Why Are Our Predators Being Sacrificed On The Ranching Altar?

George hits it out of the park on this one. I have asked myself this question so many times. Why do ranchers think our native carnivores should be killed to benefit them? And why should they be paid compensation for tiny livestock losses?

Predators share this landscape and have every right to be here. If ranchers want to do business in wolf country, then practice sound animal husbandry. Enough coddling of ranchers!

Do Ranchers Have The Right To A Predator Free Landscape?

by George Wuerthner  11/22/10

LIVESTOCK AND PREDATORS

One of the unquestioned and unspoken assumptions heard across the West is that ranchers have a right to a predator free environment. Even environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife more or less legitimize this perspective by supporting unqualified compensation for livestock losses to bears and wolves.  And many state agency wolf management plans specifically call for compensation to livestock producers—but without any requirements that livestock husbandry practices be in place to reduce or eliminate predation opportunity.

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Cattle Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Public Land Degradation by Livestock, Wolf Wars

Tags: welfare ranching, wolves, taxpayers paying for “predator control”, cattle barons

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. One of the premier excuses – the mantra far & wide within the BLM as it regards the overpopulation of Wild Horses and Burros – “No Natural Predators”.
    Really. REALLY??!
    Mountain lions, bears, wolves, coyotes – all the predators of the ranges and forests who, prior to ‘management’ by human beings, were able to keep balance in their environs by doing their jobs as Nature intended.
    (This may be a long one, so you might wanna pull up a chair and have a beer…)
    My grandparents were stock people in several locations in Nevada. But Granpa would rather have swallowed broken glass than accepted government interference. They took their successes and failures in stride, lived WITH the predators as a part of the life and living they chose, dare I say – Harmoniously.
    There are no more wolves in Nevada; wanna guess why? Mountain lions are ‘controlled’ so severely, to protect ‘species of concern’ like Big Horns, ranch-raised because they cannot survive in areas where domestic sheep have grazed, for they don’t have the immunity to survive a bacteria sheep carry naturally. And the staunchest advocates for Big Horns? Hunters. (Try wrappin’ yer brain around THAT!)
    Grazing allotments are an environmental disaster and a financial joke; 1.35 per grazing animal on Public land has kept that program in the red since the end of the 2nd World War.
    I have a personal theory: If you’re gonna raise stock animals, don’t do it unless you’ve got the land and resources to do it. There’s no other ‘industry’, except maybe ‘financial services’ that gets such a huge chunk of Public funding to live outside it’s means.
    If ‘undesirable’ species are overpopulating, there is a verifiable & scientific reason why: if the family unit (pack, herd or band) is destroyed, the Biological Imperative is to replace what is lost. Stop killing them and they will regulate themselves. Or Nature will.
    There is no science behind wildlife ‘management’. There is only outdated, outmoded archaic thinking that caters to a fortunate few. Wildlife Services is a multi-million dollar industry that simultaneously wastes taxpayer dollars and encourages the absolute worst in human/predator/nuisance animal relations; it is tantamount to government-sponsored poaching.
    Those who advocate for Wild Animals are often labeled ‘huggers’, and where Mustangs and Burros are concerned, there is a movement afoot accusing those Advocates of conspiring to turn America into the land of the Vegan Radical. (I must confess – I am a carnivore virtually from birth and I am too old to change now). This movement has denigrated respect, empathy and compassion into character flaws, villifying those who speak for and defend animals routinely butchered for simply existing.
    I don’t consider myself an evil person, nor ignorant or radical. I am simply unable to allow this kind of reckless disregard to occur and not express an opinion. It may be a naive belief but this ‘management’, of predators, of ruminants, of Mustangs and Burros, is not management.

    • Thank you Lisa for articulating so beautifully the sad state of affairs concerning our native wildlife at the hands of greedy, non-empathetic, ego driven legions of “wildlife managers” that dominate them. This situation has developed over the centuries under the flag of manifest destiny: “A policy of imperialistic expansion defended as necessary or benevolent”. Hardly benevolent. If there is ever to be justice for our wildlife and especially our apex predators a new paradigm must be born that honors the wishes of all Americans rather then the few that have their boots on the necks of our wild places, treating them like huge game farms, as if it’s their god given right to “harvest” elk and shoot wolves to protect “their” rights. I am sick to death of hearing the whining and complaining of these people as if they owned the West and everything in it. I’ll throw their favorite insult back in their faces, if they don’t like gray wolves, move to New York.

      I’ll dedicate a beer to you tonight!!

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  2. Our state and local newspapers and reporters lack the courage to write about this issue. Thanks to George, the truth about the “welfare ranching” system is reaching more people.
    Also his comment about Defenders of Wildlife and their compensation policies should wake up their membership enough to at least question their disastrous attempts at collaboration with the livestock industry in the Northern Rockies. He writes…..
    “Even environmental groups like Defenders of Wildlife more or less legitimize this perspective by supporting unqualified compensation for livestock losses to bears and wolves.”

  3. ++There is no science behind wildlife ‘management’. There is only outdated, outmoded archaic thinking that caters to a fortunate few. Wildlife Services is a multi-million dollar industry that simultaneously wastes taxpayer dollars and encourages the absolute worst in human/predator/nuisance animal relations; it is tantamount to government-sponsored poaching++

    Too early for a beer Lisa, but you are right on with your comments!! George also tells it like it is, too bad he has to put up with so many narrow-minded people on the New West blog.

  4. Lisa, it is to early for beer but I will raise up my cup of coffe!Hear,hear!!!

  5. Thank you Lisa for sharing the story of your Grandpa and voicing the anger which has been building among Wolf and all Wildlife advocates for sometime now: Enough is edamnnuff! As you so rightly point out Mother Nature, if left alone, could “manage” her wildlife just fine. And it would be true management not just killing for sports and entertainment.

    From my FB post: Ranchers absolutely do NOT have a right to a predator free landscape!! Thank God for George Wuerthner and others who are raising their voices for our wildlife. Ranchers are losing cattle because they are too lazy to put into practice even the most basic precautionary tactics. And indeed why should they? Our government and environmental groups like Defenders have bent over backwards trying to appease ranchers. And what has that accomplished? Absolutely nothing as far as I can see other than to make wildlife the scapegoat for everything. It is past time that the American taxpayer stop subsidizing the beef industry. It is my hope that as more and more people are becoming aware of this ridiculous program called Grazing Rights, the demand that the cattle industry bear it’s own cost for doing business and put their cattle on their own PRIVATE fenced property so that our wildlife can live safely on PUBLIC land which is what most Americans want.

    I agree with your Nabeki, if they don’t like wolves, move to New York City! And if just love this quote from the article about Romeo on Sunday: “It was noted Romeo has a following in Japan and Sweden and that President Barack Obama has a framed portrait of the wolf.”!! He has a framed picture of Romeo and will not stop his Secretary of the Interior from slaughtering our wildlife? I wish we could in fact confirm this. This is ammunition which can certainly be used in my book.

  6. Not sure where to post this information. We keep hearing about wolves decimating ungulates even in Minnesota . Looks like hunters have killed 10% more deer in Minnesota this year than last.
    http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/110240274.html?elr=KArksi8cyaiUgOahccyiUiacyKUnciaec8O7EyUs

    • Hey Jerry, yeah, that is what pisses me off. hunters in MN have been claiming for a while the low deer #s are because of wolves, but hunters have killed many more deer than wolves. The nerve of them to blame wolves for what they caused.

  7. If the hunters are getting 10% more deer than last year,it only proves,to me at least,that their rants have been uncalled for.

  8. Jon and Rita….I think that the hunters in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are being manipulated by those out West to join and support the anti-wolf movement.
    Notice how it’s only been recently and since relisting that we hear about wolves killing all the deer in those states.

    • maybe Jerry, but I believe this is a common thing with hunters. Anywhere they are low deer or elk #s, hunters typically blame the predators and this is what we have all been seeing in the states that have wolves. The numbers don’t lie and the numbers say that hunters have been taking far more deer than wolves. Minnesota has an extremely high deer population to begin with and you would think wolves killing some deer would be alright, but not so according to hunters. If they had their way, they would want all of the deer for themselves.

    • Jery Black, I tend to agree with you that the hunters from Wisconsin,Minnesota,and Michagan followed the Wests anti-wolf movemnt,but by helping to spread the hysteria that the deer and hunting opportunities have been drastically changed by wolves doesn’t give them much credibility when it comes to wild life. Far to many people jump on a band wagaon far to fast and far to quickly,before thinking things threw.

      • Sorry,Jerry, for not spelling your name right.I am having one of those days when my brain and my fingers are not on the same page.

  9. Jon and Rita……..I agree and we’re all saying basically the same thing. I do think that the extreme radical element ie…Toby Bridges, has had some influence on the press and hunters in the Midwest.

  10. Just want to wish Nabeki, Jon, Lisa,Rita,John,Bill, So Cal wolf girl, John D, Pat,Agnes, Larry, Alice, Geraldine, Vasileios, Kate Crystal wolf A Happy Thanksgiving. Marc

    • Thanks very much Marc, you too.Everyone else on here as well.

    • Thanks so much Marc. As I am in the kitchen preparing my contribution to the Thanksgiving Dinner to be held at my sister’s house tomorrow here in So. California, I couldn’t help reflecting on how lucky I am. I have a roof over my head, a job, good health and a host of friends who, like me, are determined to protect our our Wolves because they mean so much to us. We love and cherish them and will continue to fight for them to live their lives as nature intended: Free and protected from all who would do them harm for being what they are: magnificent, apex predators necessary to protect and sustain our environment. A HOWLING Thanksgiving to all.

    • Happy Thanksgiving Marc and all my wonderful readers. I’m still recovering and a little under the weather so I’m not able to answer everyone’s comments as I usually do but you are all in my thoughts as we celebrate and give thanks!

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

      Nabeki

  11. Thank you,Marc and to my fellow Wolf supprters,Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe one.


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