They’ve Been Ordered to Kill 150 of Them…

Thousands of pounds of hamburger on the hoof are to be left laying around as coyote chow. State officials in New Mexico just made one of those decisions that would have Billy Jack teaching them some Hapkido moves, with a quick foot upside their face. They just ordered wildlife experts in southwestern New Mexico to start hunting wild cows from a helicopter. Even worse, they’re acting like ungrateful migrants to New York City and wasting all that food.

Wasted hamburger in New Mexico

Officials in New Mexico don’t seem to care about the price of hamburger these days. Maybe the unruly cows gone wild have an attitude and deserve a death sentence.

That doesn’t mean we can’t wait until the snow melts, round them up, process them like the docile ones and slice them into steaks. That seems much more sensible and humane than sniping them from a chopper and leaving them where they drop.

The 150 cows in question represent a serious pile of hamburger on the hoof. Wildlife experts aren’t real happy about the orders they got to “eliminate feral cows in the Gila Wilderness” but orders are orders.

The rogue bovines have been terrorizing campers and “caused damage to sensitive areas in the nation’s first designated wilderness area.” How wild animals “damage” their own wilderness is a tangled topic of its own.

U.S. Forest Service managers approved the plan Thursday, February 16. It “involves a helicopter with multiple shooters flying over the area in search of the stray livestock.” Grant County Board of Commissioners “approved and announced” their intentions last month.

It quickly “set the stage for legal challenges over how to deal with the over-grazing livestock in the drought-affected West.” The public hasn’t been outraged because they haven’t been told much about all the wasted hamburger the plan will create. Until now.

Starting on Monday

Officials are warning it’s not a good idea to go hiking or camping in the area for a while, until all that hamburger wandering around can be neutralized. “The plan calls for a section of the Gila Wilderness to be closed to the public starting Monday, and a helicopter will launch Thursday.” Get your complaints in now. “The shooters will then spend four days looking for feral cattle in rugged areas in and around the Gila River.

They really don’t need to do this right now. “Easy is not an exception to their own rules. Frustration is not an exception to the rules,” Tom Paterson said. “Our society should be better than this. We can be more creative and do it a better way where you’re not wasting an economic resource.

Forest Supervisor Camille Howes may agree with the environmental groups but likes her job too. The decision, despite the pressure, “was difficult but necessary.” Everyone agrees they simply have to go. “The feral cattle in the Gila Wilderness have been aggressive towards wilderness visitors, graze year-round, and trample stream banks and springs, causing erosion and sedimentation.

They’re still about 90% edible in the form of steaks and hamburger. Paterson, chair of the association’s wildlife committee, notes “a recent New Mexico Livestock Board directive that would allow neighboring permittees to gather and herd the cattle out, but access is limited with snow on the ground.

Local ranchers are furious. Not so much about the harvest of wild cows but with the rush timing and waste of valuable hamburger meat. “Ranchers, however, opposed the decision and argued the plan to shoot cows from a helicopter should be regarded as animal cruelty. They said the action violates federal regulations and will result in a problematic situation in dealing with the left-behind carcasses.” Billy Jack would not be happy.

Officials have argued scavenging birds, and other animals consumed the carcasses.” Homeless people scavenging through dumpsters would be real happy to have it. Ranchers are really afraid the practice will spread. “Ranching industry groups have also expressed concern the action could set a precedent across the West, especially as rural neighbors have vacated parcels because of worsening drought.

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