Public Lands Ranching: Supporting Welfare Ranchers over Wildlife. I have just recently read Lynn Jacobs classic 1981 book, Waste of the West that provides nearly 500 pages of detailed and convincing critique of public lands ranching in the West. The book documents how public lands ranchers have destroyed the quality of Western public lands with the herds of cattle that deprive the lands of biodiversity. He cites data to show that the U.S. public subsidizes these ranchers who get support from the government for “developing” their leased lands. He cites statistics how these public ranch operations consume a huge quantity of water. Most striking, he shows how unproductive these ranches are for cattle-raising—it takes hundreds of acres of these Western public lands to support one cattle while cattle in Midwest and eastern states are far more productive. Thus the beef raised by the western public lands ranchers is a very small percentage of the overall U.S. beef supply. Moreover, the numbers of public lands ranchers are very small and consistently becoming a smaller and smaller portion of their states populations. Despite this fact, somehow these public lands ranchers have been able to continue to get the Federal government and its agencies (primarily the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service) to subsidize their non-economic operations such as by having ridiculously low fees—it is totally irrational policy from every one’s point of view (except the ranchers’). It is no wonder that any challenge to public ranching brings threats from the ranchers to anyone who dares to challenge them. They know they are on weak ground. When I finished Jacobs’ book, I checked to see if there had been any major developments since then but it appears that the situation is status quo. One would hope that the Trump Administration in its desire to cutback domestic spending would at least do some good here by cutting support for public lands ranching. But the Department of Interior’s Ryan Zinke has proven to belong to the cult of the “cowboy”—Jacobs points out that somehow many people including Easterners buy into the myth of the cowboy despite the fact it has no basis in reality—they write trucks and ATVs to their “public ranches.” Zinke made a big point of riding a horse to his office—and he has shown that he cares nothing at all for wildlife diversity as a priority—he is no Teddy Roosevelt Republican despite his pretense. The wastefulness and threat to wildlife continues to this day a recent article proves. It discusses how the State of Washington is going to kill wolves in order to protect public lands ranches. The article points out that these ranchers (as Jacobs has proven) “operate on slim financial margins, and have had to make unwelcome adjustments in their practices to continue ranching in what has once again become wolf country.” The point is that public lands are not fit for ranching and yet state and Federal government continue to toady to this small group of entitled welfare ranchers. Why? When, if ever, will rationality prevail and the public stop supporting this this small, unproductive group of ranchers? Check out the article by Linda V. Mapes at Washington state to kill more wolves to protect livestock http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/washington-state-to-kill-more-wolves-to-protect-livestock/
7/14/2019 10:06:49 pm
If the activity such as public lands ranching has a negative effect on wildlife, why is it that there are people who cannot even stop it? We must protect wildlife at all cost because it will surely have a negative effect on our ecosystem. This imbalance will surely have a negative effect on us, and we don't want such thing to happen, isn't it? If I were to ask, I will always choose the wildlife protection over other people's gain because that will also serve as protection for ourselves. Don't you think it''s about time to consider it?
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During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.