On 23rd February 2023, the US Forest Service started shooting from helicopters feral cows and bulls in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, US, because they believe pose a significant threat to public safety and natural resources.
About 150 feral cows were living in the Gila Wilderness, an area in southwest New Mexico part of the Gila National Forest. In the 1970s a rancher abandoned some cows and bulls on the Redstone Allotment within the Gila Wilderness, and they become feral, breeding for several generations. The US Forest Service claims capturing the cows and bulls alive is challenging and dangerous for both the animals and humans involved, but yet, they decided to kill them — a measure that could not be more dangerous for the animals than any alternative method of control.
Camille Howes, Gila National Forest Supervisor, said in the news release in early February when the shooting was announced, “this has been a difficult decision, but the lethal removal of feral cattle from the Gila Wilderness is necessary to protect public safety, threatened and endangered species habitats, water quality, and the natural character of the Gila Wilderness. The feral cattle in the Gila Wilderness have been aggressive towards wilderness visitors, graze year-round, and trample stream banks and springs, causing erosion and sedimentation…This action will help restore the wilderness character of the Gila Wilderness enjoyed by visitors from across the country.”
It’s so sad that a group of animals that managed to escape the misery of a life in captivity in a farm to be killed at a slaughterhouse when still young, and began living a full life in the wild as their wild ancestors did, will now be killed by the state as if they do not belong to the countryside. If they are causing havoc this is because they were bred in the animal agriculture industry in the first place, and brought to America to be exploited, so it is not their fault if they are in the wrong habitat.