The Oregon Board of Agriculture is perpetuating the most harmful myths about cougars, and the cougars need Oregonians to speak up for them.
At its meeting on December 2, the Board of Agriculture plans to adopt a resolution in support of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's heavy-handed and unsustainable Cougar Management Plan. The board says it's responding to the "threat that cougar predation poses to the livestock industry in Oregon." This harmful resolution plays on the public's unfounded fears of cougars, using them to justify killing more of these native animals.
The Mountain Lion Foundation and other conservation groups began fighting this resolution when the board first introduced it in September. We’ve shared copious amounts of the best available science, which proves that ODFW’s excessive use of recreational hunting and lethal conflict management is counterproductive. Indiscriminate killing disrupts the cougars' complex social structures, leaves young cubs orphaned before they’re able to fend for themselves, and increases conflicts with humans and livestock.
Sadly, the board denied our request to bring in one of the nation’s top carnivore experts to present the facts about cougars. Instead, the board’s members plan to listen only to ODFW’s justifications for its aggressive cougar plan, which caters to the interests of trophy hunters rather than the majority of Oregonians who want responsible and science-based wildlife management.
The fact is that cougars are responsible for a tiny portion of livestock deaths in Oregon and the U.S. The USDA's own Wildlife Services statistics bear this out. We need to insist that our state agencies make fact-based decisions about how to manage the wildlife that belongs to every citizen.
Causes such as illness, birthing complications and severe weather account for far more livestock deaths than all predators combined. While predation is a valid concern, most of it is preventable with inexpensive and common sense nonlethal ranching and farming practices.
Please email the Board of Agriculture and ask them to reject this resolution. Encourage them instead to adopt a resolution urging Oregon’s ranchers and farmers to learn and practice effective nonlethal strategies for coexisting with wildlife while protecting their livestock animals from harm.
Please send your email comments by this Friday, November 20 at 5:00 p.m. to Karla Valness at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Public Comment, Cougar Resolution” in the subject line. Please choose your own words to stand up for Oregon’s cougars, or use our suggested language as a guide.
Sample Email –
Subject: Public Comment, Cougar Resolution
We are writing today to ask that you reject the resolution in support of ODFW’s unsustainable and cruel cougar management plan. Instead, we encourage you to adopt a resolution urging Oregon’s ranchers and farmers to learn and practice effective nonlethal strategies for coexisting with wildlife while protecting their livestock animals from harm.