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NM Cattle Growers Oppose Airborne Shooting Of Feral Cows



NM Cattle Growers Oppose Airborne Shooting Of Feral Cows

(CTN News) – There will be aerial gunning used by the U.S. Forest Service to eliminate 150 head of feral cattle in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico starting Thursday.

As per the Forest Service, this situation poses a threat to public safety due to the cattle.

As stated by Gila National Forest Supervisor Camille Howes in a statement, “The decision to remove feral cattle from the Gila Wilderness has been difficult, but it is necessary to do so in order to protect public safety, endangered and threatened species habitats, water quality, and the natural character of the Gila Wilderness.”

The feral cattle will be removed through “responsible lethal removal” from the Gila Wilderness area during the aerial shooting period. Visitors will not be able to enter the area during the shooting period.

It has been reported that New Mexico Cattle Growers Association president Loren Patterson said he was offended by the decision by the Forest Service to proceed with aerial shooting of cattle after a meeting Thursday.

As a result of over a year’s worth of discussions to prevent further killings, Patterson said that when he learned of the Service’s decision, he found it offensive.

It was evident from today’s meeting that the Forest Service is willing to ignore all input from stakeholders and effectively turn their backs on a rational approach.

Out of the six groups represented at today’s meeting, only the Forest Service supports aerial operations.

Despite the association’s opposition to the action, it said that it would take action to try to prevent it. It alleges that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not following the law as it should be.

It is also claimed by the NMCGA that this action is in violation of an agreement that the association had with the NMCGA in 2022.

This agreement stipulated that cattle farmers would get 75 days’ notice before any lethal removal of livestock would take place.

“The NMCGA will take appropriate action to stop this unlawful killing since the Service is clearly determined to violate the law and refuses to follow it,” the NMCGA declared in a statement, adding that the plan would be in violation of a state law that prohibits cruelty to animals.

The Forest Service stated that an aerial operation to kill feral cattle was necessary.

The agency said it would work with cattle growers to identify and remove any branded cattle that may have strayed into the Gila Wilderness Area.

It has been reported that feral cattle in the Gila Wilderness have been aggressive towards wilderness visitors, have been grazing year-round, and have trampled stream banks and springs, causing erosion and sedimentation, according to the statement.

“This action will help restore the wilderness character enjoyed by visitors from across the country in the Gila Wilderness.”


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