Black Vulture Relief Act introduced into U.S. Senate

A bill was recently introduced into the U.S. Senate to help cattle producers protect their herds from the devastating impacts of black vulture depredation.  Companion legislation for the Black Vulture Relief Act was introduced into the U.S. House earlier this year.

Charlie Besher, a Missouri cow-calf producer and chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Property Rights and Environmental Management (PREM) Committee, says the attacks are costly to cattle producers.  “In Florida alone, more than 1/3 of the cattle producers experienced black vulture depreciation,” he says.  “And those incidents, on average, have exceeded $2,000 in damages. It’s a financial hit.”

Black vultures have been federally protected for 50 years and are now an abundant species across the country.  Besher says the current rule is antiquated. “If this relief act would get through Congress, it would allow those producers to take lethal methods without having to permit in hand,” he says.

He tells Brownfield cattle producers don’t want black vultures eradicated, because the birds serve a purpose to the ecosystem.  “But you know, we have to get the population in check,” he says. Besher says from 2015 to 2019, the request for permits to take black vultures that are threatening cattle producers went up 26%.

The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), and the House bill is sponsored by Representatives John Rose (R-TN) and Darren Soto (D-FL).

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