THE CLOUD FOUNDATION PRESS RELEASE
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
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.