Horse News

7 Questions About Wild Horses for Interior Secretary Nominee Sally Jewell

Source: – as published in The Atlantic with featured video from the Cloud Foundation

Her predecessor presided over roundups and the sale of horses for slaughter. Without equine or ranching experience, what will this former executive do to right the wrongs?
Baby Wild Burros Captured and Imprisoned by the BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Baby Wild Burros Captured and Imprisoned by the BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

In Thursday on Capitol Hill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the nomination of Sally Jewell for the position of Secretary of the Interior. She comes to the room offering some measure of comfort to two of the primary constituencies that care most about the post. Big oil? Check — she worked for years for Mobil Oil, out in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma. Environmentalists? Check — she comes to Washington, D.C., from R.E.I., the “outdoor recreation” company, where she was a longtime advocate for conservation.

But Jewell is mostly a blank slate when it comes to two key areas of the Interior Department’s portfolio which are in famous and direct conflict with one another. The first relates to the federal government’s complicated relationship with the ranching and livestock industries. Jewell does not appear to have much of a public record when it comes to her views on the concept of welfare ranching — the age-old, under-reported pork-barrel policy by which the federal government practically gives away the use of our public land to private ranching and farming interests by means of well-below-market lease rates.

The second unknown area of Jewell’s resume involves the fate of nation’s wild horses, which roam public lands and which have suffered greatly over the past few years as a result of the ruinous policies of Jewell’s would-be predecessor, Ken Salazar. For wild horse advocates, the good news is that Jewell doesn’t come from a longtime ranching family, as Salazar did, or have a long record of hostility to the nation’s herds, as he does.

The bad news is that Jewell may today know so little about the legal status of the horses, and so little about the political and economic background of their current predicament. that she may not be able to quickly focus on their situation. And that, these advocates fear, could be catastrophic to the herds.

Despite Jewell’s background with Mobil, she will likely be tagged on Thursday by Republicans for being too much of an conservationist. And despite her history of work on conservation causes, she may be tagged by Democrats for her career in oil — and also for her benefactor’s disappointing record of conservation during his first term in the White House. In either instance, the topic of wild horses isn’t likely to be raised at all. The ranching and livestock lobby certainly doesn’t want to bring attention to their recent success in ridding the range lands of the horses. And the horse lobby isn’t now strong enough to force a senator, a committee — or Congress as a whole — to yet raise a ruckus.

With all this in mind, here are the seven horse-related issues Jewell should have to address before she is confirmed for the post.

1. The slaughter of wild horses. Under the direction of Secretary Salazar, and at the behest of the powerful ranching, livestock, oil and gas lobbies, the Bureau of Land Management in the past few years has rounded up approximately 37,000 of the nation’s wild horses from public lands. These roundups are cruel, often deadly, and always hazardous to the health and safety of the animals. Madame Secretary-designate, please take a few minutes to watch this video:

e federal government now holds these horses in cramped pens at significant expense to taxpayers. In the meantime, the BLM has allowed known advocates of horse slaughter to buy thousands of these horses. As secretary, are you prepared to stop these harsh roundups, to unequivocally protect wild horses from slaughter, and to impose a zero-tolerance enforcement policy against those individuals who seek to buy them for slaughter as well as against those BLM employees who knowingly sell them to these individuals? If so, how exactly?

2. The care of captured wild horses. In addition to the economic burden to taxpayers of the roundup and corralling of all these horses, horse advocates are growing increasingly concerned about the conditions many of the captured horses live in. The situation has gotten consistently worse over the years as federal and state budgets have been tightened. For example, in 2011, abused horses were removed from such conditions in Utah. Please watch this video, Madame Secretary-designate, and tell us specifically what you plan to do to better ensure that these federally protected horses are more humanely treated:

3. The long-term solution(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety at the Atlantic and to Comment

13 replies »

  1. thank god for Andrew, it sure helps to have a reporter who is a legal analyst for CNN. contributer to 60 minutes and CBS radio..we needed someone besides a talk show host , who has important contacts..please read and thank him and share the shows how many people are supporting the WH&B


  2. generally what I have republicans are wanting her to support industry on public lands, dems are wanting to support clean energy on public lands..every senator is refrences what he or she wantsfor their state..Sally was in fact-the only person to say..public lands are first, in holding for all citizens..she is very well spoken and adept at holding the middle ground even when pressed to support coal mining and like questions..even Landruie from La..our friend only addressed questions relating to her state…nevada, and arizona wants statesrights to trump the publics rights on BLM lands


  3. #5 question is disturbing (even though these are hypothetical questions): ” In other words, what fair and reasonable price are you going to impose on these industries for ridding public lands of federally protected horses? ” This statement implies that it’s ok to sellout OUR wild horses, it’s not. Since Jewell is an alleged conservationist, the smart thing to do would be promote the eco-tourism benefits of viewing wild horses in their natural habitat; even 3rd world countries know the value of eco-tourism. The eco-systems win, the taxpayers win, the wildlife wins, local and state economies win. We do not approve of our Public Lands being pillaged for private profits, its kleptocracy. These horses have almost 30 million acres of legal domain, return the stolen wild horses to their legal domain and remove invasive domestic livestock destroying the ranges. We want the helicopter stampedes and theft of our wild horses from their legal domain ceased, we want pro-slaughter/ranching interests off the blm advisory board – period. Time for justice to prevail and genetic viability be restored to our “federally protected” wild horses; already too late for the burros.


  4. The Swayze gather brought me to tears. How stupid and inhumane three BLM is. I have had horses for over fifty years and have never seen such a scene. The audacity of the BLM is beyond belief. Steamed say the least. They don’t know three difference between a gallop and a trot either. Makes me sick. Ms. Jewell better be friend of the horses not just a puppet for the BLM. We will soon find out.


  5. I want all the horses restored to their lands and all the cattle, sheep, miningand oil removed! This is their land and that is that! I want the BLM disbanded once and for all.


  6. These roundups and abuse of wild horses and burros has to stop. Will this new Interior Secretary get right on it or will she ignore this? She should state just what she plans to do. Specifics not vague stuff.


  7. Our love for horses and life should exceed the greed of humans.The slaughter of the mustangs,burros and the wolves is so inhumane.It makes me so sick to see the horrifing things done to them.The BLM is a joke and liars they do not care for the mustangs and the agression they put them through.Love animals they will be your friend more so than another person. They are God’s creatures as we are we are suppose to live in harnmony.Believe this!


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