Judge Rejects Utah Welfare Ranchers Bid to Evict Wild Horses

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune – Story by

“Public lands » Utah argues BLM is failing its duty to manage wild horses, while advocates decry ‘inhumane’ roundups…”

Last terrorized seconds of freedom for native wild horses being rounded up on public lands ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A federal judge on Tuesday tossed a lawsuit brought by Utah ranchers demanding the Bureau of Land Management remove “excess” wild horses from several areas in the West Desert they say are overrun with free-roaming horses that displace their cattle.

Represented by Karen Budd-Falen, a Wyoming lawyer who sources say is undergoing final vetting to serve as the BLM’s next director, the ranchers argued that federal law requires the removal of horses that exceed population targets the agency has set for particular herd areas. But U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish ruled that roundups are not compulsory, unless certain conditions are met.

“Once BLM determines that an overpopulation in fact exists in a given area, the agency has wide discretion in how it addresses that overpopulation,” wrote the former Utah Supreme Court justice in her ruling. “BLM may address the identified overpopulation through removal or through other methods it deems more suitable.”

In recent years, the BLM has been working with contraceptives as a less costly, more humane alternative to the endless cycle of roundups on Western ranges that have resulted in 50,000 horses incarcerated for life in private pastures off the range.

Current federal law prohibits selling these animals for slaughter to nations where horse meat is commonly used for human consumption, although pending legislation in Congress could relax these restrictions.

The Utah ranchers, angry with BLM requests that they slash their cattle’s time on the public rangelands, formed the Western Rangeland Conservation Association in 2014, pooling their money to bring the lawsuit. The Utah Farm Bureau Federation, national Public Lands Council and Iron and Beaver counties all pledged financial support and filed amicus briefs, while the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign intervened on the BLM’s side.

The ranchers’ suit sought to compel removals from particular management areas where horse numbers exceed designated “appropriate management levels,” or AMLs, which set high and low target populations. In Utah and many other Western states, horse numbers chronically remain two to three times the upper limits of AML, creating endless conflict with the ranchers who hold grazing allotments in those areas and their allies on rural county commissions…(CONTINUED)

http://www.sltrib.com/home/5501502-155/judge-rejects-utah-ranchers-plea-to

The High Cost of Cheap Grazing on Public Land

 

Private “Welfare Cattle” being herded onto BLM Antelope Complex in Nevada, while Wild Horse roundup was being conducted ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Andy Kerr, Public Lands Blog

“Bovine bulldozers have caused more harm to the public lands than mining or logging…”

It costs more to feed a domestic house cat than to graze domestic livestock on federal public lands.

This has generally been the case since the early 1900s, when the federal government first required ranchers to pay a fee for grazing their livestock on millions of acres of federal land, primarily in western states.

Each January the USDA Forest Service and the USDI Bureau of Land Management calculate what the federal grazing fee will be for that year. For 2017, it’s $1.87/animal unit month (AUM), down from $2.11/AUM in 2016. An AUM is the amount of forage that a cow and calf can eat in one month. This below-market subsidized federal grazing fee applies only to the eleven western states. Fees for grazing on National Forest System lands in the Midwest and East are closer to market value.

The federal land management agencies calculate the fee based on an arcane formula that favors the federal grazing permittee at the expense of the federal taxpayer. The formula was in the Public Rangelands Improvement (sic) Act of 1978 (PRIA). That statute expired in 1985, but on Valentines Day in 1986 President Reagan issued an executive order that made the formula live on. The PRIA formula considers current private land grazing lease rates (though obviously not that much, as we shall see), beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production, all indexes compiled by the USDA. Because these indexes as used in the grazing fee formula could result in the grazing fee approaching $0/AUM, a floor of $1.35/AUM was included to prevent such an acute embarrassment.

While some argue that grazing uses federal land productively and that the grazing fee is fair, others argue that grazing damages public resources and that grazing fees are too low. When the Government Accountability Office looked into the matter in 2005, it found that the federal government recovered in fees less than one-sixth of what it expended on public lands grazing. And the Center for Biological Diversity estimated that in 2013 on average, the federal grazing fee was 6.72 percent of the price of non-irrigated forage from private lands.

In every state, the gap between the federal grazing fee and market prices for private land forage is stark and getting worse each year. We know this because each January, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) publishes its estimate of private non-irrigated grazing fees for the previous year (see Figure 1). For instance, in Oregon in 2015, the private grazing fee was estimated to be $16.50/AUM, and in 2016, $17.00/AUM.

Welfare Cows eat more of your wallet and Wild Horse & Burro Habitat

Welfare ranchers (a.k.a. federal grazing permittees) argue that it’s unfair to compare the federal grazing fee with the NASS fees and assert that the PRIA formula does approximate fair market value. They argue that on private lands, certain bovine amenities such as trough water and fences are routinely provided by the private landowner. In contrast, they say, they may have to haul their own water to federal lands, and livestock on the federal lands are more at risk of being eaten by wolves, bears, cougars, coyotes, and the like. (Hell, predators have to eat, don’t they?).

Does the PRIA formula in fact approximate fair market value? According to Wikipedia, fair market value (FMV) is “an estimate of the market value of a property, based on what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured seller in the market.” Grazing fees don’t represent the fair market value of the forage because the federal land management agencies are pressured sellers—Congress requires the federal government to lose money on the endeavor.

The best way to determine the fair market value of federal grazing permits would be to auction them in a fair market. However, federal law limits federal grazing permits and leases to those in the livestock business, and there is no bidding among them. Once federal grazing permittees obtain their federal permit, either by inheritance or purchase, it’s generally theirs until they die or sell it.

Ensuring that the federal government received fair market value for the grazing of livestock would help defray the federal deficit, but do little to help public lands. Alas, most permittees would pay the higher fee (though griping a lot), as the cost of federal forage isn’t a particularly large portion of the cost of a ranch operation.

Bovine bulldozers have caused more harm to the public lands than mining or logging. The damage is harder for the public to see, as livestock grazing has been a chronic assault on the environment since the mid-1800s, rather than the acute assault of a clear-cut or a strip mine.

My honest opinion? The only proper grazing fee for federal public lands is actually $0/AUM, since there should be no grazing on federal public lands.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service estimate of private non-irrigated grazing fees for 2015 and 2016.

[To learn more, see Grazing Fees: Overview and Issues by the Congressional Research Service. To learn way more, see Cost and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands by the Center for Biological Diversity.]

http://www.andykerr.net/kerr-public-lands-blog/2017/5/26/the-high-cost-of-cheap-grazing

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/

Utah Flips-Off Feds by Voting To Butcher Protected American Wild Horses

By | The Salt Lake Tribune

Subsidized Welfare Cattle Okay – Federally Protected Wild Equines to be Slaughtered

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Federal management of wild horses has been a dismal failure, resulting in ecological and economic havoc on Utah’s public ranges, according to new legislation that seeks repeal of the 1971 statute protecting free-roaming horses and burros.

Two bills and an appropriation request promote state management that envisions sharply reducing horse numbers through slaughter and permanent sterilization — measures sure to draw stiff opposition from horse advocates.

But Utah lawmakers and county commissioners are fed up with the Bureau of Land Management‘s approach, which they say allows horses to proliferate at the expense of range health, livestock operators and native wildlife while wasting $50 million a year confining horses that could be slaughtered for their meat.

“The fragmentation coming out of D.C. is tremendous,” Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, told the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Committee on Wednesday. “This is a hell for the ecosystem, it’s is a hell for the wildlife species, it’s is a hell for those on the ground who are told the solution is to cut back their livelihoods and their herds. It’s a hell for the animals themselves; they are starving and dying. Clearly we can do this better.” Ivory is the sponsor of HCR22, a resolution calling on the federal government to either take immediate steps to “humanely preserve the feral horse and burro populations in the West at established population management objectives” or cede that authority to the state.

Horse advocates reject the premise of this measure, which is one component of a package of legislative actions targeting wild horse management.

Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, is seeking $1.1 million to manage Utah’s 19 herds, whose population now exceeds 5,000, or about 2½ times the BLM’s target. He is also sponsoring a bill that lays out a state management plan. Stratton and others have made it clear state management could entail slaughtering horses, but horse advocates say such proposals would face a buzz saw of controversy.

“Utah is a beautiful state. I would hate to see it get a black eye with these crazy inhumane plans,” said filmmaker Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Cloud Foundation and member of the BLM’s wild horse advisory board. “You would have to have the law changed where Utah is this special place where they get management and their plan is to kill them. That’s jumping through an awfully narrow hoop. It irks me that they are so blind to the benefits [of free-roaming horses] and can’t see beyond their ignorance. They are so out of step with what the American public wants. When you talk about killing healthy animals and trafficking them to Mexico, it’s just disgusting.”

But lethal population control is in line with positions advocated by Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke as well as the BLM advisory panel, which urged the agency last September to offer “all suitable animals in long- and short-term holding deemed unadoptable for sale without limitation or humane euthanasia. Those animals deemed unsuitable for sale should then be destroyed in the most humane manner possible.” Advisory panel members said they were not endorsing slaughter for meat, but after a negative public reaction, the BLM pledged it would not destroy healthy horses and burros.

Ironically, Utah’s new legislative push comes as the BLM conducts its most aggressive roundups in Utah in years. Last month, 700 horses from the Sulphur herd were gathered in Beaver County and the agency is currently rounding up the Cedar Mountain herd west of Tooele. So far, 534 horses have been gathered with a goal of 600 to 700. In both these gathers, the BLM planned to administer a fertility vaccine to 200 mares and return them to the range with an equal number of stallions. That decision prompted a lawsuit from Beaver County, alleging the BLM should not return horses to the Sulphur herd area, where horse numbers still exceed the “appropriate management level.”

The Utah operations deploy birth control known as PZP-22, which activates the immune system to thwart conception. This drug is effective for a year or two, and Utah lawmakers want to see something longer lasting. In addition to lethal measures, Ivory’s resolution calls for scaled-up use of GnRH-based vaccines, a new fertility-control technology that “can permanently sterilize a young horse by inhibiting the hormones that would make it sexually mature.”

Most horse-advocacy groups endorse PZP, but that is not the case with GnRH, or GonaCon, which they say has not been proven safe…(CONTINUED)

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4967398-155/utah-lawmakers-the-time-has-come?ref=yfp

Welfare Ranching Grazing Fee Drops in 2017, Further Undervaluing Public Lands

Source: The Wildlife News

“This has got to be the cheapest all-you-can-eat buffet deal in the country,”

Welfare Cows eat more of your wallet and Wild Horse & Burro Habitat

Welfare Cows eat more of your wallet and Wild Horse & Burro Habitat

LARAMIE, Wyo. – The public lands management agencies announced the grazing fee for federal allotments today, which the federal government has decreased to a mere $1.87 per cow and her calf (or 5 sheep) per month, known as an Animal Unit Month, or AUM.

“This has got to be the cheapest all-you-can-eat buffet deal in the country,” said Erik Molvar, Executive Director of Western Watersheds Project. “Our public lands are a national treasure that should be protected for future generations with responsible stewardship. It makes no sense to rent them to ranchers for below-market prices to prop up a dying industry that degrades soil productivity, water, wildlife habitat, and the health of the land.”

Two hundred and twenty million acres of public lands in the West are used for private livestock industry profits through the management of approximately 22,000 grazing permits. The low fee leaves the federal program at an overwhelming deficit. This year’s fee is a a decrease of 11 percent from last year’s fee of $2.11 per AUM far less than the average cost for private lands grazing leases.  The fee is calculated using a decades-old formula that takes into account the price of fuel and the price of beef, and this year’s fee falls far below the level of $2.31 per AUM that was charged in 1980. Additionally, the fee doesn’t cover the cost to taxpayers of range infrastructure, erosion control, vegetation manipulation, and government predator killing – all indirect subsidies that expand the program’s total deficit.

“The subsidy to public lands livestock grazers just got bigger,” Molvar said. “It’s a totally unjustified handout that persists for purely political reasons, with little or no benefit to Americans.”

Can Utah’s Mike Noel Run the BLM, an Agency He Despises?

By | The Salt Lake Tribune

“The BLM manages some of the America’s most spectacular and iconic landscapes, landscapes that are integral to outdoor recreation, sportsmen, biodiversity, and native Americans’ and America’s high quality of life,”

As Utah state Rep. Mike Noel actively courts support for his bid to become the next director of the Bureau of Land Management, conservation and outdoor business interests are questioning the Kanab lawmaker’s ability to effectively run an agency he has relentlessly condemned since quitting it 20 years ago.

“The BLM manages some of the America’s most spectacular and iconic landscapes, landscapes that are integral to outdoor recreation, sportsmen, biodiversity, and native Americans’ and America’s high quality of life,” said Black Diamond Equipment founder Peter Metcalf. “We need a BLM leader aligned with this mission, one who recognizes the role these well-stewarded landscapes play in the vibrancy of one of America’s most important and sustainable economic sector.”

“Mike Noel,” Metcalf said, “is the opposite.”

The retired CEO joined 15 other Utah business leaders and conservationists in penning a letter to the Trump administration opposing Noel’s possible selection as BLM director.

An influential Republican, Noel has staked his political career on challenging federal land management and sparring with environmentalists and Salt Lake Democrats over limiting resource extraction to protect Utah’s striking red rock landscapes, wildlife, rivers and archaeological resources. Noel believes such limits do more to harm the land than protect it and suck the life out of rural communities that traditionally rely on access to forage, timber and minerals.

Noel did not respond to a request for comment.

Several Utah agencies and political leaders. meanwhile, have eagerly lined up behind his BLM candidacy.

The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration also sent a letter to the Trump transition team calling Noel an “excellent choice.” Most of SITLA’s 3.2 million acres are 640-acre islands scattered in a sea of federal lands. BLM policies complicate SITLA’s efforts to generate revenue off these isolated sections, according to the Nov. 18 letter signed by trust lands board Chairman James Lekas.

“We look forward to working with a Department of Interior led by people who can change the direction of public lands management back toward BLM’s traditional multiple use mandate,” Lekas wrote. “Rep. Noel would be a great addition to that team.”

If Noel has his druthers, the BLM would no longer exist as an agency, at least in Utah, where he is leading the state’s charge to seize title to 31 million acres of public land — most of it administered by BLM.

But worse from environmentalists’ perspective is Noel’s unwillingness to engage with stakeholders who disagree with his notion of “multiple use.”

In recent years, Noel has promoted the ideas that law enforcement on pubic lands should be overseen by county sheriffs; Utah should invest millions of dollars in a lawsuit to take title to the lands owned by all Americans; grazing and energy extraction are the best uses of places that others value for scenery and ancient American Indian artifacts; the state should cover legal costs of county commissioners who get in trouble standing up to federal authority on behalf of their constituents.

“Rep. Noel has also demonstrated his disregard for the thoughtfully and collaboratively crafted management plans of the Bureau he hopes to direct, instead throwing his support behind illegal protests on BLM land and the extraction companies that hope to expand their activities on public lands to the detriment of the protection and other uses of those lands,” states the conservationists’ letter, sent Wednesday by Alliance for a Better Utah to Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke. “His history strongly suggests that he will not be a good steward over these public lands that all Americans use and enjoy.”

Noel, who runs a ranch and the Kane County Water Conservancy District, worked as a realty specialist in BLM’s Kanab field office before leaving after the 1996 designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. A former colleague in the Kanab office contends Noel is the wrong person to lead BLM because of “his disdain for federal government management and his personal and biased agenda.”

“The next BLM director will need to ensure the BLM mission to provide enduring values and uses of those lands is sustained. Noel does not have that vision and is not that leader,” wrote Verlin Smith, now retired and living in Murray, in a letter to the editor.

Noel has since become a leading extremist in the movement to blunt conservation prerogatives on public lands, according to Metcalf, and in the process has earned a reputation as a dogmatic bully.

“This intransigent nature would hamper Rep. Noel in performing the duties that come with being BLM director, which include balancing all of the competing needs and uses that arise in managing our vast public lands,” the letter states.

http://www.sltrib.com/home/4858088-155/can-utahs-mike-noel-run-the

Stop Slaughter of Yellowstone Bison

by GEORGE WUERTHNER as published on the Billings Gazette

“Again, the Feds team up with Welfare Ranchers to destroy and slaughter yet another species of America’s wild four legged National Heritage” ~ R.T.

bison-slaughter-yellowstoneThe proposal to butcher another 900-1,000 of Yellowstone’s genetically unique wild bison is a crime against the world’s global heritage.

It reflects badly on the people of Montana that they tolerate this annual slaughter to go on. It also exhibits poor judgement on the part of hunters, tribal members, and others who participate or sanction this crime against nature and our national patrimony.

Yellowstone’s bison herd is one of the few bison herds in the country free of cattle genes, and one of the only bison herds that have remained continuously wild. There is genuine aesthetic and ecological value in wildness. But by slaughtering Yellowstone’s bison (or to use the clinically sanitized term “culling”), we are destroying Yellowstone’s wild bison.

Furthermore, the annual removal of bison has real ecological consequences for other wildlife basically taking food out of the mouths of wolves, grizzlies, coyotes, ravens, magpies and other animals that kill or scavenge bison.

The park’s bison have gone through several genetic bottlenecks. At one time, the population numbered 25 animals. And previous years of slaughter and capture/shipment by the livestock industry and others outside of the park means the park’s bison have gone through repeated genetic reductions. Last year, for instance, 600 bison were killed.

This is made worse by the fact that bison are a tournament species, whereby dominant bulls do the majority of all breeding. This means the “effective” breeding population is much lower than the actual population numbers and, as a result, so is the genetic diversity.

The bison are being slaughtered under the pretense of protecting Montana’s livestock industry from brucellosis. This is a sham because there is no documented instance of a wild bison transmitting brucellosis to livestock.

For transmission to occur, a bison with active bacteria would have to abort her fetus. Then cattle would have to lick the aborted fetus or its fluid during the short time when the bacteria is still alive and before scavengers like coyotes, ravens and magpies find the dead fetus and consume it. Bison bulls and calves are regularly killed, demonstrating the fraudulent reasoning behind the bison slaughter.

Cattle can be vaccinated against the disease, and when combined with other strategies like preventing the overlap of bison and cattle use of pastures, the risk can be contained and is negligible.

What the livestock industry really fears is the spread of bison on public lands. Bison and cattle consume nearly the same foods. What the livestock industry wants to avoid is a debate over whether public bison or private cattle should get preferential access to public lands forage.

The other reason is that the livestock industry wants domination over our public wildlife. The control they exert over bison is part of a larger goal of controlling other wildlife species, including elk.

Killing Yellowstone’s bison is artificially skewing the bison herd to a younger age, and removing the natural processes of predation, starvation, and other factors that normally affect these animals.

The state of Montana is particularly culpable in the continued destruction of the park’s wild bison. The state has outlawed the shipping of live bison outside of a small zone except for transfer to slaughterhouses. This policy makes it impossible to relocate bison to other suitable public lands in Montana or to Indian reservations that want to start bison herds of their own.

Yellowstone’s wild bison must be recognized as a valued wildlife animal in Montana and throughout the West. Its unique genetic heritage is worthy of protection. We have a moral obligation to enhance and expand Yellowstone’s bison to the American West.

 George Wuerthner is an ecologist and author of 38 books, including three on Yellowstone National Park. He lives in Livingston and Oregon.

 

In Support of Welfare Ranchers WDFW Spent $119,500 to Shoot Seven Wolves

By Don Jenkins as published in The North West News

“Government, be it state or federal, hard at work spending tax dollars to defend welfare ranchers while skewing natural predator numbers to the point that mother nature cannot take care of her own.  We have seen actual geological damage to National Parks, such as Yellowstone, due to these strong-arm tactics and as wild equine advocates we understand that natural selection and predation work far better in herd management than do helicopters and drugs.  When will man learn that nature was well balanced and functioned perfectly fine long before two legged predators ever walked onto the playing field?” ~ R.T.


“Washington Fish and Wildlife had planned to eliminate the entire Profanity Peak pack, which was preying on welfare cattle in the Colville National Forest.”

wolf-packWashington spent more than $119,500 to kill seven wolves, according to Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello, who said the agency will look at culling wolfpacks in the future in “the most frugal way we can.”

“We know that lethal removal is part of wolf management. It’s something that will occur again in Washington,” he said. “I do think that as an agency we have to think about cost-savings.”

Fish and Wildlife spent the money during an operation that began in August and ended Oct. 19 in northeastern Washington. Expenses included renting a helicopter, hiring a trapper, and paying the salaries and benefits of WDFW employees.

Public disclosure

A preliminary figure, $119,577.92, was tallied in response to public disclosure requests and was posted by an advocacy group, Protect the Wolves. Martorello said a final figure may be higher.

Fish and Wildlife had planned to eliminate the entire Profanity Peak pack, which was preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest. The department suspended the operation with four wolves surviving.

WDFW said the chances of attacks on livestock continuing were low because the grazing season was ending.

The department did enter the operation with a spending limit, Martorello said. “It’s something we think about, but money wasn’t a factor in suspending it,” he said.

The cost exceeded the roughly $26,000 spent to shoot one wolf in 2014 and the $76,000 spent to shoot seven wolves in 2012.

Cattle Producers of Washington President Scott Nielsen said lethal-removal costs will continue to be an issue.

“You have to remove the problem wolves if you ever want public acceptance in this area,” said Nielsen, a Stevens County rancher. “To say, ‘never kill a wolf,’ that is not a reasonable position.”

The state could authorize ranchers to remove wolves that are attacking livestock, he said.

“We would work collectively,” Nielsen said. “It would cost the state nothing.”

Martorello said he did not have any proposals for cutting the cost of killing wolves. He noted that Fish and Wildlife spends more on non-lethal measures to prevent wolf attacks on livestock, an expense ranchers are expected to share.

Non-lethal measures

The department’s two-year budget adopted last year included $750,000 for non-lethal measures.

Amaroq Weiss of the Center for Biological Diversity said the money spent shooting wolves would have been better used to move cattle off grazing allotments and paying for supplemental feed.

“I think the vast majority of the public would be very supportive of doing something like that, instead of killing wolves,” she said.

Wolves are not federally protected in the eastern one-third of Washington. The state’s policy calls for shooting wolves when measures such as putting more people on horseback around herds fail to stop depredations.

Ranchers are eligible for compensation for livestock attacked by wolves. Ranchers say many attacks go unconfirmed by the department and that compensation doesn’t address all the problems that have been created by wolves returning to Washington.

“I do not raise cows to feed to the department’s predators,” Nielsen said. “That is not responsible husbandry,”

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Northwest/20161107/wdfw-spent-119500-to-shoot-seven-wolves

Public Lands Livestock Grazing Got You Down? TAKE ACTION

Source: Wilderness Watch

Urge Congress to support the Rural Economic Vitalization Act!

Most Americans are shocked when they find out that ranchers are allowed to graze their private livestock on our public lands – including deep within protected Wilderness areas – for literally pennies on the dollar.

Welfare Ranching StatsSTOP WELFARE RANCHING!

In fact, the federal public lands grazing program is among the most wasteful, environmentally damaging and economically inefficient uses of our public lands, costing U.S. taxpayer a whopping $120 million annually! When you consider additional direct and indirect costs, it’s estimated that the federal public lands grazing program on just national forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands may costs as much as $500 million to $1 billion annually – all to provide only 3% of all the beef in the country.

One potential solution to this problem a piece of legislation called the (Rural Economic Vitalization Act (H.R. 3410). This bill would allow federal grazing permit users to waive their grazing permit back to the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management in exchange for compensation by a third party. The associated grazing allotments would then be permanently retired from livestock grazing use.

Retiring grazing permits on America’s public lands protects Wilderness, eliminates negative impacts to watersheds, native fish, wildlife (Wild Horses & Burros), plants, and saves tax dollars.

Stop Welfare Ranching!  Click (HERE) to Help

https://wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org/reva/index.html

(Disclaimer: SFTHH is not endorsing nor soliciting donations for Wilderness Watch.)

BLM PATS WELFARE RANCHERS ON THE HEAD IN ADDITION TO THEIR FEDERAL $UBSIDIES

Story by Grandma Gregg

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat DURING a BLM roundup at Antelope Complex, NV. ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Privately owned welfare cattle being herded onto public land and wild horse habitat DURING a BLM roundup at Antelope Complex, NV. ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation


The Bureau of Land Management announced its Rangeland Stewardship Awards for 2016 and gave the awards to welfare ranchers. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported the federal government spends at least $144 million each year managing private livestock grazing on federal public lands, but collects only $21 million in grazing fees—for a net loss of at least $123 million per year.

The Rangeland Stewardship-Permittee Award went to the Mori Ranch in Tuscarora, Nevada

USDA subsidy information for Mori Ranches LLC

Mori Ranches LLC received payments totaling $464,477 from 1995 through 2014

PLUS

USDA subsidy information for Mori Ranches LLC

Mori Ranches LLC received payments totaling $140,486 from 1995 through 2014

The Sage-Grouse Habitat Stewardship-Permittee Award went to the Drewsey Ranch in Burns, Oregon

USDA subsidy information for Drewsey Field Ranch Company

Drewsey Field Ranch Company received payments totaling $243,900 from 1995 through 2014

https://farm.ewg.org/

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2016/september/nr_09_09_2016.html