Rocky Barker: After wolf attacks, rancher regrets time in middle ground

Published: September 2, 2013
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By ROCKY BARKER — Idaho Statesman

Nature was hard on Idaho ranchers in August.

First, the Pony and Elk Complex fires in the Mountain Home area killed more than 250 cows, according to some firefighter estimates. The Elk Complex Fire also killed about 100 head of sheep, just about the time they were ready to go to market, state officials said.

Meanwhile, 176 sheep died on the west slope of the Tetons in Idaho when wolves panicked them and they ran over a ridgeline and were trampled or suffocated. The sheep were part of a 2,400-head band owned by the Siddoway Sheep Co., grazing in the area of Fogg Hill near Tetonia.

Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves were the culprits, based on eyewitnesses, bite marks and tracks. At about $200 dollars a head, the Siddoway’s loss is about $35,000.

For Cindy Siddoway, the wife of Idaho Sen. Jeff Siddoway, this incident and another wolf attack on their flocks last week are the latest in a long string of losses, personal attacks and death threats that have made wolf reintroduction a nightmare.

“It’s painful,” she said.

Siddoway, who often was a voice for working across the philosophical divide, remembers all the meetings and all the political discussion on wolves. She always opposed reintroduction, but tried to find common ground in the 1990s with its main advocate, Hank Fischer, the Northern Rockies Representative of Defenders of Wildlife.

Today, she doesn’t blame the animal-rights groups who are trying to stop wolf hunting. She doesn’t target the people who were so intransigent about keeping wolves on the endangered species list that Congress stepped in. She blames Fischer, who left Defenders and often was critical when the group did not live up to his commitments.

“I’m angry with Hank Fischer and Defenders of Wildlife,” Siddoway said. “I wish we would have fought harder in the first place.

“You learn lessons from these experiences.”

Fischer spoke with Siddoway after my blog on this issue ran last week. He now works for the National Wildlife Federation and helped negotiate a grazing retirement for the Siddoways that helped them reorganize their operations several years ago.

It was one of 20 agreements reached between conservation groups and ranchers that have reduced conflict. He started Defenders’ compensation program, which paid more than a half-million dollars to ranchers over its 25-year life.

He’s troubled that Cindy blames him, but he’s more concerned that “a reasonable, intelligent person like Cindy” regrets her past efforts to seek common ground.

“I fear such a reaction from an opinion leader like Cindy only takes our local politics to a place similar to what we’re seeing today in the U.S. Congress, where people on the extremes have the most traction,” Fischer said. “Balancing wildlife needs with human needs is a never-ending challenge that can frustrate all parties.”

He’s not giving up, and I hope Cindy Siddoway doesn’t, either.

Rocky Barker: 377-6484

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/09/02/2738613/after-wolf-attacks-rancher-regrets.html#storylink=cpy

Categories: Endangered Species, Uncategorized, Wolves | Leave a comment

Mexican Wolf Update AZ G&F 8-2013

Endangered Species Updates
August 12, 2013

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News

Monthly Status Report: July 1-31, 2013

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup.

This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of July 2013, the collared population consisted of 43 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 12 packs and four single wolves.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF1042, m1275, f1280 and f1289)
Throughout July, the IFT located these wolves in their traditional territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT has monitored this pack with trail cameras, observing six pups on July 24. During July, the IFT located m1277 apart from other pack members in the northeast portion of the GNF and now consider it to be a single wolf.

Elk Horn Pack (collared AM1287 and F1294)
In July, the IFT located these wolves traveling in the northeast portion of the ASNF in Arizona. The IFT has no evidence these wolves have a den or produced pups.

Paradise Pack (collared AM795 and AF1056)
In July, the IFT located AM795 and AF1056 using their traditional territory in the northern portion of the ASNF and the FAIR. The IFT has no evidence the Paradise Pack produced pups this year. On July 31, WS personnel investigated a dead calf and confirmed it as being killed by wolves. They assigned the depredation to the Paradise Pack, which was located in the area on July 30.

Rim (collared AM1107 and f1305)
On July 5, the IFT received a report that AM1107 was observed limping. On July 6, the IFT observed AM1107 and confirmed it had an injured left front foot. A food cache was set up and maintained for two weeks. AM1107 used the cache, has since apparently recovered from the injury and is traveling widely again with f1305. The two wolves continue to utilize the south-central portion of the ASNF and the SCAR. There is no evidence they produced pups this year. Note that this pair will not be included in the overall pack summary above until they have been documented together for at least three months.

ON THE FAIR:

Maverick Pack (collared m1290 and f1291)
During July, the IFT located m1290 and f1291 on the FAIR. The IFT still has not located AM1183 due its nonfunctioning telemetry collar. AM1183 is now considered fate unknown.

Tsay-o-Ah Pack (collared AM1253 and f1283)
During July, the IFT located AM1253 and f1283 on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Canyon Creek Pack (collared M1252 and F1246)
In July, these wolves were located traveling together in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT has not documented any pups with this pack this year.

Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM992, AF923, M1293 and f1278)
Throughout July, the IFT located this pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented that the pack produced at least four pups. Yearling f1278 traveled separately from the Dark Canyon Pack for most of July, but has recently returned. When not traveling with the Dark Canyon Pack, f1278 has been located traveling with M1244 in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1158, AF1212, M1276, m1274, f1281 and f1295)
During July, the IFT located these wolves in the northwest portion of the GNF. The IFT documented denning behavior with this pack and has maintained a food cache to help alleviate any depredation issues. Throughout July, f1281 and f1295 were periodically located separate from AM1158 and AF1212. The IFT documented four pups with the Fox Mountain Pack by trail camera. On July 14, WS personnel investigated two dead calves near Toriette, New Mexico. The depredation was assigned to members of the Fox Mountain Pack.

Luna Pack (collared AM1155, AF1115, m1284, m1285 and m1286)
In July, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has confirmed the Luna Pack produced pups this year.

Prieto Pack (collared F1251)
Throughout July, the IFT located this wolf in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT continues to document the presence of an uncollared wolf traveling with F1251 by trail camera. The IFT has maintained a food cache for the Prieto Pack and attempted to trap the uncollared wolf at the beginning of July with no success. The IFT has documented denning behavior in this pack.

San Mateo Pack (collared AM1157, AF903, M1249, m1282 and f1327)
On July 1, the IFT trapped and collared a yearling wolf from the San Mateo Pack, designating it f1327. The San Mateo Pack continued to use its traditional territory in the northern portion of the GNF. No denning behavior has been documented. The IFT has initiated trapping to replace collars on AM1157 and AF903.

Willow Springs Pack (collared M1185 and F1279)
Throughout July, the IFT located these wolves in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT has documented denning behavior and confirmed the presence of pups in this pack.

M1240 (collared)
Throughout July, the IFT located M1240 primarily in the central portion of the GNF.

M1244 (collared)
In July, the IFT located this wolf traveling in the central portion of the GNF, north of the Gila Wilderness. M1244 has been located with f1278 from the Dark Canyon Pack in July.

m1277 (collared)
During July, the IFT has located m1277 separate from its natal pack and now consider it a single wolf. Throughout July,
m1277 has traveled the northeastern portion of the GNF.

M1296 (collared)
During July, the IFT located M1296 traveling in the northeastern portion of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

No significant activity to report this month.

INCIDENTS

During July, WS personnel investigated seven livestock depredation incidents and one nuisance report in the BRWRA.

On July 5, WS personnel investigated an incident where a dog was attacked by a wolf. The attack was observed, and no collar was seen on the wolf. They confirmed the incident and assigned it to an uncollared wolf.

On July 5, WS personnel investigated a dead calf New Mexico. Their investigation concluded that the cause of death was unknown.

On July 9, WS personnel investigated a dead heifer in New Mexico and confirmed it as a wolf kill. The depredation was assigned to uncollared wolves.

On July 9, WS personnel investigated a dead cow northeast of St. Johns, Arizona, and determined it was not killed by wolves.

On July 10, WS personnel investigated a dead calf near Greens Peak, Arizona, and confirmed it as a wolf kill. The incident was assigned to uncollared wolves.

On July 14, WS personnel investigated two dead calves near Toriette, New Mexico. They determined the calves were killed by wolves. The depredations have been classified as one incident and assigned to members of the Fox Mountain Pack.

On July 28, WS personnel investigated a dead cow near Toriette, New Mexico, and determined the cause of death to be a lightning strike.

On July 31, WS personnel investigated a dead cow near Greens Peak, Arizona. They confirmed the depredation as a wolf kill and assigned to the Paradise Pack.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

No significant activity to report this month.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On July 11 and 12, FWS personnel participated in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan Annual Meeting and Reunion de Lobo Mexicano in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, hosted by El Centro Ecologico del Estrada de Sonora (CEES).

On July 19 and 20, the IFT gave presentations on the status of the Mexican wolf reintroduction at the Green Fire Hike in Arizona.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

No significant activity this month.

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD’s programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as listed above.

Categories: Endangered Species, Wolves | Leave a comment

Navajo Nation Supports Horse Slaughter

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/navajo-nation-supports-nm-horse-slaughterhouse-19830257

By JERI CLAUSING Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. July 31, 2013 (AP)

The Navajo Nation is jumping into the emotional and divisive fray over a return to domestic horse slaughter, drafting a letter to federal officials in support of a New Mexico company’s plan to begin exporting horse meat next week.

The tribe’s support for Valley Meat Co. comes one week after Robert Redford and former Gov. Bill Richardson joined the opposite side of the debate, saying, among other reasons, that they were “standing with Native American leaders” to protect cultural values.

But Erny Zah, spokesman for Navajo President Ben Shelly, said Wednesday that the nation’s largest Indian reservation can no longer support the estimated 75,000 feral horses that are drinking wells dry and causing ecological damage to the drought-stricken range.

“It’s a sensitive subject to begin with because horses are considered sacred animals, so you just can’t go out and euthanize them,” Zah said. “That would go too far against cultural conditions. At the same time we have a bunch of horses that no one is caring for, so it’s a delicate balance.”

Because of the horse overpopulation, the tribe already is rounding up and selling wild horses, Zah said. Some of those, he said, end up being shipped to Mexico.

Supporters of a return to domestic horse slaughter argue it is a more humane solution than shipping unhealthy and starving animals to facilities south of the border for slaughter under unregulated and often cruel circumstances.

The National Congress of American Indians, representing tribes across the country, is also lobbying in support of Valley Meat Co., saying overgrazing by feral horses is causing serious environmental and ecological damage.

On Monday, Valley Meat in Roswell and another recently approved horse slaughterhouse in Iowa are scheduled to become the first facilities in the country to legally slaughter horses since Congress effectively banned the practice seven years ago. That ban was lifted in 2011.

Apparent arsonists hit Valley Meat Co. over the weekend, damaging the company’s refrigeration system. Owner Rick De Los Santo said he can’t operate without it, but he won’t know until Friday how extensive the damage is and whether it can be fixed by Monday.

De Los Santos said his family and his business have been the target of threats over the past year as Valley Meat has fought the federal government for permission to operate.

Also Friday, a federal judge in Albuquerque is holding a hearing on a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States and other groups who contend that the Department of Agriculture failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews before issuing permits to slaughter horses.

The USDA also opposes horse slaughter. But after being sued by Valley Meat Co. for failing to act on its application, the agency said it was obligated to issue the permits under current law. However, the agency is lobbying for a ban on horse slaughter.

Meat from the slaughterhouses would be shipped to some countries for human consumption and for use as zoo and other animal food.

Categories: Horse Slaughter | 2 Comments

USFWS has initiated comments on the proposed new Mexican wolf rule and reclassification proposal. .

NEPA Planning: 2013

We are preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and the Implementation of a Management Plan. We published a Proposed Rule (Proposed Revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf) for the Mexican wolf non-essential experimental population in Arizona and New Mexico. This action was taken in coordination with our proposed rule, published on the same date in the Federal Register, to list the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies and delist the gray wolf (Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Maintaining Protections for the Mexican Wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) by Listing It as Endangered). We published the proposed 10(j) rule to associate the nonessential experimental population of Mexican wolves with the Mexican wolf subspecies (Canis lupus baileyi) listing, if finalized, rather than with the listing of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) at the species level and because we are considering changes to the current geographic boundaries and management regulations established for the experimental population of Mexican wolves under the 1998 Final Rule. The proposed 10(j) rule, together with the proposed implementation of a management plan for Mexican wolves in areas of Arizona and New Mexico external to the MWEPA forms the basis of the Proposed Action of our EIS.

Our Proposed Action would (1) modify the geographic boundaries established for the Mexican wolf reintroduction in the 1998 Final Rule; (2) modify the management regulations established in the 1998 Final Rule which govern the release, translocation, natural dispersal, and take of Mexican wolves, and; (3) implement a management plan for Mexican wolves for those areas of Arizona and New Mexico that are external to the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA). Five alternatives, including the Proposed Action and No Action Alternatives, are considered by us in this Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

A draft EIS will be published followed by a final EIS, the Record of Decision and a final 10(j) rule.

Proposed 10J Rule

Categories: Endangered Species, Federal Regulatory Policy, Wolves | Leave a comment

Service Seeks Comments on Revised Jaguar Critical Habitat Proposal, Dr aft Economic Analysis and Draft Environmental Assessment

Southwest Region (Arizona ● New Mexico ● Oklahoma ●Texas)
www.fws.gov/southwest/
For Release:
July 1, 2013
Contacts:Steve Spangle,Steve_Spangle@fws.gov, (602) 242-210 ext. 244
Service Seeks Comments on Revised Jaguar Critical Habitat Proposal,
Draft Economic Analysis and Draft Environmental Assessment
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period for its
proposed designation of critical habitat for the jaguar

Comments must be received
or postmarked on or before
August 9, 2013

Categories: Endangered Species, Jaguar | Leave a comment

MICHAEL SWICKARD: Meat-packing is more humane for unwanted horses

http://www.rrobserver.com/opinion/columns/article_9bb12d2e-f3e8-11e2-b327-001a4bcf887a.html

MICHAEL SWICKARD: Meat-packing is more humane for unwanted horses
Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:00 pm

Especially out West, horses have a special place in our lives. Personally, any day I get horse snot on me is a good day. Along with my love of horses comes a sense of duty. This includes endorsing the idea of a horsemeat packing facility in Roswell.
It is not my first choice to send viable horses to the packers, but right now in America there are about 200,000 unwanted horses. They will die one of three deaths: packers, left to die by the side of the road, or in Mexico where who knows how humane they will be treated.
The reason for this glut involves the bad economy along with the skyrocketing cost of feed. If I had my way, I would care for all of them. But a look at my bank account tells me it is not possible.
Society has turned its back on the plight of the horses for a number of years. Several years ago, Congress pulled the funding of the horsemeat packing facilities around the nation. The politicians felt righteous. They did not know that they made things much worse for unwanted horses. The horses had to be meat packed in Mexico without any guarantee of humane treatment.
Now there is a proposed horsemeat-packing facility in Roswell. This has people outraged. They have convinced the media to use the word “slaughter” when meat-packing is done with horses rather than beef.
The headlines decry the slaughter of horses. It is a perfect opportunity for politicians to imitate the south end of a northbound horse. It is not slaughter; it is meat packing. The use of the word “slaughter” is political.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to save the hundreds of thousands of unwanted horses. This is like having to put down unwanted dogs and cats. No one wants to do it, but it must be done because there is no way to care for the millions of unwanted pets.
The only thing worse is to leave them on their own to perish in horrible conditions. It is likewise with the unwanted horses. Some horses are being abandoned like dogs and cats are abandoned, but our society has no way of dealing with the horses.
So, thousands upon thousands of horses will die in Roswell or they will die of malnourishment or they will be meat packed in Mexico. No amount of wishing and hoping will change this fact. The only question is, if there is going to be any positive in the death of the horses? Could something good come of the death of a horse? Well, there is lots of valuable meat.
Where is the meat going? It will not be consumed by Americans. But there is something Americans love. They love to go to zoos to look at lions and tigers. Horsemeat is used by zoos as part of the large cat diet.
The budgets of zoos are stretched so horsemeat is great because beef costs much more. So for everyone who does not want any horsemeat packing, go protest the zoos since that is the end of the line for the horses.
I have a friend who was almost arrested because of these same kinds of know-nothing do-gooders. One of them spotted a horse on my friend’s ranch and called the authorities. A deputy sheriff told my friend that he was there to arrest him for horse cruelty. “Just look at that horse,” the deputy said.
My friend was incredulous. Luckily a brand inspector was there and said to the deputy, “Do you know how old that horse is?”
The deputy had no idea. The horse was 38 years old and still alive because he was my friend’s first great horse and my friend decided to let him live to the end of his life.
Incidentally, 38 in horse years is about 130 for humans. No wonder the horse looked bad. Think of how 115-year-old humans look.
The meat packing facility in Roswell is a better way to deal with unwanted horses. The horses will die either way.
We can be humane or we can condemn horses to needless suffering. And our zoos do need meat.
(Dr. Michael Swickard hosts the syndicated radio talk show “News New Mexico” from 6-9 a.m. Monday through Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. Email:michael@swickard.com.)

Categories: Federal Regulatory Policy | Leave a comment

Witnesses: Federal Land & Water Grabs Must STOP

National Blueways Order an Assault on Economy & Property Rights

West Plains, M.O. – Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held a field hearing in West Plains, Missouri on “Stopping Federal Land and Water Grabs: Protecting Property Rights from Washington, DC Edicts.” The hearing examined the harmful effects of the Obama Administration’s National Blueways Order that imposes a unilateral federal watershed designation process with questionable legal authorities, little to no community input, and a lack of transparency.

“The principle focus of today’s hearing is the fever-dream of leftist environmental groups in conjunction with the Interior Department to declare vast watersheds as ‘National Blueways.’ As we review Obama Administration documents, we discover that the so-called rewards for the White River included imposing buffer zones, seizing almost 300,000 acres of land, forcing conservation plans on the region’s farms, and banning human activity from flood plains,” said Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04). “To date, the Obama Administration has met the Subcommittee’s requests for more information on the Interior Department’s Blueways program with silence. The Congress and the American people are entitled to forthright answers from this administration, NOT stonewalling. This is particularly urgent in light of the avowed intention by the program’s supporters to turn their sights on all 3.5 million miles of American streams and rivers.”

“This ‘Blueways’ system is just another symptom of the larger disease that plagues the current administration in Washington DC. Un-elected, un-accountable bureaucrats working in secret are making sweeping changes that would dramatically affect our district,” said Rep. Jason Smith (MO-08). “The National Blueways system was not the first time that the federal government tried to take away our property rights, and it will not be the last. A vigilant, well-informed citizenry is essential to American democracy. Our government was created by the people, for the people, and of the people – IT SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THOSE PEOPLE. Unelected bureaucrats in Washington DC don’t know how important property rights and access to these waterways is to our district, and they certainly don’t know how best to manage them.”

Communities in the White River Watershed have experienced the heavy hand of the federal government’s National Blueways Order. On January 9, 2013, the Obama Administration designated the White River Watershed, an area encompassing 60 counties and over 700 miles of mainstream river along the Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas border, as a National Blueway. This arbitrary designation was never open to public comment and review and if enacted would cause economic harm to the area and infringe on property rights.

Amid growing outrage and opposition from members of Congress and local stakeholders, the Obama Administration withdrew its designation of the White River Watershed as a National Blueway on July 3, 2013. Just days later at a House Natural Resources Full Committee oversight hearing, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the National Blueways Program was on “pause.” Even with these developments, there is still growing concern that the White River Blueway designation could still be resurrected in some fashion.

Witnesses at the hearing reacted harshly to the Interior Department’s arbitrary and secretive designation of the White River Watershed as a National Blueway and shared how this designation would negatively affect their comminutes:

“We saw unelected federal bureaucrats threaten our way of life with the proposed Blueways designation. Especially offensive to me is the fact this decision was made by the United States Department of the Interior with no input or involvement from local stakeholders, nor with any approval or oversight from Congress. This appalling lack of transparency and accountability would have produced a policy that dramatically infringed upon the rights of property owners, done irreversible damage to the economies of our communities, and greatly impaired our ability to properly manage and conserve our lands, which is something we have done successfully for generations without the assistance of the federal government.” – Rep. Robert Ross, Missouri House of Representatives, District 142

“I am deeply concerned by the fact that while this ‘Blueways’ designation affects over one million people in two states, this was not brought to the public’s attention until just a few weeks ago. Not only was the pubic not informed, neither were the local, county, state or federal elected officials who represent this area. Agriculture is Missouri’s number one industry and I have grave concerns that this Blueways designation would cause additional and unnecessary burdens through regulation which could be detrimental to our farmer’s livelihoods. This designation is seen as a direct threat to our property rights.” – Rep. Sonya Murray Anderson, Missouri House of Representatives, District 131

“Even a small change to the existing rules and regulations, that the people who live in these counties have to live with, will cause an economic tipping point to be reached. Financially the Federal Government, who pay no property taxes, moves in and establishes more draconian rules and regulations that do not enhance the biosphere of this environment but only placates the environmental activist, that as a rule know nothing about our area. Please stop hiding behind artfully worded Blue Way plans, ‘Scenic Riverways General Management Plan’, ‘Clean Stream Acts’, ‘Wilderness Area’ plans, and historical land acts.” – Thomas B. Cox, Landowner, Current River Watershed

“There are far too many specific problems and concerns within the Blueway designation document for me to address. It was clear that it was written from a third party perspective that had an environmental fantasy vision separate and apart from the history of the area, the economic and social realities of the region, and the property owners, farmers, businesses, cities, towns, counties and states that own this area. This was, and still is, repugnant.” – State Senator Missy Thomas Irvin, Assistant President Pro Tempore, Arkansas State Senate, District 18

“While the government has withdrawn this Blueway initiative we are quite certain that they will regroup and devise a plan by a different name to accomplish their hidden agenda! It is our intent to band together with other groups in Missouri and Arkansas to oppose the continued attacks on our property rights and personal freedoms. American business owners, land owners and recreators should never have to live in fear that their government will on a whim grab their land. We need stronger protections in the law from this abuse. We need better reform of the regulations to prevent this overreach.” – Jerry King, Voice of the Ozarks

The Department of the Interior was invited to testify at today’s hearing but declined to attend.
###

NaturalResources.house.gov

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Welcome to The Endangered Working Cattleman.

Our goal is to provide a place where issues and challenges to the ranching lifestyle and pastoral culture of the southwest will be aired and discussed.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USFWS to hold public meeting on jaguar critical habitat on July 30

July 29, 2013

USFWS to hold public meeting on jaguar critical habitat on July 30
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a public information session and public hearing on the proposal to designate critical habitat for jaguars on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 in Sierra Vista.

The meeting will be held at Buena High School Performing Arts Center at 5225 Buena School Blvd., Sierra Vista. The informational portion of the meeting will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and the public hearing will occur from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

In 2012, the Arizona Game and Fish Department submitted comments to the Service on the jaguar critical habitat proposal. Because lands in Arizona and New Mexico make up less than one percent of the species’ historic range and are not essential to the conservation of the species, the department has asked that the proposal be withdrawn.

Conservation of the species is entirely reliant on activities in the jaguar’s primary habitat of Central and South America to be successful. The six areas identified as proposed jaguar critical habitat in Arizona already offer protection to the species through the Endangered Species Act. The vast majority of the proposed critical habitat area is public land that is already under federal management jurisdiction or federally-approved conservation plans.

Game and Fish believes that the unwarranted designation of critical habitat for jaguars would likely result in denial of access to lands for jaguar conservation and research efforts; fewer observations of jaguars being reported; and, less timely sighting reports from people that do choose to report a jaguar.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD’s programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as listed above.
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Categories: Endangered Species, Federal Regulatory Policy | 1 Comment

Owner of horse slaughter plant says politicians should pony up

Businessman under siege

by Milan Simonich / http://www.nmcapitolreport.com
It’s not often that President Obama, Gov. Susana Martinez and former governor Bill Richardson are on the same side of a front-page issue.
They are just some of the politicians, celebrities and ordinary Joes who have bludgeoned a New Mexico business, hoping to destroy it before it can issue a single paycheck.
Martinez opposes Valley Meat Co. near Roswell, which wants to slaughter horses and sell the meat to grocers and restaurants in Europe. Richardson and his pal, actor Robert Redford, also are against the plant. And Obama wants to again outlaw horse plants in America, reinstating a federal prohibition from 2006.
Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat, said the political pressures on his company were so immense that it probably would never open.
“We’re ready to go, but it’s very doubtful now,” he said in an interview.
De Los Santos, 53, said it hurt to be treated as a public enemy. The way he and his company have been vilified, a newcomer to the state might believe that he planned to burn down orphanages or open a meth lab.
“I believe it’s all for campaign contributions,” he said of the drumbeat of opposition. “These politicians have the resources they need. We’re trying to make a living.”
De Los Santos formerly slaughtered cattle. He says relentless drought and intense competition from bigger companies in Texas have left him too few cows to make a living. But horses are abundant and unwanted. He saw Congress’ renewal of horse-slaughter plants in America as his chance to re-invent a business that would employ a few dozen people.
Charles Graham, executive director of a horse rescue operation called Walkin’ N Circles Ranch, is not ready to endorse De Los Santos’ business. But Graham says critics such as Obama and Martinez have not offered any solutions.
Graham stables 85 horses at the ranch in Stanley. Eleven others have been placed in foster ranches. His operation, sustained by donations and fundraising, cannot afford to feed more horses.
Graham had a few words for De Los Santos’ famous foes.
“We haven’t received a check from Mr. Redford or Bill Richardson,” he said.
Opponents of horse slaughter may not understand that the state and nation have an equine population crisis, Graham said.
Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that America has shipped about 110,000 horses annually to slaughter plants in Mexico since 2006, when the prohibition began. Another 60,000 a year went to plants in Canada and about 9,000 annually were ferried to Japan.
Graham says as many as 70,000 abandoned or wild horses live on the Navajo Nation alone. Without slaughter plants, the population of unwanted horses in New Mexico would swell to between 600,000 and 700,000 in five years, said Graham, raised on a ranch in Catron County.
“We’re just going in a circle, like a whirlpool. We’re not solving the problem,” he said.
Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, said ranchers often find horse carcasses on their land. Somebody no longer could care for his horse, so he simply left it to die and be buried by a stranger.
“We absolutely support the horse slaughter plant. We have so many unwanted horses in New Mexico,” Cowan said.
Why have politicians as different as Martinez and Richardson fought De Los Santos’ nascent business? Cowan has a theory.
“They don’t have to deal with the problem. They’re emotional, rather than fact-based,” she said.
De Los Santos said politicians were ingratiating themselves with the Humane Society of the United States and other organizations, but those alliances would not save one abandoned horse from starvation.
“I hope all these politicians who have come out against us will open shelters for horses — put their money where their mouth is,” he said.

Milan Simonich writes about New Mexico politics and government from the Santa Fe Bureau for the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Partnership

Categories: Federal Regulatory Policy, Horse Slaughter | Leave a comment