Dear Friends and Supporters,
SAM has received thousands of emails regarding the appointment of Callie Hendrickson to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board. By a large majority, the comments received through various social media sites have raised concern and strong opposition to Ms. Hendrickson’s being appointed to the Board because of her ardent support for slaughter of wild horses. While others on the Board have also expressed support for efforts to revive the slaughter of wild horses, as well as domestic horses, Ms. Hendrickson has signaled her support for United Horsemen, the most aggressive coalition in this country advising support for horse slaughter for human consumption. SAM feels compelled to respond to the thousands of inquires we have received about Ms. Hendrickson’s appointment.
The most glaring and perplexing part of the Hendrickson appointment is this: at a time when the Bureau of Land Management, from the Secretary of the Interior and the current BLM Director on down have expressed in no uncertain terms that there will be no slaughter of wild horses, why appoint an individual that supports slaughter to the only public advisory Board that makes recommendations on how to improve the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Much of the opposition to wild horses comes from the ranching community and their lobbyists, and while we do not want to portray all ranchers as opposing the wild horses and changes that would make the Wild Horse and Burro Program more effective, humane and fair to all stakeholders, the ranching community is already represented directly by two other individuals on the current Board. Ms. Hendrickson is the Executive Director of an organization that represents the interests of the cattle ranching community yet was appointed to fill the position of “general public” advocate on the Board. We strongly reject the notion that she represents the “public interest” and that position is strongly supported by the thousands of contacts we have received regarding her appointment to the Board.
The appointments to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board are made by the Secretary of the Interior with input from his staff and staff at the BLM. Perhaps the time has come for the process to change so that the “public interest” is truly represented on the Board, rather than those that bring an anti-wild horse bias to the Board or have extensive history working with the BLM on wild horse issues. We personally know of many talented individuals that have applied to serve on the Board who have been rejected; most of them would truly represent the “public interests” where wild horses are concerned.
It is time for all stakeholders to come together to work on improvements to the Wild Horse and Burro Program and for the Board that advises the BLM on these matters to represent the views of all the stakeholders, not just the ranchers, hunters and the status quo. We therefore oppose the appointment of Ms. Hendrickson to the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board and call on Secretary Salazar to find another candidate that truly represents the majority view of the American people.
Madeleine Pickens & all the Wild Mustangs