New Mexico Estray Cattle Lawsuit Settled

July 15, 2022

The following is a press release from the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association: 

The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association and others announced Monday that they have settled the lawsuit filed to prevent the United States Forest Service from shooting cattle from a helicopter in the Gila Wilderness. 

In February, the USFS shot 63 head of estray cattle, and have now withdrawn the decision memorandum on which it relied to authorize that shooting campaign. Under the terms of the settlement, USFS agreed it will give 75 days’ notice before commencing any future helicopter sniper operations. It may only do so if it satisfies the procedural and substantive requirements to justify such an action.

 “The Forest Service has agreed it won’t be able to continue shooting cattle without first being accountable for complying with the law,” said Loren Patterson, President NMCGA. 

“New Mexico’s producers want to have a permanent seat at the table regarding such decisions, we believe this settlement is progress in the right direction.”  

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the dismissal agreement announced this week states that the U.S. Forest Service must give at least 75 days notice to ranchers and the public before any aerial killing of feral cattle in the Gila National Forest during the next three years.

Source: New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association, Albuquerque Journal