Ranchers: An Endangered Species This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   People around the world are always worried about endangered species. Will they become extinct? Should we protect them? People do not realize that a special breed of men and women are about to become extinct. This breed is ranchers.

The American West was once full of these proud men and women who helped build the West into the strong beef industry it is today. They went through droughts, floods, death by natural or other causes, and the losses and loneliness of the frontier. The number of ranchers is rapidly decreasing and soon this dying breed will disappear.

The so-called "Endangered Species Act" is putting strong men and women out of jobs and is ruining their livelihood by taking their permits and letting other species overrun ranches, even on private lands. True, the American people should protect truly endangered species, but should they be protected to the extent that people become poor and have no source of income? The loggers are already gone and soon, because of those who do not like to see cattle on forest land, ranchers will be too.

Ranchers are not the only ones who will be hurt by these acts. Many other industries depend on ranches to survive, including truck drivers, feed lots, packing houses, feed stores, grocery stores, restaurants and fuel stations. All these industries benefit from ranchers spending money to operate their ranches.

Many people do not realize it, but without ranchers, the nation's beef supply will drop tremendously. Western and Midwestern ranchers supply more than half the nation's beef. Some people think beef comes from feed lots, which in truth it does. But where do the feed lots get the calves to stock them? The calves come from ranchers. If ranchers are pushed from America, we will have to depend on some other, perhaps more expensive, source for beef.

Many people believe that cattle are damaging the landscape, but actually they help it. Has anyone ever seen a field or meadow where cattle have not grazed for many years? Even in the spring the grass is dry and brown. Meadows where cattle graze are green and alive. The grass in the areas where cattle have not been has choked itself out. In other words, the old dead grass is retaining all the nutrients and the new grass cannot grow easily.

There are advantages to ranching and many people in rural Arizona depend on ranching for their livelihood. The ranchers are a proud people who need to be protected. ^


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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