Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Equine Writer Blasts Chauvinistic Wild Horse Blurb

Straight from the Horse's Heart

OpEd by Nell Walton ~ Editor/Founder of the AllHorses Post

Article in Range Magazine Infuriates Wild Horse Advocates

Dear. Mr. Findley:
I spent some time reading your “Special Report MUSTANG Legends and myths. Faith, hope and charity.
And, I must say that I was completely and utterly dumbfounded at the depth of misguided opinion put forth in this so called “report.” This is no report. This is a poorly drawn editorial and to call it anything else is an insult to any thinking person’s intelligence.
I don’t plan on getting into the multiple mistakes as far as the details in regards to management (or mismanagement) of wild horses and burros. I just want to focus on your chauvinism, ignorance, arrogance and misogyny.
When I read this article, I was shocked at the publication date. I might have considered the attitudes towards women more in keeping with an article written in 1911, rather than 2011.
First offense occurs in the first paragraph with Marilyn Monroe’s scene in The Misfits – which you apparently see as a fitting example of how all women feel about the wild horse issue. Clearly you have admiration for Ms. Monroe – she knew her PLACE at least; poor broken Marilyn, whose divorce from Arthur Miller – the loss of her MAN – drove her to suicide. There were many other contributing factors that led to her untimely and tragic death, but it was extremely telling that you chose to bring up this particular one.
I guess without her man, a woman just can’t go on.
Wild Horse Annie, also known as Velma Johnson – instrumental in the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. Apparently she was marginally acceptable, since she was a rancher from Nevada and had a sex-appropriate secretarial job. You even admit to a grudging admiration for her. But, you can’t seem to resist giving another misogynistic dig:
“Annie was passionate about ending the slaughter of horses, and sometimes almost as emotional as the choir of tearful women who followed her, but she was also a daughter of the West, both to a ranching family whose Double Lazy Heart Ranch was now her and Charlie’s home. She understood horses in a practical way, and held no illusions.”
I hate to break this to you, but there are plenty of MEN who are shedding tears over horse slaughter and the wild horse and burro issue, it’s not just the ‘choir of tearful women;’ this theme that you insist on spouting ad nauseum throughout the op-ed.
You have problems with Ginger Kathrens and her legendary Cloud series. A woman who doesn’t know her place. How dare she pick up a camera and air a series on Nature! How dare she bring the issues concerning the wild horses into the public eye!
Then there is your relentless attack on Madeleine Pickens. A good and decent woman who has committed the apparently unpardonable sins of being A) female, B) wealthy, C) attractive, D) born in Lebanon, E) smart and F) committed to her ideals. Yet another woman who doesn’t know her place. If you want to criticize Ms. Pickens’ plans for an eco-sanctuary fine, do your research and critique the plan. But, you spent more than TWO PAGES trashing Ms. Pickens like Hedda Hopper or Perez Hilton after being jilted by a celebrity they were chasing for an interview. There was nothing of VALUE in this tirade which imparts any information on her PLANS as far as the wild horse eco-sanctuary goes. Was that the best you could do? Do you lack the intellectual capacity or experience to evaluate the merit of the eco-sanctuary plans as a whole?
Your sycophantic fawning over Dave Cattoor is made even worse by this statement:
“His wife Sue had always attended to publicity matters with their own website and a willing response to questions. But now, they had to travel to Abbey’s selected HMAs with bleacher-full crowds rooting for the mustangs.”
Pity that Ms. Cattoor has to leave the kitchen to attend to business other than the more proper behind the scenes duties of publicity, website maintenance and (I am assuming) bookkeeping, while Mr. Cattoor can continue to enjoy the “thrill of the chase.”
Mr. Findley, much better use could have been made of this article if you had spent time addressing the real issue behind the wild horse and burro problems, as well as the struggles of the small family ranchers in the West. You were kind of close – it DOES start with W and it DOES have five letters.
The problem is not WOMEN – it is WATER.
I guess it is not of interest to you that Barrick Gold’s Cortez Hills Mine is pumping out 4100 gallons of water A MINUTE, and this is probably going to increase after a court-ordered injunction is lifted on February 13 – that’s next week by the way. The water is not reclaimable according to experts. Even someone with a limited ability for critical thinking should be able to figure out that this is going to have a huge impact on the water table AND WELLS, including those dug and maintained by the family ranchers. And, watering holes for the wild horses.
The wild horses are just the canary in the coal mine as far as what is happening in the West, and, editorials such as yours do nothing but continue to drive a wedge between the ranchers and the wild horse and burro preservationists. Two groups who both have “dogs in the fight.” Two groups that should be working together to address the real issue.
At the end of the op-ed there is this bizarre and nonsensical ‘aside’……
Tim Findley has nothing against wild horses, rich ladies or naive naturalists. He even feels an unusual sense of empathy in this case for the BLM. “In a way,” he says, “they sort of deserve each other.” But when he took this assignment last summer, he underestimated the passion of the RANGE boss and discovered he was a long way from San Francisco.
It is comforting to know that you can draw on your vast experience from the ranchlands of San Francisco. I was surprised. I thought your address would be 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles.
A resident of La Brea Tar Pits of Hancock Park would be more in keeping with the attitudes in this OP-ED.
Nell Walton

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