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  • Writer's pictureStaci-lee Sherwood

From tortured horses to leaked confidential emails can we still trust this DC lobbyist?

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

By Staci-lee Sherwood

The dictionary defines a lobbyist as someone who earns a living trying to influence government officials. That is the sanitized definition designed to be just vague enough not to raise any flags. The movies add their own flavor with the expected mix of cash, sex and locked briefcases passing from various people in custom suits. These characters look into the camera with a slightly smarmy look that says I have the power to change the course of the nation. The audience hates that but is also intrigued.

A real lobbyist does not conduct business in the office of politicians, government officials or captains of industry. Those meetings are for the public who have little to no influence. Real lobbying is done over drinks, on the golf course or in a hotel lobby, anywhere but the office. How much influence you have depends on how much you know about those in power. Lobbying is all about who you know, what you know and how you can use that to get whatever you’re lobbying for passed. The Legislative Director, not the Senator or House Rep, is the one most lobbyists focus on.

The dictionary defines lobbying as a way to influence people. Hollywood really has it right as to how lobbyists go about it. We have all watched movies where some unsavory character hands a manila envelope to what we thought was a decent person only to discover the depths of depravity that had been hidden from us. As the dark truth unfolds we spectators don’t want to embrace the ugly truth. Ironically it’s more human nature to kill the messenger who shattered our perception of things than to want to kill the actual person doing these bad things. People who do bad things understand this side of humanity and know how to trigger that response. The face of evil can be anyone but humans always assume evil will look like evil, a face full of hate and fear not one that seems bright and cheery. Manipulation is the biggest tool lobbyists have and use it often.

Humane Society of US

Marty Irby was Senior Director from 2016-2018 at HSUS. The insidious Path Forward was crafted in 2017. The plan involves removing wild horses from public land. The few that aren’t shipped to slaughter are shot up with a toxic birth control drug PZP. No one outside the small group of people at that conference will truly know what was discussed but the Path Forward was approved with the blessing of the Cattlemen’s Association and the energy sector. This was done when Pacelle and Irby were running HSUS. Former Director Clevelans Amory was stated “I’m not an admirer of HSUS. They’ve always been primarily a direct-mail operation, and what’s known in animal rights circles as a credit grabber.” Charity Navigator rates them 2 of 4 stars and Charity Watch gave them a ‘D’ rating. Can we expect more of the same from the Pacelle and Irby duo in the future?

Pacelle resigned under a cloud of suspicion for being a sexual predator. Irby has a documented history of being an animal abuser. How likely is it these two predators would change their ways? They both learned how to control the narrative and store money while making donors think they’re helping animals. HSUS cries broke as an excuse for inaction yet they have 100s of millions of dollars according to the 990 tax returns. In 2014 Pacelle’s HSUS was sued under RICO and lost. Is there a RICO lawsuit in the future of the 3 new groups these two have formed?

These two also support horse racing and gave testimony in 2020 to that fact. For those genuinely concerned about animal welfare how does horse racing fit into that when we know of all the abuses in that industry? Speaking of abusers Irby admitted he practiced ‘soring’ of his Tennessee Walking horse for years. These would be the same horses he pictures himself with as he proudly proclaims how many times he won showing them. He fails to include the tidbit these horses suffered in pain from the devices used to exaggerate their gate which is how Irby won all those awards. The photos of him riding hide the suffering of the horse who is seen wearing the torture devices.

A few years ago he earned a fellow from the anti-wildlife Heritage Foundation. What could Irby have done to earn this award from a group that, like HSUS and many others, wrap their true agenda in vague words they know only their real audience will grasp. Should we be on the lookout for more anti wildlife groups from Irby ?

Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, Center for Humane Society non profits & Animal Wellness Action Corporation

First question everyone should ask is why so many non-profits? Perusing their websites they all cover the same issues go so far as using the same photos and wording for their projects. Each one has Pacelle listed as President and Ibry listed as a Director. They all have former HSUS staff. Would law abiding people need three nearly identical groups? Their corporate branch was formed in the deregulation state of Florida which neither Pacelle nor Irby live in. While Pacelle was running HSUS they pleaded to their donors to “… make a special gift to help The Humane Society of the United States care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case … your gift will be put to use right away to care for these dogs.” Then Pacelle gave an interview to the New York Times stating that HSUS didn’t even have custody of the Vick dogs or “know how well they are being kept.” Pacelle also recommended to federal government authorities that all of the dogs should be euthanized. Should we expect more shenanigans from Pacelle in the future? How involved will Irby be?

Puppet Master

In 2021 Irby decided to finance a documentary about the life of wild horses. Sounds good enough, a project worth financing right? The main role of a lobbyist is to get your message out by any means possible. The more venues one uses the more people reached, and influenced. Most lobbyists never turn if off they don’t go home and the clock stops. A good lobbyist lives it as a lifestyle always on the lookout for the next avenue by which to draw more people in. This was probably the motivation for Irby to back the documentary by Ashley Avis “WILD BEAUTY: Mustang Spirit of the West’. The film hasn’t come out yet so we don’t know if it’s little more than an advertisement for PZP.

The non-profit that Avis formed with her husband, Wild Beauty Foundation, seems to be doing good work rescuing horses that would otherwise end up killed. Their blog is another matter. Under the heading of solutions we find the fingerprint or Irby and his PZP agenda. Avis either didn’t bother to do her research or failed to listen when she interviewed other people who were vehemently against using PZP. Her cheery blog is disingenuous on a couple of merits she omits such as:

1. It fails to mention the EPA classifies PZP as a pesticide

2. HSUS owns the patent to it, remember Irby used to work for them

3. The BLM has made it abundantly clear they use Gonacon which sterilizes after a couple of uses

4. PZP has never stopped any roundups or slowed them down. This is the entire justification for just about every non-profit pushing it

Off the Wild Beauty website they are promoting a lie that PZP will stop roundups. To knowingly lie especially as a way to get donations is fraud. Avis may not have done her homework but her partner Marty Irby sure knows the PZP narrative is a lie

Can’t deny where the money comes from and who has been feeding the information you’re passing on

In April 2022 Britta Hesla, was in DC with Irby. Either she or Irby misrepresented things by claiming she was there on behalf of A.W.E the facebook group. It comes as no surprise that Irby either does not have his facts straight or deliberately misstates facts. They were pushing for a grossly misguided bill supporting yet another non-profit with ties to Irby Veterans for Mustangs. This group too has a questionable agenda and is run by a Hollywood actor of sorts. His idea of saving wild horses involves having traumatized vets from PTSD shoot wild horses as they run around with a pesticide that destroys their genetics and likely their health. How shooting at horses helps those already traumatized by being shot at under the ruse this will save the horses is beyond illogical. Their plan is all about PZP.

Violating the law

What happens when someone forwards or copies & pastes an email exchange they were not included in? Aside from being unethical you could find yourself in legal hot water. If that email was considered confidential or business related you could really be in some trouble. According to Ned Snow assistant professor of law, whose article was published in the Kansas Law Review The intended recipient of the author's expression is not allowed to copy and re-distribute the expression. Accordingly, because e-mail forwarding deprives the sender of privacy, it violates common-law copyright.’ More about this violation and a link to his article can be found here,it%20violates%20common%2Dlaw%20copyright.

Whether or not law was broken one thing is clear, Marty Irby has a checkered past when it comes to ethics. When someone else’s words are deliberately taken out of context for the sole purpose of pushing your own agenda most would consider that sleazy behavior. Irby has more to lose if people start jumping off his failing ship of PZP for a more politically viable project. That was likely his motivation for his leaking private emails exchange between a board member of a non-profit and the founder of another non-profit that Irby was excluded from , in the hopes of garnering support for his failed plan to save wild horses. He then forwarded these private emails to Kimberly Martin Warner, a middle aged housewife in Michigan. Werner claims him to be a “100% trusted source” on a Facebook post. How does a married woman in Michigan gets so cozy with a divorced lobbyist in DC with a questionable history? I won’t publish the emails because unlike Irby and Werner I respect the privacy as they intended.

We can see Irby’s email in this screen shot that Werner took

A brief summary of the wild horse issue is that since 2017 Irby and a long list of non-profits, who have all failed to save wild horses, continue to push a failed policy of using the drug PZP on them. Almost all the groups begging for money still falsely claim PZP will save wild horses from roundups. Their ties to Irby can be seen as his web of deceit weaves through both the founders and members of most wild horse and animal advocate groups. It seems his ego is too entwined with the success of PZP.

The BLM has made several statements they have been and will continue to use Gonacon not PZP. Irby’s three or four (even I have lost track) of his ‘non-profits’ all push this as a project they point to when asking for donations. He has had ample opportunities to actually save wild horses from abuse and slaughter and has failed every time. Perhaps this long history of impotence that follows him is why he blocks people who ask questions and require proof of what he says.

Irby is trying to discredit a non-profit with a unique, and more politically salable, way of saving wild horses and keeping them in the wild. The divide is how these two see the use of PZP. Irby pushes for its inclusion with every other non-profit he works with, all three or are there more non-profits he formed with friend Pacelle and even a documentary. One can only imagine the true motivation for so much hard sell of a pesticide no one really wants to use. If this is how he plans to help horses the horses don’t need any more ‘friends’.

According to Irby’s resume he served four years as Director of Sales & Marketing at Waterfall Farms in Shelbyville, Tenn. There he promoted and expanded the farm’s cattle production program and worked with more than 2,000 equine breeders from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Poland and Israel. So he used to be in the business of expanding ranching, one of the main reasons for wild horses being removed off public land. He wants everyone to believe he has changed his tune in favor of wild horses.

Irby serves as a board member for a ranching organization hmmmm.....

William E. Simpson ll, founder of the Wild Horse Fire Brigade and the one whose leaked emails are in question, grew up ranching. He has since turned his focus to helping wild horses stay wild and free. Irby wants us to believe he no longer supports ranching, yet works to discredit someone who, like him, has prioritized wild horses over ranchers. Irby’s attempt to discredit and manipulate the emails to his advantage is the very definition of a hypocrite and fraud.

One thing is clear, neither Marty Irby or Kimberly Martin-Werner seems they can be trusted with any confidential information. Who knows what else they will share to the world for their own misguided agenda or take out of context in the hopes of fitting it into their agenda and not with which the original message was intended. One’s personal life is never completely separate from their professional life there is no such thing as a firewall between the two when it comes to humans.

Perhaps those conducting business with these two, or anyone they associate with, would be wise to avoid them or risk being caught in their web of manipulation. It’s clear that Irby was intentionally left off the email exchange precisely for the reason his actions have proven. Irby cannot be trusted to not manipulate things he’s not part of and prefers to act like a spoiled 5 year old instead of a professional grownup.

On several social media platforms Irby proclaims himself as a ‘top lobbyist’. You know what they say about compliments, if you’re really all that terrific other people will do the promoting for you. If one has to constantly tell people how successful they are the self promotion just looks desperate. His award from the Queen of England might impress some but not real animal advocates. After all she come from a hunting family, her children hunt, she supports horse racing just like Irby does. Let’s not forget all the Black Bears killed for the palace guard hats. Forget the romanticism of the monarchy they have outlived their usefulness. In 2022 they’re little more than billionaire parasites freeloading off their taxpayers. An award from Jane Goodall on the other hand …. Now that would be amazing.

Birds of a feather

Who your friends are and your actions tell more about a person than the words that come out of their mouth. Wayne Pacelle has a long sordid history from allegations of sexual harassment to siding with famous animal abuser/dog fight owner Michael Vick to creating the Path Forward that destroys wild horses. Pacelle and Irby are long time friends and colleagues. Remember they formed THREE so called non-profits since 2018. If that doesn’t raise suspicion nothing will. Should we expect more of the same from these two in the future?

The phrase ‘A leopard never changes its spots’ asks the question how much does someone really change and how possible is it to shift away from one’s true nature? Perhaps it’s not the leopard who changes his spots but just hides them better and the real change comes from the blindness of those who refuse to see them.

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