The U.S. government is going to start shooting wild cattle from helicopters next week. Just thought you should know.
· Feb 18, 2023 ·

As a gorilla who has had my share of experiences with snipers, I have thoughts:

A helicopter with a shooter will fly over a portion of the vast Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico next week, searching for feral cows to kill.

U.S. Forest Service managers approved the plan Thursday to protect sensitive spots in the nation's first designated wilderness area. The move sets the stage for legal challenges over how to handle unbranded livestock and other stray cows as drought deepens in the West.

Imagine being a cow in the Gila Wilderness. You're absentmindedly cropping some grass off of a tundra, minding your business, when suddenly you look up into the sky and you see barreling toward you:

I mean it probably won't be just like that. But to the cows it won't make any difference!

Government officials are defending the decision as necessary:

Forest Supervisor Camille Howes said it was "a difficult decision" but necessary.

"The feral cattle in the Gila Wilderness have been aggressive towards wilderness visitors, graze year-round, and trample stream banks and springs, causing erosion and sedimentation," she said in a statement.

Some groups, meanwhile, strongly disagree:

The Gila National Forest issued the decision amid pressure from environmental groups who raised concerns about nearly 150 cattle whose hooves and mouths are damaging streams and rivers. Ranchers, meanwhile, have criticized the plan to shoot cows from a helicopter as animal cruelty. They said the action violates federal regulations and will be problematic when carcasses are left to rot.

I'll just point out that it's kind of off that ranchers would criticize this plan as "animal cruelty." Don't those guys raise cows and them send 'em to the slaughterhouse? Is that worse than dropping them from a helicopter? If so, how?

I'm sure we'll hear plenty from both sides in the days ahead.

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