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Cattle grazing has been a longstanding tradition in the Western United States, but the practice has become outdated and the preservation of land and wildlife needs to come first.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) needs to ban the use of federal lands for livestock grazing. There are countless documented cases of animals being killed to make way for ranchers who leave an environmentally destructive path in their livestock's wake. That destruction needs to end now.
One case in Washington state demonstrates the problem with the BLM's current policy: Almost an entire wolf pack was killed in 2016 after cattle were attacked on federal grazing lands known to be the pack's territory. At the ranchers' request, the wolves were shot from a helicopter. Meanwhile, ranchers save tons of money by using federal land for grazing instead of buying feed for their livestock. From Washington down to Nevada, around 100,000 coyotes, wolves, and bears are killed each year by Wildlife Services to protect livestock producers, as well as foxes, prairie dogs, and other native species. Wildlife should not suffer and be slaughtered in their natural habitat to make way for cattle and livestock.
Dewatering of rivers and precious other water sources are in danger from grazing. Plant life — which feeds and sustains the wildlife in the region — is consumed instead by close-grazing livestock which decimates the careful ecological balance of the prairies.
The Bureau of Land Management needs to ban the use of federal lands for livestock grazing and instead protect the native wildlife and environment. When livestock and wildlife come into contact, it is the wildlife that always suffers.
With native wildlife, plant life, and water sources in danger and being destroyed, the use of federal land for livestock grazing needs to come to a stop immediately, as does the practice of killing animals — some of whom are endangered — to protect livestock invading the western range. The Bureau of Land Management must end livestock grazing on federal land and protect the precious land and wildlife in the West!
To the Director of the Bureau of Land Management:
The Bureau of Land Management exists in order "to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." That, unfortunately, is not what is taking place in the western United States due to the ongoing practice of livestock grazing on federal lands.
Native species of animals are being killed by the tens of thousands every year in order to protect privately owned livestock on public lands, despite the known risks that come with livestock husbandry in the wild. In 2016, once-endangered wolves were killed in Washington state for attacking livestock that ranchers let graze on federal land that is known to be wolf territory. Other species of animals being killed in the interest of livestock production with the use of federal land include bears, foxes, coyotes, and prairie dogs. Wildlife should not suffer and be slaughtered in their natural habitat to make way for cattle and livestock.
Grazing on public lands is cheaper than purchasing feed or grazing on private land, which is why the practice continues to this day. While cattle grazing on the open range may have once been necessary a century ago, it is now a threat to the beautiful landscapes, the natural plant life, the precious water supplies, and the native — and sometimes endangered — wildlife. The native land and its wildlife must come first before the priorities of livestock profits.
There are inherent risks that come with any type of farming, especially husbandry, and ranchers must assume the risks that go with having cattle in or near wolf and bear territory. To kill off wolves because they attack cattle while in their own territory, on public land, goes against both reason and sound conservation. These animals which are on the endangered species list or have just recently come back from the brink of being endangered must not be slaughtered and brought to extinction.
A ban of livestock grazing on federal lands would preserve the land and protect its wildlife for our future generations to have, admire, and enjoy. The open range of the western United States is far too valuable to be destroyed at the cost of livestock production which could more properly be managed on private land. The Sierra Club and many other organizations have for some time now called for an end to livestock grazing on public land, and that time is now.
Director, you and the Bureau of Land Management can protect our beautiful western range and stop the killing of wildlife by banning the use of federal land for livestock grazing. Privately owned livestock should graze and be fed on private land, not public land. Please put an end to grazing permits and grazing rights on public land as a whole, thereby preserving the land and stop the killing of wolves and other animals in their own habitat.