Horse News

Welfare Cattle Force People to Move to Safety

Source: Heber Wild Horses

Federally subsidized, privately owned (WELFARE) Cattle being driven on public lands put people at risk. 

This occurred on July 11, 2019 at Black Canyon Lake in the Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. This is a lake where people go to enjoy nature by fishing, canoeing, hiking, picnicking, relaxing, and enjoying the peace. Today the peace was broken when privately owned cattle were driven through the parking lot, and up a hiking trail by the lake. With no regard for public safety the cattle were driven through. There were men, women, and children at the lake. Some people were forced to go up a steep embankment and climb boulders to try to get out of the way of the cattle. The cattle don’t just walk in an orderly single file fashion, they spread out and take different routes. No cowboy rode out ahead to make sure everybody was safely out of the way. Thankfully on this day, although there were some scrapes and bruises, everybody was okay. But what if a person had had a physical handicap and they were unable to get out of the way? What if a person was old and frail who could walk on the trail but couldn’t climb up a boulder? Or a little one who got separated from his/her parents in the scramble? Or a near term pregnant woman? This is supposed to be multi use land, not a private cattle ranch. Grazing cattle on public land is a privilege, not a right. Cattle don’t belong at Black Canyon Lake.

We received these three video clips from someone who chooses to remain anonymous. Please turn on your audio.

21 replies »

  1. I am appalled that my land is being managed as if it were a private livestock feedlot rather than the common heritage of all Americans. The federal government does not own lands in the West. America’s public lands belong to all Americans and must be managed for the broader interests of the American people and not for the narrow interests of a handful of local or corporate users who personally profit from grazing livestock on those lands. These are not “state lands” and not “federal lands” and not even “government lands”. They are public lands.


  2. This quote is from the UK but it certainly seems appropriate to this Arizona incident.
    If an animal causes unreasonable interference with the use of a right of way it could be classed as a nuisance under common law. Local authorities have a duty to deal with nuisances reported to them by serving a notice on the person who is responsible requiring them to ‘abate’ (stop causing) the nuisance. Failure to comply with this notice is an offence and the person responsible for the nuisance could be fined.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great question, since the permittees “pay” for the privilege of grazing, but it’s not clear if there are any fees to the public for day use of the lake and related recreation. It would be worth reading the actual grazing permit to find out if the permittees are required to carry liability insurance of any sort, and if there is any language about them keeping a minimum distance from other users of the same area. After all, this is “multiple use” so the USFS surely has planned to avoid any such conflicts, right? (sarcasm intended).

      Liked by 1 person

    • They have used that nuisance law to remove wild horses, and would not hesitate for a day to do so again.


  3. Supposedly the Forest Service District Ranger had a “chat” with the ranch hands who were running these cattle for the corporate cattle ranch that owns these cattle. Of course we don’t know what was said.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was looking to see if there was a day use fee for the public here, and found this:

    “The lake was built along the Mogollon Rim in 1964 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide water recreation opportunities for the public. Despite being affected by the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002, Black Canyon Lake remains a popular and beautiful spot for picnics, camping and fishing. Since of the fire, the entire area around Black Canyon Lake is open for day use only due to the danger of falling trees. The facilities are maintained by Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests division of the USDA Forest Service.”

    And this:

    “Just minutes from Black Canyon Lake, this is a great spot for campers who like to take to the water for a little relaxation. Fishing and boating are popular, but if you’re into more terrestrial relaxation, wildlife-watching opportunities are many. Deer, squirrels, chipmunks and the occasional elk frequent the area, as do several bird species. Or, if you’re of the I’d-like-a-little-history-with-my-getaway persuasion, cruise FR 300. You’ll find the marker that commemorates the Battle of Big Dry Wash, which took place along the Mogollon Rim in 1882. It was the last Apache-versus-Army battle in Arizona.”

    Season: May through November
    Fee: $14 per night
    Reservations: Yes
    Amenities: Toilets, Pets, Water

    If I calculated this correctly, one human campsite reservation at $14/night brings in the same amount of money as 10.37 cow/calf pairs do in 30 nights. So one person’s recreation (for which this lake was built) for a single night is the equivalent to the USFS of 22 grazing cattle for a month, or for one night’s grazing: 4.5 cents for a cow and calf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No mention of the cattle being herded thru, is there? But then, how many people really want to camp in the middle of a cow pasture?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure the website was up a long time before this event — but it is common enough that cattle graze on USFS lands. This example is just horrific though, since the lake was built for human recreation, not for cattle, and people camping have to pay a lot more than the cattle do, only to be put in danger by animals they have little or no awareness of, not to mention the mess they leave behind, and in the water. This is an example of “multiple use” that doesn’t work for anyone but the cattle (who have no choice, to be clear).

        Liked by 1 person

      • The wild horses and other wildlife depend on water in the waterholes but the cattle are pushed from one waterhole to the next as they drink them dry. The lake won’t be sucked dry by the cattle but they sure do a good job of contaminating it. I was down at the lake one year while the cattle were there. The stench was so bad it literally gave me a splitting headache. We were only there for about 30 minutes, I couldn’t take anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Another way to calculate relative value: if a camper pays $14, that should buy them 10.37 months of camping based on the fees paid for livestock grazing ($1.35/AUM). The campers aren’t eating tons of forage (if any), and presumably aren’t also broadcasting ~ 120 lbs. of waste all over the area.

      Imagine the uproar if you paid $28 for a weekend of camping, but felt you thus had a right to camp there for over 20 months! In my county you can’t camp anywhere more than 2 weeks without a secondary (fee based) permit, or having to move on, no matter how much you can pay.

      Arguments that humans create more maintenance costs fall short, too, since these efforts are made to contain and minimize ecological damage and maximize public health. Can’t say the same for grazing any livestock on public lands. That $1.35 wouldn’t go far even for a single cow/calf over a month (3,000 lbs. of broadcast liquified waste).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There is no doubt something must be done! Calls and vocalization on websites, face book and to Congressional members is a must! It’s tragic that are making a point that they cannot be touched! How could you even sue? Who would you take to court? I would imagine both. As the animals presented eminate danger to the public and were definitely not in control. If your horse injuries someone outside a posted equine event/activity, you can be held responsible. So why not the owner of the cattle? Why do people have to be killed or injured before anything is done? One can only hope the up coming 2020 elections change this. But they too feel that THEY are ENTITLED to this land! However, it must end somehow some way!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Diseases acquired from contact with contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illness, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic, and wound infections. … When E. coli exceeds the permissible level in recreational water, it results in the closing of beaches, ponds, lakes, and swimming and fishing areas.


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