I am working on many projects and have a lot to share with all of you.

But because of current undertones and accusations I feel the need to state a personal distinction with all of you.

Death threats appear to be increasing to the members of organizations that manage wild horses and burros. Attacks on the character of other advocates is also on the rise, against myself included.

Certain advocate groups have put out statements asking for folks to deal with the BLM in a “civilized” manner. I am making the same plea… but my plea includes our dealings with each other.

I do recognize the absolute outrage. I do recognize the truth of the heart-break. I do recognize the feeling of helplessness against a “machine” that operates without apparent flexibility or apparent awareness of the emotional and physical wounds it inflicts.

But within that frustration exists a destructive way of being that will feed on itself and hurt advocates. It creates a reactiveness that acts without complete information and has the potential to inflict as much damage as the “machine.”

If the current “plea” that has been sent out makes your inbox, I am asking you to take the same logic put forth and apply it to the “advocates” themselves. If there is a “willingness” demonstrated to overlook differences and see “positive” places for dialogue (as some express in statements that ask “attacks cease against those on the ground” and focus on a legislative battle. And some subtly, and not so subtly, point fingers at other advocates) take a moment to think.

Let it be a seed that grows compassionate understanding everywhere.

We have all been drawn here because we care. It is a truth I have observed. But we are all different. Simply because someone comes from a “city” or a background that does not include ever gentling a wild horse does not make their viewpoint irrelevant. In many ways they offer a unique perspective that has unique value.

Statements made about “personal gain” sound like the claims Sue Wallis’ camp makes in the horse slaughter struggle as she accuses advocates of making money “hand over fist.” The majority of advocates, many of them high-profile, devote a great amount of personal resource to engage in this effort. Any funding they receive does not cover the costs incurred.

Yes, there are large organizations that exist in a business capacity that make a living from advocacy, but that is not the majority. It is also not inherently wrong.

Yes, there are many that have figured out how to exist funded as entities that gentle and find homes for horses… but most of them exist on budgets that make it month-to-month.

I have heard accusations that certain advocates really advocate for the BLM. I have heard accusations that certain advocates are in it for personal “glory.” I have heard accusation after accusation that in the big picture create a “drama” that ultimately hurts horses.

Each advocate has something to offer this effort. Each voice speaks a language that is vital to reach the ears needed to create change.

Take a minute to breath… please.

If there is a willingness to recognize the value of recognizing the “humaneness” of those that manage wild horses and burros… please recognize the tremendous value of the wealth of diversity among the advocates themselves.

OK… gonna step off the soap box. But I want to leave you with a few definitions of words courtesy of dictionary online. Y’all know language is a topic I am very interested in.

Be very aware of the interactions we all have with each other. Be very aware of your behavior and how it pertains to constructive action.


   [v. ad-vuh-keyt; n. ad-vuh-kit, -keyt]  Show IPA verb,-cat·ed, -cat·ing, noun
–verb (used with object)


to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers.


a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually fol. by of): an advocate of peace.

a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.

a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.


   [ak-tuh-vist]  Show IPA


an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, esp. a political cause.


of or pertaining to activism or activists: an activist organization for environmental concern.

advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, esp. a political cause: Activist opponents of the President picketed the White House.
Added by request from Anne:

Pronunciation: \ˈpa-sə-ˌfi-zəm\
Function: noun
Etymology: French pacifisme, from pacifique pacific
Date: 1902
1 : opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
2 : an attitude or policy of nonresistance


   [ter-er-ist]  Show IPA

a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
a person who terrorizes or frightens others.


   [ter-uh-riz-uhm]  Show IPA

the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.
This issue is filled with passionate people. That passion stems from a core belief that is expressed in many unique ways. Not one person… not a single one… can carry the change needed to make a difference for our wild herds. This change will only come as each hand learns how to drop the stones they hold in order to be able to grab the hand of their neighbor.
That goes for both sides. So does the referencing of the definitions of words.
Now to end with a quote from Hill Street Blues:
Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: Hey, let’s be careful out there.

15 thoughts on “Advocate

  1. R.T. Fitch says:

    Your safety is my primary concern.

    And yes, we will need to work with the other side, someday…I would prefer that to be sooner rather than later.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      I hope its sooner rather than later because later may be too late. (I know as a writer the last sentence is kinda funny).

      But even before we work with the “other side” we need to recognize the true value within our own. The diversity of this group is amazing… yet the crap that gets flung in our own “yard” because of differences is going to make us “sick.”

      Nice to “see” you again, my friend.
      : D

  2. LindaH says:

    Spoken so well Laura! It saddens and frustrates me to hear of negative energy out there–wherever it is. We must all work for the good of the horses with a positive mindset to accomplish our goals–as RT said, hopefully sooner than later.

  3. sandra longley says:

    Kum-bye-ya…and thats the way I felt until I read the latest assesment on American herds today…Massacre Lakes might have thought we had made progress..but in fact we have regressed. They are not not even trying to cover their tracks-in fact they have escalated beyond belief..don’t be lulled into the sense that we are “winning anything” is business as usual + 100%.. I have no proof someone made threats against the blm or individuals-do you? I heard the same thing from the same source when the BLM called in the armed gaurds for the calico roundup-someone had made death threats-thats why they moved everyone back and brought in the gaurds…Did that happen? I don’t know, you were there-did you hear any threats? We are all rushing to defend the BLM-myself included..but then I only attack the BLM as an organization-not as individuals..and I donot apologise for that-and until they stop dumming up assesments-like the afore mentioned HMA..I will continue to do so. I came to this -not because I had free time and money to blow, or make friends..I came to insure the horses in the wild and in holding were treated fairly, and had a future different from that planned by the BLM..I am not interested in anyones agenda on either side –unless it interferes with the welfare and future of the horses.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Sandra I think you missed what I was writing about.
      MANY are sending out (forwarding) an email from an advocate to tone down the language being used to address the BLM. That same care needs to apply advocate to advocate.
      I was writing for us to watch the back-stabbing BS on our side. I’m getting sick of advocate against advocate crap because it does hurt the horses.

      I did not rush to defend the BLM…
      the definitions above are listed not just for “our” side. There are a few regulars to my blog that work for the BLM. It goes for them, too.

      I am actually defending a couple of advocates that are being discredited, by advocates… that hurts horses.

  4. The people I have met in the past year along this campaign are some of the best folks I have ever known. Our differences are sometimes more than our
    similarities yet we have maintained respect for and been respected because we know what we are all living through; together. The undercurrents ebb and flow and we all wonder what is behind many of the actions we see come about by both sides. We have been cautious and supportive and curious. As the saying goes, don’t be part of the problem be part of the solution. Keep working together. mar

  5. Anna says:

    ummmm….you forgot one…

    PACIFIST…that’s one you forgot to define…you have


    but you forgot The Animal Rights Pacifist which I have been for 41 years…

    so could you please define the word Pacifist? (my pacism is “I have been boycotting Beef and Pork for over 41 years;

    meaning: I do not buy; sell or consume Beef or Pork; 41 ys.

  6. Anna says:

    ps the word Pacifist originates from the word Peace or Paz…I ask only for Peace of mind; peace of body and peace of freedom for out Mustangs; this is not ONLY about Mustangs;

    the bottom line is about Preserving Natural Habitats for them; this is about the american citizens rights to protect the rights of God made creatures like Mustangs; Mt. sheep/goats

    you don’t have to “have gentled a Mustang to care for them!

    • Laura Leigh says:

      You don’t even have to have seen them in the wild to care for them. They represent something very deep in the American psyche. They are so core to who we are….

      • Anna says:

        exactly ! I used to ride as a youngster but not in many years; I have taken riding lessons at camp and clubs;

        I care for every critter who is abused by “mankind ! a.

        thanks !

  7. sandra longley says:

    This whole week has been taken up with these discussions, meanwhile, back at the ranch, there were scoping comments due on 4 HMAs-one being zeroed out, and the rest being decimated. That is what is important and a priority for me..I believe we are all adults here, capable of defending ourselves-its the horses who need defending. We are I suspect mostly adults and responsable for our own actions and words and…the consequences of that. Its time to “own it” and move on to stopping the massive roundups..get back to looking at the big picture.

    • Laura Leigh says:

      That’s what I was saying…
      : )
      But with a BIG word of caution that what we do to each other creates a drama that takes attention away from where it needs to be and adds dangerous fuel to the issue.

      The majority of my time has been in the field.
      I come back to an inbox filled with drama. It needs to stop.

  8. Anna says:

    Main Entry: pac·i·fism
    Pronunciation: \ˈpa-sə-ˌfi-zəm\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French pacifisme, from pacifique pacific
    Date: 1902
    1 : opposition to war or violence as a means of settling disputes; specifically : refusal to bear arms on moral or religious grounds
    2 : an attitude or policy of nonresistance

    — pac·i·fist \-fist\ noun Anne writes: I am a Pacifist ! true!

    • Laura Leigh says:

      Hi Anne…
      I’ve added your definition to the body of the article.
      The idea of looking at how words are used to define reality is very important.
      Specifically when the recognition hits a place where dialogue can begin… to create new laws (words)… to define a new existence.
      Good Morning.

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