Myopic land management perspectives come with a very expensive price tag
A small herd of wild horses is seen reducing wildfire fuels in a wilderness area. Photo: William E. Simpson II
A lack of holistic natural resource and land management oversight may very well result in the collapse of the American livestock industry as a result of the growing epidemic of Chronic Wasting Disease (‘CWD’) in cervids (deer, elk, etc.).
CWD can also infect livestock! If any U.S. cattle become infected with ‘Mad Cow Disease’, which is what CWD is called in cattle, American consumers will stop buying all beef.
We saw how just a small outbreak of Mad Cow Disease lead to hard times for the American beef prices.
“(Reuters) – U.S. ranchers and processors lost almost $11 billion in revenue between 2004 and 2007 after major importers barred U.S. beef following the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States, according to a government report issued on Tuesday.”
This recent peer-reviewed CDC article states that:
“Dubbed the “zombie” deer disease, experts have warned that the consumption of deer meat infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD) may lead to the disease spreading to humans within the next few years“
Given that the CDC primarily focuses on disease in humans, it’s easy to understand why they MISSED the implications that such transference of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is more likely into Cattle and Sheep herds, which are commingled with cervids (deer, elk, etc.) across the public and private grazing lands in America!
When CWD infects cattle it is called ‘Mad Cow’ or ‘BSE’; in sheep it’s called ‘scrapes’. It is fatal in all cases in both animals and humans and there is no known vaccine or treatment.
Also what is missed by existing public land management: Wild Horses (horses) which can mitigate wildfire fuels in America’s 110-Million acres of ‘critical wilderness’ are resistant to Chronic Wasting Disease!
Leading science suggests that wild horses mitigate the spread of CWD by reducing the grass and brush vectors that carry the prions (CWD) that are thought to reside on vegetative materials and into the mouths of other susceptible herbivores. SEE REFS BELOW
Wild horses have shown they are resistant to CWD. Their resistance to CWD surely is an evolutionary genetic trait that has manifest due to their co-evolving with CWD over millennia on the North American landscape. Cattle and sheep are an imported species from the African continent, which may be germane in their susceptibility to CWD.
It’s not a matter of if, but when, CWD spreads to the livestock grazing in areas that are frequented by cervids.
And when Mad Cow disease and/or Scrapies hits the livestock industry, it will spell financial disaster for the livestock industry across all sectors; including grazing on public or private lands where cervids are commingled with livestock.
This outbreak of CWD spells financial disaster for the livestock industry.
The plan, ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade‘ offers an immediate partial solution at no cost to taxpayers or the livestock industry.
Generally speaking, deer (cervids) have the highest population densities in designated ‘critical wilderness areas’, and it can be expected that the rate of exposure and transference of CWD would be highest in such areas.
By introducing wild horses from BLM and USFS off-range holding areas and into such critical wilderness areas, according to science, wild horses will remove CWD disease vectors via their grazing, without any ill effect to the wild horses.
‘Critical Wilderness’ areas are manifestly unsuited to livestock grazing due to many issues that greatly increase the costs of potentially grazing such areas; namely; 1) motorized vehicles are prohibited by law in such areas; and 2) predators are present in high populations; and 3) terrain and logistics in such remote areas with single track 4X4 roads make livestock management logistic cost prohibitive.
By rewilding American wild horses from BLM and USFS off-range holding areas and into such ‘critical wilderness areas’, we can immediately and cost-effectively address CWD while concurrently reducing one-hour class wildfire fuels (grass and brush).
#WildHorses, #CWD, #ChronicWastingDisease