The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign has released the following statement in response to the announcement that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will step down in March.
Secretary Salazar’s departure is good news for America’s wild horses and burros. We will look back at his tenure at Interior as the beginning of the end of the federal government's wild horse and burro roundup program. By doubling down on cruel and wasteful wild horse roundups, stockpiling an untenable number of horses in captivity, and refusing to listen to public concerns, Salazar sparked widespread opposition. Tens of thousands of Americans have now rallied behind this cause and in favor of safe and cost- effective alternatives. This renewed support for America's wild horses and burros is a powerful force for change, which the new Secretary of the Interior will have to recognize.
President Obama now has the opportunity to appoint a Secretary of the Interior who will truly guard America's unique public lands legacy-- including our wild horses and burros. We urge the President to appoint an Interior Secretary who will stop the government's war on wild horses, which seeks to erase these iconic animals from our public lands.
In light of Secretary Salazar's announcement, we took a look back at his tenure and wanted to share the top three low lights with you:
3/ The continuation of inhumane roundups. An official Bureau of Land Management (BLM) review team evaluated the treatment of wild horses during the Triple B roundup in 2011 and acknowledged "aggressive" "rough" and "inappropriate" handling by contract wranglers. Just this month, a federal court in Nevada placed restrictions on some of the BLM's more egregious roundup practices, including electroshocking horses and stampeding foals.
2/ Revelations of the sale of wild horses to a known kill-buyer, and Salazar neighbor and business associate, Tom Davis. Pro Publica reported that the BLM sold "truckload upon truckload" of captured wild horses to Davis.
1/ Threatening to punch out a reporter who asked him about Tom Davis. In response to questions about the Pro Public article, Salazar denied knowing anything about the BLM’s relationship with Tom Davis. In a tense exchange with the ProPublica reporter, Salazar said, "I am not familiar with what exactly is going on with Tom Davis."
After the interview had ended, Salazar went back to the reporter and said “If you do that to me again, I’ll punch you out.”
Salazar’s spokesperson later said "the Secretary has no recollection of Tom Davis.”
UPDATE: Click here to read The Atlantic's story on Secretary Salazar's resignation: "All The Pretty Horses: Ken Salazar To Leave Interior"
We need your voice to make sure America's next Interior Secretary is a friend to wild horses and burros.
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