Officials announce plan to kill feral cows in Gila National Forest

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Last year, the U.S. Forest Service recognized there were too many feral cattle in the Gila National Forest – an issue they say has been there since the ’70s. In February, they performed their first round of killings, shooting a total of 65 cows from the air.

Now, the U.S. Forest Service is planning another round of killings, set to happen next month.

After a lawsuit was settled with the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association last July, the government has to give 75 days’ notice before they kill cows, and allow for the public to weigh in beforehand.

Loren Patterson, the president of the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association, believes there are better ways to handle the situation.

“We know that those animals don’t need to be in there,” Patterson said. “We also believe that this aerial gunning program, just like last year, will just be a population control, but doesn’t solve the problems associated with those feral cattle. We want those animals removed in a humane way.”

Patterson said one of those solutions could be adjusting the structure of the outer fences where many wild animals cross through.

Officials with the Gila National Forest told KOB 4 there are 50 to 100 feral cows in the forest now.