Report from Robin: BLM helicopter use public hearing in California

Mustang flag with stars by Robin Warren, Youth Campaign Director for Protect Mustangs. (© Protect Mustangs, media permission granted.)

BLM Helicopter Hearing, July 10th, 2012 at 6:30 at the Woodlake Hotel in Sacramento, CA

I got there just on time after we drove in a couple circles and got lost. Luckily another horse advocate gave us directions to which room it was in because it was hard to find. My mom signed us both in and then we got our seats in the front row. Everyone was talking and laughing except the BLM employees.

The BLM employee who was running the meeting was kind of mean – she would distract you while you were speaking so it was harder to say what you wanted to say. She said everyone had only 3 minutes to speak because there were so many people and she wanted to give everyone a turn.  They way that it was distracting was because she had the warning times on paper and she would wave as each speakers time ran out. There 4 signs: 1 minutes, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, and STOP. When the speakers saw it sometimes they lost their train of thought but then others would volunteer to give up their time so each speaker could say everything they wanted to say.

Cat Kindsfather gave me her time because she didn’t want me interrupted. I zoned out the timekeeper so I could say everything I wanted to. I knew it would be around 3 minutes so I wasn’t really worried but I guess I did get into extra time because I heard someone say “Stop doing that to her! She can have my time!”

Cat took lots of pictures.

When I got up to speak everyone clapped and was very encouraging. Then I read my comments. Near the end everyone clapped but I had one more thing to say. I wanted to tell the BLM how many signatures I had gotten since the last time I presented signatures. I said “In January I presented 1,200 signatures and now I have 1,000 more. And I want to get – no I did get –  10 more today! I won’t stop until they listen and stop hurting the mustangs. Please stop the helicopter roundups!”

The other speakers were really great. I learned some things. The author, Terri Farley, told me that her Phantom Stallion series have sold 2 million copies so I am speaking for maybe more children than I realize.

I was sad most of the time about what the speakers were saying. Simone Netherlands described a roundup that I heard about my first year of the petition but hearing about it again was upsetting. Two foals had to be put down after their hooves fell off from being chased by the helicopter. They suffered for days before they were put down.

The mood was elevated. Everyone in the room except for the 4 BLM employees (2 administrators and 2 armed guards) was on our side. They want the roundups stopped. But one speaker, toward the end was discouraging because she reminded us that we probably won’t get heard. That we shouldn’t be happy. That we’ve all already said NO to the roundups and that the BLM will not listen!

But I think we will be heard. I think it was a great meeting of supporters and that it will spark a bigger movement.

I was surprised to find out that many people don’t know what is happening to the horses. I want to tell the world. I didn’t know either until I read the book “Mustang – Wild Spirit of the West” by Marguerite Henry. It is written for a younger audience so it is a quick read for any adult who want to be educated about wild horses. We need to spread the word so we can save the horses!


Robin Warren (Wild Mustang Robin)

Youth Campaign Director for Protect Mustangs

Mustang Robin hands Amy Dumas (BLM) the growing petition against helicopter roundups at the California BLM public hearing on helicopters in Sacramento July 10, 2012

Terri Farley, award-winning author and Robin Warren, Protect Mustangs’ Youth Campaign Director, at the BLM public hearing on helicopter use for roundups and management in Sacramento July 10, 2012. (Photo © Cat Kindsfather, permission for media use)

© Protect Mustangs