Bad Ranchers, Bad Cows

Cattle damaging the environment? Anyone with any sense would think that would be a given. As Vickery Eckhoff points out in this article, the media often turns to cattle owners themselves when accessing how much damage is done to the land. It is no wonder that the finger is so often pointed at the wild horses. Wild horses who are biologically better designed to live in the Western United States than the cattle that roam by the millions there today. ~ HfH

From: The Daily Pitchfork
By: Vickery Eckhoff

cattleA newly published study offers photographic proof of what ranchers have long denied: the extent to which livestock grazing damages public lands. (Part III of a series on ranchers in the media)

Livestock have been severely depleting public rangelands for decades. They do so by trampling vegetation, damaging soil, spreading invasive weeds, polluting water, increasing the likelihood of destructive fires, depriving native wildlife of forage and shelter and even contributing to global warming—all of which has been noted in study after study. Global studies. Peer-reviewed studies. Government studies. Lots of studies going back many years.

So why do people get up in arms about drilling for oil in the Arctic national wildlife refuge, demolished forests and polluted streams, but accept cattle trampling wildlife refuges and national parks, forests and grasslands as if that’s a productive use of our nation’s shared landscape?

Why does that damage—amounting to as much as a one billion dollar subsidy to a very small slice of the livestock industry every year—go unmentioned by a media that so eagerly condemns climate change deniers and proponents of fracking? (Read the Daily Pitchfork’s analysis of the destructive economics of public lands ranching here).


Everyone can recognize an oil-soaked sea bird, a clear-cut forest, a stream that’s been ruined by industrial pollutants and extreme drought and other destructive weather. But few Americans visit the nation’s public grass and forest lands; fewer still know what livestock damage actually looks like on them.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Daniel Cordero

    Bravo Vickery! One more time you hit the nail in the head. It is a shame this information is not hitting the mainstream media. It should be even taught at school. If we don’t set the record straight in the minds of people the myth will perdure till there is nothing left

    February 27, 2015
    • cheryl bush

      Yes indeed, ‘bravo Vickery’! Further more, ‘why’ do we have ‘environmental agencies’, ‘what’ exactly do they get paid for and how can these agencies be ‘disbanded’ seeing they DO NOT WORK?!!!

      February 28, 2015
  • MS

    Bravo Vickery — we must get this info out there at every turn, repeatedly, into the mainstream news — it’s the only way to inform everyone of the truth …. once again, the horses are innocent — they are NOT responsible for destroying the rangelands … after all, horses have been roaming these lands for how many centuries?

    February 28, 2015