Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Public Lands Council (PLC), and Washington Cattlemen’s Association (WCA), alongside other leading national agricultural organizations, filed comments opposing the Biden administration’s plan to introduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem (NCE) in Washington state.
This latest proposed rule from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follows years of opposition from rural Washington communities, cattle ranchers, and sheep producers. This is a misguided effort by federal bureaucrats that will not make a meaningful difference to the success of the species but will impose a severe burden on rural communities and livestock producers.
“Introducing an apex predator like the grizzly bear to a new area of Washington state is a mistake, and poses a huge threat to our rural communities and hardworking farmers and ranchers,” said NCBA President-Elect Mark Eisele, a Wyoming rancher. “This plan is being pushed by bureaucrats thousands of miles away from the West who do not fully understand the harm this species will cause to producers. The Biden administration should listen to rural residents and rethink this plan.”
Residents of rural Washington state have long opposed previous attempts to introduce the grizzly bear to the North Cascades Ecosystem due to safety concerns. There are currently no bears in the NCE; the species is already thriving and multiplying in other recovery zones like the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
“Grizzly bears are twenty-times more dangerous than black bears and are well known for their aggressive, fatal maulings. Their broad diet means they can harm anyone-corn producers, orchards, cattle ranchers, sheep ranchers, the list goes on and on. Airdropping these bears into a new community in Washington state is not something the federal government should take lightly,” said PLC President Mark Roeber, a Colorado rancher. “I have faced livestock depredation from gray wolves around my ranch and introducing an even larger predator will only cause more harm to our fellow livestock producers in Washington state.”
NCBA and PLC have worked closely with Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, to oppose this rule and recently penned an op-ed raising the numerous concerns with this proposal. Rep. Newhouse has been a critical ally in opposing previous attempts to introduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades and continues to be a strong supporter of our efforts to reject this latest plan.
“While the WCA strives to be collaborative, we have grave concerns with the grizzly bear introduction. Bears have the potential to be destructive in ways we aren’t prepared to handle, and they pose a risk–not just to our livestock–but to human life as well,” said WCA Executive Vice President Chelsea Hajny. “WCA has raised these concerns with the federal government repeatedly and we urge Washington, D.C. to listen to the needs of Washington state.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America’s cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef. Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or email@example.com.