President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Salazar threatens to “punch out” reporter

President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
U. S. President Barack Obama (L), is introduced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (R), before speaking during the White House Conference on Conservation , at the Department of the Interior, on March 2, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Interior Secretary threatens to “punch out” Colorado Springs reporter

Cloud Foundation Director snubbed by Salazar

Colorado Springs, Colo. (November 12, 2012) –- On Election Day, at an enthusiastic gathering of Obama supporters in Fountain, Colorado; Dave Philipps, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, had just finished an interview with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar about his controversial policies for managing America’s wild horse populations. Just after Secretary Salazar answered final questions about the future safety of wild horses and he turned to leave the interview, he unexpectedly approached Philipps and told him, “If you set me up like this again, I’ll punch you out.” Standing nearby was Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization. “I was stunned by the Secretary’s rude and clearly hostile comment toward Dave,” said Kathrens.

Kathrens, who had had been granted permission by an Interior law enforcement official to take pictures at the rally added, “ Salazar walked past me, refused to shake my hand, and told me, ‘You know, you should never do that.” It was unclear to Kathrens what he meant. “These threats would have been inappropriate coming from anyone, but the fact that it came out of the mouth of the Secretary of the Interior is alarming,” stated Kathrens. “I can’t believe that a top official in Obama’s cabinet could be so defensive.”

Philipps’ interview with Salazar was a follow-up to a story he had written in September about the sale of wild horses to Tom Davis, a Colorado killer buyer who purchased over 1,700 wild horses from government holding facilities. The horses ended up in south Texas and it is believed they were trucked over the border to Mexican slaughterhouses. Secretary Salazar acknowledged that an investigation of Davis’ activities is currently underway.

Salazar’s anti-wild horse stance came to light in 2004 during his successful run for the U.S. Senate. After a town hall meeting in Greeley, Colorado, wild horse advocate Barbara Flores asked him what he thought about our wild horses. Candidate Salazar responded, “They don’t belong on public lands.” Salazar vacated his Senate seat in 2008 to take his current position as Secretary of the Interior.

The BLM removes far more horses from their legally designated home ranges than can be adopted out to the public. The massive roundups have resulted in the stockpiling of animals in government facilities and privately contracted ranches. Nearly twice as many wild horses are housed in these costly holding operations than currently roam free, leaving most wild herds under populated and vulnerable to inbreeding and die-off due to a lack of genetic diversity.

“You know, this isn’t just about wild horses,” explains Kathrens. “America needs leaders in Washington, and the President needs cabinet members who respect citizens, respect the laws, value discussion and working toward mutual solutions. Ken Salazar displayed none of this on Tuesday.”

# # #

Links of Interest

:: Wild horse buyer under investigation for breaking state law

:: BLM’s wild horse management at a crossroad

:: BLM Advisory Board recommends sterilization of wild horse mares

The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.

FROM THE EDITOR: If you are outraged as we are, please telephone and/or email the White House (see contact details in sidebar) and, if you agree, respectfully:

1. State your objections to Interior Secretary Salazar holding his office a day longer and call for Salazar’s instant removal. Being rude to a member of the public is one thing; threatening to punch out a reporter is quite another.

2. Ask the President — until a new Interior Secretary is nominated and confirmed — to call an immediate halt to all wild horse and burro roundups.

3. Ask the President — until a new Interior Secretary is nominated and confirmed — to order an investigation into Salazar and the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program, including selling federally protected wild horses and burros to slaughter and sterilizing remaining herds (particularly spaying wild mares in the field), virtually wiping them out.

4. Ask the President — until a new Interior Secretary is nominated and confirmed — to call an immediate halt to all wild horse and burro sales and adoptions to block America’s wild equines from going to slaughter.

Please feel free to add your own. We know the list of objectionable activities is long.

Please note that this call to action is made by the Int’l Fund for Horses and not part of The Cloud Foundation press release.

17 thoughts on “Salazar threatens to “punch out” reporter”

  1. The corruption seems endless. God help these magnificent animals and all those who truly care about their humane treatment and future. We must fight for their protection…they belong to the American people!


  2. Do really think Obama cares? After all, he appointed insiders from the Humane Society of The United States to oversee USDA/APHIS!! How insane is that? Sooo much the American public doesn’t know about the current POTUS because they never bothered to look beyond the face to what lurks underneath.


    1. Thank you Kathy for this comment. It is not one we can easily make because then we are accused of in-fighting.

      We know all too well about the Obama Administration, and what goes on with so-called animal welfare groups in Washington DC. People think it is the Congress that keeps the horse slaughter bill from being passed. And to a certain extent they are right. However, these animal welfarist groups have everyone fooled, advocates, celebrities, even many of the politicians themselves. The demand by corporate agriculture is they want horse slaughter to continue: it suits their purposes. So on it goes. And this keeps animal welfarists in business too.


  3. It’s to bad Salazar didn’t try to punch out the reporter he might have been decked himself and then arrested for attempted assault on the reporter. This proves that the horses are being removed under Salazar’s orders. This is why he was put in the job in the first place figuring he could get rid of them a lot faster than anyone else. People like this man in the senate is the very reason none of the past anti-slaughter bills have never made it out of committee and S.1176 will be forgotten like all of the rest. And with the crook-in-chief put back in the White House things won’t change.


  4. time to go Salazar we want our horses you have no REAL reason to be killing them get out you slime ball


  5. I emailed the White House’s Office of Public Engagement at: “President Obama is committed to making this the most open and participatory administration in history. That begins with taking your questions and comments, inviting you to join online events with White House officials, and giving you a way to engage with your government on the issues that matter the most.” Worth a try!


  6. oh ya, they can expect quite a few phone calls regarding threats of violence from a Cabinet member. BLM showing up with handguns at round ups to scare the advocates from rioting, jeez. Just when exactly did this department cede from the Union? Guess they missed it when Obama, during his acceptance speech, stated this is the UNITED States of America. It ain’t supposed to be “them” against “us”.


  7. I just tried to call the White House, but the comment line is inactivated today because of the holiday. The recording says it will reopen tomorrow at 9. The number is 202-456-1111.


  8. Salazar’s guilt about the extermination of my wild horses is clearly evident. He needs to retire, or step down, or remove himself from office. He just can’t take it any more and is acting out. I will be glad to show up with a moving van, or a helicopter, or a Judas horse and help him OUT.


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