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 »

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.