Today, February 26, 2009, Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Working Group Meeting

Meeting to decide the fate of bighorn sheep on public lands.


Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

There will be a meeting in Boise on Thursday to discuss formation of a policy which will more likely try to save sheep operators rather than the remaining bighorn sheep in Idaho. The interim policy calls for killing bighorn sheep that come into direct contact with domestic sheep but sheepherders want more.

I encourage anyone who might be interested to attend this meeting.

TO: Previous Participants in Governor’s BHS/DS Working Group and other interested parties
FR: Alison Squier (facilitator) on behalf of Brian Oakey and Jim Unsworth
RE: Draft Agenda for February 26, 2009 Idaho BHS/DS Advisory Group meeting

Hello everyone. Here is a draft agenda for the upcoming February 26, 2009 Idaho Bighorn Sheep (BHS) / Domestic Sheep (DS) Advisory Group meeting.

Here are some questions for you to consider to help you prepare to participate in the February 26th meeting activities (we will be discussing these topics and others in the context of developing a charter for the group):

— How do you define collaboration?
— What are you hoping the Idaho BHS/DS Advisory Group process can achieve — and in what time frame?
— What group guidelines and/or principles would help the BHS/DS Advisory Group to be most effective?
— What do you need from other participants in this process?
— What would you need to see in order to consider this a legitimate and worthwhile process?
— What do you think the outcomes of the process should be e.g., consensus recommendations; unanimous with one, two or three dissenters; majority/minority recommendations, or another approach?

Where: Idaho State Department of Agriculture, 2270 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise (Click for map)
When: Thursday, February 26, 2009 – 10 am to 4 pm (working lunch on site)

Here are the associated documents:

In Loneliness, Immigrants Tend the Flock

Sheep Ranchers Claim Paying Minimum Wage to Workers Would Put them Out of Business.

Domestic sheep carry disease dangerous to bighorns and humans

Domestic sheep carry disease dangerous to bighorns and humans

This is an important article :

In Loneliness, Immigrants Tend the FlockThe New York Times

* Also, check out Captive Labor.

Environmental Costs

Domestic sheep ranching on public land is subsidized in many ways – environmental costs associated with the activity are largely covered by you and I – our tax dollars to slaughter predators that feed on untended sheep, blade otherwise unnecessary roads, build fences, abate weeds etc;  Our public lands leased at remarkably below market value, our bighorn sheep herds decimated by disease spread from domestic to wild sheep, our stream-waters rendered undrinkable, our public landscapes denuded precluding/depreciating habitat that might otherwise support untold numbers of wildlife – including big-game.

There are also the direct subsidies collected by sheepman – millions of tax-dollars for wool and other Ag subsidies.  But despite all of the ways that you and I prop up this destructive use of public land, their industry groups continue to maintain that if held to the same environmental and fair-market standard as nearly any other industry – even minimum wage for workers – they’ll go under.

Costs to Human Health, Safety, and Dignity Read the rest of this entry »

Bighorn Sheep Rule Stirs Debate in West

Mark Rey recently issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) requiring the Forest Service to test bighorn sheep for disease before the federal government allows states to transplant wild sheep on Forest lands.  As one might guess, this move chafes at state wildlife managers’ long-held claim to exclusive management of wildlife. It’s angering bighorn advocates & environmentalists too !       

Bighorn Sheep Rule Stirs Debate in West – Wall Street Journal

Wyoming bighorns in decline.

Wyoming bighorns in decline. Casper Star Tribune. By Chris Merrill

The primary cause is domestic sheep. If you want bighorns, you can’t have sheep in the area or even travelling through it.

Bill banning elk shooting farms introduced. Idaho state lawmakers say bill has no chance of passing

Here’s the story, but the interesting thing is why it has no chance of passing.

It’s because of the dominance of livestock lobbyists in Idaho. It won’t pass for the same reason the legislators rail and rave about wolves. The wolves are a diversion to keep hunters from seeing the privatization of wildlife in favor of lazy, Dick Cheney kind of “hunters.” It is also to wipe out the news about how the woolgrowers want to kill of most of Idaho’s bighorn sheep so to expand their disease ridden domestic sheep operations.

Bighorn Sheep Threaten Western Way of Life ?

Over at the Western Watersheds blog, there is an important story how sheep growers are organizing to hit back at the slow recovery of bighorn sheep. Oh! Not to speed it up, but to stop it and reverse it.

Domestic sheep are lethal to bighorns because domestic sheep are full of diseases. Bighorn are also worth a lot more economically than domestic sheep are on these marginal rugged rangelands.
This summer Western Watersheds Project and Advocates for the West probably saved all of the bighorn in Hells Canyon from incursions of sheep bands by making sure the US Forest Service lived up to the orders of the courts and kept them apart.

Bighorn Sheep Threaten Western Way of Life? WWP blog

As a sidenote, I think ranchers are gearing up for a major assault on Western Wildlife, not just wolves, but many other species too.

For those hunters who say wolves have decimated the Yellowstone elk herds, did you notice the Montana Stockgrowers Assn. has slipped back into their pre-wolf stance that Yellowstone Park has TOO MANY ELK!