Targeted Grazing Scam

By as published on The Wildlife News

The Idaho BLM is implementing what is sometimes called “targeted grazing” with livestock in an effort to reduce large wildfires. The theory is that if livestock graze enough of the “fuel”, then large wildfires like the 600,000 Murphy Complex or the Soda Fire which burned across southern Idaho in recent years could be more easily controlled.

On the surface, this strategy seems plausible. Less fuel should mean fewer large fires. But here’s the rest of the story.

First, nearly all the acreage burned annually is the result of a very few large fire complexes. For instance, in the years 1980-2003 there were 56,320 fires in the Rocky Mountain states. Of those fires, 96% of the blazes were responsible for charring only 4% of the total acreage burned. By contrast, 0.1% of the fires—less than 50—were responsible for over half the acreage burned during that time.

Therefore, the fires that are the biggest threat to both human communities and the ones fuel treatments like targeted grazing seek to control are those very infrequent but large blazes.

However, large blazes occur during what are categorized as “extreme fire weather” conditions. These conditions include serious drought, low humidity, high temperatures and most importantly high winds.

The reason winds are key to fire spread is because they “fan” the flames, and toss embers 1-4 miles ahead of the fire front, making any attempt at containment impossible. A narrow strip of targeted heavily grazed rangelands is not going to stop a wind-driven blaze since burning embers will easily be blown over any fuel reduction.

Numerous studies of large fires have acknowledged this, including A University of Idaho study, following the 2007 Murphy Complex fire, that burned more than 600,000 acres, which found “much of the Murphy Wildland Fire Complex burned under extreme fuel and weather conditions that likely overshadowed livestock grazing as a factor influencing fire extent and fuel consumption in many areas where these fires burned,”

Another widely cited study done in Arizona heralding the benefits of “targeted grazing” on wildfire reduction, concluded that while fuel removal by livestock might reduce fire spread under low and moderate fire weather conditions the situations where it might be beneficial were limited to small areas, and under less than extreme fire weather.

The authors concluded “Targeted grazing treatment did influence fire behavior in grass/shrub communities, but its effects were limited. Although it is a promising tool for altering fire behavior, targeted grazing will be most effective in grass communities under moderate weather conditions.”

In other words, targeted grazing is limited in affecting fire behavior and outcome under the extreme fire conditions agencies like the BLM seek to control.

To have any effect on fuels, the areas targeted for grazing need to be scalped down to stubble. This removes the hiding cover for wildlife, results in soil compaction, serious impacts on native grasses due to “overgrazing” and destruction of soil crusts.

Loss of soil crusts is important because this facilitates the establishment of cheatgrass, a highly flammable annual. So, in effect, target grazing often creates a more flammable zone of cheatgrass.

Another issue is the very low probability that a fire will encounter any fuel break. Because the conditions under which a blaze is transformed into a large, unstoppable wildfire are so rare, most fuel breaks never encounter a fire, making their implementation a waste of time and money.

Target grazing is like “investing” in the lottery. Yes, you can always point to someone who is a winner, but most people buying lottery tickets are just throwing away their money. It’s the same with “fuel treatments” like targeted grazing.

Private Livestock grazing on federal public lands is a privilege — not a right

as published on The Hill

Welfare Ranching is EXACTLY that!!!

Recently, the Hage family of central Nevada has become the poster boy for ranchers supposedly victimized by federal law enforcement. But far from being victims of a repressive federal bureaucracy, the Hage family demonstrates the vulnerability of our western public lands to the livestock industry.

The Hage family have played significant role in the “Sagebrush Rebellion,” a political movement aimed at utilizing western public lands for the benefit of the livestock industry.

The Hage family cattle were impounded in 1991 for repeatedly trespassing and overgrazing on Forest Service lands. That year, Wayne Hage Sr. sued the federal government for suspending his grazing lease, arguing that he had purchased the local water rights and therefore possessed a sort of squatter’s right to graze on neighboring public lands.

Wayne Hage Jr. picked up where his father left off, continuing the litigation against federal agencies and grazing the Hage cattle on public lands without a permisson, just like Cliven Bundy has done in the Gold Butte National Monument near Bunkerville, Nevada.

The Hages initially won in front of a friendly judge, but the ruling was overturned on appeal. The Circuit Court ruled that the District Court judge was biased and acted unlawfully, setting the opinion aside and assigning the case to a different lower-court judge. After a 20-year legal battle, the courts ultimately ruled that because the federal agencies had revoked his grazing permits for a litany of violations, his cattle had no right to be on federal land in the first place.

After years of this malingering, Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-Idaho) scheduled a congressional field hearing in Nevada. One of the witnesses called to testify against the Forest Service was her husband-to-be, Wayne Hage. Wayne Hage Sr. went on to be an outspoken advocate for privatizing public lands, even publishing a book in 1994 called “Storm over Rangelands,” which has become the manifesto of the land seizure movement.

His battle cry for a “range war” has been taken up more recently by the Bundy clan of southern Nevada. Cliven Bundy held his family’s first armed standoff with law enforcement at Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014 to block the federal roundup of his illegally trespassing cattle, followed by the Bundy-led armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January 2016. But neither the Hages nor the Bundys are necessarily outliers among the public lands ranching community. The Bundys also are linked to a 2015 armed uprising at the Sugar Pine Mine in rural Oregon.

Just last November, Crook County, Oregon hired former Cliven Bundy attorney Karen Budd-Falen to hand over management of federal public lands to the county government.

And the Trump administration itself has been holding closed-door meetings with county advocates of land seizure in an effort to weaken federal environmental regulations and put county governments in the driver’s seat of federal land-use decisions.

Survivalist groups throughout the nation look to stake out a homeland in sparsely-populated parts of Montana and Wyoming they refer to as “The Redoubt.” The northeastern counties of California would like to secede from the state and establish their own right-wing state called “Jefferson.”

Local support groups, such as the National Federal Lands Conference, formed by eastern Nevada rancher Bert Smith, have hailed Cliven Bundy as “a hero.” Local western newspapers have lionized Hage and his family for taking a stand for property rights and western land issues.

Today, right-wing think tanks and astroturf lobbying groups are fanning the flames of the land seizure movement, and undermining conservation protections such as national monuments and the Endangered Species Act. This campaign also has friends in Congress, particularly the “Federal Land Action Group,” a caucus of lawmakers convened specifically to turn over public lands to state and local control.

In reality, western public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service belong to the whole American public. These federal agencies authorize livestock grazing on public lands under a landlord-tenant relationship, in which the ranchers lease the exclusive right to graze the grass but receive no “rights” to the land itself. The public lands must by law be managed for multiple uses, including public access and enjoyment, wildlife habitat conservation, wilderness, watershed protection, and other uses under various federal statutes. Public lands truly belong to all Americans.

Livestock grazing on federal public lands is a privilege, not a right. When the final ruling came down on the Hage case, the judge concluded that under the Constitution, “no individuals have a right to graze livestock on the federal land at issue without authorization from the United States. … Any and all rights on federal property must be expressly granted by Congress.”

As early as 1996, a federal judge struck down county ordinances seeking to assert local control over federal lands. The constitutional smackdown handed down in the Hage case should have ended rancher efforts to seize control of federal lands through the court system. But it didn’t. Cliven Bundy filed a new lawsuit in state court in January of 2018 claiming that the federal government has no authority to own its land.

Public land ranchers should not be painted as victims, given how pervasive land seizure sentiments and rebellion against the rule of law have become. Most Americans are beginning to see the cowboy myth for what it truly is: a distracting cover for an even greater land heist to turn even more of our national inheritance over to commercial exploitation.

Erik Molvar is executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit environmental conservation group dedicated to protecting and restoring watersheds and wildlife throughout western public lands.

http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/384270-livestock-grazing-on-federal-public-lands-is-a-privilege-not-a

Is the Government Destroying the American West Ecosystem by Favoring Cattle Over Wild Horses?

by as published on OneGreenPlanet.org

“Wild horses play a crucial role in keeping the ecosystem of the west balanced…”

Welfare Cattle herded into Antelope Complex as wild horses are being rounded up ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation


Imagine walking through a trail alongside the golden grasses of an open prairie in the Western United States when all of the sudden you are stopped frozen by the sound of a thunderous noise of hooves approaching from a distance. As you listen closely, you hear whinnying and soon, the herd is within your sight. With their power, grace, and majesty, horses can aesthetically make any landscape appear beautiful.

But horses also have a much greater purpose, as they help to physically maintain and benefit the health of prairie ecosystems. Millions of horses once roamed free in the Wild West. Unfortunately, by the time the first federal wild free-roaming horse protection law was enacted in 1959, the mustang population had already been drastically reduced. This law only prohibited hunting horses with the help of motor vehicles.

While the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now the primary authority that manages wild horse populations. However, the BLM favors cattle interests over that of the wild horse which has lead to the steady decline of the wild horse population. Wild horses play a crucial role in keeping the ecosystem of the west balanced.

Managing Horse Populations to Benefit Cattle

In certain locations, natural horse predators, such as wolves, are now scarce and as a result, the BLM is “concerned” with regulating horse populations to avoid competition with land for domestic cattle. To manage the horses, the bureau issues roundups of wild horses to transfer them to a captive lifestyle. Their methods are often considered inhumane. For example, in 2014, the BLM poorly planned a roundup of approximately 800 horses from private and public lands. Ten died in the process, including four foals and the horses all experienced immense stress and discomfort (not to mention they lost one of the most valued ideals of America – freedom). Approximately 270,000 horses have been removed from U.S. land since 1971.

Furthermore, supply has exceeded demand for selling captured horses for an adoption fee of $125 and most horses end up at auction where they can be purchased for any use the buyer the wishes … sadly most of the time this means they are sold to slaughter for meat.

In order to validate their actions, the BLM has claimed that horses are overpopulating, while destroying critical habitat. Where is this evidence? Nobody knows … We do, however, have ecological evidence of how horses benefit their environment.

Horses Versus Cattle: Benefits of Horses for the Environment

While the BLM is concerned with avoiding grazing competition between wild horses and domestic cattle, there seems to be lack of attention toward addressing the impacts cattle are having on the environment. The ratio of cattle to wild horses on public lands is fifty to one. Wild horses are critical architects of the western ecosystem, so rather than wasting tax dollars funding roundups, if the BLM is really concerned with protecting public lands they should instead focus on protecting horses.

To illustrate the benefits of the presence of the wild horse, let’s look at comparison to how horses affect their ecosystem versus cattle.

1. Maintaining Grass 

While cattle do not have upper teeth and use their tongues to wrap around grass to pull it from the roots, horses only graze the tops of grass blades, allowing grasses to regrow in a healthier state.

2. Improving Soil Quality

Unlike cattle, horses are not ruminants and therefore, do not have four sections of their stomach. This means that their waste contains more nutrients. When horses defecate, they give back to the land through enhancing soil quality. Cattle operations often cause water pollution due to waste containing hormones, antibiotics, heavy metals, ammonia, and pathogens. Many animals depend on horse manure to help maintain soil moisture to prevent brush fires.

3. Use of Water Resources

While cattle enjoy chilling out by water sources, horses are respectful of their ecosystem. Instead of causing erosion and scaring away species diversity (like cattle do), horses tend to drink and move on, leaving minimal impact on stream habitats.

4. Grazing Habits

Since horses are travelers and cattle prefer to just hang out, horses do not exhaust grazing areas like cattle do. Horses are also picky about what they eat and avoid consuming pretty flowers, allowing wild flowers to survive. If a horse consumes seeds, they can still germinate after being passed and thus, horses act as important sources of dispersal for plant species.

5. Lending a Hand to Other Species

In cold climates, many animals will follow the path of horses in order to find access to food and water. The powerful hooves of a horse have the ability to break through ice, making streams once again potable for other animals. Furthermore, horses can make their way to grasses through deep snow, allowing other animals to also graze where horses have been.

Grazing cattle, on the other hand, pose a threat to 14 percent of endangered animal species and 33 percent of plant species as they encroach further into their territory.

Stop Roundups to Save Horses

Cattle are given priority over land because ranchers pay a tax to the BLM for every head of cattle they graze on public lands. The myth that the wild horse poses too much competition to cattle is a simple lie used to justify their systematic removal. It would not be far off to say that cows have become an invasive species in the West, leading to the downfall of keystone species who help to keep the native ecosystem healthy.

The Sad Truth of Using Public Lands for Cattle Grazing

as published on The Hill

“There is no shortage of severe damage from livestock overgrazing on public lands in my home state of Wyoming…

Thanks to a legal settlement between conservation groups and the National Park Service, Point Reyes National Seashore has now stopped blindly rubber-stamping long-term dairy and beef grazing leases on public land, and the agency will write a general management plan that hopefully will guide this cattle-bitten area toward a more environmentally sustainable future. Today, about one-fourth of the National Seashore is committed to intensive, industrial-scale agriculture on public lands that by law is supposed to be managed for “public recreation, benefit, and inspiration.”

There is no shortage of severe damage from livestock overgrazing on public lands in my home state of Wyoming, but when I first visited Point Reyes a year ago, I was appalled to find that livestock operations have completely converted the native coastal prairies to closely-cropped lawns of European annual grass on the lands where they operate. In the Intermountain West, one can at least find remnant patches of native vegetation; on Point Reyes pastures, non-native grasses dominate.

On Point Reyes, the Park Service allows ranches to plow under the grasses across thousands of acres of National Seashore land to plant invasive weeds, wild mustard and white charlock, as “silage” to feed the cattle. Ground-nesting birds use these silage fields for nesting, and when they are mowed during nesting season, these birds and their chicks are often killed. Silage weeds spread from the fields where they are planted to invade the surrounding grazing lands, and even lands that have been closed to grazing.

And throughout the grazed pastures, mounds of invasive milk thistle spring up everywhere like clumps of contagion to put the sickness of the land on full display.

These pastures serve as supplemental feed for open-air feedlots that accumulate piles of manure taller than a basketball player on Park Service lands. The manure is then liquefied and sprayed all over the tops of the bluffs, where the sea breezes waft the pungent sewage scent throughout the National Seashore.

It is a well-known fact that livestock operations produce significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Converting deep-rooted perennial grasses native to the region to shallow-rooted annual grasses from Europe in livestock pastures also depletes the land’s ability to sequester carbon. While ranchers claim they’re trying to reduce their carbon footprint, in reality livestock removal is a far more effective option from a climate change standpoint.

Meanwhile, the rare tule elk has been reintroduced at Point Reyes, and is starting to make a comeback. But the main population is imprisoned on a 2,600-acre spit of land called Tomales Point behind an eight-foot-tall fence, designed to keep elk away from the livestock operations. While there is plenty of fog on the central California coast, rainfall can be scarce at times. Drought conditions between 2012 and 2014 caused mass die-offs of elk at Tomales Point due to lack of available water (and perhaps dietary deficiencies due to the absence of diverse soil types on this small peninsula), in which 250 elk perished.

Add this problem to E. coli contamination of streams, estuaries, and even beaches, throw in miles of fences that entangle wildlife, and top it all off with the loss of threatened and endangered plants and wildlife from the coho salmon to the Myrtle’s silverspot butterfly, and commercial livestock operations are revealed as completely incompatible with the conservation requirements of the National Seashore.

The livestock industry is now scrambling to try to characterize modern beef and dairy operations as “historic ranches” that should be protected. Though they get some credit for being organic, they are still doing a tremendous amount of environmental damage to the lands, waters, and wildlife of the area.

Between 1962 and 1978, every single one of the private ranches on the National Seashore was bought up at fair-market value by the National Park Service, with the intention to phase out commercial agriculture. Beef and dairy operations were paid a total of $57.7 million to sell their lands to make way for a National Seashore, and in 2018 dollars, that’s an average of $12.5 million apiece. The Park Service even offered a bonus to sweeten the deal: “life estates,” which allowed the former ranch owners to stay on in houses owned by the Park Service, and run their livestock operations on leased National Seashore lands for a 25-year period.

Today, almost all of the life estates have run their course, and it is time for the agricultural operations to live up to their end of the bargain. Private lands abound in the surrounding region, making it relatively simple to relocate a ranch operation. It must be hard to give up the highly privileged lifestyle of living in National Park Service housing by the sea. But it’s time to phase out ranching and phase in the native grazers — the tule elk — just as the Park Service committed to do in its 1998 Tule Elk Management Plan.

Meanwhile, the fate of the one real historic ranch on the National Seashore — the Pierce Point Ranch — offers hope for a better future. Here, livestock were removed in 1973, never to return. These lands became the Tomales Point elk preserve. On the elk preserve, the rare native coastal prairies are returning, bringing an abundance of wildlife with it.

In place of stinking, degraded pastures dominated by invasive weeds, visitors now can enjoy a natural coastal landscape. It’s a gorgeous contrast to the degraded livestock zone, and provides a glimpse of what a recovered National Seashore will look like.

Point Reyes National Seashore is within an easy day’s drive of 7 million local residents, and already receives more than 2 million visitors a year. The agriculture industry controls the lands that are the gateway for most recreational visitors. In one of America’s most densely-populated regions, public lands with high recreation value are in short supply. We can no longer afford to saddle scenic National Park Service Lands with ugly, smelly, and high-impact agricultural operations. By tearing down the fences and returning these livestock-damaged lands to nature under the new General Management Plan, Point Reyes can take its rightful place as a second Yellowstone along the California coast, and a jewel in the crown of the National Park system.

Erik Molvar is a wildlife biologist and executive director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit conservation group working to protect wildlife and watersheds on western public lands. Western Watersheds Project was a plaintiff in the case that resulted in a settlement preventing long-term livestock leases on these Park Service lands and requiring a new Point Reyes General Management Plan.

Wild horses vs cattle: Who will win the waterhole?

Source:  Heber Wild Horses

Public lands ranchers, in their effort to convince Forest Service and others that the wild horses need to be removed from the Sitgreaves National Forest, often fall back on their old propaganda spiel that the horses guard the waterholes and won’t let the cattle drink.  So we uploaded this little video showing what really takes place at a waterhole on a regular basis when cattle and wild horses wind up at the same waterhole at the same time.  Observe the drama unfold as you watch this action packed video of wild horses picking on poor little cows…see the terrified looks on the faces of the cattle as the horses plot against them!  LOL

Public Records Sought on EPA, Beef Lobby Collusion to Weaken Water Protections

Press Release from: Biological Diversity.org

Livestock operations have polluted 35,000 miles of U.S. rivers and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Each year American beef production creates 489 billion pounds of manure.

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted a Freedom of Information Act request today seeking communications between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and beef-lobbying groups. The filing seeks information about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s participation in a promotional video for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in which he urges ranchers to flood the agency with comments in favor of repealing the Clean Water Rule.

“It’s bizarre and appalling that our nation’s chief environmental official starred in a beef-industry infomercial attacking protections for our water supplies,” said Jennifer Molidor, a Center senior food campaigner. “Americans deserve to know why Pruitt would support the private interests of this incredibly polluting industry.”

Livestock operations have polluted 35,000 miles of U.S. rivers and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Each year American beef production creates 489 billion pounds of manure. Improperly stored manure creates toxic byproducts that frequently leak into rivers, lakes and streams. In addition 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of fertilizer used to grow animal feed leak into waterways.

The Clean Water Rule, a clarification of the Clean Water Act ordered by the Obama administration, prohibited the dumping of waste in “navigable waters” without a permit. The rule exempts most agricultural drainage ditches.

As the attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued to halt the rule. Industry groups filed similar lawsuits. In all cases the rule was ultimately upheld.

“Pruitt took office already determined to slash Obama-era safeguards like the Clean Water Rule without concern for the dangerous fallout of losing these protections,” said Molidor. “It’s the EPA’s job to protect our environment from big polluters, not the other way around.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/beef-lobby-09-14-2017.php

Range Riders-a false solution for predator-livestock conflicts

By as published on Wildlife News

“…these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.”

Private Cattle being herded onto public land at Antelope AS wild horses are being stampeded away ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Tom Sawyer would be proud of the “progressive” livestock producers who “love” predators.  These ranchers are continuously held up as a “win-win demonstrations” by collaborating so-called conservation groups who promote these operations as examples of how wildlife and ranching can co-exist.

You know the names, in part, because there are so few of them around the West that the same operations are continuously written up in the media and promoted by conservation groups-Malpai Borderlands group in Arizona and New Mexico, Lava Lake Land and Livestock Company in Idaho, JBarL in Montana’s Centennial Valley, and the Tom Miner Association adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.

The problem is that all these feel-good examples have two problems.

One they are the exceptions, not the rule. In all cases, they are livestock operations owned by wealthy individuals or those who have some connection to wealth. As a result, they can implement management practices that cannot be scaled up across the landscape. The Malpai had the support of the late Drum Hadley, Anheuser-Busch beer heir. Lava Lakes is owned by Brian and Kathleen Bean, who live in San Francisco where Brian is an investment banker. The B Bar Ranch in Tom Miner Basin is owned by Mary Ann Mott of Mott Applesauce fame. And the JBarL is owned by Peggy Dulany, heir to the Rockefeller fortune.

The sad thing about all these ranching operations is that the owners are wealthy enough that they don’t need to run livestock at all—likely it is a tax write off.  Indeed, if they were truly interested in helping wildlife instead of promoting the cowboy myth, they would volunteer to retire their public lands grazing allotments and contribute their vast fortunes towards retiring other grazing allotments.

Some of their holdings are substantial—the Bean’s Lava Lakes ranching operation includes 24,000 acres of private lands and controls over 900,000 acres of public lands allotments. Imagine if they retired their grazing allotments instead of running vast herds of sheep on them.

Instead, these “progressive” ranching operations are fawned upon by conservation organizations and receive numerous accolades and promotions of their livestock products (higher priced “grass fed beef and/or lamb). This includes groups like NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife (DOW), Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Audubon, and the Nature Conservancy, among others.

All the while these conservation groups conveniently ignore and fail to inform their membership and media of the multiple ways that livestock production harms wildlife, and ecosystems, no doubt while receiving big donations for their silence. They are, thus, directly culpable for helping to continue the livestock hegemony and destruction of our public lands.

It would analogous to the American Cancer Society promoting filtered cigarettes arguing that they were slightly healthier than unfiltered smokes, and failing to acknowledge that cigarette smoking was a major cause of cancer.

To give an example of this collusion between ranchers and so-called conservation groups, I recently received an email about a “Range Rider” program at the Anderson Ranch in Tom Miner Basin (link here https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=e8f5b5d8e3&view=att&th=15b71e2eda289a5f&attid=0.1&disp=safe&realattid=f_j1jblcbx0&zw).

For a mere $600 you can ride a horse around in the mountains, and for dinner eat grass fed beef of animals you helped to keep out of the mouth of a wolf or grizzly.

You will learn how to harass predators like grizzlies and wolves so the ranchers can continue to run livestock on our public lands with a minimum of losses from predators.

In addition, there is the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get knowing that, according to the ranch website, range riders help the ranch document predator losses so they can obtain more money from the state predator reimbursement program (again why do wealthy people need our tax dollars to maintain their ranching operations).

The people who fall for this gimmick no doubt believe they are saving predators. That is the message that supporting national organizations like NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife try to put forth.  Want to save wolves—come help harass public wildlife so that ranchers won’t kill them.

Unfortunately, the Anderson Ranch and supporting so called wildlife groups are perpetuating wildlife conflicts, not ultimately eliminating them.

Keep in mind that cattle and/or sheep grazing on public lands are consuming forage that would feed elk and other native wildlife which is the food base for native predators. Funny how TNC, GYC, DOW and NRDC and other groups never mention this as a cost of public lands livestock operations.

The mere presence of livestock socially displaces native wildlife like elk which avoid areas actively being grazed by domestic animals. And therefore, are pushed into less suitable habitat. Again, this harms the natural prey of predators like wolves and grizzlies. Again, no mention of this by the collaborating groups.

Nor do these so-called wildlife groups point out that you as a range rider are there to harass predators so someone’s private livestock (like the Anderson Ranch) can profit from public lands, while native predators like wolves and grizzlies are displaced from their natural habitat.

These groups also don’t mention the collateral damage from livestock. The spread of weeds. The soil compaction. The pollution of waterways from manure. The destruction of biocrusts. The spread of disease from domestic animals to wildlife. The trampling of riparian areas. The fences that block wildlife migration. The hay fields that require irrigation which drains our rivers and destroys aquatic ecosystems.

And I have yet to see any of these groups drawing the connection between livestock methane production and global warming.

Indeed, I would venture to bet that these so-called “wildlife friendly” ranch operations have these impacts—which overall are far worse for the ecological health of our public lands than the loss of an occasional wolf or bear—regrettable as that may be…(CONTINUED)

http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2017/04/17/range-riders-a-false-solution-for-predator-livestock-conflicts/

The Most Shocking 1.5 Min Video the World Must See!

by COWSPIRACY: the sustainability secret

“Just imagine what this does, in the form of welfare ranching, to our public lands and it’s effect on wild horses, burros and all other wildlife, let alone ourselves!” ~ R.T.

Nevada Politicians Skew Figures and Falsify Facts in Public Propaganda War Against Wild Horses and Burros

“Once again Western Special Interest Politicians are grasping numbers out of their backside where their heads reside most of the time. Without science, fact or evidence they spout out numbers and figures that paint a false representation of what is really going on upon our western public lands. It is Babel speak as usual with the horses and burros catching the flack for the damage to the land that is, instead, caused by tens of thousands of privately owned cattle and sheep. According to these false prophets only the horses eat and poop while the welfare cattle and sheep simply live on air alone…it’s all so very disgusting. Time to vote into office individuals who speak the truth, listen to the public and truly care about our public lands; do such politicians exist? We can only hope.” ~ R.T.


Story By Henry Brean
Las Vegas Review-Journal

“…birth control treatments, “humane euthanasia,” roundups, adoptions and other efforts to shrink herds…”

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation photographing members of the Cold Creek Herd, Sept. 2012 ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Republicans in Congress want the Bureau of Land Management to answer for an “ineffective” strategy that has failed to halt the explosion of wild horse and burro populations both on the range and in captivity.

In a Nov. 4 letter to BLM director Neil Kornze, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei from Nevada and 18 other lawmakers requested a detailed report on what the agency is doing now and what it plans to do in the future to bring horse populations under control.

According to the letter, current strategies “have been largely unsuccessful” across the West, leading to overcrowding in BLM herd management areas and holding facilities, poor herd health and damage to range land.

“Almost half of the 100,000 horses under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management are located in holding facilities off the range, and adoptions have fallen by almost 70 percent in the last 10 years,” the letter says.

The lawmakers are asking the BLM for details on birth control treatments, “humane euthanasia,” roundups, adoptions and other efforts to shrink herds to the agency’s own “appropriate management level” for the West, which calls for a total population of no more than 26,715 horses and burros across 10 states.

As of March 1, there were some 58,150 horses and burros living free on the range, more than half of them in Nevada, according to BLM estimates.

In addition to information on current efforts, Congressional Republicans want Kornze and company to produce four to six detailed plans, including timelines and cost estimates, to “effectively curb the overarching trend of overstocked” herd management areas.

BLM spokesman Craig Leff said the agency is still reviewing the inquiry from Congress and is “committed to improving the health of the horses and the land.”

Leff said the bureau is already working to put its horse and burro program “on a more cost-effective, sustainable track” consistent with the recommendations of a 2013 report by the National Academy of Sciences that determined wild horse and burro populations on federal land in the West were growing at a rate of 15 to 20 percent annually.

“As part of our long-term strategy, the BLM in partnership with universities and the U.S. Geological Survey is developing more effective fertility control methods,” Leff said in an email.

The agency is also “promoting public-private eco-sanctuaries or off-range pastures to hold excess wild horses removed from western public rangelands and working to boost adoptions by making more trained horses available to the public for adoption,” Leff said.

The GOP letter comes two months after the BLM removed more than 200 wild horses said to be on the verge of starvation in the Spring Mountains northwest of Las Vegas. At least 28 of those animals collected from around the tiny community of Cold Creek were later killed because they were deemed too far gone to save.

The BLM’s appropriate management level for the 102,000 acres surrounding Cold Creek is 66 adult horses. In May, the bureau counted about 470 horses in the area.

The BLM rounded up 250 horses from the same herd in 2007 and treated some of the remaining animals with birth control chemicals. One of those mares and her newborn foal were among the horses removed from the range in August.

Heller spokesman Michawn Rich said the federal government has a responsibility to address the wild horse issue, especially in Nevada, where almost 87 percent of the land is under federal control.

“Without proper and responsible management,” said Rich in an email, “these wild horses will continue to suffer and have a devastating impact on range land, sage-grouse habitat, and other agricultural and natural resources.”

BLM backs down to cattle activists

While the BLM cites the drought in the West to remove wild horses and burros from public lands PERMANENTLY, the BLM doesn’t enforce drought-related grazing restrictions in northern Nevada when cattle ranchers flagrantly defy the grazing restrictions.  – Debbie

SOURCE:  Elko Daily Free Press

BLM Allows Grazing on Closed Allotment to Avoid Confrontation

by Dylan Woolf Harris

ELKO – The Bureau of Land Management says it didn’t give ranchers permission to graze on a closed allotment made up of public and private land, but instead indicated that it “would not interfere” with the cattle turnout.

The Battle Mountain Complex, an area near Valmy that comprises both the North Buffalo and Copper Canyon allotments, falls in “checkerboard” land. Grazing was closed there in a 2013 decision, according to Nevada BLM spokesman Rudy Evenson.

With fewer and fewer spots available to graze due to drought, Dan and Eddyann Filippini decided to run cattle Tuesday on North Buffalo while the closure is in appeal.

The vast majority of AUMs on the allotment are privately held.

Acting BLM State Director John Ruhs told Eddyann Filippini that the agency wouldn’t attempt to stop the ranchers, according to Evenson. Instead, Ruhs reminded permittees that the federal land was still off limits.

“We’re not going to come out there and have a big confrontation,” Evenson said.

There aren’t fences, however, separating the land by ownership.

Former assemblyman and longtime rancher John Carpenter, who participated Tuesday to support the Filippinis, said whether the cows wander onto public lands shouldn’t be a problem.

“It’s not a resource issue because there’s plenty of grass,” he said. “There’s all kinds of grass there.”

Read the rest of this article HERE.