KILLING COWBOYS – The Plan to Rewild the West

Range management is an established scientific discipline founded on ecological principles.  Range science studies, quantifies, and anticipates the impacts of both wildlife and domesticated livestock on natural landscapes.  Range scientists correlate a large number of environmental factors that influence the distribution of plant and animal species. These factors include the quantity and quality of available forage, the condition of watersheds, fire ecology, climate, topography, soils, and landscape aesthetics.

Degradation of range land is most often the result of changes in climactic conditions such as prolonged drought, or when plant species are exposed to intensive grazing without sufficient recovery periods.  Overgrazing can be caused by either poorly managed livestock or by an over-abundance of wildlife.  Overgrazing reduces the productivity of the land, which is something most ranchers work very hard to avoid because it would be counter-productive and economically damaging to their long term business interest.  Practicing responsible land stewardship insures that livestock growers can continue to produce a quality product to meet the long term food needs of an expanding human population without degrading the resource.

The health of over 300 million acres of public range land falls under the responsibility of multiple State and Federal agencies working to insure that the resource is protected and being used responsibly.   Livestock production, timber and mineral extraction, recreation, wildlife and watershed protection have all historically been factored in to create a multiple use public land philosophy.  But that philosophy is now losing out to a single use agenda.
Charles M. Russell
“The Herd Quitter”

REWILDING proponents claim that livestock grazing on public lands (and increasingly, on private lands) across the western United States should come to an end because domesticated animals are damaging the environment and displacing wildlife.  They claim that cattle and sheep operations are consuming water and forage that should be reserved for “native” species.  They claim that domesticated animals raised for human consumption are incompatible with preserving natural ecosystems. They claim that wildlife, and wildlife conservation, should be elevated above any other public land use consideration, including the needs of human beings.

There are some cases where overgrazing by livestock has caused stream-side erosion, sedimentation, and other short term environmental damage.  The reality is that livestock producers do need to be monitored and held responsible to make sure they are adhering to sustainable grazing practices.  However,  REWILDING advocates don’t actually care if livestock producers are using the resource responsibly.  They do not care that livestock grazing can be conducted in a way that is perfectly compatible with, and beneficial to, the natural environment.

Radical environmentalists cite the worst out-dated examples of poor grazing practices they can find in order to win public support for the REWILDING agenda. Their goal is to see cattle and sheep completely removed from the western landscape in order to provide additional habitat for wildlife species such as elk, bison, pronghorn antelope, and large predators such as wolves, grizzly bears, and jaguars.  The REWILDING agenda calls for the wholesale dismantling of our agricultural base while working to erase man’s impact on the earth.

REWILDING advocates promote “Cores, Corridors, and Large Predators” not just to protect wildlife, but to change human social structure.  They are not just trying to influence how our public lands are utilized, but are actively engaged in destroying the right of an individual to own or manage private property.

Livestock producers need to come to grips with the reality that the REWILDING agenda requires the extinction of the American cowboy.  The following is just a sample of the propaganda being used to wage this war…

Excerpts from Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West  – c. 2002- George Wuerthner and Mollie Matteson:

“Livestock production, by its very nature, is a domestication of the landscape. It requires using the bulk of water, forage, and space for the benefit of one or two domestic animals-at the expense of native creatures. Although this is characteristic of agriculture everywhere, the expropriation of resources for the raising of livestock is particularly egregious in the arid West because natural productivity is limited and highly variable.”

“…by raising domestic animals that demand large quantities of water and forage in a place that is dry, and by favoring slow-moving, heavy, and relatively defenseless livestock in terrain that is rugged, vast, and inhabited by native predators, ranchers have put themselves in a position of constant warfare with the land.”

“The choice is really between using the public lands to subsidize a private industry or devoting them to ecological protection and preserving the natural heritage of all Americans.”

“What can be done to address the problems associated with public lands livestock grazing? There is a simple answer: end it. Get the cows and sheep off, let the wild creatures reclaim their native habitat, and send the ranchers a bill for the cost of restoration.”

“Although it is our desire to make the end of commercial production of livestock on public lands as painless as possible for the affected ranchers, we recognize that it won’t be pain-free. Change, even positive change, can be stressful and disconcerting.”

Click here to read the pdf version:

Here is a list of resources essential in helping livestock producers understand what they are up against:

Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West – c. 2002- George Wuerthner and Mollie Matteson]

The Western Range Revisited: Removing Livestock from Public Lands to Conserve Native Biodiversity-c. 2000 by Debra Donahue

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy Of Industrial Agriculture -c. 2002 Andrew Kimbrell

Rewilding North America: A Vision For Conservation In The 21St Century -c. 2004 Dave Foreman

All of this anti-livestock grazing propaganda goes against sound range management science.  Numerous peer reviewed studies have repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of well managed livestock grazing on a given habitat.  Livestock grazing improves soils, reduces fire danger, disperses seeds, and should be considered a natural part of any ecosystem.  May God bless the endangered American Cowboy.  He’s going to need all the help he can get.

16 thoughts on “KILLING COWBOYS – The Plan to Rewild the West

  1. Steve Grah

    Unfortunately, there are more suburbanites than there are rural-folk, and they are breeding more and more ‘common-sense’ out of the population with each passing day. Eventually something’s gotta ‘give’…

  2. You’re right Steve Grah. Rural folks who hunt, fish, camp, raise a few goats, pigs, or chickens, farm, ranch, etc. know way more about the environment and have way more common sense than their city bred counterparts. But it’s more than just a numbers game. It’s about standing up for principle even though we may get shot down. If we don’t acknowledge that God has given us the authority and responsibility to be good land stewards, to work the land and produce a crop, to enhance fisheries and wildlife, than it’s our bad. We can’t allow the greens to continue to foist their definition of “good” on the world when we know its really bad. Thanks for commenting, and keep standing. There are many people who are waking up, count them all as brothers.

  3. Ruth

    Steve, Thanks for another excellent report. I was taking a look at a AG Western US website this morning with an article discussing a USDA rangeland scientist disputing the findings of a recently published report insisting that grazing on public lands exacerbates the effects of climate change. Tony Svejcar, is a research leader of the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Service Center.

    The Capitol Press article unfortunately didn’t provide detail as to Svejcar’s findings and as of this moment I haven’t come across a point by point rebuttal by Svejcar to the November 15, 2012 published OSU Environmental Management “scientific” report. One interesting tidbit included in the CP article is that Robert Beschta, lead author of the study and a Oregon State University forestry professor admits that the eight scientists who authored the anti-grazing report used existing studies to reach their conclusion – studies, according to Svejcar, ( which agrees with your assessment Steve) “the report highlights isolated examples of poorly managed allotments and fails to present an accurate picture of the overall effect of grazing on federal lands.”

    With the understanding that this report was not based on their own research but a compilation of what others who would be like minded in purpose and motivation have written, I was curious to see the 18 pages of References at the end of their report. One reference out of them all got my attention.

    In 2009, the Obama Administration convened the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force
    The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, co-chaired by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and including representatives from more than 20 Federal agencies. On October 5, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the Task Force to develop a report with recommendations for how the Federal Government can strengthen policies and programs to better prepare the Nation to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
    Learn more about the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy here

    Plenty of room under this government sponsored “climate change” umbrella for all.
    No doubt the “climate change” fingerprint was obvious to many of Steve’s blog readers right from the beginning of the series on the Green Dragon. I’ve been looking so closely at the individual trees things got blurry for me and I had re-focus to get a perspective of the Green Dragon from above the jungle.

  4. Toni Thompson

    Seems to me that even the suburbanites like to eat and most of them like to eat beef. So what happens if the public lands are closed to grazing? Less land means less food for the cattle – less food means less cattle – less cattle means less beef, I realize that a whole lot of people do not understand what is involved in getting the steak they buy from the supermarket into that package, but they better start wising up or one of these days they’ll all be vegetarians while us rural folks will still be able to raise a beef to eat – that is if we can remain in our rural homes when we go broke because we can’t raise enough cattle to make it financially. Stopping grazing on public lands does not just impact a small group of people, it affects everyone in this country. In addition, it’s interesting that they believe the larger wildlife (deer, elk, antelope, etc,) will manage to repopulate an area just because cattle are removed from the area. It is already being shown that the larger predators (wolves, cougars and bears) are having a significant effect on wildlife population numbers. Blinders must be a wonderful thing – they allow one to see the world as they want to, not as facts show them to be.

  5. Counter offensive forming in Europe.

    Livestock producers and farmers in many parts of Europe are tired of being forced to live with increasing numbers of wolves and other predators.

    “Copa-Cogeca resigned today from the EU platform set up to find solutions to conflicts arising from large carnivores attacks (wolves, brown bear, Eurasian lynx, wolverine) on livestock farms, warning farmers concerns are being ignored and livelihoods put at risk. In Europe the number of bears now totals 17, 000, 12 000 wolves, 9000 Eurasian lynx, 1000 wolverines in rural areas where farming is the main economic activity. “

    “Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen warned: ”The EU Commission is not listening to the farming community’s concerns and therefore we decided to exit from the Platform. We joined this Platform on co-existence between people and large carnivores as we believed it would help deal with the problems but no solutions have been found. The platform focuses on good practices for conserving large carnivores instead of identifying solutions to improve the situation for local rural people. This is unacceptable. Attacks on livestock farms are on the rise,
    particularly in countries like France, Finland, Sweden, causing severe production and income losses and threatening farmers livelihoods.””

    “He continued: “The strong protection of these emblematic species starts threatening the existence of grassland rich in biodiversity that is maintained by grazing with many other protected species depending on it. Implementing the EU Habitat Directives itself becomes an obstacle in addressing conflicts arising from the presence of large carnivores. Looking into how the EU Habitats Directive can evolve is crucial taking into account the dynamic growth large carnivores in many regions of the EU. Solely focusing on protections measures is no longer an
    option. Solutions must be found.””

    COPA currently has 60 full members from the EU Member States and 36 partner organisations, which include representatives of countries like Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

    COGECA currently has 35 full members from the EU Member States, four affiliated members and 36 partner organisations.

  6. Sharon Bedell

    Yes, the management so far of our public lands have proven how brilliant our government people really are. The forests are harvested at a minimum, so thousands of acres can burn every year. The fish and wildlife buy up every acre they can in our area so now they are nothing but the noxious weed called whitetop where nothing can forage. They make our lives miserable here by attempting to introduce the humpback chub and squawfish in our river and they can’t prove they’ve ever been here. So the educated idiots are actually destroying our country.

  7. Sharon,

    I worked for the U.S. Forest Service back in the late ’70’s early 80’s. My district had excellent range managers back then very willing to work with cattle and sheep producers to maximize production while protecting the resource. Unfortunately range management has been under a total assault by the environmental whackos for the past 30 years. They aren’t “idiots”, the have an agenda that is succeeding. Read this:

  8. Pingback: Killing Cowboys: The Plan to Rewild the West - Ranching Truth

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