Letters supporting an increase in funding for Wildlife Services (WS) programs in the eastern and western regions of the United States were delivered this week to the leaders of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
"Livestock protection is important to tens of thousands of farm families across the country," said Peter Orwick, executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI). "These folks recognize that even with federal assistance joining private and state agency efforts, over 250,000 sheep and nearly 150,000 cattle are still lost to predators each year."
ASI took the lead in gathering support for the important work done by WS. More than 60 organizations from the western United States and more than 40 groups from the east signed the letters supporting increased funding to expand the programs to protect the livestock of this country. National and state sheep and cattle producer organizations were joined by industry associations, wildlife organizations and local and state governments showing support for an increase in funding in the fiscal year 2012 appropriations for the livestock protection programs of WS.
The signors of the letters requested active opposition to the administration's proposal to reduce WS funding by more than $10 million, which is considered an earmark. A share of this funding will impact wolf and predator management programs in 10 states. The Continuing Resolution approved by the House and the Senate this week affects those same cuts, immediately jeopardizing the essential predator control work just ahead of spring turnout and lambing.
The joint letters are useful tools for the state livestock organizations, state farm bureaus and government and wildlife associations to work with the congressional delegations of each state to expand funding of livestock protection.
Copies of the letters are available by going to www.sheepusa.org and clicking on the growling coyote.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33