Saturday, December 4, 2010

Embattled BLM Director Refuses to Speak With Horseback Magazine

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Opinion by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine (Live Link)

Bob Abbey Dodges Probing Questions and the Truth

BLM's "Who Needs the Truth" Abbey

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Let’s see now, we’ve been attempting to get an on the record interview with federal Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey since at least August. 2009. With every attempt, and there must have been at least ten of them, Horseback has been rebuffed. It isn’t as if we have been idle covering the agency’s treatment of the wild horses in its charge. I suspect we’ve probably done more stories than any other news organization, with the possible exception of veteran Las Vegas broadcaster George Knapp.

It’s not as if we are obscure. Tens of thousands come to our website for news of the equine world according to our stats. Our print publication boasts around 50,000 readers in four states, and subscribers scattered here and abroad.

And it’s not as if Horseback Magazine or its editor is an upstart in the world of journalism. I long ago sent Abbey my bio including a reasonably comprehensive list of where I’ve been and what I’ve done in my chosen work for close to 40 years. Still, the director has refused to give me the time of day.

But facts are facts, and one indisputable one is that I ask tough, sometimes very tough, questions no matter what party, governor, or president, appoints a high government official. Despite nationwide protests, BLM has turned a tin ear to calls to stop its relentless capture of the nation’s wild horses with 26 roundups in the first quarter fiscal 2011 scheduled and 32 recorded for all of 2010.

Yet Abbey hides behind his very accomplished Washington spokesman, one of the best in the business. So it came as no surprise that after we broke the story that the BLM director had accepted an invitation to speak before a group in Las Vegas whose sole purpose for meeting is to legalize horse slaughter in the United States, he issued a statement through his government spokesman. In the comment, Abbey makes the far from comforting statement that the agency has the statutory authority to legally kill horses under the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act saying “The Department of Interior and the BLM have already removed from the discussion table any consideration of the euthanasia of healthy wild horses and the unlimited sale of older horses even though these legal authorities exist…” Of course the fact remains, the agency could change course with the blink of the director’s bureaucratic eyelash. And to translate, in BLM bureacratese, the term “Unlimited Sale” means selling the animals to virtually anybody, including killer buyers who peddle the creatures to slaughterhouses across the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Abbey notes in his statement that he has met with the Humane Society of the United States. Animal welfare advocates concerned with the wholesale capture of and captivity of wild horses claim HSUS is conniving with the BLM to sterilize vast numbers of Mustangs in its use of PZP, a fertility drug that inhibits a mare’s ability to reproduce. Abbey also bragged in his statement that he met recently with representatives of the Cloud Foundation. Ironically, the foundation has been at odds with BLM for years, most recently for installing fencing along with the U.S. Forest Service where none is needed in the Pryor Mountains, and a cattle guard, lethal to horses. The truth is that Cloud raised enough sand to get safeguards welded onto the deadly device. Abbey has also met with billionaire Madeleine Pickens who recently announced she is opening a huge ranch for Mustangs the BLM has already rendered unable to breed. He neglected to mention that Thursday the Texas woman wrote him a no holds barred letter castigating his appearance before the Las Vegas group whose claims have been repeatedly challenged as unfounded.

So come on Bob, let’s talk. I’m attaching the link to my personal web page, You’ll find virtually every story I’ve written about the BLM there in an archive. You’ll also find my bio. You’ll be able to see the books I have written, one of which won a State Bar of Texas award for excellence. I think that speaks for itself. The book is found in the library of many medical and nursing schools.

So how about it Bob, again, let’s talk.

Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety

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