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Senate introduces bill for Black Vulture management
USAgNet - 12/01/2023

This week, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) acknowledged the introduction of the Senate version of the Black Vulture Relief Act, a critical legislation for cattle producers. Introduced by Senator Markwayne Mullin, this bill aligns with an earlier version in the House of Representatives. It addresses the challenges cattle producers face due to black vulture depredation.

Gene Copenhaver, NCBA Policy Division Chair, expressed the financial strain black vultures impose on small, family-owned cattle operations. The current regulatory framework restricts producers from effectively safeguarding their herds against these predators, despite black vultures being a non-endangered, widespread species.

Earlier, the House Natural Resources Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries Subcommittee received firsthand accounts of black vulture attacks from a Missouri cattle producer and NCBA member. Charlie Besher, NCBA's Property Rights and Environmental Management Committee Chairman, emphasized the need for a more practical management system, considering the species’ abundance across the continent.

The proposed Black Vulture Relief Act offers a pragmatic solution, allowing cattle producers to take necessary actions against vultures without a permit in urgent situations. Presently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's restrictive permit system is inadequate for effective livestock protection, considering the scale of vulture attacks.

Michael Kelsey, Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, also supports the bill, emphasizing the need for contemporary regulations that enable ranchers to protect their livestock effectively.

This bipartisan initiative is also backed by various NCBA state affiliates, marking a significant step towards harmonizing livestock protection with environmental and wildlife resources.

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