. But then you look at the charitable org report at faqs.org and see revs are really $1.4 million (not the paltry $300K the biz directory listings report). So….. who is kicking in the other $1.1 million?

      Also disturbing is the categorization description on that faqs.org link listed above. It shows: “Foundation =Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public”. Most realize that charitable groups usually are funded by public donations but the way this is written leads one to believe their structure allows funding via the govt as well. Sure we’ve all heard about grants but since when are fed grants going to humane groups? Isn’t that a scary thought? So, who are these donors doing the funding? And why isn’t this information available publicly for this charitable group?

      Read more: http://www.faqs.org/tax-exempt/DC/American-Horse-Protection-Association-Inc.html#ixzz17lt0G7tp

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