If you signed the Wild Horse and Burro petition on the White House's "We the People" website, you have received the same canned response that we received from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director, Bob Abbey.
We are as frustrated and disappointed as you are with this insulting and dismissive response to the sincere concern of thousands of American citizens who seek reform of the costly and cruel federal Wild Horse and Burro Program.
We wanted to share our letter to President Obama's chief of staff, William Daley, highlighting the inadequacy of the response and the White House's utter failure to consider this issue, as promised in the "We the People" initiative.
To the thousands of you who took the time to sign the petition - WE THANK YOU and promise to continue to fight for our wild horses and burros. We hope that you will continue to join us.
18 November 2011
William Daley, Chief of Staff
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Daley:
I am writing on behalf of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the thousands of Americans who signed the “We the People” petition titled “Protect Wild Horses and Burros; Reform Inhumane Interior Department Management Program That Wastes Tax Dollars” to register our grave disappointment with the November 17, 2011 response from the White House. The petition calls on the Obama Administration to stop the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from wasting millions of tax dollars to roundup and remove wild horses by the tens of thousands from public lands in the West, and to instead implement a cost-effective policy to manage these national icons on the range using proven and humane cost-effective methods.
The White House’s canned response to this petition, signed by thousands of American citizens, was authored, not by a White House policy official, but rather by BLM Director Bob Abbey – the very individual responsible for the mismanagement of the federal Wild Horse and Burro Program, which is the subject of the petition.
In unveiling the “We the People” initiative, the White House promised “a new way to petition the Obama Administration" and that "White House staff will review" the issue. However, there was nothing new in the response. The White House merely delivered the old familiar BLM rhetoric that has been used for the past several years to rationalize the agency’s mismanagement and waste of tax dollars. Included is the touting of a “new strategy” that is being implemented despite the receipt of tens of thousands of public comments opposing the majority of the strategy’s components.
Had we, the people who signed the petition, wanted a response from the BLM, we would have written to the BLM. Or better yet, since the response is just a cut-and-paste of BLM propaganda, we could have read it on the agency’s website and saved ourselves the considerable time and effort it took to log into the White House’s website and sign the petition!
President Obama has the full authority to reform the federal wild horse and burro program and could do so with one telephone call to his Secretary of the Interior. The fact that the White House didn’t even take the time to review this petition is a slap in the face to the American citizens who believed in the President’s promise that their concerns would be seriously considered. As a result, we are left to conclude that the entire “We the People” website is little more than a re-election campaign gimmick.
We conclude this letter with a final plea for President Obama’s attention to this issue and a request for a meeting with White House staff to discuss badly needed reform. To such a meeting we would bring wild horse and range experts to discuss the humane, cost-effective solutions, which have already been proposed but continue to be ignored by the BLM and Mr. Abbey.
It’s time that President Obama intervened in this issue to fulfill his promise for hope and change for the future.
We await your prompt response.
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign