by Pat Boone
New Mexico Cattle Grower's Association President's Message
Dear Fellow Members and Industry Supporters,
I assume everyone has adjusted to daylight savings time, like I have. I’m now getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning so I don’t drink too much coffee or stumble around in the dark to get my work done. Personally, I think we’d be better off not messing with the time.
As you all know, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has asked for comments in recent months regarding the de-listing of the gray wolf in the northern tier of the United States, and simultaneously requested comments on the proposed expansion of territory and wolf population in both New Mexico and Arizona.
It so happens that the FWS requested a peer review of their proposal regarding the two distinct wolf population areas and received what I’ll call a scathing response in that the DEIS was not based on sound science in regard to either of the wolf populations. Further complicating the issue is the fact that the agency has the development of a new environmental impact statement (EIS) underway.
In response to all of this, a group of stakeholders in Arizona have drafted an alternative proposal to the preferred alternative proffered by the FWS. There are many differences between the two proposals, but suffice to say that those of us who want no wolves on the ground are never going to win an outright victory. The Endangered Species Act, as currently interpreted, trumps any of our pursuits, which is why the stakeholder group is looking for a more rational approach to dealing with our wolf problem.
Additionally, the folks in Arizona have invited New Mexico groups to provide input on their draft alternative. The invitation has been accepted and a broad group of individuals are reviewing the alternative proposal and are providing suggestions. The two things I know are that there are no perfect solutions to this issue, and I also know that looking at alternative proposals formulated by stakeholders have got to be better than what was proposed by the FWS. We will keep you informed as this process evolves.
Clearly, the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association and many other New Mexico groups have policy that flatly opposes the wolf program. That position cannot and will not change without board of directors’ action, at the direction of the general membership.
In closing, I wanted to let you know that I recently attended a preliminary hearing in Magistrate Court here in northern New Mexico on animal abuse/neglect charges against an old rancher. As it turns out, the county animal control department received a tip regarding an emaciated horse on this old timer’s property which prompted the hearing.
The judge asked the octogenarian if he wished to plead “guilty” or “not guilty” after having read the charges to him. The elderly rancher replied that he was guilty of keeping his horse alive for 32 years. Unsure of whether the old rancher understood what the judge was asking, she entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. The rancher was extremely frustrated that he would have to appear at a future date to explain again what should have been self-explanatory.
Here’s hoping the Good Lord provides us with some much needed moisture and a healthy crop of calves.
In the meantime, may the Lord bring you both blessings and moisture.
José J. Varela López