DENVER (KDVR) — Tension that has been brewing between ranchers and state authorities is coming to the surface again.
Ranchers called for Gov. Jared Polis to remove a woman named Ellen Kessler from the State Board of Veterinary Medicine after Kessler allegedly called ranchers in the state “lazy and nasty.” Late Monday afternoon, the governor’s office confirmed Kessler resigned from her role.
“The Governor appreciates that Ms. Kessler has taken responsibility for the impact of her hurtful words,” the office said in a statement. “He looks forward to selecting a Veterinary board member that better shares his strong respect for Colorado’s hard-working ranchers and helps build confidence in the practice of veterinary medicine across our state.”
In a comment about co-existing with wildlife, Kessler reportedly wrote: “Would our lazy and nasty ranchers and cattleman even raise a finger to make something like this work? Or is using a cow to bait the wolves a solution?”
The comment alluded to recent wolf attacks on livestock and a working dog on the Western Slope ahead of the state reintroducing gray wolves, a move many ranchers opposed. Advocates for Colorado’s livestock community were outraged by the comments.
“Quite honestly, I found it reprehensible,” said Kenny Rogers, Colorado Livestock Association president-elect. “Ellen Kessler, the woman who made them, has a long history of anti-animal-production comments. She’s done this for a long time. And why in the world they would ever place her on a board that advises our veterinarians within the state is just beyond description to me. It’s just — I never could fathom it.”
Before her resignation, the state’s Republican Party called for her to leave the position. Senator and rancher Jerry Sonnenberg said she should leave too.
“Unreasonable, unrespectful and quite frankly inflammatory,” the Sterling senator said. “And quite frankly, if the governor wants to do something to rebuild this urban-rural divide, she needs to be fired from her position.”