Horse News

Infamous BLM Advisory Board Wild Horse Hater Tries to Spin the Truth

By Nancy Lofholm of the Denver Post

Outspoken BLM Horse-Eater Attempts to Delude the Press

Callie Hendrickson is a member of the Colorado Cow Club that has partnered with the BLM in it’s effort to zero out the West Douglas herd in northwest Colorado.  Wild Horse Freedom Federation, the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, the Cloud Foundation, Front Range Equine Rescue, Habitat for Horses and private citizen plaintiffs have been responsible for keeping the West Douglas horses free.  To date, this has been an unprecedented success but a MEMBER of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is active in trying to end, forever, the existence of this herd.  That speaks volumes to the “stacked deck” theory of the BLM’s Board.  Many thanks to our plaintiffs, donors and sponsors for supporting this TRUE and LEGITIMATE win by these unified, registered 501(c)3 organizations.  The horses of West Douglas run free thanks to your concern”  ~ R.T.

CallieHendricksonGRAND JUNCTION, CO — Callie Hendrickson is a horsewoman. She grew up on a ranch. She was a professional horse trainer for seven years. She has owned as many as 35 horses at a time and currently has two that she rides for pleasure. Her eyes still redden when she talks about having to put down colts with broken legs decades ago.

But for a certain faction of horse lovers, Hendrickson is an evil advocate of horse slaughter. She is the unfeeling citizen adviser who would send thousands of wild horses to the glue factory, the dinner table or the dog food bowl.

Hendrickson, one of the newest appointees to the Bureau of Land Management’s national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, shakes her head over that.

“I certainly don’t consider myself a horse hater. I am a realist,” she said as she slapped a hand on a sheet of figures documenting what she sees as the facts of the problem of too many wild horses on public lands. “My focus is on this.”

What she means by “this” are numbers that show the federal government in the past year spent nearly $60 million on gathering, removing and holding wild horses and burros from the 179 horse management areas that dot 10 Western states. There are currently more than 37,000 wild horses and burros in the wild, 11,000 more than the U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates the management areas will sustain.

More than 46,000 horses and burros are being held in short-term corrals and long-term pastures. Attempts to have these horses adopted have fallen far short. Last year, 2,730 horses and burros were adopted at a cost of $7.1 million to the BLM.

Those numbers and the fact that horse herds in the wild can double every four years, have led Hendrickson, an otherwise unassuming middle-aged Grand Junction resident, to speak gas-on-the-fire words that horrify advocates who see wild mustangs as noble icons of the West and living symbols of history: “sell,” “slaughter” and “eat.”

“Selling a horse to go to slaughter would be my last choice,” Hendrickson said, after explaining why it may be part of a multifaceted solution to get the horse population under control and that it is more humane than letting them starve in the wild.

Hendrickson added, “I’ve never eaten horse meat. I never plan to. But I’m not going to tell someone else they can’t eat horse.”

Even the agency she advises as part of a nine-person board is removed from that view.

“We’ve taken the idea of selling for slaughter off the table. It is not an option,” said Tom Gorey, the BLM’s national wild horse specialist who called Hendrickson a highly qualified board member who will do the job of working toward consensus.

Hendrickson honed her no-nonsense belief about animal welfare growing up in the remote west end of Montrose County. One of her strongest memories is of raising 4-H steers, and, yes, she admits crying when they were auctioned to become beef.

She completed the Horse Training and Management program at Lamar Community College and has worked as a school teacher and an agriculture loan officer. She has training as a mediator and works as the part-time executive director of a northwest Colorado conservation district.

Look at any wild horse advocacy website or blog, and Hendrickson is painted with one broad brush. She is excoriated as the “pro-slaughter cattlewoman,” tagged as “anti-wild horse” and “inherently antagonistic to wild mustangs and burros.” She is called an advocate of “the mutilation of mares” for her views on spaying and as a proponent of “equine concentration camps.”

She sparked her own day of national protest on March 1 when thousands of wild-horse supporters heeded the urging of horse advocacy groups and called Interior Secretary Ken Salazar‘s office to lobby for Hendrickson’s removal from the board.

In the wake of that kind of criticism, Hendrickson has grown even bolder about drawing attention to what she calls the elephant in the room. That is the subject of using lethal control as one method of reining in the wild horse population.

“I think she should step up to the plate and resign,” said Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Colorado Springs-based Cloud Foundation, a wild horse and burro advocacy group. “She knows very well she doesn’t represent the sentiments of the American people she was appointed to represent.”

Suzanne Roy, director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, said she believes Hendrickson was put on the advisory board to represent the interests of the cattle industry and “to clear the path for the mass slaughter of wild horses who have been rounded up and removed from public lands.”

Roy’s group and other horse advocacy groups charge that the BLM is mismanaging wild horses and burros by decreasing the acreage they are allowed to roam on and by placing equine interests behind those of livestock grazing.

The groups’ fervid criticism of Hendrickson has only intensified lately as the wild horse situation has been roiled by new controversy. A wild horse buyer in southern Colorado is being investigated for allegedly buying large numbers of wild horses to sell for slaughter.

Hendrickson says she hopes her talk of using what some consider extreme measures to control herd sizes may spark horse advocates and the agency she advises to get more creative about the problem.

Her bottom line is that before the horses can be managed in healthy herds, their numbers must be reduced through birth- control, relaxing adoption rules so more horses can be sold and adopted, and creating more sanctuaries on private lands.

She would like to explore the creation of a “virtual adoption” program. Those who want to save horses could pay ranchers an annual fee to care for them.

“Right now we are in crisis mode,” she said. “We need to truly start managing horses.”

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18 replies »

  1. Hendricksen makes my blood boil. So we should pay ranchers to take care of our wild horses who live on HMAs by law. Ranchers pay next to nothing for grazing their animals on public lands before slaughter. People such as Hendricksen have no shame and should be firmly called out and moved out of their jobs.


  2. There’s that number of 37,000 again which is a lie. There are less than 15,000 now probably. The BLM reached their goal of 27,000 a year or more ago. Lies and more lies !!Even if there were 37,000 that number is small compared to the 4-6 million cattle and sheep on OUR public lands.
    Callie is just another wild horse hating rancher. I wonder what methods she used training horses?


  3. She says “I am a realist” like she’s the only adult in the room. Obviously the author of this article has a personal relationship with Killer Callie.


  4. I only know that I have known several people who went out west to see the last of live free roaming wild horses and even with the BLM’s help only saw 3. How can they say they are reproducing so much and yet on one sees them? I don’t get it! One and by the way, they saw LOTS of cattle and sheep.


  5. “Those numbers and the fact that horse herds in the wild can double every four years…..” No Nancy, that is not a “fact” that is BLM junk science. Look at both sides of the issue and talk to someone who has actual numbers not BLM bad math when trying to assess what is indeed fact.


  6. Excerpts from
    Federal Horse Rustlers & the Agenda 21 Hustle
    April 30, 2012
    Debbie Coffey

    The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting (April 2012), was the first meeting including Sec. of Interior Ken Salazar’s new appointee, Callie Hendrickson. Hendrickson has served as an Executive Board member of the National Association of Conservation Districts, and works for the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation District in Colorado.
    Callie Hendrickson gave a presentation on wild horses before the tour, using BLM’s “fuzzy math” estimates (“guess-timates”) about the number of wild horses on the range.
    Hendrickson’s presentation also included a photo marked (the website for Cattoor Livestock Roundup, Inc.), a photo with S. Cattoor on it, as well as old photos from 1996, 1997, and 2002. It doesn’t seem like Hendrickson’s presentation informed people about other “uses” in the areas of the photos (either on those old dates or presently) that use a lot of water from aquifers and drop the water table. Her presentation didn’t seem to include the water drawdown maps from any projects (other “uses”) near the places where those photos were taken. The other uses of water effect water (and forage) not only for wild horses, but for livestock and wildlife.
    Prior to her BLM Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board appointment, Hendrickson pushed for “sale without limitation” of older wild horses and wild horses not adopted after 3 attempts (most go to slaughter).
    At the Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, there was talk of the merging of plans between the BLM & USDA’s Forest Service with “paired decision records and implementation” and cooperating agency agreements. There was the irony that while the BLM claims concern about rangeland health and drought, it would suddenly change procedure, “extending the shelf life” of Environmental Assessments (EAs), to only prepare one every 10 years instead of the usual 1-4 years. This not only gives the BLM a blank check to roundup as many wild horses as they want in that 10 year period, it also gives the BLM even less accountability to the public.
    Some things at the Reno meeting almost went unnoticed. Like a brief mention of Vortex. The Vortex Population Viability Analysis Package is software that BLM plans to use for the wild horses in our country. Vortex is only distributed by the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group or the Chicago Zoological Society, and has “participation at several IUCN components… Dr. Bob Lacy is a world-renown researcher who leads numerous international conservation initiatives, including the chairmanship of the CBSG (Conservation Breeding Specialists’ Group) of IUCN.”
    The wild horses are the canary in the coal mine.


    • The only wild horses that IUCN is interested in saving are the zebras and asses in Asia and Africa. Of all the living species, Equus caballus is the one they left out. These people claim that the horse is a “roamantisized symbol of western exploitation”. This is exactly what some of us advocates have been trying to get across; the laws passed by Congress are being ignored while policies drafted by the thugs at the UN are ruining our country, and no where is it any more clear than in the abandonment of federal laws that protect wild horses on our public lands.


  7. What is really behind Callie? Could it be payoffs from the cattle & sheep ranchers to get rid of the Wild Horses and Burros so that there would be more grass lands for their profit herds. Think about her actions and motives. Callie is not sending these Wild horses to slaughter for no apparent reason without her getting a kickback from somewhere. This is all about the money.


  8. Good reminder to people that the West Douglas herd has been re-saved this year and each year since filing in 2009. BLM lied about conditions and removed some (51?) and then it began to rain and so the judge reversed herself and stopped the roundup because there was no emergency.

    This is the most successful lawsuit and has saved this herd.

    Callie Hendrickson is on the board to do dirty work for BLM.

    The Wild Horse and Burro Board is just another waste of time and money wasting our time and money to hear them twice over.


  9. Leave the horses alone… stop creating YOUR crisis. Truly… stop trying to manage the horses, You’re driving everybody nuts and blowing through a hell of a lot of money to do this. Stop the friggin madness. uuuuuuuuugggggghhhh! Head hits desk.


  10. I wish Callie had listened to her soft heart when she was a 4-H youngster crying over the sweet steers she cared for and loved. Perhaps she wouldn’t be such a hard-hearted “realist” today.

    But that would’ve meant walking away from family and friends, who were deeply enmeshed in the industry that raises and kills innocent animals. It would’ve meant saying “no” to betraying her four-legged friends. Like her peers, she didn’t have the courage to do that (can’t say I blame her, especially at that vulnerable age, when the programming by her parents was powerful).

    I like to think that, had she freed herself from the ranching mentality, she might’ve become a savior-from-slaughter of not just horses, wild and tamed, but of every other lovely living creature on earth.

    There’s still time for a change of heart, Callie….


  11. Well I am not surprised on the new elected. Wouldn’t of thought of anything better.
    She is right a long with the lady from Tonopah, Nv with her 25 cent bullet. Too bad we couldn’t put them slaughter lovers in a bundle and shoot them at one time. It would sure save a lot of heart ache.


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