Captive Labor (about sheepherders, at least some of them)

We hear a lot about ranchers, cattle and sheep. They are given aide and comfort by many politicians. The life of a cow hand (cowboy) and the sheepherder are ignored (except in cultural celebration).

It my writint about the subsidies given sheep operators, both direct and indirect from the government, plus the environmental subsidies (uncompensated negative externalities), I have neglected the subsidy through the frequent exploitation of human labor.

This article is gives a more clear-eyed view. Captive Labor: The plight of Peruvian sheepherders illuminates broader exploitation of immigrant workers in U.S. agriculture. By Alvaro Bedoya. Dollars and Sense.

Wildlife Services 2007 report on wolf control in Idaho

I hadn’t seen one of these before, except a hard copy many years ago before wolves were restored to Idaho. Then it was a general report on control of all “harmful” animals.

It’s fascinating to me. Everyone will view it differently.

My view is all this effort over such a trivial loss of livestock (except for a few instances). Be sure to note how many of the cattle were actually calves, and how a small absolute increase in numbers can be made to appear huge when reported in per cent increase.

Idaho-Wildlife Services-FY2007-wolf-report.pdf

Idaho Fish and Game slaps at Jon Marvel. Is their account credible?

This has been in the news the last two days. I didn’t put the story up early because I knew Brian Ertz was right there when this alleged incident took place, and had all the details. He told me about it the day after the wolf meeting. At the time, I thought “end of story” — a F & G commissioner ignores public comment and doesn’t like to be questioned.

What a surprise when 6 weeks later, Jon Marvel, who did insist on some answers from the commissioner, was accused of some sort of assault or improper touching of the commissioner!

My speculation is that IF & G’s action had nothing to do with the wolf hearing in Hailey, and everything to do with Western Watershed Projects legal efforts, media efforts, and administrative efforts to derail the attack of the woolgrowers on Idaho’s bighorn sheep herds. Idaho Fish and Game was recently accused by one prominent woolgrower of being in bed with WWP. I have a copy of his letter.

What better way for a politically weak department to protect itself from the powerful livestock operators who have the support of a very friendly governor than slap at a person who symbolizes the conservation effort to bring the woolgrowers to respect the existence of bighorn sheep in Idaho?

In terms of state livestock politics, the bighorn issue is as lot bigger than wolves, which are mostly just a way for expressing their resentment that they lost (temporarily) on the symbolic issue.

At the WWP blog, Brian gives the details. Wolf meeting altercation.

New. Feb. 2, 2008. Marvel Strikes back. By David Cooper. Magic Valley Times News. 

Notice: this post is open to comment, but no personal name calling, not of Marvel, Ertz, Commissioner Wayne Wright, Virgil Moore, etc.

“The Curious Legal History of the Original Outlaws”

Robert Hoskins wrote an interesting essay on the origins, evolution, and contradictions in wildlife law. He emailed it to me for consideration as a post. I think folks will find it very interesting.


“The Curious Legal History of the Original Outlaws”

by Robert Hoskins

[Note: I originally published this essay in the May 1998 issue of Wyoming Wildlife under the pen name Philip Elkhorn].

CIVILIZED PEOPLES, especially those who raise domestic animals and crops or who manage big-game animals for human hunting, have until recently always considered predatory animals and pests to be outlaws–thieves who steal what humans believe they have produced with their own labor, or have a natural right to possess.

What we may not realize is that since the beginning of agriculture, humans have considered all wild animals to be outlaws that were outside or beyond human control–unlike domestic livestock. Ancient Roman law described wildlife as ferae naturae, or wild by nature. That wild animals were ferae naturae didn’t change the desire of humans to establish control over wildlife for human benefit. But humans have had to deal with wildlife’s incorrigible wildness first. Wild animals had lives and spirits of their own; humans could not possess them except under special conditions that usually involved death but always restraint.

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Gas wells to be drilled upset local residents of Hoback area

These natural gas wells are a movement into a new area; one that is scenic, wildlife rich and where people live. As such it is causing a lot of controversy in the area south of Jackson Hole.

Part of it is in a national forest roadless area too (Grayback IRA).

Hoback wells process frustrates opponents. Rancher: ‘Are we just spitting in the wind?’ By Corey Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Haydens near Mammoth

I haven’t gathered any news about Yellowstone Park wolves lately due to pressing controversies, but Kathie Lynch told me that the surviving Haydens were seen about a month ago near the high bridge east of Mammoth — “1 gray adult, 2 gray pups, and everybody’s favorite black pup.”

I’ll try to get some news soon.

Public Lands Tag Sale

Diary of a Mad Voter: Joan McCarter. Public Lands Tag Sale. By Joan McCarter. New West.

While media talks about the horse race for President, it’s going to be a year of plunder on the public lands, and most it will not be covered. McCarter writes about what is going on, starting with the Bush Administration’s cynical ploy on the polar bears.

The President has given his last State of the Union Address; now for the last year of the ravaging of the countryside.