Horse Debate Misses the Point.

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Wild Horses in Nevada © Ken Cole

Ted Williams, a writer for Fly Rod and Reel Magazine and Audubon has written a piece attacking wild horse advocates and politicians who supported H.R. 1018, the Restore Our American Mustangs Act.

I think it misses the point. I think that an opportunity to do something about livestock damage was missed and the bill will ultimately result in great ecological damage. For whatever reason language to proportionately reduce livestock grazing in horse areas was not included in the bill that passed the House but has no counterpart in the Senate.

I think that everyone knows that high use by non-native horses, invasive livestock, and even native ungulates such as elk is damaging ecologically. That is not my debate with the author. I think that the debate rests in proportionality. Livestock damage is several orders of magnitude higher than horse damage even though there needs to be serious reductions in both populations.

Water trough and spring heavily used by horses.  There are many more springs abused like this not used by horses. © Ken Cole

Water trough and spring heavily used by horses. There are far more springs abused like this not used by horses. © Ken Cole

In an exchange between Williams and myself he states this: “Unlike horses, cows can be managed, moved, brought in in the winter, and they’re a business”. In essence he seems to justifying the damage they cause for these reasons but I don’t see that they are being managed in such a way to benefit anything other than the pocket book of the rancher.

I go on to respond “we need to be talking about proportion since cattle cause 1000 more times damage to the lands, water, wildlife, vegetation and fisheries. By all rights you should be writing about 1000 times more articles about that damage. I don’t think this issue should be ignored but it certainly needs to be put into proportion.”

One of 239 Ecological Illiterates in the U.S. House
Ted Williams for Fly Rod and Reel.

Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group Waiting for Governor Otter

If SB1175 is signed into law collaborative group may collapse

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Bighorn sheep lamb © Ken Cole

Today there was meeting of the Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group which ended early due to concerns of various groups about how Senate Bill 1175 will affect what the group does.

At the present time SB1175 is awaiting Governor Otter’s signature or veto and no-one is sure where he stands. The Idaho Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group was formed at the behest of the Governor to address how to protect both bighorn sheep and domestic sheep but many in the group fear that SB1175 subverts this process and defines the policy of the State of Idaho without the input of all parties.

At the beginning of the meeting Senator Jeff Siddoway, a Republican sheep rancher from Terreton, Idaho and sponsor of SB 1175, was in attendance and was asked to describe what the bill does and to answer other questions. He seemed, to my eyes, uncertain about many of the aspects of the bill and could not answer some pointed questions about it such as what is meant by “appropriate separation” between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep and what exactly is meant by this passage:

It is the policy of the state of Idaho that existing sheep or livestock operations in the area of any bighorn sheep transplant or relocation are recognized and that the potential risk, if any, of disease transmission and loss of bighorn sheep when the same invade domestic livestock or sheep operations is accepted

Specifically, what is meant by transplanted or relocated sheep? Does this refer to sheep that will be transplanted or relocated or does it refer to sheep that have been transplanted or relocated.  Also, what does recognizing existing sheep or livestock operations in affected areas mean? Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho elk ranchers push new “cervidae council bill” to punish Democrats and protect elk farms

Idaho elk ranchers push new cervidae council bill. Council would be for public relations. By Matt Christensen. Times-News writer.

Idaho’s livestock industry has really been showing its fangs this year.

Senator David Langhorst, Democrat of Boise, who his introduced a bill to make illegal the shooting of elk behind a fence is no doubt one of the targets of their ire.

He has a blog. You might be interested in his post “Elk for sale,” and the subsequent comments.

Posted in Elk, politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on Idaho elk ranchers push new “cervidae council bill” to punish Democrats and protect elk farms