Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Amtrak train kills 24 rare Salers cattle near Klamath Falls and rancher wants to know: Who's gonna pay?
The crime scene was horrific -- 24 dead -- and the sheriff's commander called out last Saturday to lead the investigation said that during his 18 years in the business he's never seen such carnage. What happened in an isolated area about 24 miles north of Klamath Falls last weekend offers a glimpse into the obscure world of high-end cattle ranching involving a special breed of cow called Salers, considered nature's first wild cow. Images of Salers have been discovered painted on cave walls dating back more than 7,000 years in France. It's also the first round in what will be a battle between a stubborn, old-time cattle rancher who uses a battered hat to fight sunburn and the suit-and-tie crowd working in air-conditioned offices at Amtrak and the mighty Union Pacific Railroad. "This is a big loss," grumbled 69-year-old Bruce Topham. "Damn right." Lt. Monty Holloway, patrol commander at the Klamath Falls Sheriff's Office, said a train occasionally kills a lone deer or cow. But 24? "I can't explain it," he said. "In all my years here I've never seen anything like this." The way Topham understands the law, the railroads are responsible for maintaining fences along the right-of-way. He said it appears that an old portion of the fence toppled over and the cattle made their break for freedom, which turned out to be short-lived. "I checked with the county clerk and this entire area is considered open range," he said. "That means if you don't want livestock on your property, you have to fence it in."...more