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, January 21, 2016
Wolf attacks are an act of terror on cattle herds
by Harry L. Smith
...Following are a couple of examples of a cow herd’s reaction to wolves and the panic that ensues.
Squaw Butte Experiment Station in Harney County operated by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University conducted a
demonstration to show the difference in behavior between cattle from
wolf areas versus those unfamiliar with wolves.
a dozen cows from each background were put in identical wooden feedlot
type pens side by side. These pens had feed bunks along one end that was
accessed by an alleyway for feed delivery. A
sound system was set up in the area and nonaggressive German Shepherds
were put in the alleyway. After the cows were fed, the sound system
began playing recorded wolf howls. After a period of time, a picture was
taken from above to show the different reactions.
The cows unfamiliar with wolves had eaten all their hay and were resting back in the pen chewing their cud.
cows experienced with wolves had left their feed uneaten and were in a
tight group in the middle of the pen in a very defensive mode.
letter written by Mack Birkmaier and published on March 18, 2015, in
the Wallowa County Chieftain aptly illustrates the act of terror that
occurred when wolves attacked and stampeded 250 head of very pregnant
herd split into three groups during the attack. About 70 cows went
east, running in total panic and obliterated several barb wire fences.
After a 13-mile run on various county roads, these cows were found wet
from the condensation of cold air on their overheated bodies and their
tongues out, gasping for air.
bunch went north through several fences — about four miles and then
back — and were still running in a large circle when they were stopped.
The cattle could not be fed for two days. The
cows were so traumatized that they ran away from hay and the pickup
trying to feed them. Some ended up with barbed wire cuts but,
fortunately, there were not more serious injuries at the time.
the rancher feared, calves were aborted by stressed-out mothers and
there were numerous complications with birth that threatened the lives
of both cow and calf and sometimes required costly assistance from a
veterinarian. Out of the first 50 to calve, 20 percent needed
undoubtedly took a long time for this herd to recover and many of the
cows probably did not rebreed last summer. It is certain that the damage
from this terrorist attack on the herd was long-term. It is unlikely
that any compensation was received as a result of this incident.