The War Between Cattle Ranchers And Conservationists Over Wolves (HBO)

Twenty-three years ago, the United States started an experiment: What would happen if U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released grey wolves in the West?

The results are mixed.

To their credit, wolves have successfully controlled the grass-munching elk and deer populations of the Northern Rockies. That means they also leave more habitat available for other species, from bugs to beneficial algae.

But wolves aren’t picky. And ranchers’ cows make for easy targets. In states like Idaho, where wolves were released two decades ago, ranchers can protect their herds by killing wolves, and the states allow wolf trophy hunts to further thin packs.

But in Oregon, ranchers are caught between the wolves killing cows on their grazing grounds and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which has strict rules against killing wolves in all but the rarest circumstances.

Ranchers who keep losing cattle to wolves, and the residents of Eastern Oregon who rely on the economy created by the cattle industry, have long argued the state of Oregon should loosen the rules around wolf kills, and let ranchers kill whole packs of wolves.

For the first time, last year, the state allowed for just that — four wolves from the Harl Butte Pack of northeastern Oregon were killed. Environmentalists decried the wolf killings as unnecessary and cruel.

Ranchers here hope it’s just the start.

Subscribe to VICE News here:

Check out VICE News for more:

Follow VICE News here:
More videos from the VICE network:

30 thoughts on “The War Between Cattle Ranchers And Conservationists Over Wolves (HBO)

  1. just saying there isn't anything wrong with proper wolf management guys the fact is that Canadian timber wolves aren't supposed to be here and although yes their affects on the environment is great they also wipe large ungulates out far worse then the former native wolf that we wiped out.

  2. In addition for reimbursing any lost live stock they should go back to the roots of traditional herd protection. In Germany we have the same problems with wolves coming over the border from Poland. The government started a project in which they financially support people that want to be part of the traditional herd protection project. We use old herding dog breeds that are known that they will protect their herd even with their last breath. The dogs live with the live stock 24/7 together and are introduced to the animals when they are just puppys. The breed we use here are called the Turkish kangal dog and the italian maremano dog. Both of the breeds were even referred to in history as lion dogs because of their sand coloured fur. They can distinguish in between people, other dogs and wolves. Only the later they attack when they get to close to their herd. They also have to participate in an exam were the owner can prove that they are no danger for people and dogs. They are trained to ignore any dogs that are passing the field so anybody’s pet is also safe around them. It has shown that farmers that engage in this project have a 100% success rate and didn’t have any more kills of their animals. Another alternative for farmers who may are afraid of dogs is a special goat breed.. although I don’t approve of this option. When the wolves are approaching and the live stock runs away these goats spasm under stress because of a genetic mutation and are left behind on the ground for the wolves to feed on. Not only is this option very cruel to the goat but it is also not sustainable for the farmer because that person is left to purchase a new goat again. Although of course in comparison a goat is much cheaper than a cow or a high quality sheep. But any farmers who participate in that also don’t get financial support from the state when their goat is killed.
    Bottom line: Stick with the dogs. It is an inexpensive option. Only needs very little training effort because most of their behaviour is linked with their instincts. And it has shown that the live stock has a much calmer demeanor with such a companion on their side.
    Americans try it out, it works! And the dogs can also cope with very cold and wet climates because of their thick fur. 😉

  3. Ranchers are selfish. Some think any grass should be in a cow, not an elk or deer.
    Federal ranching permits were the first corporate welfare. Like all otherwelfare recipients they now feel entitled.

  4. Ranchers definitely should have a voice in this. I am all in favor of reintroducing the Wolf. I think they do a good job of controlling deer populations. But farmers and ranchers should be able to defend their livestock. Thats their livelihood.

  5. Donald is on too of this issue. Nobody knows wolves like he does. He's like the best wolf guy out there.

    He plans on releasing the #wolfmemo in the next day or so. Unless the democrats try and obstruct and block, like they always do.

    Democrats. Am I right, folks?

  6. Okay, let me get this straight. People are pissed off about a natural species, that's endemic to that area doing what it's literally designed to do (eat) and the thing it happens to be eating is the easiest prey because it's NOT a native/endemic species. Cattle come from other places and not from the Americas. Plus, they're "genetically modified" (selective breeding) but still removed from natural selection and therefore up for grabs for nature imo. Put this under "acceptable losses" in my category. Oh boo hoo one little calf got eaten. When it comes to killing a predator if it kills something that it's not supposed to imo only down it if there's a person in the process of being mauled/eaten whatever. If the thing's already killed somebody so what, don't go hunting it just cause it's killed a person, it doesn't have the "taste for human flesh". For instance the disneyland kid being eaten by an alligator. They're predators that are millenia old and a kid was swimming in their environment, they saw it as an easy meal.

  7. They were reintroduced to yellowstone and we saw a remarkable difference in the wildlife and the behavior of the wildlife. Rivers stopped meandering, more diversity of small wildlife, more plants, just more of everything.

  8. Ranchers can utilize three or so great pyrenees to guard their herds. The same can prevent feral dog problems and bear problems, too.

    And the wolves can return to their natural prey and do their job as intended, which in a round about way helps ranchers and farmers and people in vehicles driving on the roads.

    We have to maintain viable and functional predators in case something happens to upset the balance of humans being the top and numerous predator (hunting). If something caused us to fall drastically in number, without other predators to come in and fill the void naturally and in balance, deer and such will overrun and eat up the crops.

    There would be starving people and even sickly and starving deer. We don't want feral dogs to fill in. Wolves are a good choice because they do have a social structure that helps regulate their own numbers based on available resources, and they have the best sense of aversion to people.

    The ability and natural remedies to maintain healthy balance have to be kept at the ready, and they can be helpful in the meantime, properly managed.

  9. Damn this is a tricky one.

    Conservationists are right that more apex predators like wolves are necessary for a healthy environment, or that the world's cattle population is unsustainably high in its current form, while hunters and farmers are also right that we do need to control apex predators to a degree and meet market demands for cattle production.

    I get that people need to make a living in order to facilitate their own survival, but we tend to do so at the expense of almost every other organism that doesn't immediately serve a purpose to us. We're only one species out of 1000's that share this planet for our ultimate survival.

    Any uncontrolled population causes detriment to others, that much is obvious. However instead of worrying about the population of other species, perhaps we should be more carefully considering ours…

    Inb4 kys. Just having an opinion lmao.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.