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Archive for January 23, 2011

Coyotes Ignore USDA Standards

I lost my first calf of the year Saturday night to coyotes, saddening and maddening.

In 1998, California voters, with the support of the HSUS, voted to ban leg traps. Since then, ranchers have seen an increase in losses to predators. While “live traps” are still allowed, they are not very effective when it comes to coyotes…they are smart. We have been using guard dogs for over 10 years, but 600+ acres, split down the middle by the Scott River and an abundance of coyotes is a challenge, even for three excellent dogs; one Great Pyrenee, one Anatolian and an Anatolian x Pyrenee.

Certainly, losing a calf, a foal or a lamb is an economic loss, but what really hurts me is knowing how the young animal was killed.

Coyotes either failed to read the standards set forth by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service or have chosen to purposely ignore them. A kill by a pack of coyotes is anything but quick and they are far from unconscious. I’m not sure which is worse, a heifer trampling her own calf trying to protect it from the pack, or a pack singling one out and tearing it to pieces, bite by bite.

We need a return to commonsense predator control….but that is unlikely to occur.

[End of Rant]

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