Oregon Wildlife Refuge standoff: The cows don’t belong here in the first place.
The problem at the Oregon Wildlife Refuge begins with the cows. They don’t belong here in the first place.
Europeans coming over to the U.S. insisted on bring Europe over with them. Rather than adapt to a new environment, they brought their European environment over with them. As a result, you see invasive plant species in America that originated in Europe — dandelions, chamomile, mullein, poison hemlock to name a few. Even the all American tumbleweed actually came from the Ukraine.
And they insisted on bringing their cows with them too. Most of our domestic cows are originally from Europe, a few humped varieties came from India. They were not native to this land. Cows need a lot of land to graze. Prairie land. Treeless land.
Americans lust for steaks and hamburgers has led to vast land destruction here and in other countries. Large parts of the forested Midwest has been razed to make farmlands and cow pastures. This is famously true in Brazil where the largest rain forest in the world, the Amazon, is being decimated simply to make razed land available for cows, most of the meat of which is shipped to the U.S.
They also need large amounts of water. This problem was especially prevalent in Australia where large swaths of the outback were turned into huge ranches. The Aborigines resented the beasts because they would drink up and dirty what little water there was. Also the huge ranches were fenced off cutting off the hunting culture of the Aborigines from getting the game and natural resources that they needed to survive.
Cattle were used as an abundant food source to support stamina for the work needed to survive in the new world. We Americans now terribly overeat the amount of all meat that we have, especially beef. As a result we are overweight and have overstuffed arteries and colons.
When the ranchers first started coming to the vast stretches of the American west they selfishly grabbed up as much land as they could for themselves and their cows. In the beginning of James Michener’s book Colorado there was a map of the early territory of the state showing that one rancher had grabbed up the entire northeast corner of the state. These men might have been pioneers and entrepreneurs but they were also extremely selfish individuals who cared little for anything but their own well being and profit. The famous cattlemen and sheepherder wars of the 1800’s in Wyoming are a good example of the big land grab going on.
Even far away places such as Hawaii were invaded. The biggest cattle ranch in the world is on the Big Island.
Forest land was devastated to make room for the bovines. I was shocked one time when I left the flat farmlands of Wisconsin and entered the Menominee Indian reservation. Suddenly I was surrounded by incredibly thick and diverse woodlands, lush beyond belief. “Could this be what this land was like before the farmers took over?” I thought. It was wondrously lavish and beautiful.
Much of the land claimed by the government was probably turned into National Parks and preserves just to keep it from being entirely taken up by ranchers and farmers. Unchecked, there wouldn’t be any public land left for the rest of us. John Muir had to fight off developers to create Yosemite. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the feds don’t get a little greedy too. One has to wonder why the BLM controls such huge patches of the Western U.S.
Now, what would happen if you or I trespassed on a ranchers land the way they trespassed on the Oregon Preserve? Shortly after getting there you would have any number of fast riding pickup trucks headed your way with loaded shotgun touting cowboys letting you know bluntly that you don’t belong there. And you might very well get shot or beat for your efforts.
Land grabbing government and land grabbing ranchers – birds of the same feather really.
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