Got Milk? Got Drugs? Got Both?: State Responds After Idaho Dairy Cattle Test Positive in Food Safety Tests

High levels of antibiotics and other drugs found in cattle linked to dairies

Brain Oakey, Deputy Director, Idaho State Department of Agriculture

Brain Oakey, Deputy Director, Idaho State Department of Agriculture

The Boise Weekly has written another strong exposé on Idaho dairies and how the State’s regulators are utterly failing to regulate them or test their products for dangerous levels of antibiotics and other drugs.

Got Milk? Got Drugs? Got Both?: State Responds After Idaho Dairy Cattle Test Positive in Food Safety Tests | High levels of antibiotics and other drugs found in cattle linked to dairies.
By George Printice – Boise Weekly

Cows, What a many Splendored Thing

Click to view in Google Maps

Last week I went out with a co-worker to check out what was going on in the Jarbidge Field Office where Western Watersheds Project has won a court victory that ends corporate ranching on 450,000 acres of public land. When we arrived we found cattle on several of the allotments even though the injunction is in place.

The ranchers are asking the judge to stay the injunction and say that they have met all of the terms of the stipulated settlement agreement (SSA) which has expired. They argue that utilization monitoring has shown that they have not exceeded the terms and conditions of their permits or the SSA and, because of this, sage grouse habitat has improved. Even if they have met the terms and conditions of their permits and the SSA, which I won’t say one way or the other, the BLM’s Analysis of the Management Situation (AMS) notes that the Jarbidge suffered the cumulative loss of 800,000 acres of sagebrush-steppe habitat from 1982 through 2006, such that 46% of the JFO is no longer sage-steppe habitat. This doesn’t even account for the massive fires which have burned since 2007 such as the Murphy Complex of 2007 and the Long Butte Fire in 2010. Sage grouse and other sage steppe dependent species are in dire straits in the Jarbidge and as the WWP press release says:

“Recent data from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game shows that sage-grouse populations in the Jarbidge Field Office are in a free fall, with declines of over 90% since 2006 alone. For example, in the Browns Bench area of the Field Office, total male sage-grouse lek counts are down from 185 in 2006 to 29 in 2010, and some areas are in an even steeper decline.”

Jarbidge FO Pastures.  Click for larger view.

Jarbidge FO Pastures. Click for larger view.

While my biggest concerns lie with the plight of the wildlife there, I also find it startling that the Jarbidge Field Office has essentially turned into a livestock feedlot. Even recreation values have been totally eliminated here. The whole Field Office has been fenced into small pastures with what amounts to a weeping sore in each caused by cattle that congregate at water troughs surrounded by feeding tubs with some kind of molasses slurry, salt blocks, and even oat hay. On top of that is the droning of military jets overhead, some of them containing training pilots from Singapore.

I guess this is what they mean by “multiple use”.  I call it a cowpocalypse.

When Elk Fly

Plate buyers unknowingly paying to test private livestock so that they won’t infect public wildlife.

Another subsidy to private Ag interests at the public expense.

Idaho Elk License Plate

Idaho Elk License Plate

Other states require testing of 100% of each private elk herd but the Idaho Legislature is requiring much less from Idaho’s elk growers and slipping money away from funds intended for the enhancement of wildlife. Idaho Senate Bill 1085 would require testing of “not more than twenty percent (20%) of testable animals” leaving elk, deer, moose, and other ungulates at risk of contracting chronic wasting disease, brucellosis or other diseases.

In Montana, citizens even passed an initiative making private elk operations illegal out of the well-founded fear that these operations would transmit chronic wasting disease to wild elk and deer.

S1085

Proceeds from elk license plates pay for testing private elk herds
Rocky Barker Voices.IdahoStatesman.com.

Court Victory Stops Corporate Ranching on 450,000 Acres of Public Land in Southern Idaho

Click to view in Google Maps

On February 28, 2011 Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the United States District Court for Idaho agreed with Western Watersheds Project and reimposed an injunction stopping livestock grazing on 17 grazing allotments covering over 450,000 acres of public land in the Jarbidge Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management in southern Idaho.

The allotments closed under this injunction contain some of the most important remaining habitat for sage grouse, California bighorn sheep, the threatened plant species slickspot peppergrass as well as native redband trout, pygmy rabbits and pronghorn antelope.

March 4 news story added. Federal judge shuts down some Jarbidge grazing allotments. By Laura Lundquist. Magic Valley Times News

Here is Western Watersheds Project’s News Release on this important victory:

Western Watersheds Project Wins A Federal Court Injunction Stopping Livestock Grazing on over 450,000 Acres of Public Land in Southern Idaho

Greater sage grouse, pygmy rabbit and Slickspot peppergrass have won a reprieve from livestock grazing which has decimated their populations and destroyed their habitat. Late yesterday, Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the federal District for Idaho held BLM, various Simplot corporate entities, and other corporate ranching operations to the terms of an earlier agreement, and again enjoined livestock grazing on 17 livestock grazing allotments in southern Idaho. Read the rest of this entry »

Top scientists urge halt to alpine grazing trial

…in Australia

Cattle Guard © Ken Cole

Why don’t scientists and government officials of this country understand the threats associated with livestock grazing in fragile ecosystems, like the arid west and high alpine areas, as the scientists and government officials of Australia do?

 

Just like Australia, we have environmental laws that are being broken, but rather than enforce those laws our government agencies are busy being spokesmen for the destructive livestock grazing in these landscapes. They routinely peddle lies and weasel out of any responsibility or accountability by producing huge volumes of documents that simply don’t do anything to address problems that are readily identifiable.

Top scientists urge halt to alpine grazing trial.

The effort to protect the livestock industry of Montana expands to elk.

Helicopter netting of elk as part of a brucellosis study

Yesterday the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks was out using a helicopter to capture elk with nets so that they could test them for brucellosis, attach radio collars, and implant vaginal devices intended to drop out when the elk give birth or abort a fetus. This is another example of how the livestock industry turns the table against wildlife so that they carry no burden.

Disease testing: Elk study aims to measure spread of brucellosis
By Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard.