I remember when I first moved to California, I would love to see all the cows dotting the hills as I drove up and down the coast. It seemed iconic to me. “Happy Cows.” I didn’t realize back then exactly what I was seeing— and the damage that has been extremely well-documented about the effects of cattle grazing on the environment.
According to Center for Biological Diversity, “In the arid West, livestock grazing is the most widespread cause of species endangerment. By destroying vegetation, damaging wildlife habitats and disrupting natural processes, livestock grazing wreaks ecological havoc on riparian areas, rivers, deserts, grasslands and forests alike — causing significant harm to species and the ecosystems on which they depend.”
In Point Reyes National Seashore, the almost 6000 cattle produce 133,533,900 lbs. of manure annually. That’s a LOT of sh*t. That fact has lead to some of the waterways within the National Park being some of the most polluted within the entire state of California. And in 2010, it was reported that 62% of all greenhouse gas emissions from the park come from the cattle industry.
Here are some facts around (660) Tule Elk vs (over 5000) Cows:
The average size of an adult Holstein Cow: 1,400 pounds.
The average size of an adult Tule Elk: 300-500 pounds.
Cows eat an average of 50lbs of forage a day
Tule Elk eat an average of 9lbs of forage a day
Tell me which one can do more damage to a park?