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for people who care about the West

Wouldn't Tyson Inc. shoot wolves too?

  When I read Bryce Andrews' line, "Ranchers lose sleep, money and their tempers (due to wolf depredation of livestock)," it raised my hackles (HCN, 8/20/07). I've heard this several times over the last decade. No doubt ranchers are good at losing their tempers, but are they losing money? Doesn't Defenders of Wildlife have a fund to reimburse ranchers, at going market rates, for cattle killed by wolves? Hasn't this fund paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars? If so, how are ranchers losing money to wolves?

What ranchers seem to be losing is credibility and sympathy. And that could prove important. I read somewhere that over 85 percent of the beef on the market shelves comes from cattle that never set hoof on a ranch or range, but instead spent their entire lives on feedlots. If that factoid is true, then big agribusiness is a greater threat to the rancher than wolves will ever be. And if ranchers want to beat agribusiness, they'll need all the credibility and sympathy from consumers that they can muster.

It's ironic because big business tends to be just like the ranchers, concerned only with themselves and the almighty dollar ... screw everything else.

At this point, I'll pull for agribusiness to devour the rancher.

Randy Lantz
Albuquerque, New Mexico