The judge ruled Wyoming’s program to test elk for brucellosis before they enter a winter feedlot (and kill the elk if it tests positive for brucellosis anti-bodies) was not an arbitrary and capricious decision. Indeed that legal standard is a high bar (that a government program is arbitrary and capricious).

Livestock groups were happy because it means they won’t have to share any winter range with elk (as ranchers do in most other Western states).

There is no way this test and slaughter will reduce the brucellosis infection rate because there are too many “false negatives” as well as even more “false positives” in the crude test they use.

I continue to be amazed that Wyoming’s version of the group “Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife” continues to support this worthless elk killing program and yet keep a straight face when they talk about how horrible it is that predatory animals kill elk. I guess elk dying a natural death to predation is bad and a stupid bureaucratic-ordered death is acceptable.
Story in the Billings Gazette. Elk-feeding challenge rejected

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Challenge to Wyoming's elk feeding/killing program fails in federal court

  1. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Having just returned from a pack trip to the mountains, I’ve just now learned about this decision on Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds. Obviously, I have yet to read the decision. However, it is clearly flawed.

    Let us not forget that the courts once upheld segregation too.

    The primary issue of this lawsuit was not Wyoming’s program per se, but the failure of the federal government to conduct the necessary NEPA analysis before issuing special use permits to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department to carry out the feedground program. Given that elk feedgrounds do have a primae facie major impact on the human environment, in NEPA terms, the judge’s decision is rationally inexplicable. It does show what a stranglehold the livestock industry has over judicial decision-making in the west, even in the federal courts.

    Once I get cleaned up and find a copy of the judge’s decision, perhaps I can talk more in depth about it.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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