Workers only paid $750/month to live in extremely isolated conditions and are exposed to many dangers
Public Lands sheep grazing not only creates conflict with bighorn sheep, wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, numerous other wildlife species, habitat degradation, weed proliferation, human conflict with guard dogs, and disease spread, it is responsible for the exploitation of migrant workers who “don’t speak English, don’t know where they are, and depend entirely on their employers for food, water and contact with the outside world.”
A job search for the word “herder” brings up a list of 10 jobs in Idaho and Wyoming which pay $750/month except for the job in Wyoming which pays $650/month.
There is another, less talked about, issue relating to sheepherders. Q-fever, which is carried by sheep, is known to cause infections in humans and possibly result in death. The spores can persist in the environment for years and people and livestock can become infected by breathing dust. These immigrant workers are disproportionally exposed to Q-fever and are at risk of becoming infected.
Advocates push change in working conditions for isolated immigrant sheepherders
Associated Press Writer in the LA Times