Politics Of Wildfire: A Burgeoning Government Business Enterprise?

an open letter from Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.

“Everywhere in the world wherever a species of large herbivore has its population depleted or eliminated, vegetative (fuels for fires) materials (grasses & brush) become excessive resulting in a scenario where catastrophic wildfires take-over on an annual basis…”

Twin Peaks HMA Rush Fire on Rye Patch Road August 18, 2012 (Photo by BLM)

Somehow over the past century the notion of what it is to be a ‘civil servant’ and having the great privilege of serving ‘We the People’ has morphed into the current notion of being elected as a demigod, and being above the people. We see it all around us today in politics… so that statement is self-evident.

I think we’re getting snowed by many officials and politicians, and it’s to the point now where they don’t even seem to care if we even know or believe that. It’s really time for a change! And we can’t afford to sit on our hands and hope President Trump can do it all. Even if he’s inclined, he needs all Americans to start acting like we care for our beloved ‘America’ and all that it encompasses, as well as our own hard earned money, which pays for what has become the greatest ‘show’ on earth.

Few people are aware that the United State Forest Service (USFS) is now spending half (50%) of their total budget on fighting wildfires, and doing so when there is a readily available, simple cost effective (virtually free) method for abating the dry grasses and brush that fuel these explosively hot and disastrous wildfires.

As I write this, catastrophic wildfires are devastating many western states.

The dead and dying trees are no doubt fuel for wildfires in our forests. But as any Cub Scout can tell you, you can’t ignite a dry log with a match, dry hot summer weather or not; it takes a lot of kindling to accomplish that feat. So when we think of previous burns as well as dry forests, the fact that grasses and brush reappear annually and once dried by summer heat provide the ‘kindling’, abating grasses and brush is a key initiative to mitigating wildfire risk.

The math is very important because, even marginal mitigation of wildfires that cost many $-billions annually, would likely represent hundreds of $-millions in real savings for all American taxpayers.

Everywhere in the world wherever a species of large herbivore has its population depleted or eliminated, vegetative (fuels for fires) materials (grasses & brush) become excessive resulting in a scenario where catastrophic wildfires take-over on an annual basis. The science is crystal clear and incontrovertible on this point.

According to Science Magazine:

“By altering the quantity and distribution of fuel supplies, large herbivores can shape the frequency, intensity, and spatial distribution of fires across a landscape. There are even unique interactions among large herbivore populations that can influence fire regimes. For example, facilitative interactions between white rhinoceros and mesoherbivores result in reduced fuel loads and fuel continuity, and consequently fewer large, intense fires (71). Other factors can influence the frequency and intensity of fires, particularly in locations where the total area burned is strongly related to ungulate population size. For example, Serengeti wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) populations irrupted after the rinderpest virus was eradicated in the 1960s, and the subsequent increase in grazing pressure led to a widespread reduction in the extent of fires and delayed recovery of tree populations (72). The removal of plant biomass by browsing also reduces fire fuel loads and decreases fire susceptibility. Thus, there is scant evidence of fire in much of Australia until the megafauna disappeared after humans arrived (5).”

And it’s no coincidence that here in the western United States where wildfires are turning forests into ash year after year, we have depleted herbivore populations. And in other locations, deer and elk are virtually non-existent.

As one of many examples I could easily make: In the state of California the deer population has plummeted from about 2-million animals to under 400,000 deer in the entire State. And this too is the ultimate result of defective management of large predators by California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

You would think people who call themselves ‘managers’ would know-about and understand the foregoing science and the reports given the large amount of peer-reviewed studies that have been published. Sorry, that’s not the case; the forest and wildlife managers, including many people at the BLM are instead focused on two things in this order; ‘money’ & ‘power’, both of which are extracted from the people of America.

But as most people know, these managers answer to their masters, the politicians and bureaucrats, who bear most of the blame for these wildfires.

‘Money’ as in enriching their budgets and protecting their new wildfire enterprise that creates more state and federal jobs at taxpayer’s expense of both cash and forest resources, and diminishment of critical watersheds.

Is it dishonest and immoral to adopt a forest management plan, which concurrently rejects sound wildfire abatement concepts (such as ground fuel reduction via herbivore reintroduction), while currently allowing forests and property to be devastated annually simply to create more government-based jobs that are to be paid-for by already overburdened taxpayers?

Managing an annual disaster with a focus as a revenue model is what I would call malfeasance. And given the obvious neglect of prioritizing a preemptive solution-based focus, as opposed to a reactionary response model, the use of the term malfeasance may not be unfair. And it certainly might be called incompetence.

And ‘power’ is the ability to rule citizens using political deceptions, lies and methods of deflecting blame and discarding citizen input out-of-hand regarding any solutions forward by people outside the political and bureaucratic circles; they want to retain all power within their circles of influence.

This is not how our founding fathers intended for our Constitutional Republic system of government to function; it’s currently a sham!

Having spent many decades in and around the mountains of northern California and southern Oregon growing-up on the family’s working ranch, I have had a great opportunity to study first-hand the recurring wildfires and the socio-economic and environmental impact of catastrophic wildfires, along with the devastating effects of the closure of the logging industry.

Recently I drafted an article, which posited a wildfire fuel abatement methodology using large herbivores, which unlike any other options, offers tremendous economic and environmental advantages, as further outlined herein.

Many of America’s remote forested areas are not suitable for livestock grazing, even though there is an abundance of grasses and brush; the terrain is far too difficult for livestock management, which also makes fighting wildfires in these areas far more difficult and costly to fight, and firefighters die, while many others are injured.

The article titled ‘Fire Brigade – The Value Proposition of Wild Horses’ was sent to my local County Supervisors as well as to the representative of my Congressman, Mr. Doug LaMalfa – (CA Dist. 01).

Sadly and frustratingly I had the first-hand experience of being ‘brushed-off’ by a representative of my own Congressman, Doug LaMalfa (I wonder if he knows how his constituents are treated?).

It’s funny how they only want to hear from citizens when they want even more of our money, or need to get reelected. Of course I think those days are coming to a quick end.

In an email (herein below) from Erin Ryan, the representative of my Congressman (Doug LaMalfa) regarding my Fire Brigade proposal, I was told in no uncertain terms that “none of this is news” in regard to my novel idea for abating wildfire fuels using large herbivores “.  Her observation was manifestly incorrect.

I had sent my articleFire Brigade’ in its entirety to Ms. Ryan, along with an introduction, some wildfire cost metrics and photos of examples of trees that had obviously benefited from the effect of symbiotic mutualism with large herbivores (in this case, wild horses).

So when I received the response (below) from Ms. Ryan, I was of course astounded that it seemed clearly designed to discourage and defer my initiative by incorrectly alleging what I had proposed was nothing new, and incorrectly inferring that it somehow involved ‘tree cutting’, which would attract litigation, also incorrect since there is no “tree cutting” involved.

The trend in the government methodology of ‘sidelining‘ citizens has been in widespread use by bureaucrats and politicians far too long, and it has inflamed citizens to elect Donald J. Trump as our President. Another tactic is making themselves completely unreachable except through so-called ‘gatekeepers’ who seem to meter access according to the size of your wallet.

And now as we see, career politicians and bureaucrats seem to be revolting against our elected President, as they fear the voice of the people may be carried-out to some extent or another by President Trump. Time will tell, but this paradigm of government for and by the government must be brought under control.

It seems like smart politicians would want to listen to citizens who pay the bills and who might have something valuable to contribute to a very serious subject that costs taxpayers $-billions of dollars annually. But alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Here is that incredibly disappointing reply:

—–Original Message—–
From: Ryan, Erin Marie <ErinMarie.Ryan@mail.house.gov>
To: Capt. William E. Simpson – USMM <gemmaster7@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, Jun 27, 2017 3:24 pm
Subject: RE: Removing Fuel Load Reduces Wildfire Risk & Intensity = Saved Money

Environmental lawsuits using the Equal Access to Justice Act are largely to blame.  They sue every single management plan that involves tree cutting – even in the burned areas.  None of this is news and it is not within the control of the board of supervisors as I’m sure you are aware.  I could go on and on and on but have a meeting.  You get my drift.

Erin Ryan  |  Congressman Doug LaMalfa CA-01
530.515.7135 cell   Facebook | Twitter | Website | eNewsletter

As to her cute little byline I say: ‘In God We Trust, Politicians Must Take Polygraph’

Again, to be crystal clear, Ms. Ryan was provided the entire article and an informational intro, none of which mentioned “tree cutting”.

Fires are devouring our forests, destroying habitats, killing thousands of animals and obliterating watersheds nationally as I write this.  It’s in the national news as I write this!

Watching all the wildfires around the U.S. burning forests and homes this early in the season, suggests that the losses may be monumental this year ($20-50 Billion?) in a now recurring annual nightmare!

Just in and around our own County (Siskiyou) here in CA costs and losses have been in the billions of dollars!




So as we learn from the response by the Congressman’s (LaMalfa) aid, ideas are quickly shot-down without even bothering to actually read them, and this further exemplifies the myopic and defective reasoning (stuck thinking in a small box) where they have clearly and undeniably missed connecting the idea of returning a native species back into their habitats to clean-up the fuel grasses and brush off the forest floors.

In the case of Siskiyou County, CA (5th largest county in CA): By relocating the horses from the local BLM corrals over in Modoc Co into the more remote county, state and federal forested areas where there are no commercial grazing herds creating a competitive issue, the horses would naturally abate the excessive ground fuel loading at the rate of 30-pounds of dry grass and brush per horse, per day. . And it seems reasonable that the BLM would give other Gov. Orgs. a sweetheart deal on horses to save their storage costs for horses.

Just 10,000 horses can abate 300,000 pounds of dry grass and brush in a day. In just one-month that’s 4,500 tons of grass and brush abated!  This amount of abatement is very significant! 40,000 horses can abate 1.2-million pounds of dry grasses and brush daily.

Here’s a guide that helps with a general understanding of the weight of dry fuel on the ground and fire burn-rates, etc.: https://gacc.nifc.gov/rmcc/predictive/Fire%20Behavior%20Fuel%20Model%20Descriptions.pdf

DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke has discussed the slaughter of ~40,000 wild horses currently being held in multiple west coast BLM corrals, which according to one Associated Press story alleges will save the BLM $10-million.
However, these same horses could be parceled-out into the various remote western state wilderness forest areas where there are no cattle competing for grazing, in remote difficult-terrain areas that are at high wildfire risk from excess ground fuel (dry grasses and brush) due to an acute lack of large herbivores.

And those same 40k wild horses would abate 18,000 tons of dry grass and brush monthly. It would cost taxpayers many tens of $-millions of dollars annually to have men do this tough and dangerous job in rugged terrain. And many of these areas would not suffer any mechanized efforts very well.

Respectfully, I call upon a U.S. Navy Seal and our now Secretary of the Department of the Interior Mr. Ryan Zinke to honor his oath, and put the American people and their hard-earned dollars first, by carefully considering the concept of the wild horse fire brigade.

Instead of destroying a living American legacy that is innate to the spirit of the 40,000 wild horses in BLM holding pens, let these horses do their part for America and give them the job of abating the ground fuel to mitigate these catastrophic wildfires in select areas.

Horses have served mankind with honor and loyalty for centuries, let’s give them back a little of what they have given mankind for so long.

Wild horses are a native species according one of the world’s most respected and authoritative experts, Dr. Ross MacPhee – Curator of Vertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History. So only the uneducated would debate otherwise.

Let’s Do The Math:

So with even minimal abatement of dry fuel grasses and brush that fuel wildfires representing an annual $20-50 Billion wildfire problem, it’s easy to realistically project saving to taxpayers in the many tens of $-millions of dollars annually.

So does it make any sense whatsoever to kill the wild horses that are the solution for a measly $10-M in relative savings to the BLM budget? Let’s not overlook that the wild horse solution would work year-round every year. And furthermore, that these horses could be located where they would not present competition to cattle for grazing and that all of the stallions among the 40,000 wild horses have been gelded, so they will not present a breeding problem.

Time is of the essence in potentially implementing the wild horse Fire Brigade solution in that, these horses all may be killed sometime before year-end and currently sit in corrals instead of converting wildfire fuel into humus via their manure, which helps soils and forests.

Citizens/Taxpayers:  Please share this article with your groups, email lists and via Social Media.

“When the people fail to run their government, it will run them.” — Capt. William E. Simpson

The Night Wild Horses Came to Manhattan

Another stunning article by Andrew Cohen as it appears in The Atlantic

The Wild Horse Act act celebrates its 40th birthday, but only a shell of its protections for America’s herds remain

Lives Lost to Obama's BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch

As near as anyone today can tell, America’s wild horse herds never came anwhere close to Manhattan before they were either slaughtered or confined to dusty rangelands out West. And it is hard to imagine a venue more different from those rangelands than brick-lined Vanderbilt Hall, at the New York University School of Law, where on a rainy Wednesday night a group of 50 or so wild horse enthusiasts met to discuss the past, present and future of the mustang, whom author Deanne Stillman calls “North America’s gift to the world.”

Yet there we were. Among others, there was Dick Loper, the soft-spoken rangeland expert from Wyoming, trying to soothe some of the anger Easterners feel about the way wild horses are treated out West. There was Ross MacPhee, from the American Musuem of Natural History, come to remind the audience that the horse is a native species. And there was Deniz Bolbol, communications director for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, who has chronicled some of the recent abuses America’s mustangs have endured.

Sponsored by NYU‘s Environmental Law Journal and its Environmental Studies Program, the legal forum “Managed To Extinction?” was designed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the federal measure signed into law on December 15, 1971 by President Richard Nixon. At the time, Nixon cited Henry David Thoreau — “We need the tonic of wilderness” — when he pledged to protect America’s wild horses from the human forces arrayed against them. Those were the days.

Forty years later, the Wild Horse Act is a shell of what it once was and was supposed to be. Weakened by subsequent amendments, beseiged by politicians who are emboldened by lobbyists for the ranching industry, and administered by a distracted federal agency which is captive to that industry, the act is what one panelist called a “thumb in the dike” against the political, economic and cultural realities of our time. If Velma Bronn Johnston — also known as “Wild Horse Annie“– were alive today she’d be disgusted at the perversion of her life’s work.

The discussion Wednesday evening alternated between an ersatz Occupy Wall Street session — “Americans stand up!” one audience member practically shouted — and a reality check from the panelists, some of whom sounded positively war weary for having fought so long on behalf of the horses. The consensus? “Science is not governing things,” McPhee said. “The law is not governing things. Power and politics control.” Hey, all you global warming tribunes out there: sound familiar?

Sadly, no representatives of the Bureau of Land Management were present. Federal officials were invited to provide balance to the panel but they hemmed and hawed in responding before deciding, at the last minute, not to come. Ed Roberson, Assistant Director of the BLM, told organizers last week that the Bureau believed the Forum was “unbalanced by designed” because of its title and its “list of invited panelists who predominantly have a negative stance regarding the BLM’s management of wild horses and burros.”

By refusing to provide the balance forum organizers sought, the Bureau then refused to participate because of a lack of balance on the forum. The dodge. The refusal to confront opponents in honest debate. The unwillingness to be accountable to taxpayers. These are all classic ways in which bureaucracies sustain themselves, perpetuate their power, and avoid making the tough choices that are supposed to make government work well. The Bureau’s absence Wednesday is a perfect symbol for its failed stewardship of the horses.

The BLM thought the session would be a two-hour diatribe against its policies and practices. But there was a great deaI of talk about potential solutions. Some wild horse advocates say that “non-hormonal fertility control” would help control horse populations so that livestock ranchers would have less cause to complain. Others say that ranchers should be allowed to voluntarily retire their “allotments” of public land so that more can be given back to the herds. Everyone agreed there should be more dialogue. And the Bureau missed it all.

So did the ranchers, the true adversaries of the horses. They, too, were invited to New York to offer their assessment of the Wild Horse Act at its 40th birthday. But they do their talking mostly in court these days. The Rock Springs Grazing Association, for example, filed a lawsuit earlier this year asking a federal judge in Wyoming to get rid of all of the wild horses in Sweetwater County, in the southern part of the state. The losers talk, I guess, and the winners walk all over the horses a federal law was designed to protect.

Click (HERE) to Comment at The Atlantic

Truth Sends Horse Eating Fanatics Scurrying

(The News as We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Facts Work Better than Bug Spray on  Horse-Eating Vermin

"Horse Eater" and Wallis Worshiper, only thing missing is the inserted foot.

The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) recently issued a press release on Obama’s campaign promise to ban horse slaughter, forever, and on the dark and shady antics of Wyoming State Rep. and infamous equine terrorist “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis and her mindless followers who allegedly defrauded the White House petition website in a feeble attempt to defend their perverse need to bring horse slaughter plants back to the U.S..

The release was published, here, and also at Horseback Magazine where a certain individual, who is obviously part of Wallis’ cult if not Wallis herself, began commenting and accusing Mr. John Holland of distorting the truth and facts…which is documented on NOT being the case.  Most readers, here, were engaged but one compassionate soul replied back to the avid horse-eater with the comment, below, and the dark little demon skittered off into the night to lick it’s wounds and has yet to show it’s slimy face in the daylight.  The truth always puts them away…

For your reading pleasure:


Who ever you are, don’t bother replying – I’m actually responding to you so that others reading here get the whole picture in case they are new to this issue. I’m not going to entertain any more of your nonsense, so just save it….

It’s obvious you are just plain dense or you are a paid hack, here to spout for your pro-slaughter lobby group and most certainly paid to do so. There is simply no other explanation for someone so ignorant to completely disregard reams of valid information you have been given over the past year right here in these comments. You have come to this site time and again with your backward, nonsensical “theories”, spouting this same garbage you do here today even though you’ve been schooled in facts by experts — PhDs, horsemen, even cattlemen, for crying out loud — right here on these pages and still you refuse to learn or accept any fact or truth.

What did you say your IQ was again? Didn’t disclose that? It’s pretty self-evident as the sign of an intelligent person is one who is able to modify and revise their thoughts and positions based on new information. Surely you’re way down into the double digit range because you fail miserably to acknowledge or accept that it is indeed a fact that the vast majority of US horses are given Bute at one time or another in their lives even with ample opportunity offered here repeatedly. Or more likely you are being paid by anti-HSUS forces or pro-horse slaughter devils…. don’t care and don’t want to hear more of your drivel but since you started it, I will press the REALITY you obscure and deny.

Facts — google to find sources, I realize you are not intelligent enough to do so but other readers might want to do so:

1. Veterinarians confirm that Bute is the single most effective and most commonly prescribed and used pain/inflammation relief medication for horses.

2. Millions of tablets are dispensed annually according to the drug companies which manufacture it.

3. No testing has ever been done on it for withdrawal times in horses because NO AMERICANS EAT HORSE (except for the little fringe group of sick and ignorant ones who do not care if they suffer disease from such a stupid act).

4. Most vets make sure their clients have it on hand while they also instruct it is only to be used for significant reasons and with vet approval — it’s not a panacea but it is vital to good horse care because of the nature of horses.

Just about every good horseman will have some Bute on hand “just in case” to help their horse through life’s little mishaps. These mishaps might be: a rope burn, a hoof abscess, an eye injury (corneal scratch), a serious flesh wound from pasture play or a mystery injury. Real horsemen know this happens to all horses, they turn up injured and the source is never really known or they find a way to injure themselves in even the most safely constructed horse facility. FYI, these mystery injuries happen to “using” horses and to show, trail, companion, retired, pet and to EVERY KIND OF HORSE – it’s part of being a horse. REAL horsemen attend to their animals when they find them injured and with their vet’s blessing they administer Bute to help ease the problem and help the animals recover. This is fact, plain and simple. That you can’t find people like this among the backward neanderthal horse-people you hang out with is not all that surprising. It’s obvious you and your kind do not care if an animal suffers – you’re probably so backward you still believe the earth is flat and only human animals feel pain. But the fact remains that the neanderthal 5% of the horse owner population who DO NOTHING to help their animals when injured DO NOT COUNT and should probably be brought up on abuse/neglect charges. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Now while American horses are getting Bute once, twice or several times in their lives for various ailments and injuries, our US food safety agency MANDATES that any animal given Bute EVEN ONCE IN THEIR LIVES are NEVER ELIGIBLE FOR SLAUGHTER for human consumption. I’m NOT going to cite again ALL THE LITERATURE available to any simpleton who can use google which gives irrefutable proof that:

1.) Bute DISQUALIFIES any animal from slaughter by mandate (slaughter is a method to produce food and is NOT EUTHANASIA);

2.) Bute has horrific debilitating and fatal affects on human beings when ingested (this is why it is BANNED, duh!); and

3.) Bute stays in the body of the horse – muscle, sinew, bone – indefinitely — there have been no studies to prove it EVER DISSIPATES, therefore THERE ARE NO WITHDRAWAL PERIODS allowed by law, PERIOD! See #3 above for more info about this FACT.

Fire up the pipe and smoke that too!

And for your information, there are many horse owners living in suburbia and in cities. They keep their horses in nice facilities (plain to fancy) in town or on farms/ranches out in the country and the vast majority of them have nothing to do with Hollywood. In case you had not noticed, the rural and agricultural population in this country is a very small minority. We work on Democratic principles in this country and majority rules – that means the minority DOES NOT SET LAW or CUSTOM, capice? No one cares if you feel downtrodden because we won’t allow your sick and twisted agenda from a perverted extremist fringe group to be promoted — majority rules. Humane and intelligent horsemen are the majority in this country – not people like you.

THE FACT REMAINS that you country bumpkins who callously treat your horses as if they were machinery without pain sensation are the definite minority – polls over 2 -3 decades prove this point. REAL American horsemen do not align themselves with the cruel heartless way in which people like you “care” for your horses. YOU ARE THE FREAK with your backward views such as horses have no pain sensation (therefore do not need horse “aspirin”/Bute), they do not deserve treatment when wounded/ill and slaughter=euthanasia. GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD: Horses feel pain, deserve treatment for wounds/illnesses, deserve a dignified caring end via humane euthanasia, and most of all: THEY ARE NOT FOOD!

So again, why don’t you just accept reality, accept you are part of a small minority of fringe extremists who are becoming more and more irrelevant and more reviled the more you talk your ugly and vicious talk. Quit with your whining, moaning and ridiculous posturing and accept reality. Until you do, you look like such a fool, a cruel, bitter and vicious one at that.

Please take your ugly self right out of this forum – the repulsive baseness, cruelty and blatant ignorance displayed is truly abhorrent to good and caring horse people everywhere. If you want to open your trap and spew more ignorant repetitive nonsense, try https://www.facebook.com/groups/unitedhorsemen/ — you’ll fit right in there with your queen, Sue Wallis, her jester, Davey boy, and all the other sick slaughter supporters, most recently rallying loudly to support the despicable disturbed and perverted girl from OR who does nude photos with dead horse carcasses with her boyfriend. You folks are the dregs of society – begone with yourself!

Dysfunctional BLM Special Interest “Bored” Meeting Concludes

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Lack of Interest, Qualifications, Concern Permeate Wild Horse Adversary Board

Once again, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) special interest “Advisory Board” meeting is over and the fat lady has sung…won’t divulge her name but she IS on the BLM payroll and the out-of-tune song was something like “Tomorrow” with a few expletives added.

I share a degree of guilt for not being present to personally feel, first hand, the pain and experience the chill as lie after lie was rained down upon the last of our native wild horses and burros but simply viewing it on my computer screen was almost more than one could handle.  It’s not simply emotion that drives my contempt but the burning desire and need to see our federal employees perform their jobs with honor, dignity and grace; but this is not possible when you are caught in so many lies that you cannot even remember what you said last.

The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is a hand-picked nucleus of volunteer special interest personalities with obvious and direct ties to cattle, grazing and hunting without one knowledgeable wild equine advocate amongst them.  This club is headed by a chairperson who heads a misty and clouded organization of dubious reputation that is currently under investigation from many different angles.  And it is this team of anti-equid individuals that is tasked with advising the biggest grazing company in the free world, the BLM, on what should be done to help preserve our federally protected wild horses and burros?  Please excuse me while my head totally spins off into oblivion.

Just a few high, opps, low points:

Strategy Briefing by Dean Bolstad;  What can I say; as usual a very poorly constructed PowerPoint presentation with incorrect numbers, outlandish misinterpretation of the law and even Dean lost his place and train of thought on three separate occasions.  (remember, when you tell lies it is difficult to remember what you said last)  A total mess and something that would never, never stand up in the real world.  Slam corporations all you want but if anyone from my staff delivered something so poorly contrived and with such lack of skill in delivery we would be having a very serious discussion as to their future within my team.

Litigation Update by, again, Dean Bolstad;  Perhaps one of the most important issues the Board should be concerned with and it is just glossed over without even a question.  If I were on an advisory board where our company was being sued every which way but lose I would want to know WHAT were the issues and if there was any substantial evidence to lend credence to the suits.  This group of grazers could care less, not a peep.  ‘We do what we do cuz we can do it and da rest of you be damned”, how stupid can you be?  The bulk of said litigation comes to the BLM and the DoI courtesy of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) funded exclusively by concerned American taxpayers.

Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program;  This thing deems a very outspoken, “Give me a friggen break”.  This concept is a direct attempt to dilute and weakly answer the “Humane Care” law suit brought forward by plaintiff Laura Leigh, agent for the WHFF.  The BLM is, now, required to answer the inhumane allegations and is attempting to trump up some sort of “straw man” defense but I don’t think in a million years that a federal judge will fall for it.  To date, I have never seen a more poorly written proposal than what was displayed.  Form and structure alone pulls it out of any contemporary proposal/component model template and it’s context could have been better written by an 8th grader; all the while the term “internal review” is so pervasive it reads like a blinking fairy tale.  I won’t even go into WHO they put in charge of this overt attempt to dilute our “Humane Care” law suit but when you put the person in charge of the contracts over the contractors that are in question and make that same government employee responsible for “Humane Care”…arrrgghhhhhh, is it just me?!?!?

Again, sorry for the lack of coverage on this stage show but we did have our Ginger, Bonnie, Val, Jan, Deniz and Suzanne there giving it their best, my hat is most sincerely tipped to these brave and honorable women.

Tomorrow: Yesterday we made a personal trip out to visit with the Wild Burro Lady, Marjorie Farabee, and her dozens of rescued burros, donkeys, mules and horses…you won’t want to miss it.

BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory “Bored” Meeting

The News as We See it by R.T. Fitch ~ President Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Special Interest Group Fakes Interest in Native Wild Equines

Banner from America’s Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) with Melissa Ohlsson, Vice President of AWHA as artist

Well, it’s that wonderful time of year, again, where hand picked hunting, cattle and grazing interests sit around and listen to BLM representatives spout erroneous numbers, rumor and innuendo while concerned American tax payers get kicked in the teeth when they attempt to articulate the facts on wild horse and burro issues.  Ain’t it sweet? Nothing like being called a lier while you watch and listen to the real government paid liers smearing the truth and painting any picture that they deem fit to paint, usually the planned extinction of the last of our wild equines on public lands.

But right now, that wonderful and giddy celebration of stupidity is taking place in D.C., the 13th-14th, and you can tune in and become “bored” yourself with the BLM’s live feed at http://www.blm.gov/live/…be sure to tune in, over the next two days, and watch your favorite BLM croonies make their plans to destroy the last of our federally protected herds in ten western U.S. states, it is pretty heady stuff.

You can view the Agenda by clicking (HERE) with particular note of the public comment period occuring this afternoon at 3PM Eastern time.  That will be the only opportunity  where you will be able to hear any truth and/or accurate facts so be sure to tune in and support the advocates who had the stomach to show up to this charade.

Food Network’s Pioneer Woman Show Smells Like…???

article by Jillian Madison reprinted from Food Network Humor

“I can see my wild horses from my kitchen window”

“We attempt to give you something on Sundays to recharge your batteries and have been remiss over the past few weeks as there just has not been that much in the way of great news to relate and we sincerely do not want to blur the focus we are attempting to keep before our readership regarding our efforts to stop the inhumanity of the BLM’s handling of our wild horses.  But today we have a little comedy piece that ties in nicely with the great article published earlier this week by investigative reporter Debra Coffey.  If you have yet to read it, please click (HERE) to do so.

The entry below continues the saga of Ree Drummond, self-proclaimed Pioneer Woman and rolling in dough contractor for the BLM as she and her husband own one of the wild horse death camps where gender separated herds, cruely stripped from their rightful lands, simply live out their lives waiting to be either sold off to slaughter (covertly of course) or to simply die without family or social structure.  Sick, twisted and totally off the wall, this practice is being highlighted as something good and “cool”.  So today, grab a giggle and make a few notes as we have a busy week ahead of us and the horses are going to need the help of each and every one of you, big time.  Thanks Deb and Jillian!  Oh, this article is for big kids only.” ~ R.T.

I specifically went in to the premiere episode of Pioneer Woman knowing nothing about Ree Drummond or her family or her sprawling ranch. I didn’t want to be influenced by the alleged throngs of blog-readers who have her placed atop some high pedestal. I wanted to form my own unbiased opinion of her and the show, which I most certainly did. And my opinion is this: WOW. IT SUCKED.

I mean it really, really sucked.

I will say from the 22-minutes of footage I saw, Ree seems like a lovely woman. She really does. However, I think it was Yoda who said: a lovely woman does not a good show make.


The lodge. The ranch. The shots of people wrangling animals. The “our life is so hard because we’re the only people on the universe who have to get up at 5 AM” mentality. The “let me serve my man breakfast while he’s herding cows” bullshit. The useless footage of a cute little boy running to get his little cowboy hat. The whole thing tried way too hard. It was way too overproduced and schticky. It was all so nauseatingly phony and sickeningly sweet that it quickly became annoying and intolerable to watch.

Also, on what planet is it appropriate – or even encouraged – to wear your cowboy hat to dinner? I guess only on Food Network, where they’re really trying to drive the point home that they LIVE ON A RANCH.


As mentioned above, Ree made a “special” dinner for her husband because the poor guy had to get up at 5 AM to go to work. As someone who watched her dad get up at 4 am every day for 20 years to then drive 20 minutes to a train station to then take a 2 hour train to NYC, color me unimpressed with her cowboy’s 5am-2pm workday.

Anyway, Ree made a very “special” dinner consisting of country fried steak and mashed potatoes. And by “special” I mean “enough fat and grease to kill a grown man standing.” Oh yeah. Move over, Paula Deen.

Every time Ree said “ball-SAM-ic” vinegar, a little piece of me died. The lecture about only using whole milk to make gravy was painful. The quip about kings and presidents not being able to find her ranch was intolerable. But the worst part came when she awkwardly paused her gravy-making and said: “Shhh, do you hear that?” Yes, I do. It’s the sound of your metal whisk rubbing against your metal cast-iron pan AND IT IS MADDENING.


Food Network’s website describes Ree’s husband as a “hunky rancher.” I describe him as “a total d-bag.” Maybe it was the editing… maybe it was nerves… but he came off as a pretentious, smug, selfish, disparaging prick. When he came into the kitchen to the chorus of kids screaming “daddy! daddy!” he didn’t acknowledge them. Or Ree. He simply said, “Is that our food?”

And (and!) he wore those disgusting, filthy, manure-laden cowboy boots in the house without a care. No worries. I suppose one of the 92 maids will clean it up.

I don’t plan on tuning in to this show again. I hate phoniness, and unfortunately, the Pioneer Woman reeks of it.

The worst part? It was all so completely unrelatable. I didn’t watch her cook and say: “wow, I need to make this for my family.” I watched her and said, “wow, this woman and I have absolutely nothing in common, and if I served my friends/family any of those dishes they would disown me. ”

It wasn’t ALL a waste, though. I did take one interesting little fact away:

Find out more about Jillian Madison by clicking (HERE)

Is the BLM Perpetrating Wild Horse Fraud?

Guest OpEd by Bonnie Kohleriter

Fly-over/Foaling Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

The BLM uses the fly-over in its Herd Management Areas( HMAs ) to tell us the numbers of horses in an HMA and to tell us of a need to gather and the quantity of horses to be captured and removed.  The fly-over is done by those who would do the gather and profit from it . No instruments are used to verify their numbers and location though instruments are available such as photos and GPS tracking and have been repeatedly suggested to be installed.

The BLM employee uses a number of rationales to promote gathers. The fly-over employee can say horses are just one over the high appropriate management level (AML) and qualify them to be gathered down to the low appropriate management level.   So if the range of the number of horses allowed in an area is 100-300 and 301 horses are deemed to be in that area, the employee can gather 201 horses down to the lower AML of 100.  The BLM now has come up with the idea to gather horses in “complexes.”  That means they will gather 3-5 herd management areas at a time maintaining that is good practice because the horses roam between HMAs.  If it can be documented only one HMA is over the upper AML number, then  all of the HMAs in that complex can be gathered down to their lower AML even though 4 out of 5 HMAs may be well within their range of numbers allowed.  Finally, if any horses are deemed to be outside their HMA, they too can be automatically captured and removed, and, of course, not be put back into their HMA.  When a helicopter contractor rounds up horses he will typically tell you horses are outside of their HMA as the more horses brought in, the more the profit.  You won’t know as cameras and GPS tracking are not on the helicopter.

These practices have led to keeping the Wild Horse and Burro Specialists busy with writing environmental assessments to justify gathers and with conducting gathers themselves.  But these practices have also skyrocketed the cost to the American taxpayer and to the horses as they have had to be removed from their public lands with dubious thinking and to be housed in expensive though barren corrals and prisons and in questionable “long term pastures” to which the American public doesn’t have privy.  These unwarranted practices are also dwindling the number of horses now on the range down to 20,000 to 30,000.  But the gather employees want to continue to be employed so suspected is, we are seeing an exaggeration of the numbers of horses on the range and their foal rates.  Presented below is a table of a sampling of  gathers to be done in the near future that shows the average yearly percent foal rate from the time of the last gather through this foal season, 2011, given the numbers presented by the BLM employees in their respective HMAs.


LAST          GATHER       DATE






Sheepshead    Oregon         AML 161-302

Approximate   150




Little  Colorado Wyoming      AML 69-100





White Mountain       Wyoming       AML 205-302





Divide         Basin          Wyoming      AML 415-600




Presented here is also another table that shows percentage of foal rate from 2009- 2010 in HMAs located in Central and Southwestern Wyoming.


Last              Gather           Date


Post          Gather

2010         Quoted Number      from          Fly-over

% of          Foal Rate     2009-2010   Using        Fly-over       Numbers


Conant       Creek















Green Mountain





Steward      Creek





Crooks        Mountain





Antelope     Hills





Lost Creek





The foal rates as shown are improbable, in fact, impossible. Yet their numbers are being used to demonstrate horses in their respective Herd Management Areas are over the Appropriate Management Level (AML) whether they, in fact, are or are not. And these numbers are being used to capture and remove animals questionably leaving behind, not the already low lower AML numbers of horses but only the very few horses that escape capture. This next year, unfortunately, may be the demise of the wild horse and burro on the range in the United States in many areas as the Congress is deluded into thinking wild horses and burros thrive in plenty on our public lands. It is a sad chapter in our history as the Mustangs, symbols of our freedom and companions in the development in our West are brutally captured and removed by a dishonest government. And it is infuriating to think these employees are getting away with spending money we American taxpayers don’t have.

These deceptive numbers given the public and Congress are not right. This is fraud committed by the BLM agency that was to protect and manage our wild horses and burros. Horses and burros should only be gathered if they are over an appropriate number which does not allow them or the land on which they live to remain productive and healthy. Horses should not be gathered because employees have a fear they may no longer be employed or because they fear they may not have the money next year to gather so” we’ll grab them while we can.”

BLM Slings Wild Horse BS at CBS Reporter

by Andrew Cohen as published in the Atlantic

Contradictions Run Deep within the BLM

Here is Wyoming’s pitch-pure tourism advertisement now playing on television. It’s called “Don’t Fence Me In” and it features beautiful natural scenes, including a herd of horses running upon the open prairie. Before I dive briefly back into the story of what the Bureau of Land Management, state officials, and ranching industry executives are doing right now, today, to two Wyoming wild horse herds, I ask you to please spend 30 seconds watching this video. It animates the issues at hand more than I ever could with words.

I love this commercial. As a proud citizen of the West, it evokes in me the pride I feel about living in a place that still has big skies and wide, open spaces. It makes me think of the scenic drive from Missoula, Montana, to Yellowstone National Park, through some of the most gorgeous country America offers to the world. And to me, anyway, it’s brilliant marketing by the Wyoming Tourism Board, whose members obviously understand the value that millions of Americans place upon the wild horse as a symbol of the nation’s heritage.

This is the fourth time in the past month or so I have written about the wild horses of Wyoming. Starting yesterday, as much as 70 percent of two free-ranging herds in and around Sweetwater County, in the southwestern part of the state, are being rounded up and taken away by BLM personnel and contractors. Approximately 700 wild horses will be taken from the wild and held in pens pending adoption or sale (or worse). “Don’t Fence me In” may be the state’s tourism slogan. Yet these very symbols of the state, the very symbols of the West, will soon be fenced in, probably forever.

First, I wrote about a BLM roundup plan that also included castrating the stallions of these herds and then returning the geldings back to the range. Then I wrote about the BLM’s decision to back away from that part of its plan under public pressure from horse advocacy groups and the public. Finally, about 10 days or so ago, I wrote about the hypocrisy inherent in Wyoming’s attitude toward its horses; it is marketing the herds as tourist attractions even as it is plotting with ranchers and the BLM to undermine the horses.

It was this last piece which garnered more attention than its predecessors. In it, I suggested that the federal agency in charge of the wild horses, the Department of the Interior, through its BLM, has not often shown itself to be a neutral player when evaluating the vested interests that compete for Western public lands. The ranchers almost always win. The wild horses almost always lose. And the Interior Department is run by a rancher, Ken Salazar, whose former subordinate, Sylvia Baca, is alleged to have encouraged ranchers to sue her own department to get their way. Now comes an official response from the Bureau of Land Management. I rebut some of its main components below.


Here is the full text of the response I received late Friday afternoon from Tom Gorey, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for the Bureau of Land Management.

Contrary to what is alleged in this latest wild horse column of Mr. Cohen for The Atlantic, the Bureau of Land Management is not waging a “war” against wild horses, nor is it “managing for extinction,” as other critics have similarly charged. In fact, the current on-the-range population of wild horses and burros (approximately 38,500) is greater than the number found roaming in 1971 (about 25,300), when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

The BLM is seeking to achieve the appropriate management level of 26,600 wild horses and burros on Western public rangelands, or nearly 12,000 fewer than the current West-wide population. The ecosystems of public rangelands are simply not able to withstand the impacts resulting from overpopulated herds, and that is why the 1971 law, as amended, directs the Interior Secretary to remove wild horses and burros in circumstances where the animals exceed the range’s capacity to sustain them.

As for the claim that some wild horses “may even be slaughtered for meat,” this is a disingenuous assertion, as the BLM screens both adopters and buyers of wild horses and burros. It is a legal reality, of course, that once the title of ownership to a wild horse or burro passes from the Federal government to an adopter or buyer that the animal becomes private property, but the BLM makes every effort through its screening process and the terms of adoption agreements and sale contracts to prevent the slaughter of former wild horses and burros. These documents both contain a clause that adopters and purchasers agree to, declaring that they have no intent to sell the animal(s) for processing into commercial products.

The comparison of the amount of BLM-managed land used for livestock grazing (157 million acres) to the amount used by wild horses and burros (26.9 million acres) ignores the fact that the 1971 law cited above confines the management of wild horses and burros to areas inside the boundaries of where the animals were found roaming on BLM and Forest Service-managed land in 1971. That’s the law — letter and spirit.

Regarding the Wyoming-related wild horse litigation, the BLM cannot comment on pending cases, but it can be said that neither the Interior Department nor the BLM view litigation as the way to go in resolving public land issues.

The big picture is that the BLM carries out a multiple-use mission, which is principally defined by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. This job requires our agency to accommodate various uses of the public land while preserving resources — a complex mission, to be sure, but one that Congress has set forth as our mandate in law. While this multiple-use mission cannot compete with lurid headlines like “The Quiet War Against Wyoming’s Wild Horses,” The Atlantic’s readership deserves to know the full scope of the BLM’s responsibilities, which include the humane and cost-effective management of America’s wild horses and burros, both on and off the range.


As a general matter, this was a disappointing official response on many levels. Rather than respond to the specific points my article raised, the BLM simply regurgitated in much of the same bureaucratese the talking points it has offered before when this topic comes up. Here was a chance for the BLM to really engage with wild horse advocates, on a topic a lot of people seem to be talking about, and the Bureau simply bailed. You bail, I guess, when you have the power but not the argument. The BLM has the authority. The roundup now is underway. Why go into the messy details?

Here are some of those details.

1. Leaving aside for another day the Bureau’s “extinction” comment, the BLM first says there are roughly 13,000 more wild horses in America today than there were in 1971, when they were formally protected by federal statute. I’m not sure this is right. First, there were evidently far more than 25,000 wild horses in 1971, as the BLM now claims. In fact, the BLM’s own figures (Appendix C, Page 37) indicate that in 1974 there were at least 42,666 wild horses on the range. If you believe those figures, there are fewer wild horses today, on less public land, than there were 40 years ago. Having caused this situation, the BLM should take responsibility for it.

2. The BLM next says that the “ecosystems” of “public lands” cannot withstand more than 26,000 or so wild horses. Here we are at the heart of the matter. Even though cattle and sheep outnumber wild horses on public lands by at least a ten-to-one margin, the BLM largely blames the horses for roiling the resources of the range. By doing so, the Bureau justifies the imposition of this arbitrary 26,000-horse figure even though there are millions of acres of public land where more horses could safely roam. So long as the BLM continues to make this claim and defend it in court, wild horse advocates will have a hard time protecting the herds.

This is the single most important aspect of the fight between horse advocates and ranchers. The BLM grades the wild horses harshly for their impact on the range. But it does not appear to grade the cattle and sheep for the impact they bear upon it. It’s very much like the debt and deficit battle we just witnessed in Washington. The BLM is focusing upon the two percent that is relatively easy to fix rather than upon the 98 percent which is not. The reason is not hard to fathom. The ranchers have a powerful lobby. The horses do not. And the Interior Department doesn’t want to tick off one of the industries it is supposed to regulate.

Interestingly, in its response the BLM failed to rebut, or even mention, the new claims made against it by Robert Edwards, a range scientist who worked at the BLM for 30 years before becoming an independent consultant. Just recently, as part of a lawsuit over the Wyoming horses, Edwards challenged the BLM over its claim that it is the horses, and not the livestock, which are ruining the range. Anyone interested in this topic should read the Edwards Report. At a minimum, it creates a disputed issue of material fact about whether wild horses deplete as many natural resources as the BLM says they do.

3. The BLM next calls me “disingenuous” for writing that some of the wild horses that are rounded up are sold to slaughter. Now, if I had accused BLM officials of selling wild horses for slaughter perhaps I might have deserved the label. But I did not. What I implied is that some of the horses the BLM takes off the range end up in the wrong hands and on their way to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. This should be an undisputed fact. Just two weeks ago, for example, the BLM seized 64 wild horses in Utah in a sting operation against alleged smugglers.

The BLM defends the status quo on slaughter by arguing that it does the best it can when it sells or allows out for adoption wild horses. It’s a neat argument on paper but it doesn’t wash in the real world. In this grim video, for example, the pro-slaughter crowd earlier this year in plain view discussed how easy it is, in practice, for once-wild American horses to be slaughtered in Canada or Mexico. The BLM shouldn’t pretend otherwise by claiming it is making “every effort” to stop this practice. If it were, federal inspectors would be performing brand inspections all across the borders to prevent wild horses from being rendered abroad.

Don’t just blame the BLM for these sins of omission. Blame Congress and the White House, too. In 2004, for example, then Montana senator Conrad Burns, a Republican who once called ranchers “the best stewards of public lands,” snuck into federal legislation what’s known as the Burns Amendment. Signed into law by that great ersatz scion of the West, George W. Bush, the law effectively gutted protections for wild horses by allowing the BLM to private sell older and unadoptable mustangs to private buyers.

Like Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, and Wyoming’s lone delegate to the House of Representatives Cynthia Loomis, Conrad Burns has ties to the ranching industry. Seven years after his amendment, and nearly three years after the Obama Administration came into power promising to restore the balance of power over the nation’s land, air and water, no one in Washington has stepped up to restore protection for the wild horses of the American West. Not the White House. Not Congress. And not the courts.

The current slaughterhouse rule has created a dynamic problem that is only going to get worse as the BLM rounds up more wild horses it cannot afford to keep in captivity. Since the Bureau rounds up far more horses each year than can be adopted out or legitimately sold to honest buyers, and since the cost of housing the wild horses in “holding facilities” is high (tens of millions of dollars), the economics favor the slaughterhouse operators and their agents. Having created the supply-and-demand problem in the first place, the BLM should own up to its responsibilities to ensure the wild horses don’t soon find their way to rendering plants.

4. The BLM next takes issue with my assertion that it is not allocating enough public land for the benefit of wild horses. Here again, the BLM has forcefully countered a point no one is trying to make. No one, including me, is asking the Bureau the BLM to open up all of its land to wild horses. But the fact is that the BLM and ranchers have pushed out wild horse herds even from those relatively small areas of public land that was specifically designated for the horses back in 1971. Citing these statistics and maps, wild horse advocates claim that the herds have been removed (zeroed-out) from perhaps as much as half of the area initially granted to the horses by statute. Tens of millions of acres of former wild-horse country now are off limits to horses — but still open to livestock, these advocates say.

5. Unsurprisingly, the BLM didn’t want to comment directly on the points I made about the way in which Wyoming is using its wild horses as marketing tools even as it conspires to get rid of them. I don’t blame the Bureau for that. The fact is that the BLM is often sued by both sides in the battle — by the wild horse groups who seek more protection for the animals and by ranchers who seek more decisive action by the government to get rid of the animals. In this respect, the BLM is not unlike any other government agency seeking to balance out competing interests. The point of my last piece was to suggest that there isn’t really a great deal of balance between those interests. One wins. The other loses.

6. Finally, the BLM reminds readers that its function in life is not just to protect wild horses but also to properly manage the federal lands over which it has jurisdiction. Fair enough. Here’s what Suzanne Roy, of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, says about that:

Multiple use does not require livestock grazing. Again, Congress deemed wild horses to be worthy of protection as national symbols of freedom whose presence on Western public lands is an important part of our history and heritage. The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act designated the lands where wild horses were found in 1971 as habitat to be managed principally but not exclusively for wild horses. The BLM has turned this mandate on it head by allocating the majority of resources in federally designated wild horse areas to private livestock and not wild horses. The multiple use mandate does not require livestock grazing and it certainly does not require the imbalance of resource allocation that exists today.

If the BLM wants to live up to its mandate to protect and preserve America’s wild horses then it will begin to address the inequities of resource allocation on the small amount of BLM lands on which wild horses reside. It will also shift resources away from the current costly and cruel roundup, remove and stockpile strategy toward on-the-range management of wild horses, utilizing cost-effective and humane fertility control strategies where necessary.

As I have written before, it’s not just what the BLM is doing to these wild horses that disturbs a great many people. It is the way in which the deed is being done. Consistently backing ranching interests over horse advocacy groups, annually squeezing the horses out of more and more public land, the BLM nonetheless wants to maintain the public pretense that it is an honest broker when it comes to the fate of the horses — that its officials are doing what they can, within the narrow confines of federal law, to protect and manage the herds. But this is a false pretense. Literally and figuratively these days, America’s wild horses are on the run; suitable for marketing but otherwise harassed by their human stewards.

Click (HERE) to visit the Atlantic and comment

You Can Now See Our Wild Horses In Long Term Holding

Story by Debbie Coffey as it appears in the PPJ Gazette

Once Proud and Free……

Former Wild Horse feeding time at the Drummond Ranch ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Ree Drummond, who writes the popular “The Pioneer Woman” blog, is married to Ladd Drummond (whom she calls “Marlboro Man”), one of the partners of Drummond Land and Cattle, which has a BLM contract for Long Term Holding pastures for our wild horses.

While watching the Food Network the other night, I saw an ad for a new show called “The Pioneer Woman,” starring Ree Drummond (premiering Aug. 27th).  Ree is a blogger/photographer/cookbook author who blogs about her life on the ranch in  Oklahoma.

Last year (Nov. 9, 2010) the BLM had a tour of the Drummond long term holding pasture, but only allowed credentialed media.

About those roundups

Terry Fitch,  chief photographer for Horseback Magazine who has been to the BLM roundups of our wild horses, went on this BLM tour and wrote:

“The Drummond family (according to The Land Report) owns approximately 120,000 acres which, according to Debbie Collins of the BLM, 24,292 of those acres are dedicated to the approximately 3400 wild horses living out their lives on this land.

If I didn’t know the first thing about wild horses, I would say that this is a paradise for the horses; however, I do know a little something about wild horses.  

All in all, it’s the perfect place for domestic horses, not wild horses that are ripped from their family bands, separated by gender, and living their days out.”

Using Debbie Collins’ figures, that 3,400 wild horses are on 24,292 acres, this seems to be an area of about 6 miles x 6 miles (the shape of the pasture isn’t an exact square – the boundary is jagged).

Anyhow, I looked at The Pioneer Woman’s Food Network page, and then went to her blog.  And I got to see our wild horses!  And now you can, too.  Even if you aren’t credentialed media! 

Ree says she can see the wild horses right out of the windows of her house.

Why can’t we see them?

I remember seeing the wild horses closely at the Indian Lakes Road short term holding facility in Fallon, NV, until the BLM, who put the horses on private property, ended the tours and access to the public.  (The BLM had a couple of token tours after they closed the facility to the public, after it was revealed that public tours were actually part of the Indian Lakes Road contract with the BLM., and after the public realized that the BLM had deceived them by claiming this facility was never meant to be open to the public.)

Before last Thanksgiving at the Drummond Ranch, Ree had a big Throwdown with Bobby Flay, a film crew and a bunch of other people at the “Lodge” (which seems to be a big guest house with a big, professional kitchen).  Apparently, the Drummonds also throw big 4th of July parties every year.

Look at the photos of the fireworks at their 4th of July party this year, would you?  Here’s what Ree said about it: “as I point out every year, part of what’s fun about the Fourth is that we never know who’s going to show up. We invite our church, we invite our good friends, we invite cowboys, Romans, and countrymen. But we never require RSVP’s, and we never know how many people are coming. 

… Pastor Ken texts me and says, “Ree, we were wondering about the possibility of bringing eighty (visiting youth ministry) kids out to watch the fireworks…”

Under a photo of fireworks on her blog, Ree wrote “Basically, we frightened each and every one of our guests.”

Didn’t Ladd Drummond worry that the fireworks bursting in the skies or the noise from the fireworks might scare the wild horses?  The fireworks could’ve even scared the wild horses at nearby long term holding pastures, which seem to be only about 1½ miles away at one point, and only about 15 miles away at the farthest point.  This is a relatively flat area with few trees.  And horses have good hearing.

And not to be a party pooper, but I wonder how close all of those people were to our wild horses.  The contract says “The site is not intended to be a public viewing area.  Therefore, the Contractor will restrict or prohibit access onto the site by the general public.” 

Oh! Those funny guys from the BLM!

At roundups, the BLM keeps us, the public, far, far away because they worry that a little glint of sunlight off of our eyeglasses might frighten the horses as the helicopter chases the horses into a trap.  The BLM asks the public not to wear bright clothing and to sit on the ground so our silhouette doesn’t frighten the horses.  At roundups, the BLM has armed guards watching our every move.  It doesn’t seem like the BLM worries much about the wild horses once they’re removed from our public lands.

Besides fireworks on the 4th, Ree says Shooting is slowly becoming a tradition when friends visit. I don’t know what makes it such a natural recreational activity for guests, but it always winds up really hitting the spot. It could be that there’s always someone there who’s never held a 12-gauge shotgun to her shoulder before…”

You can find out a lot of stuff about our wild horses on The Pioneer Woman blog.

On Dec. 7, 2009, Ree wrote “Early last week, when my daughters and I were traveling to Dallas, Marlboro Man, my seven-year-old son, and Cowboy Josh had to gather 300 wild horses for the purposes of weaning off 22 colts that had “magically” appeared in the past several months. (Some of the mares were already bred when they came to the ranch last year.)”

Here’s a photo of the little cowboy in the saddle.  (He’s the short one in the brown jacket.) The BLM contract requires that the horses have “management by individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced about the behavior and nutritional requirements of equines…” (I assumed this meant adults, not 7 year olds.  Or adolescents, who aren’t listed on the contract as key personnel.)

The contract also requires that “Horses in corrals and chutes shall be worked in a manner that minimizes excitement of the horses to prevent injuries from crowding or trampling.”  So I was surprised to see photos that seem to show horses that look crowded and in danger of getting injured.  (Ree seemed to be worried that the Marlboro Man’s “family jewels” might get injured by  politely stating: “I might want to have another baby.”)

On May 25, 2011, Ree said a tornado touched down a few miles from their house.  R.T. Fitch (Wild Horse Freedom Federation) posted an article about tornadoes in areas near wild horse long term holding pastures.  That same night, I had seen national weather reports and sent an e-mail to Dean Bolstad, Deputy Division Chief of BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Program, asking about the safety status of our wild horses.

Ree not only has a new cooking show on tv, but a book she wrote (“Black Heels to Tractor Wheels”) was optioned by Columbia Pictures for a film.  (I wonder if any part of this movie will be filmed on the ranch.)

  • In an interview that appeared in The New Yorker Magazine (May 2011) Ree was asked about her ad revenue, and was quoted as saying “that her revenue for 2010 was ‘solidly one million’ dollars, a portion of which goes to overhead and expenses. (This sum doesn’t include her book advances, royalties from her best-sellers, and revenue from Hollywood for the movie option.)”
  • Ree has written stories about and posted photos of our wild horses on their property on “The Pioneer Woman” internet website.  Could her use of these photos of our wild horses have made her image seem a little bit more “pioneer-like,” and, in part, contributed to her personal financial gain?

The Food Network page for “The Pioneer Woman” show states:

“Take one sassy former city girl, her hunky rancher husband and a band of adorable kids, an extended family, cowboys, 3000 wild mustangs, a herd of cattle and one placid basset hound and you have The Pioneer Woman. The Pioneer Woman is an open invitation into Ree Drummond’s life…”

  • Drummond Land and Cattle’s BLM contract is for about $1.30 per head per day, so using Debbie Collins number of 3,400 horses, that adds up to about $1,613,300 a year.  And that’s for just one year.
  • It seems that Drummond Land and Cattle may have had BLM long term holding contracts since 2003 or 2004.
  • Ladd, Tim and Charles Drummond, partners in Drummond Land and Cattle, are listed as key personnel on the BLM contract.
  • It appears that from 1995-2010, Ladd Drummond received $106,707 in USDA farm subsidies ($66,707 since 2005).
  • It appears that his brother, Tim, received about $75,644 in USDA farm subsidies.

There have been miscellaneous items in the news and on the internet about the Drummonds.

A 2007 story in Tulsa World revealed that Charles R. Drummond, his sons Ladd Drummond and Tim Drummond, and nephew Thatcher Drummond, received more than 40 speeding tickets in the state in the last decade.  At least 18 of those were dismissed in their home county.

The article states: “The four members of the Drummond family have been clocked by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol driving 95, 97 and 112 mph, all speeds listed on tickets that have been dismissed by judges in the county.  Although the Drummonds paid a fine and court costs on all dismissed tickets, the tickets do not go against their driving records.

The family sold a parcel of its Osage County land in 2001 for nearly $20 million, court records state.  Tim and Ladd Drummond also own a 20,000-acre cattle and horse ranch in Jefferson County, according to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association’s Web site.”  

And here’s my favorite part of this story: “Osage County Special Judge John Boggs, who approved many of the dismissals as an assistant prosecutor and later as a judge, said he had no idea how fast the cited speeds were…Boggs said he had been to several bar association parties at the Drummond ranch but does not believe that he gives the family special treatment.”

The Pioneer Woman has written about Ladd’s cousin, Thatcher Drummond.  Thatcher, who seems to have been arrested for speeding and driving under the influence in 2008, is the son of Tom Drummond, who was a president of the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association, on the tax committee for the National Cattlemen’s Association, and chairman of the tax committee for the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.

The Drummonds are active in the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, which was listed on Sue Wallis’ United Organizations of the Horse original website as opposing the prevention of cruelty to equines bills that make it a felony to market, transport, consume or use of horses for human food.”

  • Charles R. Drummond seems to be listed as a partner of Drummond & Hull Oil Company.
  • Charles and Ladd Drummond have been listed as shareholders and on the Board of Directors of a company called docplanet.com, described as a business-to-business e-commerce company that provides pharmaceuticals to office-based physicians.
  • Docplanet.com, was previously called docsales.com, which was previously called Golden Pharmaceuticals.

According to a 1999 Los Angeles Times article:

“The Internet is a financial miracle.  Just ask Santa Ana-based Docsales.com Inc.  Three months ago, it was a dog of a company called Golden Pharmaceuticals Inc. that lost money in 13 of its previous 14 quarters and had been virtually ignored by investors.  It also is a defendant in 47 lawsuits in three states related to personal injury claims by consumers who used the Phen-Fen diet drug combination it sold.

the company said it will expand to ‘support a sales level of $25 [million] to $50 million over the next 12 to 24 months” because of its proposed online store’.”

Since the BLM places our wild horses on private property, this invites questions about the people who oversee the horses and about the proximity of the horses to homes and to activities in the area.

While the Pioneer Woman seems nice and I’m sure we’d all like to race through town (don’t worry about any speeding tickets) to go visit and have some blackberry cobbler, there’s a nagging feeling about the unfairness in seeing a select few people have the privilege of unfettered access to something we, The American People, don’t have access to any more.  Even while our tax dollars pay for this.

Since the BLM manages over 245 million acres of public lands, why do our publicly owned wild horses and burros have to be “held” in long term pastures and short term holding facilities?  What is the BLM doing with those 245 million acres?

The BLM has put 3,400 wild horses on about 6 square miles at the Drummond Ranch.  Are the BLM’s pending plans for eco-sanctuaries just a “bigger version” of the long term holding pastures, and a cover-up of what they’re doing with our 245 million acres of public lands?

The BLM is rounding up our remaining wild horses to the point of extinction and leaving mostly non-reproducing herds on the range, in what seems to be an effort to quell public awareness of this pending extinction.

The Bureau of Land Management, which has too many other mandates, should NOT be managing our wild horses.

The BLM now allows only an exclusive, select few people to have access to our wild horses, but below are some links to The Pioneer Woman blog, so that you can see our wild horses in Long Term Holding:

Our wild horses in winter (Jan. 9, 2009) – Ladd chops ice so horses can get water.

Related Articles:

“The BLM’s Multiple (R)use Mandate:  http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/the-blm%E2%80%99s-multiple-ruse-mandate/

“BLM “News Release” Fraud?  http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/my-little-pony/







































Another Bad Ruling for Wild Horses but Decision has Silver Lining

Information from varied sources

Finally, a Judge “Gets It!”

“raises serious legal questions concerning whether the large-scale removal of horses conflicts with the Wild Horses Act

Twin Peaks Horses prior to Helicopter Stampede ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Wild Horse and Burro advocates couldn’t stop the controversial Twin Peaks round-up of more than 2,000 wild horses and 200 wild burros along the California-Nevada border because it has already happened, the 9th Circuit ruled.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco on Monday rejected as moot a year-old motion for a restraining order and injunction to halt the round-up in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area.

The nonprofits In Defense of Animals and Dreamcatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary have been battling the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) since 2009 to halt the round-up, which they claim violates the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The BLM has taken it’s historic stance that the round-up was necessary to keep the herds sustainable, yet sustainability has not clearly been defined.

A lower court denied the groups’ motion in August 2010, with the round-up set to begin within days. A motions panel of the 9th Circuit rejected an emergency move for injunctive relief a few days later, and the helicopter stampede went forward, according to the ruling.

While finding that the plaintiffs’ motion “raises serious legal questions concerning whether the large-scale removal of horses conflicts with the Wild Horses Act and whether an Environmental Impact Statement is required before any action can be implemented,” the panel dismissed it as moot. The motion sought to enjoin only the “effects of implementing the initial phase” of the round-up and to “preserve the status quo.” Neither is possible now, the panel ruled.

“The horses are currently offsite and the remainder of the plan is apparently going forward,” the panel found, promising that “any further appeals in the underlying action shall be expedited and calendared before this panel.”

Writing in dissent, Judge Johnnie Rawlinson said the court could have offered relief by ordering return of the horses to the range.

“It is undisputed that the BLM rounded up all the horses on the range and then decided which horses should be released back into the Twin Peaks area and which should be transported to holding areas,” she wrote. “This would be a different case if the horses who were rounded up had all been dispersed. But that is not what happened. The horses that were rounded up are currently being kept in various holding areas throughout the southwestern United States. As easily as the horses were transported out of their natural habitat, they can be returned. In this circumstance, relief is available and the request for injunctive relief is not moot.”