Our View: Salazar’s Horse Sense

February 12, 2013

Salazar is leaving the administration under a cloud of questions surrounding his handling of the BLM wild horse program

As Coloradans, we have a long history with outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.   A trendsetter, his years as Attorney General and United States Senator gave him ample opportunity to make pronouncements in every corner of the state in his trademark bolo tie, cowboy hat and matching boots.  A 17th Street lawyer most of his life, we can’t help but respect his ability to sell the public on his roots as a real cowboy. 

With that in mind, we find it incredibly ironic that this “Colorado cowboy” is riding off in to the sunset under a cloud of questions surrounding his handling of the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program.

A group known as the American Wild Horse Protection Campaign has alleged that, on Salazar’s watch, hundreds of wild horses have been sold to a gentleman named Tom Davis.  While it’s not unusual for wild horses to be auctioned off, alarm bells tend to ring when said horses are sold to a guy who happens to be a high school buddy of the Secretary of the Interior.  Further, people take notice when the guy buying these horses has a history of selling them to meat packing plants in Mexico.

Unfortunately, no one really took notice of this story until Secretary Salazar was confronted by a reporter while campaigning for President Obama late last fall.  During that impromptu interview, a visibly angry Salazar threatened to “punch out” the reporter for having the nerve to ask him about something other than what color of M &M’s are served on Air Force One.

Fast forwarding to today, we’re pleased to see a bi-partisan group of lawmakers including Colorado Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) raising questions about the Department of Interior’s handling of this program.  Clearly the Wild Horse and Burro program was not designed as a vehicle for patronage for old high school buddies.

Furthermore, we believe it’s well within the prerogative of the Colorado Department of Agriculture to launch a thorough investigation in to this matter given the alleged abuse of Colorado brand inspection laws.  We’re sure Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar will get right on that.

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