Horse Health

BLM’s trend: manipulation of public

Source:  The PPJ Gazette

By Debbie Coffey              Copyright 2013            All Rights Reserved.

While Joan Guilfoyle (Bureau of Land Management’s Division Chief of the Wild Horse & Burro Program) continues to struggle to learn what she’s doing and continues to have difficulties being polite to and interacting with wild horse advocates, the BLM brought in a “facilitator” to the August 6 meeting in Reno to discuss shelter for wild horses & burros that are being warehoused in BLM facilities.

palomino-valley1    Palomino Valley

The public’s first clue that smoke and mirrors would be involved in this meeting could be found online in the BLM’s Workshop Handout, which included “WORKING IN GROUPS,” which outlined that people would be working in groups, with a facilitator, and then reporting to the larger group.

In this BLM meeting, instead of just being able to use your own words and speak your own mind, you were led into talking about “trends.”  The BLM workshop handout suggested that “One or more members should ensure that the group stays with the assigned task.”  So much for free speech.

This is the Delphi method, which the Rand Corporation developed in the 1950s.  It has been used to manipulate people.   The goal of the Delphi method is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.

Judith A. Talbot, the meeting facilitator, is an associate with California State University’s Center for Collaborative Policy, which describes collaborative policy making as “a process whereby one or more public agencies craft a solution to a policy issue using consensus driven dialogue with diverse parties…”

Yet, the only two “groups” at this meeting seemed to be BLM employees and wild horse advocates.  So, who were the “diverse parties?” 

In reality, the consensus process, also called collaborative decision making meetings, are different from meetings conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order.   In fact, the Center’s website seems to recommend reading “Breaking Robert’s Rules” by Lawrence E. Susskind and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank.

Meetings using Robert’s Rules of Order facilitate deliberation, debate, and full participation.  The agenda is controlled by the will of the majority.

In a collaborative decision making meeting, a trained facilitator leads the meetings and there is a predetermined outcome.  There are no debates or votes.  The BLM handout for this meeting stated “This is a group brainstorm–no evaluation or agreement is required.”  (Nor was it wanted.)   “The meetings are designed to avoid conflict and confrontation between differing views.”  (Kind of like the whitewash it was.)

Generally, the facilitator leads the discussion with questions that are carefully worded to elicit no response, and then, when there is no response (silence), it is implied that a “consensus” was reached.  The facilitator will eventually write a report and then this will be “the plan.”

In this BLM meeting, the public was tasked to come up with “trends” and the workshop handout stated “A trend implies direction of movement, from more to less, less to more, greater to smaller, smaller to greater, and so on.”  (talk about talking in circles)  And then “We want to observe what is happening and defer judgment and analysis. (I.e. focus on describing the changes that are happening.)”

Isn’t this what the BLM has been doing all along – basically NOTHING?  Now they’ve found a way to continue doing as little as possible by using more ambiguity.

One supposed step of collaborative problem solving is to “educate” the public.  In this meeting, the BLM brought in an “expert” who is listed as having an active BLM research grant, Dr. Carolyn Stull of U.C. Davis.  Per Bonnie Kohleriter’s article, Dr. Stull contradicted herself between what she said at this meeting and a policy paper she co-authored on this issue.

In that policy paper, regarding the minimum standard for shelter, it clearly states “Shelter in the form of a structure must be available for horses in cases of extreme weather conditions (below freezing temperatures, excessively high temperatures and/or humidity, high winds, excessive rainfall) regardless of the horses’ age, breed or body condition.”  In the meeting, Dr. Stull suggested shelter for only compromised horses.

It’s interesting to note that on the Center for Collaborative Policy’s website, it states “collaboration is not appropriate for all decisions. It is not necessary or recommended to use a formal collaborative process for routine, simple or urgent decisions.”

So, the BLM chose a process that isn’t recommended for urgent decisions?

If the BLM ever sets up a collaborative/consensus meeting again, advocates should demand that Robert’s Rules of Order be used for the public meeting.  If the BLM refuses, leave and hold a real meeting in another room or outside, and then present your plan to the BLM.  Your tax dollars pay the salaries of these people, so don’t let them manipulate you or intimidate you.  This isn’t North Korea.

If the BLM wants to collaborate with us, they should add more public comment time, on more than only one day, at the upcoming National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting.  Do we have to keep asking for more public comment time for every single meeting?

We have advocates who are just everyday people who care about our public lands and who put in countless hours of work to save the wild horses and burros.  Like Monika Courtney.  And Grandma Gregg.  And Carla Bowers.  And Bonnie Kohleriter.  And many advocates have been working hard for years.  Like Garnet Pasquale, Arlene Gawne and Kathleen Hayden.

Our list goes on and on.  I wish I could name every person, because I’m proud of you.  Each person makes a difference.

We, the people, have a “trend” for the BLM.  You might break Roberts Rules of Order, but you won’t break us.  We will not be manipulated by facilitators attempting to water down our fight for the humane care of wild horses & burros, or for on-the-range management of VIABLE herds on their federally protected Herd Management Areas.  End of story.


13 replies »

  1. Debbie, you and John Holland are our fact-finding queen and king, respectively! What an incredible digger you are. Good of you to notice that collaboration isn’t to be used in matters of urgency. Certainly the Palomino Valley conditions are dire for these baked-alive beings.

    I’ve never heard of the Delphi method of controlling meetings and manipulating outcomes and squelching dissent, but it sure reminds me of these back-to-back blog posts by investigative journalist Jon Rappoport:

    The BLM’s incessant ripping away of our freedoms — the wild horses’ right to live freely and horse advocates’ right to speak freely on their behalf — is a microcosm of what the entire U.S. government is doing to all its citizens, and to the world at large. It would appear that our corporate-controlled “leaders” (hardly public servants) are warping the true meaning of collegiality, collaboration, consensus in order to smother and suppress our God-given individuality and turn us into compliant robots.

    Recently I came up with a host of “c” words that describe tyranny’s traits: callous … captivity … carnage … caste system … coercion … cold heart … commoditization … concealment … conditioning … confinement … conformity … conniving … consume … contempt … controlling … conventionality … corruption … counterfeit … cowardice … criminality … cruelty

    But, thankfully, more than offsetting those counterfeit qualities are two “c’s” that we can never lose: our inherent Christliness and our innate childlikeness. They’re even buried deep in the hearts of the BLM officials. Takes Debbie-like digging and determination to uncover the good ….


  2. Thank You for this report i believe the last paragraph describes best what every one here would answer back to the BLM,

    We, the people, have a “trend” for the BLM. You might break Roberts Rules of Order, but you won’t break us. We will not be manipulated by facilitators attempting to water down our fight for the humane care of wild horses & burros, or for on-the-range management of VIABLE herds on their federally protected Herd Management Areas. End of story. One more thing added , You will never break the Horses Spirit and you will never break OURS !!!!!!!


  3. I told you that the BLM needed to be disbanded. I told you this workshop was all bull. I told you that it wasn’t with your time because these people don’t know how to treat horses. So what did you expect?


    • We all knew what was coming. Yet we went to demonstrate our resolve and we will continue. So if you feel like being instrumental start collecting reputable vet input. Every single horse at PVC needs you. I know when I see hell and hell I saw. So this is what I am telling you…we are realists, and know the scoop. But the horses need all of us, and they need us now. So all the equine people here can mobilize efforts to collect DVM input for one, and expose the farce and horror that is in holding. So for what we can achieve as individuals can grow to something presentable as they use the same clever approach.


  4. The sole goal of this “workshop” was the pretentious objective to appease increased public outrage as this became a national issue. Well predisposed yet firm decisions on where shade goes or not were “presented” by BLM recruit PhD UC Davis Stull. Guilfoyle, theatric genius extra ordinaire, welcomed us with a profuse speech on how this is “quite the departure from past ways, to find constructive dialogue, listenting to public, looking for questions (we came to bring input) to discuss issues/challenge… to come away with new ideas… find ways to engage do work together…. management should be based on science (of preparing public for upcoming Stull input…) and facts… not emotion (yet BLM uses that ploy all the time), that animal welfare is not a new concept…” then Guilfoyle mixed in a bit of “We (BLM) built on a new Animal Welfare Pobut licy (national) in Jan. 2013 we built on that… for gathers… we also look to other: corralls (NOT!) PVC Adoption, longterm pastures, eco-sanctuaries, transport …” for icing on the manipulation cake. She continued “that she wants this to happen quickly.. (of course, it’s already been decided) and that she “has no idea about the powerpoint of UC Davis, to be presented next…(really ??? Why point it out then… ???) but she wants to go forth (looking me into the eyes as to transfix bad magic onto us to EVER shut up) doing her best to move forth in a collaborative way… that change is slow….” she admits ” to broken culture for 40 yrs….(while practicing it) and that she “is glad to hear from the public to help her”…..
    Boy oh boy. Joan I do not know how you sleep at night.
    Then the entourage of BLM was introduced. Rick Sanford, Vet, who visits every other day… (doesn’t he see the horrible neglect and overgrown hooves??) Joe Stratton, short term who insisted that they all do as the “standard” is… that horses get electrolytes, and domesticated diseases w. average mortality….(had to throw that one in…) Jeb Beck, PVC Manager, who explained that the trim chute was “down” (after I pointed out the horrific long hooves of # 8318 in pen 1 and questioned him, only for BLM staff with mama PR hen Collins hovering over the “conversation to ensure quality control” that trim operations or their allover op’s had to be halted or are slowed down due to “having to do things such as this tour”… and Jeb then insisted that “everything is on the books”… (there is no book yet on holding care standards) Alan Shepherd, Dep.Chief, Lee Reed, PVC, and Al Kane, Vet/Advisory Board were next, and none of them had anything to say.
    The confusion geared structure of delphi paper strip writing session was next. Structured to keep public “under control”, it was filling the precious hours with the mockery of wasting time with songs that have been sung for years. Songs of transparency, reform and you know what to make you feel “good”… Then the whopper of premeditated conclusions appeared on the stage… Dr. Stull, PhD UC Davis. The very person who wrote code of standards for horses in CA. yet presenting a slide show with her input from a galaxy so contrary to her other work, one wondered if she was the same person. PVC horses befell into her biased gist of “she only has research available on shade on domesticated horses…, she only recommends (already decided in my book) shade over treatment pens, as they benefit most… that studies have to be done on “shelter”…, and foals (burros too) need to be researched…. she even suggested that shade is increasing insects… Then Guilfoyle came back out and praised the “efforts and input” by Stull, monopolizing the course of workshop ship, into the whining oceans of sequester, what a “challenge” it is, to be mindful… they have “limited funds for research”… putting the sprinkles of final public insult on the workshop….to end her speech.
    The recommendations by those who asked us to come to give ours… but didn’t want it, was: shade for compromised horses only, horses w. body score more than 3 do no need it. (Take that you nuisance public !!) We, the little people from public, then were given a merciful few seconds to make us feel valued and speak a few words… in which all of us tried to condense our concerns and input to be heard and not cut off again. Some were: wind/snow drift protection with acrylic panels, source of laborers: prisoners, solar panels for shade (huge return opportunity and partnership), solid tarp/canvas against wind, trees/green landscape to dissipate heat, canopies such as Ridgecrest… etc. All ideas, some with fantastic potential to shape the very “core” of Guilfoyle’s gospel. Yet… we have yet to find a PhD of shadeology that truly counters the outrageous disregard BLM demonstrates for the cruelty present at PVC. The suffering is real, so is the neglect. How you, Joan Guilfoyle, assume this get together to marginalize us further to the sideline while you have the nerve to pretend you give a hoot, is beyond words. You need to see the horror and agony and suffering by spending a day in each hell pen and witness it live. But perhaps you are so dead inside and so detached from the reality that is pain, abuse and neglect of our equines by the outfit you lead…that my hope is that more of the public, more DVM’s with real integrity, not just fancy (bought out) titles, and more within the political system will see the farce that you are, the very demon of those having demonized these horses and cruelly abusing them day in and out, will come away with more resolve than ever, because I assure you, I will.
    In the meantime, I ask everyone, gather DVM input for horses on heat stress, risks, suffering of foals at over 100F. (12 days already this yr, last yr. 11 days) w. many in upper high 90’s…, send photo of #8318 hooves to your vet, and contact your Senators. The Auschwitz for horses is real, the disregard for their needs, their social hierarchy, their well being, their minimum standards care, their “living legend” status.. it’s real. Encourage a documentary maker or film crew to take a tour. They will come out with the same unsettling sense that we are sponsoring hoarding operations not from this world. Photos and DVM recommendations I presented are available from me. Thank you.


  5. Joan G. will never win the public over as long as she is so busy blowing off the public that has spent time, money and effort to go to workshops. Some of the folks there were locals so they didn’t have so much money involved but I know Monika spent several hundred hard earned dollars to come from elsewhere. I spent 5 hrs on the road both ways.

    For me that money was taken from my food budget and I feel cheated. I would’ve like a few moments with Joan for myself to size her up. What I’m left with is a manager who gives orders, expects them to be obeyed and as for the public we aren’t there to cater too. We don’t matter.

    Personally I find it insulting and demeaning. I’ve met bosses like that more times in my life than I care too think about. She didn’t win me over not one iota. In fact, because she did blow me off and made me feel lower than a snakes belly it makes my own resolve that much more intense.

    What we are asking for isn’t rocket science. We’re asking that the horses have access to shelter from the elements. We ask for appropriate wind breaks during the winter. Not just for horses with less than BCS 3. For all the horses. If BLM can’t afford this then they should turn the horses back out.

    I found youngsters who were so curious about me. I won’t go so far to say there gentled but that initial contact–waiting for the horse to come to you has already been achieved. They just need time and gentle handling. I know I saw a blue roan in there that looked a bit like Ginger’s Trace.

    I had hopes that this workshop would be the start of serious corroboration but after last week it left a very foul taste in my mouth. Glad I’m not the only one that saw through this the cow manure.


    • Thank you Margaret. BLM has not changed their tactics. But they challenged many of us to more resolve. The double speak must be exposed. Enough is enough. I also spent two days prior preparing the info packages, had shelter brochures overnighted to NV, went to Staples 5 times making copies etc., created posterboards with photos and shelter info, and spent over 100 for administrative “overhead”… (blm speak…) except I don’t have a tax cash cow to tap into, which none of us have. The disregard and arrogance of BLM regime really came to light this time. The welfare of horses does not matter, period. I can’t imagine what the poor animals must endure when no one is there to see… I can’t imagine. I know when I see hell, and what I saw that day at PVC was hell. Not from this world and neither are these people who pretend they give a rat’s ass about increased comfort… when all they want is to slow national outrage. Keep pushing, keep finding vet’s to join this movement, keep exposing. It is the only hope for these horses. They need all of us.


  6. Incredible … from what I have read, the BLM/public meeting was a pre-planned farce from the moment “go” but I am not surprised since their actions speak louder than their words and we all can see their actions and their eradication plan of the Wild Horses and Wild Burros (both on and off the public land) – it is obvious and it is all for the sake of the almighty dollar.

    Thank you Deb and Monika and everyone that has true dedication in their hearts and YES there are many many many other people that are truly dedicated to our wild ones and who know the difference between right and wrong and will NOT give in or give up.

    PS … for the cost to taxpayers to pay expenses for Joan and Debbie and the others to blow smoke up our skirts/pants they could have BUILT some shelters.


  7. Debbie,

    Thanks for your insight and ability to share this with advocates. The American people are being treated as if we were members of a presidential national advisory council or an appointed citizen group of advisors to implement rules and regulations that Congress would not pass. Thank you! Thankyou!


  8. God gave us these Mustangs for the range……….he supplies them withwhat they need daily….us humans can’t always have our own selfish ways and think our ways r better then God’s ways Do right and give the conquences 2 God


  9. What a bunch of crap-they need to cut through all the BS & give these poor horses shelter-this is animal abuse & I can’t believe no one can do anything about this-highly illegal-class action lawsuit-take them to court !!!


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