Dear Editor,

I’m writing in response to a “Letter to the Editor” that was written by last minute candidate for District 4 Supervisor Don Martin, a cousin (by marriage) of our current District 4 Supervisor Wilma Jean Bishop. His personal attack on myself and Mr. Butch Meriwether was published on Wednesday January 31, 2024 in The Standard

Martin, a man with an apparent anger management problem who not long ago literally screamed at me in the lobby of the County building in front of multiple witnesses, is way off base as usual. Martin claims to be a “conservationist” but it appears he is really more concerned with conserving his own revenue stream as a big game trophy hunter tour guide and aspiring politician.

The burros in the Black Mountain HMA do not, as Martin claims, pose “a serious danger to the entire ecosystem!” Rather, the burros have become in integral and important part of the ecosystem. During times of drought, burros will dig for life sustaining water, thus providing water to countless other wild animals and ensuring their survival. Additionally, burros can help mitigate wildfire potential as they consume the dry grass that is fuel for fast spreading and difficult to extinguish wildfires in remote areas.

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 decreed that the secretaries of interior and agriculture are to engage in the “protection, management, and control of wild free-roaming horses and burros on public lands…to be considered…as an integral part of the natural system” on those lands. “Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneering spirit of the West”, not an existential threat to the ” fragile, arid desert of the Black Mountains” ecosystem, as Martin would have you believe. This Act was based on ethic of care but it stands in conflict with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which is based largely on utilitarian principles.

When the bureau of Land Management conducted its first wild horse and burro census in 1974, an estimated 15,000 burros roamed the West. Fewer than 9,000 remain today. 

I care greatly about the “health of the land” here in Mohave County, and for Martin to insinuate otherwise is despicable. I have spoken on the record numerous times about protecting our desert ecosystems, but give me a break, Martin’s contention that an Authorized Management Level of only 478 burros on 1.1 million acres is a “sound scientific decision on the numbers of burros the land can support without doing severe damage” is laughable at best.

Martin acknowledges his participation in setting the absurdly low AML of only 478 burros on 1.1 million acres of federally “managed” land in Mohave County. In his arrogance, he thinks he knows better than mother nature.

The reality is that burros and other animals actually regulate their own population to a measurable degree without human intervention. When populations are depleted by man or by nature, animals actually become more fertile in an attempt to reach environmental equilibrium. In hard times, animals become less fertile for the same reason. For all his wisdom man has yet to figure out the exact cause and mechanism of this phenomenon but the “Universe 25” experiment, which was repeated 25 times with the same results, wherein mice were given optimal food, water and living space showed a significant decrease in their reproduction after 315 days.

Interestingly, actual scientific studies have shown that the burro birth control “PZP” works best on burros with very robust immune systems. In other words, it doesn’t work on burros with genetically weak immune systems, leaving them subject to reproducing and passing on their less desirable genetics to the next generation. Over time this weakens the population. Man meddling with nature rarely ends well for nature.

Additionally, Mr. Meriwether is not even remotely my “defacto campaign manager”, that’s an absurd assertion by Martin. I fully manage my own campaign, and write every word on my website, business cards and advertising. I’m perfectly capable of speaking for myself and don’t need anyone else to speak for me, although I certainly do greatly appreciate everyone who speaks in support of me as the only candidate in the District 4 Supervisor race with a proven track record of fighting to protect peoples’ rights as well as their hard-earned money.

Mr. Meriwether only asked me about my recent conversation with Congressman Gosar’s assistant regarding the abhorrent use of helicopters to round up our beloved burros, and said “can I quote you on that?” Mr. Meriwether incorrectly referred to me as a Golden Valley “resident”, and although I am a Golden Valley property owner, my husband and I are not residents there (yet). We live just outside the Kingman City limits. If Meriwether were affiliated in any way with my campaign he would have known that.

While candidate Don Martin clearly supports burro abuse, I would like to personally thank Mr. Meriwether for shining a spotlight on the unnecessary and cruel use of helicopters to round up America’s wild horses and burros, and their documented mistreatment in government holding facilities. I encourage everyone to contact Congressman Gosar’s office and request that he co-sponsor the bipartisan bill to end this abomination. I’m not opposed to reasonable and humane herd management, but the helicopters have to go. Also, please check out the American Wild Horse Campaign at

Jennifer Esposito

Republican Candidate for District 4 Supervisor