Nov 05 2018

Picking & Choosing

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

That’s what some folks want to do with the U.S. Constitution. The President couldn’t be right in wanting to block citizenship for children born to illegal aliens in our county according to some. Yet, in their eyes, the Second Amendment doesn’t guarantee the right to bear arms.

I really don’t know what millennials were taught about the Constitution, but I would guess that many of you took the same high school classes I did. I came away believing that anyone born in the United States was automatically a citizen.

However, working for more than two decades with Karen Budd Falen, I have learned that often what isn’t said in legal document is as important as what is said. Does the 14th Amendment apply to people in our country illegally?

The wording of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The crucial phrase is “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” according to Mathew Spalding, associate vice president and dean of educational programs for Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, writing in the Wall Street Journal. As originally understood when Congress proposed the amendment in 1866, that referred not merely to the obligation of following U.S. laws but also, and more important, to full political allegiance. According to Lyman Trumbull—who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a co-author of the 14th Amendment—being “subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States” meant “not owing allegiance to anybody else.”

That reading is supported by the 1866 Civil Rights Act, also written by Trumbull, which Congress passed over President Andrew Johnson’s veto before proposing the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court endorsed this reading in the Slaughter-House Cases (1872) and Elk v. Wilkins (1884).

Even when the justices expanded the constitutional mandate U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), the decision cited as establishing birthright citizenship, they held only that the children of legal permanent residents were automatically citizens. The high court has never held that the clause confers automatic citizenship on the children of temporary visitors, much less of aliens in the country illegally, writes Spalding.

The 14th Amendment addresses many aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens. The most commonly used – and frequently litigated – phrase in the amendment is “equal protection of the laws”, which figures prominently in a wide variety of landmark cases, including Brown v. Board of Education (racial discrimination), Roe v. Wade (reproductive rights), Bush v. Gore (election recounts), Reed v. Reed (gender discrimination), and University of California v. Bakke (racial quotas in education).

According to Fred Thompson acting as a lawyer on television’s Law & Order, the issue in Roe v. Wade is that there is no right of privacy in the 14th Amendment. It is amazing how fast Hollywood can come up with a television show on a current topic or dig one out of the archives that address that topic.

According to a commentator on Fox News, who is also a judge, the 1898 U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark case mentioned above is the only time Section 1 has ever been litigated. It should be noted that this case involved an individual born to Chinese legal residents in the US and the individual was granted citizenship.

There is no doubt if the President moves forward with a different interpretation of this Section that there will be many court cases on this issue to clarify what was really meant by it.

The 1866 Civil Right Acts and the 14th Amendment, become law after, in Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), the Supreme Court held that African Americans were not U.S. citizens, even if they were free.

The Fourteenth Amendment, however, guaranteed that everyone born or naturalized in the United States and under its jurisdiction would be a United States citizen. It also ensured that federal citizenship was also made primary, which meant that states could not prevent freed slaves from obtaining state citizenship and thus federal citizenship. As such, the Fourteenth Amendment effectively overturned Sanford v. Scott.

In Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884), the Supreme Court held that children born to members of Native American tribes governed by local tribal governments were not automatically granted citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment. Congress, however, granted citizenship to Native Americans in 1924 when it passed the Indian Citizenship Act.

This may seem like an unusual topic to spend so much time on, however, when you are born and grow up on the Mexican border where family, friends and neighbors and local governments are struggling to maintain themselves in the face of ever-increasing numbers of illegal immigrants (from all over the world) who are streaming across the border almost unchecked, it is of interest.

It is not a stretch of the imagination to say that the “anchor baby” issue, where illegals use any means possible to get to the US before they give birth, is a multi-billion dollar problem. Hospitals along the border are burdened with the cost of births, while education systems are taxed well beyond any reason to provide the education that is guaranteed to these children. This doesn’t even account for all the other public services that are afforded to people who don’t or can’t contribute to local tax bases.

I can already hear the “R” word out there. Anyone who knows me knows that couldn’t be further from the truth. Our country is a melding pot and has been for centuries. But at what point can our country and our children bear the weight of the world’s need?

It isn’t often mentioned, but immigrants were turned away from Ellis Island when they couldn’t meet the basic needs to become a citizen in the future.

Green Genocide?

There is a “green” group that proposes to eliminate Arlington, Virginia sports fields in favor of “open spaces.”  Not only do they oppose new fields, in some cases, a goal of this group is to de-commission current playing fields and convert those to open spaces. Their thinking is that Arlington’s fields are under-utilized, and that sports groups inflate their numbers and over-state their needs. They have proposed to eliminate 11 sports fields in Arlington over the next several years.

I am really confused… I thought sport fields were open space… AND do we expect less children in the future who need athletics and open space?

Mental, Emotional Abuse.

That isn’t the only thing you could call the past few months of political campaigning. There are good people running for office from both parties. I, like everyone else, have my own opinion of how I would like to see the election turn out. That’s our right as citizens of the U.S.

What’s not right is the really ugly turn of the political ads. New Mexico and Arizona have been forced to live through weeks of nothing but ugly commercials about our friends and neighbors. The campaigns in these states have drawn national attention for their defamatory statements.

If that isn’t mental and emotional abuse, I don’t know what is. I wonder if we could file a class action suit against both political parties and win damages. Or, maybe we could file suit for the obscene amounts of money that has been poured into campaigns. With all the problems around the world, we should have better things to do with our time and money.

I have harped on civility for the last few months. It is something that must be maintained at home and everywhere else you go. The divisiveness has got to stop. These mass killings at school, at places of worship, and everywhere else stem from the lack of control of one’s self.

I have said it all at least twice before and the issue has a fair amount of national attention. Surely it must be President Trump’s fault. I agree that I could live without his inflammatory tweets and statements.

But I agree that the media constantly hands him a raw deal. Just yesterday on the news there was footage of a reporter asking the President if he was a liar. I must have missed that class in journalism school.

After the Pittsburg shooting the President was asked if more protection in the synagogue might have reduced the number of people killed and injury. In response, he said that perhaps it would have helped. By the next morning partisan pundits were accusing him of blaming the victims for the shooting.

On the other hand there was a not very widely distributed interview with Hillary Clinton saying there was no way she plans on being civil.

And they wonder why people are developing a deep dislike for the media.

Cattlegrowers Foundation Update

The Cattlegrowers Foundation is celebrating its 20th year with big news. The Foundation, along with New Mexico State University (NMSU), are the recipients of a USDA Young Farmers & Ranchers Grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The three-year grant will focus on “Raising Ranchers,” the priority program for the Foundation. It will include training sessions around the state for beginning and other ranchers as well as a major seminar. Additionally, the grant will allow the purchase of portable equipment that can be used by beginning ranchers.

Work has already begun with the first meeting held in late August in conjunction with the National Reproduction Symposium hosted by NMSU. The NMSU Rancher Safety Training seminar was videoed and will soon be available on You Tube. There will some special emphasis on Raising Ranchers at the 2018 Joint Stockmen’s Convention.

Wolf Update

First, thank you to ALL the donors who contributed to the funding call to action last June. Generous members offered up $5,000 each to be matched. Thus far the endeavor raised more than $35,000!

The Federal District Court in Tucson has still has not issued a final decision in the
10 J rule case but briefs have been filed in the enviros move to try and have adult wolves released in Arizona and New Mexico immediately. We are awaiting a ruling on that issue as well.

Convention just around the corner!

As you will see as you read this magazine, the 2018 Joint Stockmen’s Convention is coming up on December 5 – 8 at the Sandia Resort just north of Albuquerque. The days are Wednesday through Saturday. This day change was made to allow us to use the new and much larger venue.

Plans are in the works for a killer meeting with a little something for everyone. The room block is now open at Sandia. The reservation deadline is November 13th. Call the Sandia Resort & Casino for room reservations 1-877-272-9199. Ask for the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association or Joint Stockmen rate of $149+ tax.

We look forward to seeing you there!      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, November 2018
Oct 02 2018


by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

Although we have more than one Twitter account, I am not good at. Like Facebook (who kicked me off the site several years ago because I wouldn’t provide them a copy of my driver’s license and one other form of identification), it apparently eats of a huge amount time. That is verified from the messages I get on a daily basis that say something like “check out the 45 new message on Twitter that you might be interested in.”

With the frustration resulting from what’s going on around me, in the state and in the nation, I thought I had come up with a bright idea. I would come up with a new hash tag (a hash tag is what you are supposed to put at the end of a tweet that will cause others to read it) — #getoverit. Thankfully before I wrote an entire column exposing my ignorance on the subject, a quick Goggle search enlightened me with the fact that there are probably millions of tweets with that hash tag.

However, that is good news. If I start using that hash tag — as soon as I find the time to spend on it— lots and lots of people will have my tweet pop up on their feed (not be confused with the stuff you serve to your cattle and horses).

Just like the overload of information that is available on virtually anything and everything, I still haven’t got to my point. It is not news that life is short. The more time we spending carrying grudges, trying to prove WE are right and just plain being no fun to be around, the less time we have to enjoy ourselves and each other. It is alright to disagree — but that doesn’t mean it is okay to tell someone they are ugly and their mother dresses them funny.

Outrageous indignation can even be okay on rare occasions. Venting your anger might be okay. I learned a long time ago in that situation to just gut up and take it —even if I wasn’t the cause of the perceived problem.

We are all humans with a wide variety of thoughts, emotions and experiences. If we want to live the happiest life possible, we can disagree, but that is no excuse to be disagreeable. #getoverit

On Civility

Every member of the New Mexico legislature receives a complimentary issue of the Stockman. I know that at least a few of them actually read it. It might be worth investing in sending a copy to every member of Congress — if you think they might have the time to actually look at.

That is predictable on the fact that the postal service doesn’t completely fry it to make sure there are no dangerous substances on or in it. The danger that members of Congress and their staffs must live with is another sad commentary on the state of our society.

It was clear that some members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee hadn’t heard of the concept of civility and man’s inhumanity to man that I wrote about recently. I don’t care what the views of each individual are on the recent US Supreme Court nominee. Again, we all have the rights to our opinions (and we have the right to be wrong or uninformed). We should not have the right for a hearing, that was televised, to get so far out of hand that children have to be removed from the room. #getoverit

De ja vu all over again

When I was a child one of our treats was to spend time with our Nana (Irene Sproul). She was a school teacher and lived in Douglas, Arizona. Growing up in the country made going to “town” a big deal. We lived only six miles from Tombstone. When we were growing up Tombstone was a functioning community with two grocery stores, a barber, sometimes two beauty shops (known as salons today) a drug store or two, a dry cleaner, a couple of banks and at least one bar per block on the main street.

We didn’t want for anything like Tombstone does today. Of all the services I just listed, most of the bars remain, but if you need much of anything else you have to drive to Sierra Vista or Benson and I am not sure what’s left of Benson. The Circle K carries a few groceries including fresh vegetables. The last time I was in Tombstone there was another little store that had some grocery items along with a couple of gas pumps.

Douglas had many stores and a big Phelps Dodge Mercantile that had lots of groceries, clothing and I don’t remember what else, but getting to go shop at the PD was a big deal. Another feature that was fun was that Nana could have groceries delivered to her back door. That seems like a huge luxury at the time and was discontinued well before her death in the 1980s.

I think of Nana every time I see an ad in any format touting ordering your groceries online and having them delivered to your home. That delivery isn’t the new idea people seem to think it is. The only thing new is that you order online rather than making a phone call.

This phenomenon is happening in lots of sectors. When I was in high school there were mandatory home economics classes. I am not sure, but I think taking one semester was required. Cooking was a big part of that class. Eventually those classes were eliminated because of the perception that home skills were no longer necessary.

Today you can look at a “how to cook” show on television at virtually any hour of the day. Some of them have worked their way into prime-time scheduling. There are shows featuring children and now there are commercials for some food stuffs that are advertising their own cooking instructions like “Cooking with Uncle Ben.”

For a while it was unpopular to be a homemaker (not to be confused with the community clubs of yesteryear). To be a producing member of society you had to receive a pay check from an outside source. Ship the kids off day care and school at the earliest age possible and become a “complete” person. That day care is now often more expensive than an outside paycheck pays. Parents are opting to home school their children rather than sending them off to schools that don’t seem to be able to educate many students to be functioning citizens who are candidates for jobs or higher education.

I am not knocking public schools or the wonderful people who teach in them. It is no secret that we, as Americans, value football, basketball and baseball players higher than just about any profession. They make millions while the teachers we trust our children to stretch to get by.

Hopefully valuing people for the unique skills, they offer will come back in style just like home delivered groceries.

Hoping isn’t enough

With another election upon us, I cannot count the number of times I have heard “I sure hope (Candidate X) wins, but I don’t know how that is going to happen.”

I can tell you how that is going to happen. It will happen when you and everyone else takes responsibility for getting that person elected.

What might that responsibility entail? It can be donating money, making phone calls, knocking on doors, or putting up signs on your fences. It can also be making sure that EVERYONE you know understands who your candidate is, what they stand for and why it is so necessary for them to be elected.

One idea that costs little time and NO money is to post the reasons that your candidate is needed on Facebook or tweeting that message on Twitter. There are several other social media platforms that can be used, but we have exhausted my knowledge in that arena.

If 100 people made such posts or tweets you might be surprised the influence that you can have if you devote just a little effort. If you made that effort a couple of times a week for the next month the payoff could be big.

Of course, getting out the vote in early voting or on Election Day in imperative. Senior citizen facilities often need help in getting ballots turned in or driving folks to the polls. Use your imagination and get the job done. Hope is great… action is better.

2018 Joint Stockmen’s Convention

Hopefully you have read or heard by now the that the Joint Stockmen’s Convention has grown enough that we have the need for a larger facility. The 2018 Convention is scheduled for December 5 through 9 at the Sandia Resort on the north side of Albuquerque just off I-25.

Please note that the Convention will commence on Wednesday and finish on Saturday morning with the Worship Service. The room block at Sandia is open now. Please make your reservations early. Ask for the Joint Stockmen’s Convention or New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association rate of $149 plus tax. This is a higher rate, but it will be worth it.

There is room for a larger Trade Show, more meeting space, along with more restaurants and entertainment and other amenities.      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, October 2018
Sep 01 2018

Animal Crackers fall prey to animal rightists.

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

Destroying the circus wasn’t enough for PETA. In an article entitled “Nabisco Forced to Uncage Animal Crackers” author Greg Henderson on , wrote “the beasts on boxes of animal crackers have been turned loose. Under pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Nabisco has redesigned packaging of Nabisco’s Barnum’s Animal crackers removing – after more than a century – the cages.

PETA, which has been protesting the use of animals in circuses for more than 30 years, also had their sights set on Nabisco’s cracker boxes. In 2016, PETA wrote to Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, with a mockup design without bars and an explanation that circuses often mistreat animals. Illinois, where Mondelez has its headquarters, became the first U.S. state to ban circuses with elephant shows at the start of this year.”

“Given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses that use animals and the public’s swelling opposition to the exploitation of animals used for entertainment, we urge Nabisco to update its packaging in order to show animals who are free to roam in their natural habitats,” PETA said in its letter.

The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent “Barnum’s Animals” lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages – implying that they’re traveling in boxcars for the circus – the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side-by-side in a grassland.

MGM Sues Las Vegas Massacre Survivors

In another outrage, in mid-July dozens of survivors of last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas have started to receive some startling legal notices, according to a LA Times story by By Matt Pearce, Richard Winton  and David Montero.

“A lawsuit has been filed against you,” the notices say.

The plaintiff? MGM Resorts International, the casino and hotel company, owner of both the fairgrounds where 58 people were shot to death at a country music festival and the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the gunman perched himself on the 32nd floor to carry out the October 1, 2017 massacre.

In a bold legal maneuver, MGM has sued survivors to claim immunity under a federal law passed in the wake of September 11 that was designed to protect corporations from lawsuits after terrorist attacks. Experts said it was the first time such a lawsuit had ever been filed under the law.

MGM is facing lawsuits from more than 2,500 people after the massacre, which also wounded hundreds.

Survivors, backed by high-profile attorneys, have said the company did not do enough to prevent the attack or limit the extent the harm.

To defend itself, the company is turning to the little-known federal statute called the Safety Act, passed by Congress in 2002 to limit the liability of companies that provide anti-terrorism services.

The idea was that companies might not introduce new security technologies designed to thwart terrorist attacks if the companies would then face expensive — and potentially business-ending — lawsuits when those technologies fail to stop killings.

So policymakers offered companies a deal: With approval for their services by the Department of Homeland Security, they are protected from terrorism-related lawsuits.

“They’re basically giving you a get-out-jail-free card for something that hasn’t happened yet,” said Bob Karl, a managing partner for Safety Act Consultants, a Milwaukee firm that advises companies seeking Safety Act designations.

Safety Act designations can be an attractive legal protection for event and security companies. In recent years, several National Football League and Major League Baseball stadiums have obtained them.

So did Contemporary Services Corp., also known as CSC, the contractor that provided security for MGM during the music festival.

The company prominently features its Safety Act designation on its website.

MGM is arguing in two federal lawsuits against the survivors — filed in Nevada and California — that the hotel company is, by extension, shielded from the survivors’ lawsuits, because of the terrorism law’s protections. The statute also requires that related litigation be pursued in federal courts.

In a statement, MGM Resorts spokeswoman Debra DeShong suggested that its lawsuits would ultimately help the victims.

“The federal court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution,” the statement said. “Years of drawn-out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing.”

Though the Safety Act is aimed at terrorist attacks, MGM argued that the federal statute is written broadly enough to include mass shootings where the motive is unknown, such as the Vegas massacre.

MGM’s lawsuits referred to statements made in November by Elaine Duke, who was acting secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security: She “noted the emphasis of ‘terrorists and other violent criminals … on attacking soft targets,’ including ‘recent tragedies in Nevada.’”

Karl, the Safety Act expert, said he believes the lawsuits are the first of their kind and could lead to a highly public throw-down between victims and MGM.

“That whole thing is going to be a mess,” Karl said. “The only people who will come out of it well is high-priced attorneys.”

MGM drew backlash as news spread of the company suing survivors.

Craig Eiland, an attorney for several victims, said the attempt by MGM to insulate itself from a lawsuit using the Safety Act was “unprecedented.”

“CSC had nothing to do with Mandalay Bay not having security stop Stephen Paddock from unloading luggage with 23 assault rifles, carrying them up to his room and not noticing anything for three to five days,” Eiland said. “They had nothing to do with allowing him to deadbolt the stairwell — all of these things. And Mandalay Bay is saying because this yellow T-shirt company got this safety designation, everybody is immune?”

Mark Robinson, an Orange County attorney who represents hundreds of potential plaintiffs against MGM, called the company’s behavior “outrageous.”

“They are re-victimizing the victims and their families,” Robinson said, adding that MGM had asked for a list of clients he represented and that after receiving it MGM “responded by suing them all.”

Oh What a Difference…

A decade or two makes. In 1990, movie star Kevin Costner had a huge hit directing and starring in the moving Dances with Wolves. Dubbed a “American Epic” at a time when Westerns were out of fashion, the movie was over three hours in length and came in millions of dollars over budget. However, in the end the movie made over $400 million.

Costner is currently involved in what may be an epic television series that has him as a multi-generation Montana rancher who isn’t dancing with wolves — he is in a fight for the future with wolves, developers and water grabbers, oil operations, a near-by Indian reservation, recreations who want land use only for themselves, and even his family.

Yellowstone just finished its first season on the Paramount Channel and is available on Netflix. It is worth the time to watch it. While there is more violence than necessary, Costner is a meaner patriarch than necessary, and the language isn’t fit for public consumption, once in awhile it is as close to real as any film depiction I have seen.

On the subject of profanity…

There was a debate on Fox News the other day about whether or not the f-word is profanity. It was mind boggling. The lack of civility in our speech is appalling and even scary. If we don’t have the vocabulary to find a word to express our sentiments, we all better start carrying dictionaries around.

The unbelievable one-liners…

On another news network they were touting the next story – the headline was “On the investigation of the Russian investigation.” Does anyone but me think that no matter what the story was, the whole thing is ridiculous?

Another line that has been bandied around a lot since President Trump made a statement that the media is the enemy of the people is “Free press is not the enemy of the people.” Newspapers across the country published editorials in mid-August making that statement. The effort, initiated by the Boston Globe, has brought both positive and negative attention.

For my two cents, the President didn’t say a free press is an enemy, he said the media. That may be distinction without a difference, but a press that is biased can be an enemy. If news outlets reported the news rather than making it, there wouldn’t be a need for this entire conversation.

Drug Residue Story is ‘Pseudoscience’ & ‘Scare Tactics’

In a strongly worded official statement released in late August, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA )Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Acting Deputy Under Secretary Carmen Rottenberg took issue with the conclusions of a newly published Consumer Reports (CR) article that suggests that banned or restricted drugs may appear in the U.S. meat supply more often than was previously known according to a story on by Julie Larson Bricher.

“You may have seen a Consumer Reports story claiming that the poultry and meat you purchase in the grocery store and feed your families could contain harmful drug residues,” Rottenberg wrote in the FSIS statement. “That is not true. This story is sensational and fear-based infotainment aimed at confusing shoppers with pseudoscience and scare tactics.”

The article, “Are Banned Drugs in Your Meat?”, asserts that data obtained from the agency via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show that trace amounts of prohibited drugs — including ketamine, phenylbutazone and chloramphenicol — were found in meat and poultry samples taken between October 2015 and September 2016. Based on analysis by CR’s food safety scientists, the report calls into question FSIS drug residue testing methods and acceptable level cutoffs and accuses the agency of “failing to ensure that meat is free of potentially unsafe drug residue.” 

In her response, Rottenberg stated that the FOIA data on which the CR report is based are misleading.

“On March 3, 2017, in our haste to be transparent and responsive, we mistakenly released in response to a FOIA request, unconfirmed, preliminary test results for samples taken from poultry,” she wrote. “We corrected our mistake with the requestor. However, the unconfirmed sampling results continue to be passed around as accurate, truthful information – they are not.”

FSIS performed the complete screening and testing process on all the samples represented, wrote Rottenberg

“The final, confirmed and validated test results show that there were no drug residues in the chicken. If violative drug residues are found in any meat or poultry product, FSIS does not allow that product to be sold for human food.

“Consumer Reports admits in their closing paragraph that the real agenda behind this piece is to convince Americans to eat less meat,” she added. “Shame on Consumer Reports for attempting to advance a rhetoric that lacks scientific support or data, at the expense of American producers and the 9,000 food safety professionals who ensure the safety of meat and poultry in this country every day.”

Wayne Pacelle Returns Despite #Metoo Claims

Wayne Pacelle is back on Capitol Hill lobbying for an animal rights agenda, according to Greg Henderson.

The former president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) who was forced to resign in February over sexual harassment allegations, is working for a friend’s PAC (political action committee) lobby for animal welfare issues on Capitol Hill. Despite efforts to keep a low-profile, Pacelle’s re-emergence with the PAC Animal Wellness Action has stirred friction with HSUS.

According to Politico, legal action is under consideration by HSUS because Pacelle had a non-compete clause in his contract. A memo obtained by Politico says, “The board leadership is aware of the situation and will be considering our options.”

Animal Wellness Action was registered in May by David Harvilicz, a lawyer and entrepreneur. Politico reported the new PAC already had deep ties with HSUS as Marty Irby, a former HSUS executive who oversaw its rural equine protect ion and rural outreach departments, is now Animal Wellness Action’s executive director.

Pacelle’s resignation came after an investigation into claims of sexual misconduct by three HSUS employees. Days before stepping down, Pacelle told The Washington Post, “I absolutely deny any suggestion that I did anything untoward.”      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, September 2018
Aug 20 2018

Lack of civility… or is it man’s inhumanity to man?

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

Is it too much national news? Are manners of any kind ancient history? Do we even know what respect and self-respect are anymore? Can we no longer have an opinion that differs with anyone else without being evil? Is the art of agreeing to disagree lost?

At the national level clearly there are no longer any rules of civility. Just tune in to any news broadcast and you will see people calling the President and others liars. People claiming he is evil just because they disagree with him. We see well-funded marches across the country to protest what appears to be the best economic change in decades.

Some of it is a lack of knowledge, but I fear most of it is disinformation with malice of forethought.

I think I have become almost numb to the national stuff, but what causes me despair is when folks I have known, liked and worked with for literally decades sink into shouting matches and name calling or calling someone a liar in a room full of people. I probably use that word way too often and will do better — unless you have worked to earn the title.

The cattle industry in the Southwest has been here for centuries. Our families have been friends and neighbors over that same period. Now, when we have less people in our circles, it is not time to circle the wagons, aim and fire. We have plenty of groups that take great glee when we cannot get along.

Let’s not hand them anymore ammunition.

Drop that straw and put your hands up!

2018 will forever be remembered as the year that hating plastic straws went mainstream. Once the lonely cause of environmental cranks, now everyone wants to eliminate these suckers from daily life, according to Christian Britschgi, Assistant Editor at

In July, 2018, Seattle imposed America’s first ban on plastic straws. Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a similar ban a few months earlier. There are active attempts to prohibit straws in New York City, Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, CA. A-list celebrities from Calvin Harris to Tom Brady have lectured us on giving up straws. Both National Geographic and The Atlantic have run long profiles on the history and environmental effects of the straw. Vice is now treating their consumption as a dirty, hedonistic excess.

A California coastal city has become the latest municipality to ban plastic straws, enacting what is potentially the strictest plastic prohibition in the country. Santa Barbara earlier this month passed the ordinance authorizing hefty fines and even a possible jail sentence for violators who dole out plastic straws at restaurants, bars and other food establishments.

According to the ordinance, violators on their first offense will be given a written warning notice. But the second time a purveyor of plastic straws defies the ban is when the heavy hand of the law could clamp down.

In that case, the ordinance cites penalties from the city’s municipal code for a “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months.”

In comparison, Seattle, which in the beginning of July became the first major city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws, only fines businesses $250 per offense.

Not to be outdone by busybody legislators, Starbucks, the nation’s largest food and drink retailer, announced that it would be going strawless.

The coffee giant says that by 2020 it hopes to have eliminated all single-use plastic straws at its 28,000 stores worldwide. It will now top all its cold drinks with fancy new strawless lids that the company currently serves with its cold brew nitro coffees. (Frappuccinos will still be served with a compostable or paper straw.)

As is to be expected, Starbucks’ decision was greeted with universal adulation.

Yet missing from this fanfare was the inconvenient fact that by ditching plastic straws, Starbucks will actually be increasing its plastic use. As it turns out, the new nitro lids that Starbucks is leaning on to replace straws are made up of more plastic than the company’s current lid/straw combination.

Right now, Starbucks patrons are topping most of their cold drinks with either 3.23 grams or 3.55 grams of plastic product, depending on whether they pair their lid with a small or large straw. The new nitro lids meanwhile weigh either 3.55 or 4.11 grams, depending again on lid size.

(I got these results by measuring Starbucks’ plastic straws and lids on two separate scales, both of which gave me the same results, said Britschgi)

This means customers are at best breaking even under Starbucks’ strawless scheme, or they are adding between .32 and .88 grams to their plastic consumption per drink. Given that customers are going to use a mix of the larger and smaller nitro lids, Starbucks’ plastic consumption is bound to increase, although it’s anybody’s guess as to how much.

Can we (who can afford it) go back to fur???

Not to be outdone in the assault on plastics, the Animal Activist Watch bailed in with “Fake Fur is Plastic Poison, Research Finds.” The lead was buried at the end of the story with “The tests also looked at the average biodegradation of a number of natural products and found that real fur degrades at the same rate as an oak or willow tree leaf.” Imagine that.

The synthetic fibers of fake fur do not biodegrade, experts have found. The findings are a blow to other animal rights activists who claim fake fur is environmentally friendly.

They examined how both real and fake fur degraded in conditions set up to mimic closed landfill conditions. Natural fur samples biodegraded swiftly, starting to disintegrate within days as microorganisms consumed the carbon inside the fur. But fake fur showed no biodegradation at all.

According to the researchers, this was not unexpected due to the composition of the synthetic fibers. In addition, synthetic fur materials are also known to break down into ever-smaller pieces, eventually forming microplast fibers—a major contributor to plastic pollution.

More Social Engineering…

Do you regularly heat up leftovers in plastic food-storage containers? Do you put plastic reusable water bottles in the dishwasher when they need a deep clean? A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights food safety mistakes that many people may be making, without understanding the consequences. According to, the study outlines an increasing amount of evidence that points to the dangers of food packaging materials, especially plastic.

The study advises people against microwaving food in plastic containers or placing plastic containers in the dishwasher, as these habits can cause the plastic material to release harmful chemicals. BPA serves as a hardening ingredient in plastic, and it has been associated with adverse health effects, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. BPA exposure or ingestion can also cause harm to fertility, the immune system, and even body fat percentage, according to the AAP. Plastic materials that have recycling codes 3, 6, and 7 — corresponding to phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols, respectively — should also be avoided. The AAP reminds parents that the consequences of exposure to dangerous chemicals may be particularly harmful for children, as their bodies are still in the process of developing.

And, oh by the way, they recommend choosing whole foods over processed food also to reduce risk of contamination, as well as washing hands and produce during food preparation.

Finally, a grain of truth

As the US Department of the Interior begins work on revising endangered species regulations, some media is once again in a frenzy about the world going extinct if even a comma is changed in anything relative to the Endangered Species Act.

The Washington Post ran an article by Kristoffer Whitney, an assistant professor in the department of Science, Technology and Society at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The story is way too long to reprint and the vast majority of it about how the world will come to an end if we change anything regarding endangered species.

The subhead on the story did however make a startling admission. “The ESA does control land use…” but in at least the writer’s opinion that’s okay because he and many other believe that controlling land, and thus people, is “essential to protecting species.”

Fall NMCGA Board Meeting

The Fall Board meeting will be held in Santa Rosa on September 17 and 18. Meetings will be held at the Blue Hole Convention Center and all NMCGA members are welcome to attend.

Additionally the NMCGA is inviting anyone who sits on the board of directors of an agricultural organization to participate in the Board Training being offered at 1:30 p.m. on the 17th. The IRS is increasing the responsibilities of board members and everyone needs to be aware of them.

Watch for registration materials in the mail or your email, contact the or call the NMCGA office for details.

Special thanks to all our wolf litigation donors!      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, August 2018
Jul 17 2018


by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

July has started off with a bang… and it wasn’t just the neighbor’s fire crackers going off at after 10:00 p.m. on July 5 in the street in front of my house.

In early July a federal judge in Nevada rejected prosecutors’ request to reconsider her dismissal of the conspiracy case against Cliven Bundy, his two sons and Ryan Payne stemming from their 2014 armed standoff with federal agents over cattle grazing near Bunkerville, according to a story by Maxine Bernstein for The Oregonian/OregonLive

U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro found prosecutors raised arguments she had already considered. She dismissed their contention that the dismissal of the case with prejudice was “unjust,’’ or that she should have ordered a less severe sanction for their failure to share evidence that could assist the defense as required by the 1963 landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brady v. Maryland.

“The Court’s finding of outrageous government conduct was not in error,’’ Navarro wrote in her 11-page ruling. “On the contrary, a universal sense of justice was violated by the Government’s failure to provide evidence that is potentially exculpatory.’’

In a motion urging the judge to reconsider the dismissal, prosecutors reiterated their unsuccessful argument that the evidence they failed to share until too late wouldn’t have been admissible anyway because they didn’t believe the defendants could argue that they acted in self-defense, were provoked or intimidated.

But the judge called that argument “outrageous’’ and made it clear that the government was not allowed to withhold evidence that would enable the Bundys and Payne to argue they acted in self-defense, or evidence they could use to challenge the charges in their indictment.

In fact, her prior order should have placed prosecutors on notice that any evidence that could bolster a theory of self-defense might become relevant at trial, Navarro wrote.

“The evidence that the Government failed to disclose, such as the insertion and positioning of snipers and cameras surveilling the Bundy home, is evidence of provocation,’’ Navarro wrote. “The Government’s theory of prosecution relies on the fact that Defendants were acting offensively instead of defensively. The evidence that the Government failed to disclose could have assisted Defendants in showing that the officers were engaging in provocative conduct and that Defendants were not the aggressors. Therefore, the undisclosed evidence might have supported a theory of self-defense.’’

The judge said she had considered alternative sanctions, such as a potential retrial or lesser penalties.

“However, the Court found that no lesser sanction would adequately deter future investigatory and prosecutorial misconduct,’’ Navarro wrote.

The judge also said she concluded the indictment could not survive as a result of the government’s violations, and did consider the potential ramifications that could result from the dismissal.

Ammon Bundy, who was released from custody in December and is now back at home in Idaho with his wife and children and trying to rebuild his fleet vehicle business, has become outspoken in recent days, arguing that the convictions of co-defendants Todd Engel and Greg Burleson, found guilty in an earlier trial, should be thrown out due to evidence that wasn’t shared at their trials but only came out piece meal during pretrial hearings and the start of the Bundys’ Nevada trial.

Burleson was sentenced in 2017 to more than 68 years in prison, found guilty of threatening a federal law enforcement officer, obstruction of justice and interstate travel in aid of extortion. Engel has yet to be sentenced for obstruction of justice and interstate travel in aid of extortion. “I just can’t sit here and say this is OK,’’ Bundy told The Oregonian/OregonLive

“I don’t believe they got a fair trial. The judge probably thinks this is all done because the Bundys went home. But I’m not going to let it be done and forgotten.’’

Hammonds Pardoned

The Bundy news was followed quickly by word that President Trump granted clemency to 79-year-old Dwight Hammond Jr., and his son Steven, 49. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote, “Trump corrects a federal injustice against two Oregon ranchers.”

The pardon power has its most compelling use when correcting a government injustice. President Trump used his authority for precisely such a purpose in pardoning the Hammonds. For details on the Hammond case and more from the Wall Street Journal, see the story on page 198.

Stampede Bets Big in New Mexico

An Illinois meat company is expanding to New Mexico, bringing with it nearly 1,300 new jobs.

Stampede Meat plans to invest $36 million renovating the former Tyson plant in Sunland Park. 1,295 new food processing and manufacturing jobs will be created over the next five years.

The company processes and distributes portioned meat for restaurants, retail, home delivery and other channels.

“This is great news for New Mexico and another example of what’s possible when businesses know they’re welcome here,” said Economic Development Secretary Matt Geisel. “The Governor’s critical reforms and steadfast commitment to economic development are showing companies from around the country and the world that New Mexico is open for business.”

The expansion was made possible through funds in the Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA. The closing fund is used as a tool to help recruit new businesses to New Mexico and help existing businesses grow and thrive.

“We are very pleased to invest in Sunland Park and are grateful to the Governor as well as the state, county and local officials who have helped us,” said Brock Furlong, CEO of Stampede Meat. “We look forward to expanding our workforce to continue to provide quality products for our customers.”

New Mexico beat out Oklahoma, Texas, and Iowa for the competitive expansion. Stampede’s headquarters is in Bridgeview, Illinois and was founded in 1995.

There will be more details on this project in the days to come.

Wolf Tally (dollars I mean)

The wolf issue is one that I will probably die working on no matter how far away my demise might be. As I hope you have heard, we are in a howl of a need for funds still or again.

The current crisis is two-folds. In April we got a bad decision on the case regarding the new 10J rule. The ruling went totally against us and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). The court ruled that the agency must go back to the drawing board. There was also some of the ruling that sets a really bad precedent if it stands. The judge has never issued a final ruling, so the decision on whether or not to appeal doesn’t have to be made yet.

There are lots of pros and cons to an appeal. If we don’t the case will apply to all endangered species, not just wolves. If we do appeal it will be in the 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals based in San Francisco. Enough said?

The 9th has had more cases overturned than any other appeals court in the country. Rarely have their opinions been favorable to those working the land. However there have been some appointments made by this administration. If I cannot be optimistic, I couldn’t get up in the morning.

The other drawback is, of course, the cost. There is an outstanding balance with the Budd-Falen Law Offices from this case which has been going on since early 2015. And, there is a more pressing need before we cross the appeal bridge.

In May there was a status conference call between the judge and all the parties in the case. The judge asked the FWS how long it will take them to re-write the rule under the ruling. The answer was 24 to 29 months.

The judge was okay with that time frame. However, the radical environmental groups came up with a new ask. While they didn’t argue the length of time, they had a new wrinkle. They want lots of wolves released while the rule is under rewrite — starting in New Mexico this summer. The judge granted them leave to file a motion to that effect.

Initially their brief was due on June 20. They didn’t make that deadline and requested another 30 days to file it. As things sit now, their brief is due on July 20. Any briefs in opposition are now due on August 20.

In May the decision needed to be made whether or not to file a brief on this part of the case. The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association (NMCGA) made an early decision to proceed. It took a little while longer for the Arizona/New Mexico Coalition of Counties (Coalition) to make a decision, but they have come along.

Then came the issue of raising the funds to continue and finish the balance. NMCGA had some members and supporters step up to the plate in a big way.

Past President and current Chairman of the Litigation Committee Alisa Ogden pledged $5,000 for a match dollar for dollar with anyone donating funds for the cause. Within days, CKP Drought Insurance stepped up with a pledge of an additional $5,000.

We were able to start a fund raising campaign offering a $2 match for every $1 donated. Folks have stepped up in a big way.

During Mid-Year, John and Megan Richards and their boys donated another $5,000. AND the Coalition began receiving more donations. Special thanks to the counties in New Mexico and Arizona who have generally funded the 10J suit. Cochise County, Arizona has been a real champion.

County cattle growers’ groups and soil conservation districts have opened their checkbooks as well. The Gila County Cattle Growers’ in Arizona donated a generous amount as did the Southern Quay Soil & Water Conservation District.

We now have the funds to retire the debt and pay for the upcoming brief on the release of more wolves in the immediate future. Perhaps we will end up with enough left over to think about an appeal. Thank you to every one for every single dollar that has been donated. We will have a full list of those folks in the August Stockman.

Additionally, the FWS released their wolf recovery plan, which we have talked a lot about, in late 2017. The enviros have already filed cases against that action. A determination hasn’t yet been made if an intervention in that case is worthwhile.

Among the news July news blitz was a press release from the radicals demanding that three packs of wolves be released in the Gila Wildness this summer.

This is hollow news for those in the Gila National Forest who are suffering wolf kills daily. One member found six dead calves in one spot — four of them were confirmed kills, two were determined to be “probable.”

Fall Board Meeting

Plans are in the works for the NMCGA Fall Board meeting slated for September 17 and 18 in Santa Rosa. Like all Board meetings, all NMCGA members are invited to this meeting and we hope you will join us.

The agenda will include board training, which we hope board members from any agricultural board will join us for. There are other educational presentations in the plans, including a presentation from the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish on their newly proposed elk license plan.

In the meantime please visit to view the proposal.

Cattlegrowers Foundation

There is big news coming out of the Cattlegrowers Foundation, Inc. and New Mexico State University. We can’t share even a peep. Hopefully by next month we will have lots of details and big plans for the future.

Don’t forget that the Foundation is celebrating its 20th year. Please consider making a $20, $200 or more donation to the Foundation as it charges forward with raising the next generation of ranchers. For more information on the Foundation, please visit

See you in September in Santa Rosa!         

Source: New Mexico Stockman, July 2018

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