Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Salute the ranchers, sacrifice the wolves

Morgan Thomas is a resident of Hailey.


In response to Mr. Kelley Weston's letter about the issue of wolf management and the livestock producers, I would like to point out a few things to the "uneducated." To quote him, "We do not live in a commodity-driven economy." I think you best pull your head out of the dirt you work in in the summer, or wherever you keep it, and talk to people at places like J.R. Simlot or Archer-Daniels Midland or Oppenheimer Industries, if you think we do not live in a "commodity-driven economy." Simplot has a feed lot in Grandview, which to my understanding has the capacity to feed 450,000 head of cattle. Do you think he raises those cattle? No, they come from small ranches like Whitby's in Carey, Purdy's in Picabo, Hansen's in Stanley basin, Whitworth's in Patterson, Riddle's in the Owyhee country.

Even in their "heyday" big ranches like the "IL" ranch (1 million acres under one fence) and the U-C ranches in northeast Nevada (8 million acres) could not fill J.R.'s feed lot.

The small operators are just like pennies to the dollar. One hundred make a dollar, ten $100 bills make a thousand, etc., etc. I'm sure you can do the math.

Now, if a "small operator" loses a cow or calf to a wolf, that hurts his profit. It won't seem like much to Simplot. But it builds his business, one, 10, 30 cows at a time. J.R. in turn grows feed, a commodity, for his feed lot. Archer-Daniels-Midland sells "commodities" each day. Grains, corn milo to feeders like J.R. Truckers haul the feed, the cattle, the sheep, the milk, the manure, from the feed lots and dairies. Get my point? I could go on for days about commodities. Just look in the dictionary.

Weston also states: "We rely on a working population who live here." Well, who feeds that population? Farmers and ranchers. Do you know that 46 percent of the meat we eat every day is hamburger?

McDonald's has a feed lot near Cave Creek, Ariz., where they slaughter 16,000 head of beef a day just to supply their restaurants. Now, where do you suppose they get that "commodity?"

Why do you think wolves were killed off in the first place? Wolves kill for "fun," just like people "drink for fun," not just because they are thirsty.

I have seen places around Clayton where there were more bones on the ground than tree branches.

I had an uncle, who is now passed on, who in his time was a world authority on wolves. Adolph Murie and I talked a lot about animals and nature when I was young. Even with his great love of creatures and nature he admitted that wolves might be God's one mistake. Wolves are very mobile. They can and will kill and move with the food supply.

The ranchers, the farmers, the truck drivers, your "working population," put far more into the economy of this state than those "stinking blood-thirsty dogs."

You are right on one thing. We should "manage the people." Take them out and show them the damage the wolves can and do do. Ask the rancher whose pockets are a little more empty because he lost a cow or two, or the 30 or 40 sheep, or the guy who lost a hunting dog, or the guy who lost his life in Canada to wolves.

Ever eat wolf meat, Kelley? I have and it doesn't taste like elk or beef or lamb.

By the way, elk, beef and sheep are vegetarians.

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