by Val Cecama-Hogsett
UPDATE – Even though we were denied our Due Process for a Stay to be heard and the horses were gathered, there is still a case to be fought. The IBLA denied a motion from the BLM to dismiss our case for cause, and again for lack of standing. We are moving forward and this far BLM has had to ask for 2 time extensions just to respond to the initial notice of appeal. We are fighting back, we are fighting for the horses that remain on the HMA, for the horses that were removed, and for the behaviors historic and present of the BLM and ranching community. Stay tuned and please don’t feel defeated…we need to be strong, that’s who wild horse advocates and warriors are! We will not let them wear us down and belittle us.
Part of the complaint we bring forward is a clear bias against not only the wild horses but also the people who advocate for them. In the initial round of documents, we included an email we obtained, between two BLM employees, Shawna Richardson, and Joy Fatooh. In this email wild horse advocates are said to be “emotionally driven” and that we cannot read these documents (referring to an EA for Oil and Gas leases on an HMA) and that we cannot understand NEPA. Ms. Richardson asked for the mailing list, a list of interested parties that must be notified of certain actions, such as a new EA open to public comment, so that she could see who was on it, and know “what we’re (the BLM) up against.” This is just another example of the psychological warfare used against us by the government. Let me see who is on the list, so we know what to say in the EA to avoid issues.
Shawna Richardson may be a familiar name to some of our followers. She sits in many wild horse groups on social media. That’s her job, she is there to monitor what we say, what we post, get to know what issues are important to us and what might cause a public relations problem for the BLM. That is why our Board members and other volunteer team members made the decision to leave several of the Facebook pages and groups. We also do not let people we know are working for BLM in this type of capacity sit in our groups. I have no problem telling BLM what we’re doing, or what we think, but don’t sit in our groups and just act like a spy. Is that really what you want the government doing with your tax money?
The general attitude toward wild horse advocates is one we see bestowed upon our wild horses. That attitude is that we are of little value and just a nuisance. That is evident in the comments you will read in this email about our annoying form letters and letters in general. So if you do not write often…guess what you need to do…
And this letter makes it clear that your letters DO make a difference!