Horse News

BLM to Hold Possibly Illegal Meeting in Phoenix With Bogus Trustees

Story by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of “Horseback Online

Secrecy Clouds Reason for Expired Members Serving

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will sit in judgment of the nation’s wild horse policy in Phoenix for the next two days. But the meeting will be questionable, and possibly illegal, since three board members whose terms expired last July continue to serve at taxpayer expense and an additional board member’s term is clouded by allegations she is head of a sham wildlife advocacy group.

The meeting will draw protest from nationally known wild horse advocates including Dances With Wolves Author Michael Blake, Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, and R.T. Fitch, author of Straight From the Horse’s Heart. Also on hand will be wild horse photographer and journalist Laura Leigh who is suing the agency under the First Amendment claiming she and other reporters have been repeatedly denied access to roundups.

At least one advocate calls the current makeup of the board bogus. Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance President John Holland lashed out Wednesday night charging hypocrisy on the part of the BLM.

“The BLM is claiming once again that it is reforming its ways,” he said. “We will know they are sincere this time if we see real equine advocates replacing the puppets and sycophants with expired terms who continue to serve on their advisory board.”

Hollands words were echoed by noted equine author R.T. Fitch.

“This bogus board of special interests has, historically, thumbed their collective noses at the US public,” he told Horseback Online. ” Now it’s time for the public to turn the tables and question the validity of the Board’s charter and the legality of it’s very existence.”

BLM Director Bob Abbey claimed late last month that the BLM would institute vast reforms to its wild horse and burro management practices in the wake of fierce congressional scrutiny and negative press coverage.

Yet three members of the agency’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board who should have left their post on June 14, 2010, continue to serve despite shady authority to have their terms extended until new members are appointed.

“The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are reviewing candidates for the categories of Natural Resource Management,

“Once the Secretaries agree on the selections, appointment letters will be sent out,” Gorey said.

Horseback Online broke the story February 17 that members whose terms expired are continuing to serve and attend the Phoenix meeting with their expenses presumably  reimbursed by the BLM.

And one board member continues to serve under a cloud after allegations she heads a sham horse welfare group. Robin Lohnes of Washington, D.C. heads an organization with vast funding, but no apparent membership, and no discernable public presence other than a vacant office in a Georgetown hotel.

But Gorey says the old board members whose terms have expired may continue to serve, but cites no statute that enables them to continue in office.

“These terms have been temporarily extended until new nominees are appointed, “Gorey said.

Each of the holdover trustees represents an area of the agency’s interest. They are:

Ms. Renee Taylor – Livestock Management

Dr. Vernon D.  Dooley – Wild Horse and Burro Management

Dr. J. Wayne Burkhardt – Natural Resources Management

All oversee areas that are in the direct line of fire of wild horse advocates critical of the agency’s massive roundups which some say will eventually cause the North American Mustang to become extinct.

Gorey told Horseback Magazine that BLM Director Bob Abbey has already named the prospective replacement board members but refused to make them public. Asked if the secretive bureau was hiding the identity of its appointees, an official in Abbey’s office said the names are being kept secret, not by law, but through BLM Policy.

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16 replies »

  1. Is there no end to the treachery? Are we the only people who have the common sense to know that whatever the BLM has their hands in corrupts, pollutes and extinguishes all life? If the rest of us did what the BLM does on a daily basis, we would not be able to walk around freely. Such double standards for the breaking of the Wild Mustang and Burro’s laws to keep them safe. What a farce!

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  2. The Crowning Achievement; make it all worthless because they can’t even do this simple meeting above board! I hope you will question them all when you stand up there
    and speak your heart and mind… sorry to miss this… but have a good reason and hope it all works out… mar

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  3. Don’t give those bogus board members the time of day. They are no one. Make a mockery of their board meeting……for that’s precisely what it is. They don’t care what you have to say.They have no power. Use the forum of the sham meeting to draw attention to the real issues,…..the atrocities of the round ups……ANYTHING THOSE PEOPLE ON THE BOARD HAVE TO SAY IS SIMPLY A DISTRACTION FROM THE REAL ISSUES……..THEY ARE POWERLESS. BUT YOU, WHO ARE THERE IN THE SPOTLIGHT OF THE MEDIA, HAVE THE STAGE….USE IT WISELY.

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  4. More for the press conference!

    Let the news flood stations across America….

    STOP THE ROUNDUPS!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. If the new members have been appointed, why are they not overseeing this meeting instead of the bogus members who are expected to attend? What purpose does this serve? Will the dishonest and devisiveness of the BLM ever be abated? And- when it is, will it simply be too late to save the horses, the burros, the other threatened wildlife, and the land itself?

    Does Obama know what is really happening? If he does, is all of this OK with him? If he doesn’t know- and is being misled by Salazar, how can Obama be educated when there maybe so much power between him and the truth?

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  6. Wednesday, March 9, 2011Grass Roots Horse LIVE from Phoenix, AZ Wild Horse and Burro Press Conference and Events

    We will be livestreaming from Phoenix, AZ March 10 & 11, 2011 beginning at

    The Press Conference 11:30 am – 12:30 from the Sheraton’s South Room, followed by the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting from 1pm – 5pm.

    Lighting permitting we will be streaming from the candlelight vigil in honor of all the wild horses and burros who have dies or suffered at the hands of the BLM. And honoring all the horses stuck in this broken system.

    Vigil from 7 – 8 pm

    Tune in at http://www.livestream.com/grassrootshorse or become our fan on FB and watch from our Grass Roots Horse page, just click the livestream link at the left and it will be visible on our page.

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    • Louie, is there any provisions being made so this can be viewed through archives? Have to work so will not even be able to catch it through live streaming.

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  7. Well, we all know that BLM “policy” supercedes the law! Thanks for the video link to the live-streaming Louie. I have bookmarked it and will be watching from the soggy wet east coast.

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  8. Louie, thank you for the link for the live webcast! I wanted very much to be there, but circumstances wouldn’t allow this time. Thank you and best wishes to everyone who could be there to make a stand for our wild horses and burros – may the force of the horse be with you all!

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  9. You mention “Robin Lohnes.” If this is the same Robin Lohnes that formerly was in Washington STATE (as opposed to DC) back in the early 90’s I had an extremely bad experience with her – I was working on an animal hoarding case that was really really bad and one mare had been killed (with a snuff line) for insurance money. This was in Maple Valley, King County, Washington. Laws had just been passed in Washington ramping up the penalties for animal cruelty. If this IS the same Robin Lohnes then working in a State job, not only did she refuse to provide any information printed or otherwise about the new law but she in so many words called me a “liar” about the situation with the hoarder/abuser and went one step further not only contacting the local prosecutor claiming I was “a liar trying to create problems for the hoarder” but also contacting the hoarder/abuser directly and advising that someone was trying to shut her so-called “breeding operation” down – and she identified ME by name to that person. The people I was working with attempting to actually shut down a terrible hoarding/breeding situation which included nearly 50 horses on six acres, were subsequently unable to do so following the warning to the breeder, and the situation continued for another nearly 8 years until King County was able to complete a nuisance abatement and seizure of those horses who had not already died of starvation and neglect. If this is indeed the same Robin Lohnes she has more blood on her hands than wild horses, if this is indeed her she is in my opinion responsible for the deaths of horses at that hoarding situation.

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    • You need proof. Connect the dots and find out where she was and if she is the same person… It should not be hard to find background info on her in your state. Work with another advocate who can check this out also… Good luck. This is very interesting to hear. mar

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