Livestock Groups Support Legislation to Delist Gray Wolf

October 28, 2010 04:48 AM

The Public Lands Council (PLC), the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and 12 state livestock producer organizations sent letters in support of legislation in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to delist the Gray Wolf. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and U.S. Representative Chet Edwards (D-TX) introduced legislation that, according to the letters, would "reset the Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) priorities with respect to wolf management throughout the United States, ending unwarranted federal protection and eliminating failed attempts to create an unnaturally high wolf population in the Southwest and other parts of the United States."

"Since being listed, the wolf population in the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) and the Western Great Lakes Distinct Populations segments exceed the ESA Recovery Plan goals for delisting," Dustin Van Liew, PLC executive director and NCBA director of federal lands said. "Yet, rather than delisting the Gray Wolf, the FWS has caved to public pressure to provide unlimited protection for an indefinite length of time and has set new, higher population goals that make recovery unattainable. It is disappointing that FWS, like other current federal government departments, has put political ideology ahead of science and has failed to delist the Gray Wolf."

According to the letters, unlike many species listed under the ESA, wolves present unique challenges for multiple reasons, including posing a serious threat to other wildlife, humans and private property, especially livestock. According to the letter "confirmed livestock kills by wolves for the NRM region in 2009 reached nearly 1,000." The letter goes on to say that the confirmed kills are likely a fraction of the actual total as studies have shown that for every confirmed kill of a calf or lamb, there are likely seven to eight unconfirmed kills. Additionally, the FWS simply does not have the resources to manage continued listing under the ESA.

Van Liew continued, "The unwarranted continued listing of the Gray Wolf under the ESA is causing an additional and unnecessary hardship for ranchers at a time when they are already facing unprecedented challenges from the federal government. Wolf depredation threatens ranchers' livelihoods and rural economies that depend on a profitable agriculture industry. PLC, NCBA and ASI will continue to strongly support this legislation and fighting for commonsense, science-based policy solutions on behalf of livestock producers across the nation."

Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

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