BLM Bypasses Ginger Kathrens, R.T. Fitch and other (real) wild horse advocates once again

By Debbie Coffey, Vice President and Director of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation.    Copyright 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

In reading the BLM Press Release below, a few things stand out, besides the fact that we don’t see the names of Ginger Kathrens or R.T. Fitch on this list of people who were just appointed to the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board.

Advisory Board Nominees R.T. Fitch and Ginger Kathrens speak at press conference during BLM Advisory Board meeting in March 2013 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Advisory Board Nominees R.T. Fitch and Ginger Kathrens speak at press conference during BLM Advisory Board meeting in March 2013 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

While Ginger Kathrens (Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation) has spent many years studying actual wild horse behavior on the range, BLM’s new appointee Dr. Sue M. McDonnell maintains a semi-feral herd of ponies specifically for the study of their physiology and behavior under semi-natural conditions.”  McDonnell’s books are published by The Blood Horse and Eclipse (Blood Horse Publications) Blood Horse Publications is owned by the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association, which promotes thoroughbred racing and breeding.

According to the BLM Press Release below, Dr. Robert E. Cope moved to Idaho and was “elected as a Lemhi County Commissioner in 2001 and currently serves in that position.”   Dr. Cope has been “active in the National Association of Counties” and served as the vice chair of its Environment, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee for nine years.

This is kind of interesting, because the Nevada Association of Counties recently filed a lawsuit against the BLM to remove wild horses, and to euthanize all wild horses in holding.  The White Pine County Commissioners (Nevada) voted to donate $5,000 to support this lawsuit, and Elko County Commissioners (Nevada) voted to donate $10,000 to support this lawsuit.  BOTH of these counties are members of the NATIONAL Association of Counties.  Meanwhile, Iron County Commissioners in Utah are threatening to illegally roundup wild horses.  It seems we’re seeing a pattern with counties.

In documents received in a Freedom of Information Act request, even Edwin Roberson, BLM’s current Assistant Director of Resources and Planning, noted that county interests could be seen as representing livestock interests.  Robertson noted “Wild Horse and Burro Advocacy Groups may see a county elected official position on the Board as an attempt to make the Board membership weighted towards livestock interests, which is already represented.  Many of the Wild Horse and Burro advocacy groups have already accused the Board of this.  Livestock interests in the many western states and groups like the Public Lands Council will likely be in favor of a county official position on the Board.”

Roberson also noted “The Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) and the Western Counties Alliance (WCA) have requested that a county elected official position be added to the Board.  Director Abbey responded to NACO in the attached letter, dated September 27, 2010, explaining that any change in membership categories will require a change in the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board’s Charter and encouraged NACO to nominate individuals that qualified for the present existing positions.”

And then, referring to WH & B Advisory Board member Callie Hendrickson, Roberson noted “Presently one of the public interest representatives now on the Board is closely aligned with county representation in Colorado as the Executive Director of Colorado Association of Conservation Districts.”

Finally, in the press release below, it states “In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.”

In other words, in only one year, the BLM sold off over 4 1/2 billion dollars of public lands and public resources, so if you hear anyone bring up the money BLM spends on holding facilities for wild horses at this National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board, direct their attention to the money BLM rakes in on our natural resources.


Bureau of Land Management Contact: Tom Gorey For immediate release: Friday, April 11, 2014 (202-912-7420)

BLM Announces Three Selections for National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture have made selections for the three open positions on its nine-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. Dr. Sue M. McDonnell of West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been appointed for the category of wild horse and burro research; Fred T. Woehl, Jr., of Harrison, Arkansas, has been appointed for the category of public interest (with special knowledge of equine behavior); and Dr. Robert E. Cope, DVM, of Salmon, Idaho, has been appointed for the category of natural resources management. Each individual will serve a three-year term on the Advisory Board. Dr. McDonnell is Clinical Associate and Adjunct Professor of Reproduction and Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Also, as a certified applied animal behaviorist, she consults privately on equine behavior and welfare. Dr. McDonnell, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, co-edited the current leading academic book on horse behavior, titled “The Domestic Horse: The Evolution, Development and Management of its Behaviour,” published by Cambridge University Press. Mr. Woehl has been involved in the horse community for more than 40 years as a trainer, natural horsemanship clinician, and educator. He is actively involved with the Equine Science Department at the University of Arkansas and taught Equine Science at North Arkansas College. He has served as a volunteer for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program for 10 years, conducting demonstrations of wild horse versatility and assisting with adoptions. Mr. Woehl worked as a senior agricultural adviser for the U.S. State Department from October 2008 to November 2009 in Iraq, where he was responsible for the development and implementation of agricultural programs and policy for the Ninewa Province. Dr. Cope, who earned his DVM at Kansas State University, has practiced veterinary medicine since 1975. After relocating to Idaho, he was elected Lemhi County Commissioner in 2001 and still serves in that position. Dr. Cope has been active in the National Association of Counties (NACo), serving as chair or vice chair of NACo’s Environment, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee for nine years. As a veterinarian for nearly 40 years, Dr. Cope has focused on large animals, particularly range livestock. The National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board advises the BLM, an agency of the Interior Department, and the U.S. Forest Service, part of the Agriculture Department, on the management and protection of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands and national forests administered by those agencies, as mandated by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Members of the board, who represent various categories of interests, must have a demonstrated ability to analyze information, evaluate programs, identify problems, work collaboratively, and develop corrective actions. Information about the board can be found at: The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under its mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

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  1. Think we need to stop eating cattle. The only way to stop big business is to starve it. Every big mac is the problem. Infact our knioves an forks are the real demise of the Wild Mustang. Once the cattlemen are gone we can work on the oil men.


    • Unfortunately, the meat on public lands is almost solely going to export.

      Outside of a few niche producers, the bulk of beef consumed in the US is from dairy or non public lands producers (like downer cows)…although they do get farm and tax subsidies. And remember, the majority of meat produced in the US is controlled by 5 companies (Tyson, Swift, Cargil, etc).

      A very troubling and sad situation for consumers and the family owned livestock producers.


    • Remember the millions of bison that used to roam the west? Why were they killed off? The mustangs will not benefit from the removal of cattle. They will merely be NEXT.


    • No problem there! I quit beef a year ago with the horse meat scandal! And then we were challenged to stay off beef till the ranchers learn to share resources!

      Fast food sounds gross to me!

      I quit Burger King well over a year ago when I found out that one of their slaughter houses were abusing cattle. BK is owned by YUM brands who got caught in the horse meat scandal.

      Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are owned by YUM brands.

      McDonald’s just not sure I could go that rout…


      • Good for you, sure you won’t regret it. besides feeling good you live longer. World hunger would end if everyone stopped. Besides what could be sadder then an animal being slaughtered be it a horse or cow. I even like the fake hot dogs, burgers, bacon, wings, better.


    • Sadly,seems China is acquiring much of our country for just such reasons. Fracking uses our water to extract gas that will be used to heat the tar sands using even more water to send oil back to China to make more products for us to buy. In any case the American Mustang becomes insignificant. Hmmm maybe we all are.


    • finally some one is listening to me i’m telling you and any one that will listen , please go to my web sight and on it is an article that each one of you need to see its about someones agenda be for leaving office go to facebook /cindy mendoza please people this really is not about cows verses horses this is really scary and then go to d. c. clothhesline and follow the bundy story i hated to do it to but after reading about the that mans agenda and about the presidentual adviser story was written on the 10th of apriil things are really playing out just like what he has in mind.


  2. Instead of trying to solve the problem, the BLM is perpetuating the problem because as we all know, the BLM was and is a part of the cattle industry. The only way to solve this, in my opinion, is to consolidate advocacy into a national association that has teeth, not just gums. Making politicians worry about us and what we can do to them politically will change the game plan of the DOI. All of these department heads are appointed politically. We need one very loud voice. We need to stop wringing our hands and crying “woe is us” and get down to some serious coalescing of our advan- tages; the thousands of advocacy groups around the country. The need to bring the BLM under control and end horse slaughter is paramount.


  3. Yes, this is very frustrating!!!! Catering to the cattle industry!! I will phone Tom Gorey. Our present administration in Washington, Does nothing to assist our Wild Horses (or the wolves) This is maddening!! There must be a way to stop this cruelty!!


  4. A *very* important but discouraging artcle RT. I’ll be saving a copy for reference an sharing as widely as i can. There have been so many documentories execellent documentories about the wild ones, but no one cares. We need two thngs: a really good fiction a la Francis Ford Coppola to dramatize and capture the *heart* as well as te minds of folks in the populations center out east, as well as a coaltion of *all* the wild horse advocacies to build war chest commenserate with what livestock interests have or there is slim. I’m so tired of constantly hearing of everything that cant be done and people who keep focus same old inefectice strategies that we know aren’t working because they lack either will courageor imagenation to try somting that could work.


  5. Reblogged this on Pass the SAFE Act! and commented:
    Again, only the people that will support the illegal activities and removal of our American Icons are appointed. Time for all advocates to create a similar organization to Western Watershed (see
    Start buying up land using the Equine Land Conservation Resources (see purchase the Wild Horses and Burros that are currently in holding, put them on that land using the money from the BLM for creating a sanctuary. See and
    Time to appoint our own folks that do have the welfare of the horses and burros in mind. We must stop waiting for our government to step up and think “outside of the box”.


    • Epona, good ideas here but one comment is if we remove and place all wild horses and burros on private land, at private expense, the BLM still wins since they surely won’t reduce their budget. The horses we pay to protect are intended to be on public land and public expense. Foisting it all into private hands defeats the law and ultimately privatizes our public herds. While this may end up being the only way to keep horses alive, it is very far from desirable.

      If the BLM could splinter off some of the HMAs and their budget dollars so some other group representing the public interest could manage them, that would be a better model.


      • I am sorry, this comment is meant for the 50,000 now living in horrendous conditions with no quality of life. I agree with you 100% on your statement, absolutely would not allow them to remove NOT ONE MORE from their land!


      • IcySpots:

        The “LAW” was “foisted” long ago, but I get your point.

        My question is….why can’t citizens sue the government for not following the intent of the law in TOTALITY, regardless of the Burns Amendment.

        The Fed system requires the plaintiff to have standing (which is $hit) and sue/file by roundup by roundup suit. Like herding cats. This is krap because cumulatively, the DOI/USDA/States have shown that they are not managing wild equines (per 1971 Act…Burns and all)…they are politely and semi-covertly exterminating them.

        About 2 million in 1900, 70k in 1971 and they are still whacking them????!!!

        Uhhhh…doesn’t mathematically add up. Add in checkerboard public lands $hit and you have the monster eating up all wildlife and water (plus timber, minerals, etc).


      • Denise, I am not convinced a Class Action suit could not be entertained. From what I’ve read the BLM doesn’t even keep rudimentary well-established wildlife management population monitoring protocols, for example, and as some recent news here reported, were not even considered to speak for the horses in pending legal action. If these are the people we pay to protect and manage our wild horses and burros, they seem to be failing spectacularly on both scores. In private business they would have been fired long ago. They can claim “overpopulation” but cannot even provide legitimate population inventories, by HMA, over time, nor do they count foals, and as I recently read here, don’t even keep track of dead horses hauled off to five different landfills. A case can and should be made for inept and incompetent management which serves nobody well.


  6. Hmmm. Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kansas lately moved to Idaho? Hard to see how this is a good fit for western public lands or its ecosystems. Semi-feral herds of ponies in Pennsylvania don’t strike me as a good comparison for wild herds West of the 100th Meridian.


  7. Let’s see, “to manage & conserve public lands for use and enjoyment”. I think they need to to rewrite that sentence. It seems to me that they are selling out our land from under us, how are we to enjoy it. What money they make, where is it going?
    The blm, has and will continue making, changing the laws as they want to get what they want. Look at Bundy, he was set up, I don’t agree with some of his problem. But, again the blm changed tactics to get the land.
    I thought I hated my ex’s the most, I think, (I know) I HATE THE BLM WORSE.
    Are you surprised that RT or Ginger weren’t on the list. What the hell does someone from Pennsylvania know about WILD HORSES. Just because some wrote a book about domestics, what authority does that give them on our Wild Horse.
    I know I am probably wrong on some things, I don’t know why in the Hell, we can’t stop these AH. They have been videoed, witnessed, pictures, audio, what more prove is there needed to slam dunk these SOB’s?


    • pricilla go to this facebook page and read the article read about the pre sident that i have on that page under cindy mendoza then go to d.c. clothesline and then follw the bundy story all this is not about horses and cows we are being pushed towards a police state take a look at that article then look at what has been unfolding the last few years and in that article advocates for animals are mentioned in there, too. and for all that don’t know there is a military base under the denver airport


  8. I am recalling the attorney for the Association plaintiff is admitted to practice n Idaho and his address on the paperwork is Idaho. I am not an alarmist, but this activity all seems pretty interbred and if it is, the only good will be perverted.


  9. Pretend cowboys? Halfway natural observer, the same as domesticated just not ridden, then on to the counties….Wild Horse Advocates SUE the BLMs Tookus off for Not protrcting the horses according to law, File it before theirs is complete. There has to be strategic planning to save the horses. With Duquette working behind the scenes, with them throwing Temple Grandin to the curve, they want their hooks into the wild horses for slaughter. So they want to “euthanise” the ones in holding completely…so you need to step it up! The fact is they WILL NEVER APPOINT REAL HORSE ADVOCATES. They wouldnt be able to destroy them. Euthanisia in the new veterinary guides clearly show slaughter as euthanasia so they slaughter if they win. Lawyer up and Ride on in, Claim the Publics Damned Horses Back and stop this madness! They will Never yeild to advocates compassion to horses until we fight Emblazoned in Passion. This is a Fight of Passion, no more soft words, this is where you have to stand and fight. Look if a whacky man like Bundy can fight for imaginary land ownership then Legitimate Horse Advocates with Real Expirience Can Fight this and Win! This IS A WAR FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! Saving these Iconic horses is the Most.Noble Cause of your Lives! RT, Debbie, Grandma Gregg, your list of people, enjoin and FIGHT. Put some Real UMPH! into it! If I stood before a panel of decision makers and a Judge, I would put them through history these horses were nearly ecstinct because of Ken L Ration and the Federal Government, we cant allow the magnitude of injustice, the selfish, conflicting cattle population, the ridiculous excuses of the past to destroy this future! The existance of the horses is a testament to Our Country! We bought and Paid for Every horse put there WithOur Taxes, they renew spirit that the Old West has lost. Were Not fighting imaginary land ownership, were fighting slaughter and the Catalyst behind the.sinister evil that intends to destroy the horses and Ultimately the rest of the land on which they.stand! These horses are for Our children and grandchildren and so forth, to know life as it should be, compassion towards thing! Dont think because your names were Not on a List.that matters, it doesnt, this was planned all along. To stall You. Keep Empassioned, but share it with the people who need to.hear, a court who can decide, passion Not just.statistics! The Art of the Old West, the Clothing, the Saddles, the.Decor, the landscape…..All because its been inspired by the horse. People tend to forhet where they come from, to hide that part of their life, so reawaken it. The Mustang Represents as much as the American Flag. Battles were won andllost and many of those horses that were.calvary ran with the Mustangs. Its Our road map, the horses Built the backbone of America. So what we have to take care of something, thats what America is for! Give us ypur weak, your tired, your poor….we are America, we are not supposed to.Destroy whats Rightly ours because someones greed exceeds their brain capacity.


    • If Bundy (& family) can create this much ruckus – why isn’t it possible for US – the wild horse & burro’s advocates – to get this kind of publicity for the horses & burros. Sounds like we need to take a page from HIS book! Of course, WE don’t owe the government money – They owe us!


      • Maggie, how many men could we get ? We are just a bunch of women mostly and I bet few even would be able to do this.


  10. From what one guy said about what has been happening in Nevada the past 20 years is the fact that the government wants the land the Bundys have for mining minerals along with fracking plus housing developments. That old crook Harry Reid and his sons has a deal in the works for a Chinese company to install a huge solar farm in the area too. It seems BLM has run all of the ranchers out but old man Bundy. This is why BLM wants all of the horses gone off the range. None of the ranchers knew that they would be run off their property but that will happen to them in other states if the BLM continues on course. It just might be pay back time because all the ranchers have done for years is gripe about the horses, now the BLM may be after the ranchers in the other states. What may be happening too is the government may be sending geologists to these ranch lands they are interested in and running tests to find out what minerals are under it including if its a good area for fracking.


  11. Also a lot of meat processing plants are owned by places like JAPAN & ect. no more beef for me. They would sell their souls for a buck & now they kill our horses . What’s happening to this country??


  12. On Friday’s radio show, Ginger told the listeners that there are armed, plain clothed police sitting at the back of the room at the Wild Horse and Burro advisory board meetings.


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