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Posts tagged ‘federal grazing program’

My letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review Journal

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F. Martin_ Cattle_Wikimedia

On November 12, a Las Vegas Review Journal editorial (“Have some horse sense“) concluded that “humanely euthanizing” wild horses is using “horse sense” to solve the “wild horse problem” outlined by 20 GOP lawmakers in a letter to BLM Director, Neil Kornze. Here’s my response:

Dear Editors,

Your recent editorial, “Have some horse sense,” is missing an important piece of data: the number of private livestock on public range and forest lands compared to wild horses and burros (WHB).

2014 grazing receipts of $17.1 million dollars for both Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) grazing permittees translate to 2.1 million cattle. That was the number on 251 million acres of public land managed for grazing by both agencies compared to 56,656 WHB last year. That’s a ratio of 37 cattle for every wild horse.

A side-by-side analysis of that and other BLM and USFS-sourced data is available at http://dailypitchfork.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/BLM_USFS-grazing-analysis_2014_Daily-Pitchfork.pdf

Key findings of that analysis include that only 29.4 million acres (just 12%) of the 251 million acres contain WHB habitat. Cattle and sheep are allocated 97% of the total forage; wild horses just 3%.

Another key finding is the countless studies on the negative impact of commercial livestock production on overgrazing, fires, predator removal, damage to riparian areas and biodiversity, and climate change. Yet no comparable studies exist blaming wild horses. A logical deduction is that researchers don’t tend to study what isn’t a problem.

Further, have you checked what those federal livestock grazing leases lose US taxpayers each year? How does taking in $17.1 million dollars while losing $125 million constitute a wise use of taxpayer funds or “sustainable” land use policy?

Killing wild horses to solve what is essentially a cattle-caused problem isn’t using horse sense; it’s the antithesis of it.

Sincerely,

 

Vickery Eckhoff
Executive Editor
The Daily Pitchfork
Dailypitchfork.org

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The media/cowboy love fest is getting out of hand.

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Rancher romance photoThe news that the Center for Biological Diversity’s excellent report, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands was picked up by only three publications (after being sent to easily 100 journalists covering ranching and public lands issues) got me googling. Was the press not interested in rancher and public lands issues since the report was published in late January?

Umm. No.

This is why I’m writing a series in The Daily Pitchfork for our new SourceWatch feature: “The media adores ranchers. Here’s why they shouldn’t.”

Economic data isn’t iconic the way ranchers are. It doesn’t have that rancher-campfire smell about it. But still, I know journalists care about informing the public. So why does the only truth they’re putting out there have a big cowboy hat on it?

Swing on over here for Part I. And it’s a series, pardner. That means more romance is headed your way.