Please sign petition to rectify the heavy impact of livestock grazing on public lands

photo:  Western Watersheds Project

Please sign this petition HERE.

SOURCE:  Petitions.whitehouse.gov

We the people ask the federal government to Call on Congress to act on an issue:

Livestock Grazing on Public Lands Rectify the Heavy Impact

Created by T.B. on November 23, 2017

Reductions will address ecological problems caused by commercial livestock grazing such as:

● displacement of wildlife, reduction of wildlife populations;
● degradation is occurring to the land;
● transmission of pathogens;
● degradation is occurring to plant communities;
● native wildlife are killed to advance the interests of public lands ranchers;
● livestock are damaging to sensitive wetlands or riparian areas; or
● Ruminant grazing contributes to the nitrogen load in streams as well as nitrous oxide gasses also
a greenhouse gas.

Livestock grazing extremists obscure real-world solutions

by Debbie Coffey

In my opinion…

We need to find a fix for the unhealthy populations of non-native, domestic cattle and sheep on public lands.

Imagine a proposal to introduce privately owned livestock onto the public lands of the American West.  The owners of the privately owned livestock would successfully gain use of 229 million acres of public lands in the West.   The livestock would be owned by a politically powerful industry that attracted a passionate following — people who love using public lands for their private profit so much that they influence the federal management of their privately owned animals so that they would rarely, if ever, be restricted by law.  Some of them would be so passionate that they would take over and occupy government buildings for 41 days, and end up costing taxpayers at least $9 million, including $2.3 million on federal law enforcement and $1.7 million to replace damaged or stolen property.

The downside of these privately owned livestock would be that they destroy native vegetation, damage soils and stream banks, and contaminate waterways with fecal waste.  After decades of livestock grazing, once-lush streams and riparian forests have been reduced to flat, dry wastelands; once-rich topsoil has been turned to dust, causing soil erosion, stream sedimentation and wholesale elimination of some aquatic habitats; overgrazing of native fire-carrying grasses has starved some western forests of fire, making them overly dense and prone to unnaturally severe fires.  Not to mention that predators like the grizzly and Mexican gray wolf were driven extinct in southwestern ecosystems by “predator control” programs designed to protect the livestock industry.

Livestock grazing of privately owned livestock on public lands is promoted, protected and subsidized by federal agencies.  A new analysis  finds U.S. taxpayers have lost more than $1 billion over the past decade on a program that allows cows and sheep to graze on public land.  Last year alone taxpayers lost $125 million in grazing subsidies on federal land.  Had the federal government charged fees similar to grazing rates on non-irrigated private land, the program would have made $261 million a year on average rather than operate at a staggering loss, the analysis finds.

Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands

Just imagine what would happen if this livestock industry continued to thrive while all other natural resources were exhausted and while wildlife starved, died of thirst or became extinct.

Clearly, this is a difficult scenario to support.  Congress needs to overhaul the outdated livestock grazing program and reign in the use of livestock grazing on public lands.  These “welfare ranchers” treat public lands as if they are their own private lands and don’t want to share public lands with wildlife (unless that wildlife can be hunted).  The Bureau of Land Management is supposed to to “maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship” but it heavily favors the livestock grazing industry, even though livestock grazing has damaged 80 percent of the streams and riparian ecosystems in the West.

There are currently very powerful lobbying efforts using misinformation to convince Congress to “euthanize” (kill) or sterilize over 46,000 wild horses and burros in BLM holding facilities, and tens of thousands more on public lands.  But what about the millions of privately owned cattle and sheep on public lands?

There was recently a secretive meeting (closed to the public) in Salt Lake City, Utah, called the National Wild Horse & Burro Summit.  The only groups invited were special interest groups that promote livestock grazing, and academia/universities who rely on money from these special interest groups and government agencies who favor these special interest groups.  The Summit focused on the supposed damage done by wild horses and burros on public lands, while ignoring the real source of the widespread and well documented damage to water and rangeland ecosystems:  domestically owned livestock.   Since they talked about killing our wild horses and burros, this conference was aptly dubbed the “Slaughter Summit.”

Cattle slurping up water in the West (photo: EPA)

Go to the websites of the livestock industry, and you’ll notice that there’s no mention that millions of domestically owned livestock graze on public lands and overgraze or harm wildlife species.  There is no mention that cattle and sheep are not native to North America, since they arrived on Spanish and English ships about 500 years ago.

These extremists try to justify their interests by claiming they grow food, but only 3% of beef grown in the U.S. is grazed on public lands.  Most privately owned livestock graze on privately owned land.

The wild horse & burro population estimates used by these special interest groups are compiled by the BLM and have been found to be scientifically impossible, since the BLM, per its own population estimates, has claimed some wild horse herds increased by as much as 750% or 1250% in only one year.

Fringe “cowboys” have been effective at lobbying for the slaughter of old, unadoptable – or really any – horses.  The BLM has taken away over 22 million acres from Herd Areas, which were supposed to be the federally protected areas for wild horses and burros, and allows livestock grazing on most of the remaining, smaller Herd Management Areas (in addition to millions of other acres on public lands).

It’s easy for people in the other 40 states to be swayed by the livestock grazing extremists.  They look like real cowboys.  But many “ranchers” are large corporations.  Their efforts are responsible for the current situation, in which taxpayers support their private businesses of grazing millions of privately owned livestock on public lands, leaving us with no end in sight, not in numbers, not in funding, not in ecological damage.  What is a real-world solution?

George Wuerthner, (Exec. Dir. of Public Lands Media, V.P. on BoD of Western Watersheds Project & author) to talk about the impacts of the livestock industry on the West (Wed., 11/1/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest tonight is GEORGE WUERTHNER, the Exec. Director of Public Lands Media (a project of the Earth Island Institute), Vice President on the Board of Directors for Western Watersheds Project and the author of 38 books.  George will be talking about the multiple ways that the livestock industry impacts the West, from water use, to sage grouse, to bison being shot in Yellowstone and to the killing of predators like grizzlies and wolves.

George’s books include Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction Of The American West, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy, Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation, Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth, and Protecting the Wild: Parks and Wilderness, the Foundation for Conservation.

Most recently, George was the Ecological Projects Director/Senior Scientist for the Foundation for Deep Ecology and Tompkins Conservation for 12 years. Previous to this position, George taught ecology courses and environmental writing as adjunct lecturer at a number of universities, worked as botanist/backcountry ranger, river ranger, biologist and forestry technician for various federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Forest Service, and was a wilderness guide in Alaska and Yellowstone National Park. George studied Zoology/Wildlife Biology/Botany at the University of Montana, and for graduate school, studied Range Science at Montana State University, Science Communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Geography at the University of Oregon.

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

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Mike Hudak’s video “Ranching’s Other Victims: Free-living animals”

The video below by Mike Hudak was done in 2010, but it still applies today and is worth watching.  We also recommend you go to mikehudak.com  and read his book, “Western Turf Wars.”

Big Cattle, Big Gulp: Cowboys and cows are soaking the American West dry

Source:  New Republic

“Every stream on public lands grazed by livestock is polluted and shows a huge surge in E. coli bacterial contamination during the grazing season,” says Marvel. “No wonder we can’t drink the water.”

Marvel, who retired from WWP last year, spent two decades haranguing and suing the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the government bodies that are supposed to regulate ranching on the public domain. “Forest Service and BLM staffers see their job as the protection and enabling of ranchers. They are the epitome of what is meant by agency capture.”

by Christopher Ketcham

The American West faces its fifteenth year of low rainfall, sparse snowpack, and warming temperatures in what climatologists believe is only the beginning of a climate-change-induced megadrought that may last a century or more. Major cities across California recorded historically low precipitation levels in the last two years. At least 78 percent of the state is now categorized as suffering “extreme drought,” including the state’s Central Valley, the nation’s most productive agricultural region. California hasn’t been this dry in 1,200 years.

We tend to blame the exurban sprawl dweller for water waste. The profligate of the cul-de-sac, he obsesses over car washes, floods the Kentucky bluegrass on his lawn, tops off his swimming pool, takes the kids to water parks, and tees off at green golf courses tended among cacti. He is the wrong object of our ire, however. Personal and industrial consumption for drinking, washing, flushing, watering the lawn, detailing the car, and cooling nuclear plants, accounts for less than 10 percent of water use in the eleven arid states of the West.

We’d do better to look at what we eat when casting about for villains of the water drama. Food production consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States. “Within agriculture in the West, the thirstiest commodity is the cow,” says George Wuerthner, an ecologist at the Foundation for Deep Ecology, who has studied the livestock industry. Humans drink about a gallon of water a day; cows, upwards of 23 gallons. The alfalfa, hay, and pasturage raised to feed livestock in California account for approximately half of the water used in the state, with alfalfa representing the highest-acreage crop. In parts of Montana, as much as 90 percent of irrigated land is operated solely for the production of livestock feed; 90 percent of Nevada’s cropland is dedicated to raising hay. Half of Idaho’s three million acres of irrigated farmland grows forage and feed exclusively for cattle, and livestock production represents 60 percent of the state’s water use. In Utah, cows are the top agricultural product, and three-fifths of the state’s cropland is planted with hay. All told, alfalfa and hay production in the West requires more than ten times the water used by the region’s cities and industries combined, according to some estimates. Researchers at Cornell University concluded that producing one kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing one kilogram of grain protein. It is a staggeringly inefficient food system.

One obvious and immediate solution to the western water crisis would be to curtail the waste of the livestock industry. The logical start to this process would be to target its least important sector: public lands ranching.  READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

The 22.2 million acres of Herd Areas that the BLM took away from wild horses & burros

SOURCE:  Animal Welfare Institute

AWI has repeatedly questioned the decisions to permanently remove all wild horses and burros from the range – decisions that continue to be made – without an area-by-area analysis it is impossible to verify the scientific, land use, legal, or other evidence relied on by the BLM to support its decisions.

We encourage all advocates, both new advocates and longtime advocates, to be sure to read this Animal Welfare Institute report (2012) Overview of the Management of Wild Horses & Burros.  AWI presented this to the National Academy of Science.  Although this report was issued in 2012, the issues are all current.  This report gives an excellent overview of wild horse & burro issues and the mismanagement of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.  We will be pulling out a few excerpts for some articles, since this report counters all of the false information by sources at the recent National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meeting, by the livestock grazing activists and in the media.

As the BLM and the livestock grazing activists complain about the “overpopulation” of wild horses and burros on public lands, lets take a closer look at the 22.2 million acres that have been taken away from the wild horses & burros.

We’re hoping that other wild horse & burro advocacy groups and advocates will join us in focusing on, and fighting for, this “tool in the toolbox” that isn’t mentioned by the BLM:

Instead of killing all of our wild horses & burros that are currently in BLM holding facilities, put them back on our public lands.

Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas:

HERD AREA (HA)Upon passage of the WFRHBA, the federal government surveyed wild horse and burro populations to identify those areas where, as Congress directed, they were to be protected and managed. These areas were designated as HAs. It is not clear exactly when each area was surveyed and whether such surveys were conducted once or multiple times over the course of a year or two. Hence, it is not known if the areas originally designated as HAs for wild horses and burros encompassed sufficient range to meet the needs of the animals throughout the year. At that time, very few studies had been undertaken to understand wild horse and/or burro biology, ecology, behaviors, or habitat needs. It is probable, therefore, that the efforts made to establish wild horse and burro range were ill-informed as to the biological and ecological needs of the species.

HERD MANAGEMENT AREA (HMA)HMAs were not designated in the 1971 law. It is not clear how the BLM delineates the boundaries of HMAs. Presumably it considers geography, topography, presence of private lands, land use patterns, water availability, forage production, space, cover, and economic and political factors when establishing such boundaries. In some cases, adjoining HMAs are considered as an HMA complex and managed accordingly. Each HMA, as articulated in the BLM Handbook, is to have a Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) to provide additional guidance on how each HMA is to be managed. It is not clear how many HMAs have corresponding HMAPs at present.

This excerpt is from pages 143-145 of the AWI report:

Since 1971 for all ten western states that provide habitat for wild horses and burros, HMA acreage represents only 58.8 percent of total HA acreage, reflecting a loss of 22,181,755 acres of potential wild horse and/or burro range.

The nearly 22.2 million acres lost to wild horses and burros includes the land lost to wild horses and/or burros as a result of decisions to “zero-out” the herds or permanently close HAs to their use.

The number of HAs affected, 172 according to 2012 data, encompass a total of 24,898,923 acres (including 19,514,123 BLM acres). Due to the net increase of 2,716,808 HMA acres compared to HA acres in the ten states, the net loss of lands is adjusted to approximately 22.2 million acres. This means that of the 245 million acres managed by the BLM and of the 157 million acres managed for grazing, only 13 and 20 percent, respectively, is available for use by wild horses and burros combined (with a much smaller percentage managed for wild burros).

Even within HMAs, however, the total land area utilized by wild horses and burros is much less, as topographic, geologic, and other factors reduce the amount of land suitable for wild horses and/or burros.

The BLM justifies the loss of the over 22 million acres of wild horse and burro habitat claiming that of the 15.5 million acres under BLM management:

  • 48.6 percent (7,522,100 acres) were closed due to a checkerboard land pattern that made management infeasible;
  • 13.5 percent (2,091,709 acres) were transferred from the BLM through legislation or exchange;
  • 10.6 percent (1,645,758 acres) had substantial conflicts with other resource values;
  • 9.7 percent (1,512,179 acres) were lands removed from wild horse and burro use as a result of court decision, urban expansion, habitat fragmentation, and land withdrawals;
  • 9.6 percent (1,485,068 acres) were lands where no wild horses or burros were present when the WFRHBA was passed in 1971 or where all animals were claimed as private property;
  • 8.0 percent (1,240,894 acres) were lands where a critical habitat component was missing, making the land unsuitable for wild horse or burro use or where too few animals existed to permit effective management.

 The remaining 6.7 million acres were never under BLM management. See Figure National 6.  Though AWI has repeatedly questioned the decisions to permanently remove all wild horses and burros from the range – decisions that continue to be made – without an area-by-area analysis it is impossible to verify the scientific, land use, legal, or other evidence relied on by the BLM to support its decisions.

The number of HAs has been variable over time. While the number of original HAs is not known, since 2005 the number of HAs has been reported by the BLM to range from a low of 134 in 2005 to 347 in 2012. However, the BLM’s own data is confusing. For example, in 2005 while reporting a total of 134 HAs the BLM separately reports a total of 317 HAs along with another 106 “HAs with no acres in HMAs.” Similarly, from 2006 through 2008, the BLM reports either 105 or 106 HAs “remaining undesignated,” though it is unclear what this means.

The number of HMAs has varied over time. While an annual record of the number of HMAs was not available, as recently as 2008 there were a total of 199 HMAs (GAO 2008). Over the past seven years, the number of HMAs has ranged from 201 in 2005 to 179 today. In some cases, HAs or HMAs were combined, contributing to a smaller number of HMAs while, in other cases, when HAs were permanently closed to wild horses and burros, a number of HMAs were lost.

 

Stephen Nash, author of “Grand Canyon for Sale,” on special interests controlling public lands that belong to all Americans (Wed., 9/27/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

Our guest is Stephen Nash, the author Grand Canyon for Sale.” Stephen will tell us how the interests of an extraordinarily powerful few are controlling public lands that belong to all Americans. Grand Canyon For Sale is a carefully researched investigation of the precarious future of America’s public lands: our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, and wildernesses. As one example, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allows livestock grazing on 60% of public lands, even though cattle cause serious detrimental impacts to the land. Livestock grazing permittees include hoteliers and heiresses; the Koch brothers and the Walton family.

Stephen Nash is the author of two award winning books on science and the environment. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, BioScience, Archeology and the New Republic. He is Visiting Senior Research Scholar at University of Richmond.  You can read Stephen’s articles and find out about his other books and more at stephenpaulnash.com

This show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey (V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs) of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE. Continue reading

Federal officials say cattle grazing will continue at a south-central Idaho national monument known for its ancient lava flows.

SOURCE:  usnews.com

FILE – In this July 2012 file photo, people hike the North Crater Flow Trail at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho. Federal officials say cattle grazing will continue at national monument known for its ancient lava flows following a challenge by an environmental group. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced this week that grazing on BLM-administered portions of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve not covered by lava flows will stay at about 99 percent of current levels.(Tetona Dunlap/The Times-News via AP, File) The Associated Press

US Cattle Grazing Plan for Idaho National Monument Approved

Federal officials say cattle grazing will continue at a south-central Idaho national monument known for its ancient lava flows.

By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Cattle grazing will continue at a south-central Idaho national monument known for its ancient lava flows following a challenge by an environmental group, federal officials announced this week.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in a statement Wednesday said grazing on BLM-administered portions of Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve not covered by lava flows will stay at about 99 percent of current levels.

“The decision demonstrates the Trump Administration’s effort to support traditional uses such as grazing on public lands while providing opportunities for recreation and promoting conservation,” the agency said in a written statement.

Western Watersheds Project challenged grazing in the monument contending it harmed imperiled sage grouse, leading to a 2012 federal court order requiring federal agencies to complete an environmental review analyzing reduced grazing or no grazing.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

Environmental and Wild Horse Advocates Agree: Livestock are the Problem on Western Ranges

SOURCE:  The Wildlife News

By Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project

When Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and Val Cecama-Hogsett of Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (CAES) met at a law conference in the spring of 2016, they had differing views of wild horses but they also had one clear common goal: to change the reality of the damage being done by livestock overgrazing the arid lands in the West.

Western Watersheds Project has long-advocated for the reduction and cessation of public lands livestock grazing to benefit ecological function and wildlife. WWP has no formal position on the origin of free-roaming horses, but supports science-based management of public lands and prioritize some threats more than others. Some of our members love wild horses and want to see them flourish, while others are opposed to them and consider them a pest. But all of our members agree that we want public lands to be restored to landscapes replete with native vegetation, native wildlife and healthy streams and rivers, as set forth in our mission.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

The Devil is in the Details as BLM again removes thirsty wild horses due to “emergency” in the Antelope Valley HMA in Nevada

Antelope Valley grazing allotments (2008)

Before you read BLM’s version of this “emergency” below, be sure to read Cindy MacDonald’s 2008 article “The Devil’s in the Details” on American Herds Blogspot.  We have to wonder how many acres of public lands that the “private land owner” (mentioned by the BLM below) uses to graze their own private livestock, since it seems the entire HMA is used for livestock grazing.  The BLM seems to be giving the public the same ongoing bullshit (literally). –  Debbie

“traditionally the wild horses spend the summers in Antelope then migrate to Antelope Valley for the winter ~ except the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) strung up a new fence up on Hwy 93 effectively trapping the horses and in one area, completely cut them off from any water at all.

Speaking to BLMs Kyle Hansen in the Ely Field Office, Mr. Hansen explained range conditions were so bad due to drought that it “looked like an atom bomb went off” and provided photos as evidence of the dust bowl conditions the wild horses would be forced to try and survive in over the winter in if they were not immediately removed.

He also stated compounding the problem was a local rancher who had allowed wild horses to drink water from his property for years but finally “had enough”,  fenced the area and now the horses that remained would probably die of thirst.” – Cindy MacDonald

Source:  BLM

2017 Antelope Valley Emergency Wild Horse Gather

Progress as of Monday, May 22, 2017

Purpose of Gather:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office, in coordination with the BLM Ely District will begin a wild horse water bait trap gather to remove wild horses on private lands near the Boone Spring Area. The gather is taking place due to a request from a private land owner to remove the excess wild horses.

Details of Gather:

BLM plans to humanely gather approximately 60 wild horses through the use of a water bait trap.

Public Observation: 

Because of the nature of the water gather method, wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity. In addition, the gather operations are being conducted on private land. Therefore, only essential gather operation personnel will be allowed at the gather site during operations.

Adoption Information: 

The wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corral in Fallon, NV to be prepared for the BLM’s Adoption Program. Learn more about how to adopt a wild horse or burro from the BLM.

Background:

This gather will attempt to remove excess wild horses from private land near the Boone Spring area of the Antelope Valley Herd Management Area. The private land owner has requested removal of the horses. The Antelope Valley HMA has an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 155-259 adult wild horses. As of March 1, 2016, the BLM estimated the population at 1,013 wild horses (not including foals born this year). The BLM Wells Field Office has determined that even though there has been above average amounts of precipitation this winter and spring, there are still no known water sources in the area for wild horses to obtain water later this spring and summer. Learn more about the Antelope Valley HMA.