Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Subsidized Killing Of Carnivores Fails To Protect U.S. Sheep Industry

Date:
March 17, 2006
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
Decades of US government-subsidized predator control has failed to prevent a long-term decline in the sheep industry, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which says that market forces -- not predators -- are responsible for the drop-off in sheep numbers.

Decades of U.S. government-subsidized predator control has failed to prevent a long-term decline in the sheep industry, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which says that market forces -- not predators -- are responsible for the drop-off in sheep numbers.

The study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Conservation Biology, says that more than 80 years of federally subsidized predator control with a total investment of more than 1.6 billion dollars have not been able to stave off an 85 percent decline in the sheep industry since its peak of 56.2 million animals in 1942.

According to the study, predation by coyotes is often cited as the primary cause of the decline. However, 80 years of historical data reveal that a variety of market trends ranging from fluctuating hay prices and rising wages for livestock workers, to the drop in wholesale prices of lamb and wool, are the real culprits behind the industry's drop-off.

As evidence, the study points to a 141-percent increase in wages, 23 percent decrease in lamb prices, and 82 percent decrease in wool prices during the period in which sheep numbers were reduced by 85 percent. "This is an industry whose profitability has been squeezed from both sides," said WCS research scientist Kim Berger, the lead author of the study.

"If predation losses are responsible for the decline in the U.S. sheep industry and federal predator control has been effective at reducing these losses, then we'd expect to see a strong, positive relationship between efforts to control predators and trends in sheep numbers and that is just not the case," said Berger.

Berger notes that while predation is not the industry's primary threat, it is one of the few factors over which ranchers feel they have some degree of control, and this can lead to intense pressure on wildlife managers to reduce predator numbers. In 1998 alone, federal agents killed more than 268,000 large carnivores, according to WCS. Although coyotes account for 75-to-95 percent of carnivores killed annually, mountain lions, bobcats, wolves, black bears and grizzly bears are also removed. The perception of carnivores as widespread livestock killers represents a major challenge to their conservation worldwide.

Berger suggests that federal funding for predator control in the sheep industry should be re-evaluated given the program's failure to prevent the industry's decline. "That the decline of the sheep industry is closely associated with unfavorable market conditions rather than predation losses raises serious doubts about the value of continued efforts to control carnivores," Berger said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Subsidized Killing Of Carnivores Fails To Protect U.S. Sheep Industry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060317111707.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2006, March 17). Subsidized Killing Of Carnivores Fails To Protect U.S. Sheep Industry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060317111707.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Subsidized Killing Of Carnivores Fails To Protect U.S. Sheep Industry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060317111707.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother DIY: Pumpkin Pom-Pom

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) How to make a pumpkin pom-pom. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

Raw: Bear Cub Strolls Through Oregon Drug Store

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Shoppers at an Oregon drug store were surprised by a bear cub scurrying down the aisles this past weekend. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

Family Pleads for Pet Pig to Stay at Home

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) The Johnson family lost their battle with the Chesterfield County, Virginia Planning Commission to allow Tucker, their pet pig, to stay in their home, but refuse to let the board keep Tucker away. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins