Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction Of The American West-George Wuerthner, Mollie Matteson

  • Title: Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction Of The American West
  • Author: George Wuerthner, Mollie Matteson
  • Released: 2002-08-01
  • Language:
  • Pages: 368
  • ISBN: 1559639431
  • ISBN13: 978-1559639439
  • ASIN: 1559639431

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From Library Journal Whereas the effects of urban sprawl and clear-cut logging are readily apparent, the far-reaching and devastating consequences of large-scale livestock production are less obvious to the untrained eye. In this excellent overview of the ecological and economic consequences of ranching in the arid Western United States, natural historian and photographer Wuerthner and environmental activist Matteson present a collection of impassioned essays by scientists, conservationists, and economists. As writers like Edward Abbey, T.H. Watkins, and Carl Bock point out, livestock grazing has caused irreversible damage: it has degraded water quality, eroded the soil, introduced invasive plants, and endangered countless native plants and wildlife. Although the West accounts for less than three percent of U.S. meat production, livestock grazing occurs there on an enormous scale (a single cow uses one acre in Mississippi but 250 acres in Nevada). To provide enough space, three million acres of public land are being used by private ranchers with the help of government subsidies a consequence of the ranching industry's political power. This oversized book has 175 full-color photographs plus a resource directory and a bibliography. Although rather costly, it is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries and is particularly suitable for environmental and Western collections. Ilse Heidmann, Olympia, WA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Most Americans know little about the state of our precious public lands. The designations national park, national forest, and national wildlife refuge would seem to indicate that such places are free of industry, but in the arid West many are the province of large corporations. Following in the footsteps of Fatal Harvest [BKL My 15 02], a powerful inquiry into industrial agriculture, the contributors to this equally revelatory volume document in picture and word the dire ecological consequences of government-subsidized cattle grazing on 300 million acres of public land. Scientists from various fields, historians, economic and governmental policy experts, and earth-loving writers, including Edward Abbey, examine the cattle industry from an array of viewpoints, and explain how cattle ranching causes soil erosion, water pollution, the spread of invasive species, and an ever-increasing roster of endangered species, while photographs of cow-damaged versus livestock-free landscapes drive the message home. This eye-opening and discussion-starting volume should spark more conspicuous public debate (after all, "this land is your land") and a demand for the rescue of public lands. Donna Seaman
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