As a result of the livestock industry’s domination of
the Greater Yellowstone landscape:
• Bison are imprisoned inside Yellowstone and Grand
Teton National Parks. Those that migrate beyond the Park boundary are
hazed back into the Park or are slaughtered by state and federal
• Grizzly bears and wolves are safe only within the
confines of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Outside of these
areas they are captured, tranquilized, relocated or killed if they prey
• Bighorn sheep are confined to small, isolated
mountain ranges. Bighorns that leave their home range to expand into
nearby suitable habitat are killed to ensure they do not mingle with
domestic sheep grazing on publicly owned land.
• Pronghorn are forced to negotiate 105 fences twice a
year in their 120-mile migration between Grand Teton National Park and
their winter range.
• Prairie dogs are shot, trapped, and poisoned.
Although this extermination campaign is directed at prairie dogs, it has
also wiped out the black-footed ferret, swift fox, ferruginous hawk,
mountain plover, burrowing owl, prairie falcon, prairie rattlesnake,
great plains toad, and many other native species that rely on the
habitat created by prairie dogs.
While livestock production on publicly owned land
provides a prestigious lifestyle and private profit center for a
privileged few, it provides no public benefits. To the contrary, in
addition to the negative impacts to wildlife mentioned above, livestock
production causes dewatering of streams and destruction of fisheries and
riparian habitat; loss of native plant communities and infestations of
noxious weeds; an increased potential for disease transmission from
livestock to wildlife; and a decrease in small mammal and bird
Livestock grazing comes down to a simple concept: more
cows and sheep eating publicly owned forage means less food is available
for wildlife, therefore, suppressing wildlife populations below optimum
levels. Just as ranchers have the right to graze their private land,
U.S. citizens have the right to determine whether they want their land
to be grazed by livestock at the expense of wildlife. It is time to
demand that our government free the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from
the nuisance of livestock production on publicly owned lands by ending
this program and managing our land for the public benefit.