Ecosystem Impacts

Livestock have done more damage to the Earth than the chainsaw and bulldozer combined. Not only have livestock been around longer than developers, miners, and loggers, but they have grazed nearly everywhere. On public land across the West, millions of non-native livestock (including cattle, sheep, goats and horses) remove and trample vegetation, damage soil, spread invasive weeds, despoil water, deprive native wildlife of forage and shelter, accelerate desertification and even contribute to global warming. Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt has written that federal public lands livestock grazing “is the most damaging use of public land.”

WildEarth Guardians has published a comprehensive report on the extent of grazing impacts on native wildlife, “Western Wildlife under Hoof: Public Lands Grazing Threatens Iconic Species.” Read the report here or download and print the report here.

We support Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and their effort to ensure that federal agencies consider the multiple impacts of livestock grazing on public lands and resources in ongoing ecosystem assessments.