Originally published by Ambrook Research. Read the full piece here.

by Kathleen Wilcox

As we’ve previously reported, the U.S. government is shooting cattle from the air and leaving the meat to rot

In February, a New Mexico District Judge granted the U.S. Forest Service permission to gun down “approximately” 150 head of cattle in a remote, back-country area of New Mexico known as the Gila Wilderness. The motive was ecological: These cattle have demonstrably harmed Gila’s water supply, flora and fauna, and overall environment.

Both ranchers and animal activists are concerned about what they consider to be government overreach in the management of domestic and wild animals on public land. Beyond that, these uneasy bedfellows can’t agree on what the root problem is — or the best way to fix it.

No Easy Answers
Jennifer Best, Wildlife Law Program Director at Friends of Animals, is quick to say that while her organization is not involved in the case, she sees it as a symptom of a much larger, pervasive problem.

“We began to see a shift around 2017 in the way the federal government was approaching the treatment of animals,” Best said. “Both domesticated and wild … We have worked on several cases regarding the removal of wild horses from public land in favor of grazing cattle or sheep.”

And while Best said the government “should not be using cruel and unusual methods to shoot down animals on public land,” it should also “not be subsidizing the cattle and sheep on public lands.” While there are no easy solutions, Best said with an increased spotlight on the issue, she’s hopeful that advocacy groups and members of the public will take the government and other parties to task, ultimately “calling for more accountability.”

The spotlight has indeed been more intense of late. In addition to dozens of articles on the subject, and a flurry of press releases issued by environmental, ranching, and advocacy groups, even New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) spoke out on the subject.