Friday, February 17, 2012

Public Outraged Over BLM’s Anti-Horse Appointee on Wild Horse and Burro Board

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Posted: February 17, 2012 by R.T. Fitch in Horse News, Wild Burros, Wild Horses/Mustangs
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Guest OpEd by Bonnie Kohleriter
Spokesman Gorey Slams Public Rather Than Addressing Concerns

Biased Appointment puts America’s Icons at Risk ~ photo by Terry Fitch
The BLM recently appointed Callie Hendrickson to the BLM National Advisory Board. The American public opposes and rejects this appointment.  Tom Gorey, spokesman for the BLM, chose to attack and insult the public over its concerns rather than convey the extremist thinking of Callie Henrickson to which the public takes exception.(See the Atlantic Monthly article: The Lasso Tightens Around America’s Wild Horses by Andrew Cohen) Callie Henrickson is to assume the position of “General Public” advocate on the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, but do her views represent the opinions of the public or for that matter, of the Congress, BLM employees and contracted employees?
So what are Ms. Henrickson’s  views?  In 2011 she presented a paper to the National Advisory Board.  Subsequently, she sent this paper along with a paper done by the United Horseman to her constituents.  She urged her constituents to follow the ideas in these papers and write to the BLM commenting on the BLM’s Strategy for Reform.  The ideas in her paper as well as in the United Horseman’s were as follows:
1)    Support fertility control treatment only if it is done annually and only if the financial commitment is available.  As the treatment is costly and difficult to perform on skittish, skeptical horses on an annual basis, suggested was, forget fertility control treatment.
2)    Perform sex ratioing of 70/30% male to female rather than the 60/40% currently performed by the BLM though neither plan has been researched  as to its effect on the health of the wild horses.
3)    Sterilize the wild horses and burros on the range though again, this plan has not been researched as to the health of the wild horses. (This idea was not presented in her paper to her constituents but to the recent NAS Committee members in their meeting in Spokane, Washington.
4)    Don’t trade cattle permits for horse permits.  Horses are the “most destructive ungulate on the range due to their tooth and hoof structure.” If trades are made no government help should be extended (though government help is extended to cattlemen using public lands).
5)    Excess horses, upon removal,  should be sold to the highest bidder.
6)    Government funding should not be given for long-term pastures or ecosanctuaries.
7)    Slaughter of tribal, wild and domestic horses is to be sanctioned and performed. (While she did not advocate this position in her paper, she has aligned herself with the United Horsemen who take this position.)
The opposition to the appointment of Ms. Henrickson on the BLM National Advisory Board is not due to the public opposing the removal of the wild horses on the range as suggested by Tom Gorey in his vitriolic rants in the Atlantic Monthly article.  Rather the opposition to her appointment is due to her extreme ideas in the handling of the wild horses and burros both on and off of the range.
Bob Abbey, in his speech to the first Slaughter Summit Conference, said the wild horses are not available for slaughter.  Yet Ms. Henrickson continues to press it in the second Summit conference soon to be held.  The HSUS and others are continuing to work with the BLM to try to get a 2 and 3 year fertility drug with the goal to stabilize and maintain the wild horse and burro population on the range.  They have gone beyond the use only of the one year drug.  The Mustang Heritage Foundation is working to train and adopt as many horses as possible. Congress has said the wild horses are not available for slaughter and 80% of the American Public in a recent well respected poll done by Lake and Associates is opposed to slaughter.
The BLM has so many problems it is addressing and should be reforming and refining from appropriate rangelands management, appropriate horse and burro management on the range, humane gathering,appropriate corral management, securing of long-term pastures and ecosanctuaries.  Does the BLM and public really need to deal with the views of an extremist and of a minority at this time?
Ms. Callie Hendrickson is the Executive Director of the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts in Meeker, Colorado.
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