Benefits of Removing Livestock from Rangelands to Sequester Carbon

f623b855-d229-4a32-abb2-770f8b14a604George Wuerthner:  “Rangelands make up a large proportion of the Earth’s surface, and the soils hold a significant amount of sequestered carbon. Rangelands are estimated to contain more than one-third of the world’s above and below ground carbon reserves.[i] As a consequence, there is interest in determining the potential for soil carbon sequestration in rangeland soils, and whether livestock grazing helps or hinders this sequestration.

“Given the existing condition of many rangelands, the biggest concern is maintaining current carbon, and avoiding losses through soil erosion, degradation of plant productivity and other changes that lead to soil carbon losses. In other words, the best way to reduce CO2 emissions from rangelands globally is to reduce rangeland degradation. Since livestock grazing is frequently the major source of rangeland degradation, a reduction in grazing pressure, can in many ecosystems, potentially preserve more soil carbon”  Source:

GR:  Excellent article.  Cites evidence showing that livestock grazing reduces soil CO2.  Moreover, domestic grazers remove plants that wildlife need, and they damage soil microorganisms that enrich and stabilize the soil and help block weed invasions.

Eating Tilapia is Worse Than Eating Bacon – Dr Axe

Fish is a low fat, high protein food that has a range of health benefits. However, given what we know of fish and its sources today, that’s not always true.


GR:  Like beef, chicken and pork, farmed fish raised on an unnatural diet of grain is low in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and high in unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids.  I don’t think this is worse than bacon, but farmed tilapia should be eaten rarely if at all.

There is more at stake here than human health.  Animal farms concentrate animal wastes that pollute soils and nearby streams.  In addition to nitrates, the wastes contain antibiotics and other drugs used to prevent disease and accelerate growth.  As animal farms grow to keep supplying meat to the growing human population, the environmental impact becomes massive.  So, skip the tilapia and other farmed animals. Get your protein from organically grown soybeans.

Study: Livestock Grazing on Public Lands Cost Taxpayers $1 Billion Over Past Decade

cattleRanchers I’ve known receive public funds to build livestock management facilities on public lands. When ranchers do the work themselves, the income can equal income from cattle sales. Only the ranchers benefit from the facilities. At the same time, the ranchers complain about government regulations. They threaten to take their guns to town, and sometimes they do go armed to meetings with BLM and FS managers.

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Information supplied by The Center for Biological Diversity

BLM’s Welfare Ranching Bedfellows come with a huge price tag…

WASHINGTON— A new analysis  finds U.S. taxpayers have lost more than $1 billion over the past decade on a program that allows cows and sheep to graze on public land. Last year alone taxpayers lost $125 million in grazing subsidies on federal land. Had the federal government charged fees similar to grazing rates on non-irrigated private land, the program would have made $261 million a year on average rather than operate at a staggering loss, the analysis finds.

Click Image to Download Full Report Click Image to Download Full Report

The study, Costs and Consequences: The Real Price of Livestock Grazing on America’s Public Lands, comes as the Obama administration prepares Friday to announce grazing fees for the upcoming year on 229 million acres of publicly owned land, most of it in the West. The…

View original post 444 more words

Wild Horses a Problem for Ranchers? Wolves Could Fix That

I agree with Mr. Conniff’s response that predators could control the horse problem. First, the cattle have to go. The cattle use range resources that should support pronghorn and other wildlife species.
Cattle are probably as adapted to predators as other species, but as a preferred species, cattle numbers are artificially high. The result is that cattle, and more recently horses, have overused the range and eliminated other species.
Analysts report that cattle numbers on the ranges have been declining, and currently represent a tiny fraction of the national economy. No significant number of jobs or other economic or political issues would be impacted if we shutdown cattle ranching. Perhaps it’s time that we hired ranchers to become conservationists and work to maintain the range for wildlife. The ranchers I’ve met claim to know and care for the land. So why not suspend cattle grazing on the public lands and hire the ranchers as stewards of the land. This would give ranchers stable income, and it would benefit the national economy.

strange behaviors

wild_horses_0Today’s New York Times has a report on the wild horse population boom in the American West, and for once, I agree with the ranchers:  Bizarre federal policies over the last 40 years have caused wild horses to run out of control, causing rampant overgrazing while also running up out-of-control costs (currently $50 million a year) to house horses that have been taken off the land, but can’t be euthanized.

The federal policies are the result of misguided sentimental attitudes about a favored species, the same sort of attitudes that cause city people to feed feral cats in parks that would otherwise be havens for wildlife. If animal rights activists want to protect excess horses from being euthanized, or sold for meat, they should be picking up that $50 million cost of housing them, not taxpayers.

And here’s an idea for the ranchers: If you want to keep down the…

View original post 376 more words

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret–Livestock Impacts

Livestock Impacts

GR:  The Earth could get along just fine without us.  If anyone can think of an ecosystem function that requires our presence, I would like to hear about it.  Circumstantial and fossil evidence indicates that even when human numbers were small, the fires, animal drives, and plant preferences had harmful effects.  Ecosystem resilience absorbed early human impacts, but now with more than seven billion of us, the impacts are simply overwhelming earth ecosystems. Livestock?  Earth could tolerate a few domestic beasts, but not the billions we have now.  Watch the video.

The following By Read on The Wildlife News

“The movie goes far beyond the obvious impacts of livestock production such as overgrazing of rangelands, and talks about everything from water pollution (from manure) to energy use in the production of meat to the mistreatment of meat producing animals by humans. Overall it makes a very cogent and articulate argument against meat/dairy consumption.

“They even take on Alan Savory, advocate of more livestock production as a means of reducing global warming, pointing out that methane production from domestic animals is one of the largest contributors to warming climate, and vastly exceeds any ability of grazed grassland ecosystems to absorb more carbon.

“The video is full of facts illustrated with great graphs like how many more gallons of water or the amount of land required in the production of a hamburger vs. a veggie burger that will make it easy to understand why livestock are one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity and ecosystems” By


BLM, Cattle, Wild Horses, and Biodiversity on Western U. S. Ranges

BLM and Biodiversity on Public Lands

Mustang photo by John Harwood

GR:  The U. S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) protects livestock ranching interests while seeking to balance other public land uses. Public interest has forced BLM to remove and board cattle-competing wild horses and burros instead of thinning them. Today, BLM is boarding almost 50,000 horses and burros and the number is increasing. For 2013, the total cost was $7.8 million.

I love horses.  As an advocate for non-human animal rights and species equity, I also care about the other species sharing the public lands. Are we sacrificing vegetation, soil, and biodiversity in the western U. S. to protect cattle?  In consideration of the general decline of birds, frogs, insects, mammals, and turtles, is it time to give the BLM a new mandate?  Should we direct the BLM to give its highest priority to protecting diversity?
There is no end in sight for the cattle/wild-horse conflict.  According to Wild Hoofbeats, the BLM is planning a heavy 2014 Roundup Schedule for the Red Desert of Wyoming (Source for the following:  Wild Hoofbeats).

Mares rounded up in Salt Wells Creek in December 2013

“The BLM has finally released its roundup schedule for 2014:  On this schedule are three roundups in Wyoming:

  1. Adobe Town 8/20 – 8/24, plan to remove 177 wild horses
  2. Salt Wells Creek 8/24 – 8-28, plan to remove 228 wild horses
  3. Great Divide Basin 8/28 – 9/10,  plan to remove 541 wild horses

“This is despite having just rounded up and removed 586 wild horses from Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town in December 2013.

“Looking at the numbers provided by the BLM, Great Divide Basin will be virtually zeroed out after this roundup and removal. The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the area is 415-600 wild horses. At their May 2013 count they said there were 439 horses and they estimated that there would be 579 in the summer of 2014.  Removing 541 would be almost all,  if not all, of them.

“In Salt Wells Creek, the AML is 251-365. In their projected estimate before the 2013 roundup the BLM said there were 823 wild horses, they removed 586,  and they plan to remove 228. Even estimating a 20% population increase this year, this would bring the population below low AML.

“In Adobe Town, the AML is 610-800 wild horses. The BLM projected the population to be 624 in 2013, they removed 14 in 2013 and they plan to remove 177, Even estimating a 20% increase in population this year, this would bring the population below low AML.

“Currently, BLM is revising the Resource Management Plans for both the Rock Springs and Rawlins Areas (RMP). It is during the revision process AML’s can be changed to herd management areas and herd management areas can be changed to herd areas, allowing them to be zeroed out. This process has NOT happened yet.

“The BLM is acting precipitously, working to zero out Great Divide Basin and bringing Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town below low AML before the RMP can be completed. Clearly, appeasing the Rock Springs Grazing Association is an “emergency” just like drought to the BLM. Despite lamenting the high cost of holding 50,000 wild horses in captivity (46 million dollars annually) in this roundup document, the BLM is determined to remove 2400 wild horses from their homes and possibly their families this year.

“Environmental Assessments for the roundups of the three herd management areas in Wyoming have NOT been issued or made available to the public for comment yet.  Please check back to see when these will be available for comment.”