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Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Threatens Reporter

"I'll Punch You Out"


November 12, 2012

FOUNTAIN, Colorado – It was Election Day and an enthusiastic gathering of Obama supporters had gathered. Dave Phillips 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. He thought he was done. Secretary Salazar was not. Just after Salazar answered the final questions about the future safety of wild horses and he turned to leave the interview, he unexpectedly moved towards Phillips and advised him, “If you set me up like this again, I’ll punch you out.”

Others standing nearby were stunned including Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation, a Colorado-based wild horse advocacy organization. Kathrens said “I was stunned by the Secretary’s rude and clearly hostile comment toward Dave.”

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.”

Phillips’ 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.”


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