I am not an alarmist and I try to be objective when new ideas or issues are introduced. Especially since there seem to be more changes in our lives the longer we live.
However, there are some things happening in our country that don't seem to get media attention yet can have some far reaching ramifications to life styles. The American Sheep Industry Association Weekly Newsletter arrived today (August 21, 2009) with items that bothered me. I hope you will become more aware of these types of things. With the permission of ASI, I am quoting part of a couple of these items.
(1) "Conservationists won a battle with the federal government over information they say will help improve a program aimed at returning the Mexican gray wolf to the Southwest.
A judge ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services (WS) to release information on the locations of conflicts between livestock and the Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico and Arizona.
WS turned over the documents but not information that would have shown the specific locations of livestock-wolf conflicts. The agency cited concerns for landowner privacy. Reprinted in part from firstamendmentcenter.org "
(my edit: Why should you care? Local governments have lost control to protect their residents, the residents have lost their privacy along with earlier losses of their rights to protect their farm animals.)
(2) "Every spring, farmers in Chandler and Casa Grande, Ariz., move thousands of sheep out of the heat into northern Arizona for the summer and return them south in the fall. Some sheep are trucked part way, others are herded.
Now, an environmental group, the Western Watersheds Project, is suing to block their route, charging that herding the sheep through forests threatens the wild bighorn sheep. The anti-livestock group has filed a federal court lawsuit in Phoenix challenging a decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to allow domestic sheep to run across two forests. "
(my edit: The environmental group claim the bighorn sheep will mix with the domestic sheep and possibly catch disease and the domestic sheep will eat too much and create a food shortage for the bighorn sheep.)
"Mark Pedersen, a manager at Sheep Springs, said environmentalists are comparing apples and oranges. He said their data comes from intermingling of bighorns and domestic sheep in the same pastures over months at a time. In contrast, he said, his sheep are in a bighorn area only a couple of days, the domestic sheep are vaccinated, are kept in a tight band and bighorns do not venture into the herd.
He pays the USFS every year for a permit to trail his sheep through the forest.
"The sheep are staying in a tight band with bells on them; there are dogs and a herder riding a horse," Pedersen said. "You can't tell me that wild bighorn sheep are going to run down and run into your (domestic) sheep. It's just highly unlikely."
Environmentalists are not convinced and want the USFS to do an environmental impact study. USFS spokeswoman Paige Rockett said a study has begun.
Meanwhile, the anti-livestock group is considering filing a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the sheep run this fall. Reprinted in part from The Arizona Republic "
With the economy still tight, I find it hard to believe common sense couldn't settle this faster and cheaper than a federal government study. Also I have read studies in the past reporting how the domestic sheep help protect forests by reducing undergrowth which feed forest fires, at the same time improving the ground with their droppings.
These may seem like little things and far removed from you but there are folks who do not believe we should "own" animals for meat or fiber. In my 20+ years of raising sheep and being aware of these 'little' things I see how the organized groups are winning many little battles and I fear the end of this war.