Wild Horse Activists Critical of White House “Canned Response” by BLM Director


AWHPC Statement on the White House’

s “Canned” Response to Our Wild Horse Petition

Photo by Laura Leigh

If you signed the Wild Horse and Burro petition on the White House’s “We the People” website, you have received the same canned response

that we received from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director, Bob Abbey.

We are as frustrated and disappointed as you are with this insulting and dismissive response to the sincere concern of thousands of American citizens who seek reform of the costly and cruel federal Wild Horse and Burro Program.

We wanted to share our letter to President Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, highlighting the inadequacy of the response and the White House’s utter failure to consider this issue, a s promi

sed in the “We the People” initiative.

To the thousands of you who took the time to sign the petition – WE THANK YOU and promise to continue to fight for our wild horses and burros. We hope that you will continue to join us.

18 November 2011

William Daley, Chief of Staff

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Daley:

I am writing on behalf of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the thousands of Americans who signed the “We the People” petition titled “Protect Wild Horses and Burros; Reform Inhumane Interior Department Management Program That Wastes Tax Dollars” to register our grave disappointment with the November 17, 2011 response from the White House. The petition calls on the Obama Administration to stop the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from wasting millions of tax dollars to roundup and remove wild horses by the tens of thousands from public lands in the West, and to instead implement a cost-effective policy to manage these national icons on the range using proven and humane cost-effective methods.

The White House’s canned response to this petition, signed by thousands of American citizens, was authored, not by a White House policy official, but rather by BLM Director Bob Abbey – the very individual responsible for the mismanagement of the federal Wild Horse and Burro Program, which is the subject of the petition.

In unveiling the “We the People” initiative, the White House promised “a new way to petition the Obama Administration” and that “White House staff will review” the issue. However, there was nothing new in the response. The White House merely delivered the old familiar BLM rhetoric that has been used for the past several years to rationalize the agency’s mismanagement and waste of tax dollars.

Included is the touting of a “new strategy” that is being implemented despite the receipt of tens of thousands of public comments opposing the majority of the strategy’s components.

Had we, the people who signed the petition, wanted a response from the BLM, we would have written to the BLM. Or better yet, since the response is just a cut-and-paste of BLM propaganda, we could have read it on the agency’s website and saved ourselves the considerable time and effort it took to log into the White House’s website and sign the petition!

President Obama has the full authority to reform the federal wild horse and burro program and could do so with one telephone call to his Secretary of the Interior. The fact that the White House didn’t even take the time to review this petition is a slap in the face to the American citizens who believed in the President’s promise that their concerns would be seriously considered. As a result, we are left to conclude that the entire “We the People” website is little more than a re-election campaign gimmick.

We conclude this letter with a final plea for President Obama’s attention to this issue and a request for a meeting with White House staff to discuss badly needed reform.  To such a meeting we would bring wild horse and range experts to discuss the humane, cost-effective solutions, which have already been proposed but continue to be ignored by the BLM and Mr.


It’s time that President Obama intervened in this issue to fulfill his promise for hope and change for the future.

We await your prompt response.


Suzanne Roy

Campaign Director

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

9 comments for “Wild Horse Activists Critical of White House “Canned Response” by BLM Director

  1. Jeannie Parisi
    November 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I left a remark on the White House page, wonder who mans that page, a joke as we are just peasants paying their salaries. Boot them all the heck out.

  2. Ann Lawrence
    November 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Furious here. What a slap in the face. Now we need a petition to get rid of that stupid,ineffective White House ruse. Now–who do we call/email to save the horses? Evidently the Washington loop is just hopeless. (Remember this fact at election time.) Is there a person/committee/candidate that will listen? Yes–I want a name and a phone#/e-address.

  3. Louie Cocroft
    November 20, 2011 at 2:49 am

    There’s an old saying that “if you reapeat a lie often enough, people will believe it” That is what the BLM has been doing with our Wild Horses and Burros when it comes to “over population”. What has happened is that over 20 Million acres(probably more than that) have been taken away from them:

    Compiled by Carla Bowers, 10/26/11, Revised 11/6/11
    For NAS/NRC Study Panel of BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program
    All numbers above are verifiable

    21,354: WH&B population as of 2/28/11 using BLM’s own data & 20% growth model (independent analysis)
    240,000-480,000: Approximate head of livestock on WH&B management areas
    Up to 3M livestock on BLM lands
    Up to 1.5M livestock on USFS lands
    245 million: Number of acres BLM currently manages
    160 million: Number of BLM acres allocated to livestock use
    53.8 million: Number of BLM & private acres originally designated for WH&B in 1971
    31.6 million: Number of BLM & private acres currently managed for WH&B
    22.2 million: Number of acres WH&B have lost since 1971
    27 million: Number of BLM acres currently allocated to WH&B use (with livestock)
    11%: Amount of BLM land currently designated for WH&B use
    $75.7 million: FY2011 total cost of BLM’s WH&B Program
    $11.4 million: FY2011 cost of roundups, including fertility control
    $48.2 million: FY2011 cost of BLM warehousing WH&B
    $766,164: FY2010 cost of BLM WH&B census & range monitoring (3.3% of budget)
    $144-500 million: FY2011 cost of livestock grazing program
    $13 million: FY2011 cost of predator control program to benefit livestock

  4. Afroditi Katsikis
    November 19, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Why is it OK for the government to waste our time with some public relations gimmick?

  5. LGriffith
    November 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Amen to that Sandee! I spoke to Jared Bybee about the removal plan for the Pryor Mountain herd and got the distinct feeling the roundup plan was much more about justifying his job than protecting the range.

    And the long term pastures? How many of the BLM’s “friends” would miss their yearly paycheck if LTH was no longer needed. That might be the only reason all our wild ones haven’t been packed off to slaughter, some of their ranching buddies need the easy money. One rancher in Oklahoma admitted to making $100K a year. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

  6. Sandee John
    November 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    The most effecient method of control of the wild horses is contraceptive shots that can be done though dart guns. We have know this since the mid 1980s and it is still not being done. The reason is that the BLM is funded by the number of people that it needs. The more work there is the more people needed, it is government so there is no controls on cost verses results. This has not changed since I was involved in the program during at the beginning. There is no incentive for the BLM or government to run this program more effectively. The individual mangement wages depend on the number of people who work for them which is also a problem.

    The letter is not going to do anything. We have to require our Senate and Representitives to tighten the budgets to make them more cost effective.

  7. LGriffith
    November 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    The whole process makes a mockery of our First Amendment rights to seek redress through petitions. In most cases, a petition is only the first step, not the first and last step.

    However, they never said they would address our grievances, they only promised they would forward our petition to the appropriate department in the administration. And that is exactly what they did.

    Pre-election PR is right. This one could blow up in their faces, though. I wonder how many unhappy petitioners he’s going to end up creating?

  8. Louie Cocroft
    November 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I’m thinking that a great number of people did not even sign that White House petition because of distrust of the government. Madeleine Pickens reported approx 70,000 letters were sent through her website and delivered via Pony Express. Many more don’t even have computers or are not online. The whole thing smacked of pre-election PR.

  9. LynnIL
    November 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I must say that I was outraged and insulted when I got the letter. I just could not beleive that this was the same letter I got back from the BLM at other times. They didn’t even say they would look into our complaint. You can see why with over 70% of American’s against horse slaughter that 3 Congressmen have decided the faith of over 100,000 of our precious horses a year. How does this happen when the majority of American people want wild horses to have their freedom and want our campaion horses to have a quiet and peaceful death? How does such cruelty rage when the majority says NO?

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