FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Reno Grazing Conference Launches National Campaign to End Public Lands Grazing
One hundred public lands advocates from the eleven western states, several other states and Canada, met Nov. 28-29 in Reno, NV to share experiences regarding the consequences of livestock grazing on public lands and decided to launch a national campaign and organization to end public lands grazing.
"The native grasslands, shrublands, seeps, streams, forests, and wildlife of the public lands have been damaged by livestock grazing, are threatened by ongoing livestock grazing, and can recover much of their original diversity, richness, and vigor if livestock are removed," stated Mary O'Brien, a botanist and advocate for native canyon grasslands in eastern Oregon and western Idaho.
The Reno conference was organized by Larry Walker, a retired public lands manager and webmaster of RangeNet, a communications network for people concerned with livestock impacts on public lands.
"RangeNet 2000 is a watershed event. It's clear that so many well-organized groups and individuals are pursuing this issue, that momentum has reached critical mass," stated John Carter, president of Willow Creek Ecology of Mendon, Utah.
The conference adopted a declaration which noted the importance to the nation of wild and biologically diverse public lands, the adverse ecological and economic consequences of livestock grazing throughout the West, and the potential for restoring much of these lands if livestock are removed.
"Our vision of the West is a place teeming with wildlife once again, and public lands are central to this," stated Don Knutson, a Sacramento, California animal rights activist.
"This is a national issue," said Mike Hudak, director of Public Lands Without Livestock, a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs of Binghamton, NY. "Taxpayer dollars are being used to prop up the private exploitation of our public lands to the detriment of the nation's wildlife. Animals and plants by the hundreds are being pushed onto threatened and endangered lists by livestock production."
Symposium participants agreed to organize a follow-up 2001 grazing conference, then returned home to continue their work to get cows and sheep off our public lands.