9 May 2009 - Listen up, Cattlemen. They’re at it Again!

While pork producers have been on the receiving end of negative news the past couple of weeks, I certainly don’t want people in the cattle industry to feel ignored or neglected.

So here comes a dose of negative news for you from Wildlife Guardians, an organization that just published a report entitled Western Wildlife Under Hoof. For the past year this organization has used satellite mapping and federal records to match wildlife habitat and U.S. grazing allotments across more than 260-million acres.

And cattlemen, pay attention because this is what the report had to say about you and your industry...“Cattle and sheep trample vegetation, damage soil, spread invasive weeds, spoil water and deprive native wildlife of forage. Continued grazing in ever-shrinking habitat hampers the recovery of fish and wildlife and in some cases threatens them with extinction.” Did you notice?...no mention of the impact of man’s intrusion with housing developments and shopping malls into what was wildlife habitat. Mark Salvo, of the Wildlife Guardians said, and you’ll love this one.... “livestock have done more damage to the Earth than the chainsaw and the bulldozer. combined.”

Quick to respond, Jeff Eisenberg, Director of Federal Lands for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said.... “There’s a number of environmental groups that have decided the best way to spend the time and money of their funders is to eliminate the families and communities that have made the West what it is today. These groups don’t deserve a dignified response.”

You know where I stand on this issue. I totally agree with Jeff! If, indeed, Wildlife Guardians were successful in putting a halt to grazing on public lands, it would affect 15,779 ranchers covering 128-million acres of public land that these ranchers and their families have improved for wildlife habitat.

You know, I really wonder how this planet ever made it this far, because for centuries in North America there were no people around to fight forest fires, no one to worry about millions of buffalo roaming the range and burping harmful emissions into the atmosphere, no one to worry about spotted owls and other endangered species. I wonder how many species arrived and became extinct before humans made their first appearance. But here we go again with another group and another attack on the livestock industry. Let’s not take it lying down.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.