Ryan Zinke, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
by Vickery Eckhoff
I’ve made a subspecialty out of writing to journalists about wild horses and, more importantly, cattle.
Below is a letter I wrote to Matthew Shaer of Smithsonian, whose May 2017 article, “How the Mustang, the Symbol of the Frontier, Became a Nuisance,” is typical of how journalists cover wild horses. It is also typical of what senators can expect to hear today, June 21, when U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifies before the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in support of the Trump budget plan, which will lift Congress’ ban on removing protections for wild horses and burros and selling them for slaughter.
This is not journalism that speaks truth to power. My solution is to speak truth to journalism. Here’s my letter, dated May 5, 2017:
Dear Mr. Shaer,
I read your Smithsonian article, “How the Mustang, the Symbol of the Frontier, Became a Nuisance,” with interest. I have been writing about wild horse politics and roundups, as well as the livestock and slaughter industry and the related topic of subsidized public lands ranching since 2011 (for Forbes, AlterNet, Salon, Newsweek, HuffPo and my own web site, The Daily Pitchfork).
And I have to disagree completely with your article’s (and your sources’) claim of too many wild horses “eating ranchers out of house and home” and causing long-term damage to rangeland…
READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.