Horse News

Horseback Commentary: BLM Again Gives Stunning Tin Ear Demonstration

by Steven Long ~ noted Author and Publisher/Editor of “Horseback Magazine

Deceit and Collusion Run Rampant in Obama’s BLM

Steven Long during interview for the Discovery Channel

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The tin ear of the federal Bureau of Land Management is clearly so out of tune to the desires of the American public and so in tune with the wants of corporate agriculture, hunting interests, and natural resource exploitation that the agency, and its titular head, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, has made appointments’ that not only mock public opinion but create a fetid cesspool of criticism where it now wallows – a pool of its own making.

Last week the BLM named three appointees to its toothless Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board after an earlier candidate had already caused controversy. The board is a rubber stamp for ill advised management policy rather than functioning as a quasi independent advisory body to safeguard the public’s interests in the 245 million acres of wilderness it manages.

The appointments fly directly in the face of, and run contrary to, the findings of the most recent poll on how Americans feel about the grisly practice of horse slaughter. The poll was commissioned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It was conducted by Lake Research, a blue chip political research firm founded by Celinda Lake. The pollsters found that nothing has changed in the public’s opinion of horse slaughter. In fact, it has solidified, increasing previous findings by a full ten percentage points over a decade of previous polls on the issue that found the same thing.

Yet rather than take another look at how to handle management of the herds in ways different from capture and ultimately killing, Salazar completely ignored the wishes of the American people. In a agency that has endured three years of scandal and ridicule, the secretary piled fresh dung on the manure heap.

The BLM knew of those earlier polls when it appointed three commissioners to the WHBAB. Yet it again served the interests of ranchers who  have often called America’s wild horses, “The cockroaches of the west.” These ranchers have been caught fencing off water holes where Mustangs go to sustain life. They have treated the public lands as their own. And yes, they have often captured wild horses and sold them off to killer buyers beyond the scrutiny of the agency.

The BLM has also fought any attempt by the press to serve as watchdogs of its actions. That abruptly came to an end last week when a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals demanded a Horseback Magazine journalist be allowed access to observe, photograph, and report freely on the practice of the capture of wild horses, a practice it benignly and ridiculously terms “gathers.” Instead, of the gentle herding of horses the term implies, the animals are madly stampeded by a roaring helicopter, the tips of its skits sometimes touching the back of a crippled animal to drive it toward a trap even though the creature is in terrible pain.

In fact, the findings of the polls are so imbedded in what has become established fact that literally nobody was surprised with the Lake firm’s most recent survey found that this time 80 percent opposed the practice of killing horses for their meat – and more importantly, the result came from virtually all demographic groups. That finding included all horses, wild as well as domesticated.

In the face of this, Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey ignored the strong feelings of the vast majority of Americans and appointed Callie Hendrickson, a Grand Junction, Colorado woman who has been outspoken in favor of horse killing to replace an Ohio trustee who opposes the practice. Despite the fact that the BLM manages 245 million acres of land, Hendrickson said at the time of her appointment “The rangeland can’t stain large numbers.” Well Callie, we say hogwash. That’s an awful lot of land. Moreover, we are told 12 million acres originally designated in the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act for wild horses have been taken away over the years and not replaced.

James Stephenson, a consultant to The Yakama Nation, was appointed with the full knowledge of Salazar and Abbey that he is enthusiastic about killing horses as a population control measure.

And then there is Dr. Boyd Spratling, a Nevada vet, and past president of the National Cattlemen’s Association. He was re-appointed to another three year term in the wake of vast public criticism regarding how BLM vets allowed foals stampeded by agency helicopters to run to the point that they shed their hooves in an excruciating death agony – a callus, heartless, and frankly unforgivable act of veterinary irresponsibility that should cost somebody their license.

It seems the BLM likes to keep it in the family. It has appointed June C. Sewing of Cedar City, Utah, director of the obscure National Mustang Association, to serve on the board. Her husband was a previous member.

Horseback Magazine has filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request asking for the names of all Americans who offered themselves for service on the board. The response should be interesting.

There have been calls in Congress, most notably by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana, to sever the wild horse function from the BLM’s responsibilities. The time has come to act, Mary. These most recent appointments demonstrate that the agency, the secretary, and the BLM director have no interest in what the public has demanded. This rogue branch of government has continued to capture and sterilize horses in such enormous numbers to the point that slaughter will not be needed to eliminate the herds from our Western Lands because they will be genetically incapable of replicating themselves. Worse still, it has squandered our tax dollars to benefit a few western ranchers who pay a tiny $1.35 per cow and calf per month for the land. That’s an outrage.

It’s a national disgrace.

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20 replies »

  1. We are all fooled, lied to, deceived and teased on a constant bases. The preachings of “transparency”, the promised “reform”… all empty ploys to distract and fend off public pressure. Yes, a biased Board was always a main concern of the mustang advocates, and surely, never has one of our available experts, with the mustangs’ interests at heart, even had a fair chance.
    These our OUR horses. Yes, Mary, the time has come. The BLM needs to be stripped from its authority over our wild horses and burros. BLM is a national disgrace.


    • And Ms. Callie is listed as being on a panel as a rep of Colorado Conservation district at the 2nd “Scummit of the Horse” this coming April. She sure “get’s around”–


  2. I can hardly wait to find out who else had applied to be on the blm board. Yes, it really should be interesting! I only hope, tho, that the blm didn’t destroy applications from pro-horse people, thinking that someone would might want to know one of these days. They are miserable sneaks, and I will never trust them.


  3. I barely kept my composure Saturday when I met a woman from North Dakota cattle country who was visiting relatives in the Texas city where I live. Somehow we started talking about the wild horses and cattle on public property. She claimed that there were too many horses on the range, especially in Wyoming; that the government, in the form of the BLM, orders the “powerless” ranchers around; and that these “impoverished” ranchers pay plenty to lease federal land, so the grazing fee should NOT be increased.

    I tried to explain the facts, but she would have none of it. She was sure she had won the debate when she proclaimed smugly, “We don’t need any wild horses there. We need to feed Americans, and Americans don’t eat horse meat.”

    It was obvious she didn’t want to hear about the freedom and families and feelings of the horses and burros, nor of their legal right to the land. So I kept my counsel.

    But I pitied her for making a god out of money and meat, for missing out on the beauty that feeds the soul.


    • BlessUsAll,

      I run into the same thing so many times, it’s flustrating, and it seems they all sing the same song, like they all read the same ag or cattle news papers or magazines. They are just satisfied to be fed the same bull—t, and will not even go so far as the internet to check for themselves. Back in the day people at least had the common deciency to say I don’t have enough information on that subject to have an opinion (before the internet), now these people will argue like it is gospel, and they have all the info available to them all they have to do is look it up. It seems that to many people are becoming usless idiots.

      In response to her making a God out of money I read this quote somewhere————-

      “”Only animals feed their young on the blood of others–not men””.


      • Geri, I had to laugh at your comments about peoples’ penchant for proclaiming the gospel when they haven’t bothered to investigate the facts.

        When this woman asked me where I get my news, I told her from alternative (non-mainstream) sources on the Internet. I said I used to listen to Rush but no longer agree with him or with political conservatism in general. In other words, I had decided to do my own thinking and research instead of being a “ditto-head”!

        Wisely, she changed the subject.

        Gosh, if I had stayed in that rut, I wouldn’t be experiencing the mind-and-heart-expanding freedom that comes with appreciating and advocating for the rights of horses and burros — and all our fellow-beings.


  4. The BLM sure treads on very thin ice dont they !!!! They assault our Wild Mustangs , they have the unmitigated gull to refer to them as the Cockroaches of the West ( without them them would be no west) , Just who in the hell do they think they are , they use American taxpayers money for totally unnecessary round ups, they have no viable reason for this except to cater to the Cattlemen…….


    • I agree Arlene, But how do we stop them? We as a lot of little grassroots group of organizations and we do not have enough money to pay off Congress as the Cattleman’s Ass. and other pro- horse hating groups. We need to find a way to STOP THE BLM and stop the horse slaughter houses from opening. We must come up with a plan some how and soon!


  5. Though the Cattlemen’s Association are the true “cock roaches” feeding off the tax payers backs, I fear our battle is much more serious with the oil industry and their big bucks. It’s high time our elected officials got off their duffs and did the citizens that pay them biddings. The BLM and the slaughter industry are holding hands, with their true goal being the extinction of our Wild Mustangs & Burros. Get on the horn! Call your Senators and Congressmen, let them know you are completely aware of the corruption and demand they pass S1176 & HR2966. Also demand accountability from the BLM. The corruption runs deep and our only hope is public awareness and the public screaming at the top of their lungs to clean OUT the dirty boys and gals!


    • We all have been screaming our heads off, they just continue , like they have been for years , someone mentioned blocking the traps ,, but that will just stop them for the moment, meanwhile our Mustangs suffer daily, this what must be stopped , there is an answer , but what is it????? It needs to be no less than a nationwide effort !!! if we all come then we will be heard !!!!


    May 9, 2011 by ppjg
     by Debbie Coffey Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved.
    Investigative Reporter/PPJ
    This is about the wild horse roundups. BUT, ranch owners who own cattle and sheep should pay attention to the following, and wonder what water or land will be left for your livestock grazing in the future. Why do you think the DOI is removing all of


    • What part of Cattle devastate the land , Polute the water ,( knowing this, I am sick of them saying that there is no water) they are machines of devastation, they have got to get a handle on this truth, Greed , Greed Greed , all to the tune of the taxpayers money?????????? and the horrific suffering of the Horse!!!! I am sorry with only 1/3 of the cattle being eaten in the US the rest going to Europe??????Is the deaths and suffering of so many Mustangs worth this ?????? and that tuff old nasty stinky steak that lays in their stomachs for days …………………..Absolutely NOT……..This is all simple truths, what is so hard for them to understand??????


  7. America’s Wild Horses and Burros are a Federally Protected Heritage Species. As such, the Public Lands, where they LEGALLY and RIGHTFULLY BELONG, are off-limits to private/corporate land grabs. Could this be one of the reasons for removing them?

    Judging by BLM’s past record and the 22 Plus Million Acres that have been taken from America’s Wild Horses and Burros, why would there NOT be cause for Public Alarm?

    Ms. Callie Hendrickson is the Executive Director of the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts in Meeker, Colorado.
    Conservation Easements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    by Dana Joel Gattuso
    Problems with Conservation Easements
    Stewards of Land or Stewards of Government?
    Any chance conservation easements have in being effective stewards of land is lost when land trusts cease to work as independent, private organizations obtaining easements through purely voluntary means and become agents of government aiding in public land acquisitions. Yet land trusts, particularly the larger organizations, are changing their focus from independent and private approaches to working in tandem with government agencies in an effort to assist government in obtaining private lands.


  8. I read in horror in one of “Callie’s” blog posts from last year that there were still an estimatd 38,000 mustangs on the ranges and considering they use a 35% – 50% undercount percentage, in her opinion there were more likely 50,000 and up and that it is hard to get accurate counts from the air because in the rugged landscapes they hide under juniper trees and in ravines!!!! Hogwash. She is rabidly anti horse and pro slaughter.


    • And she is living in the twilight zone; quick, somebody….give this Callie person a dose of reality.

      Of course, that assumes she is just a kool-aid drinking moron; not a conspirator.



    The Cattle-barons like to cut their costs by grazing their cattle on FEDERAL PUBLIC LAND, and that is why they do not like sharing with ANYONE: the endangered wolf, the endangered grizzly and black bear, the Federally Protected Wild Horse. It is the WILL OF THE PEOPLE that our PUBLIC LANDS continue to protect and give sanctuary to the Free-roaming Wild Mustangs, regardless of what the stingy cattle-barons want.


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