January 7, 2015
Online Messenger #326
The ill-conceived Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover by armed militants last week has received widespread attention and spurred a national conversation regarding the value of federal public lands. It’s also turned the spotlight on the economic subsidies that keep livestock operations in business. And while WWP wishes that the Bundy clan would just go home, that spotlight is a welcome change from the typical neglect this issue receives from the media.
It’s a shame it takes the radical action of a group of malcontents to spur this conversation. With all the adverse effects of livestock grazing on public lands – predator slaughter, biodiversity decline, water quality impairment, invasive species increases, a huge economic deficit – the everyday abuses of this industry should be news enough. Instead, the media and political interest is only piqued when gun-toting seditionists occupy a refuge outbuilding; the occupation of 220 million acres of public lands by private livestock is just something we’ve come to expect and most accept as normal. Even some of our conservation allies distinguish among the “good” and “bad” ranchers, as if there is any right way to do a wrong thing.
The Bundy crew in Oregon has started to hint that they’ll go home when the lands are returned to the people. WWP won’t go home until the lands are returned to the wildlife who need it most.
We’re closely tracking the situation, providing information about public lands grazing to the press, and posting the best articles we find on our facebook page.
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