Most are familiar with the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the underlying moral of which warns us to remain wary as we travel through life; that danger is lurking in many forms, some of which are not easily discernible.
Well, perspective is often skewed, so one might now view Little Red Riding Hood’s “old hood” as a pretty safe place, fraught with far less danger even than the forests and grasslands of the Cariboo, as it has recently become ever-more evident that the cattle herds (calves) that roam those lands to graze have real reason to keep their heads up while they eat and one eye out for threats to life and limb. A cunning and diabolically clever amalgamation of canine wizards have taken up residence and it’s really hard to find another outfit likely to take their place as the prime suspects in respect to high cattle (calf) losses for numerous operations.
It’s a worrisome scenario for local cattle producers (sale prices have finally attained a decent level again) because you can’t sell what you can’t find and too many calves (counted and turned out after branding) have not returned from summer/fall pasture. There is no compensation (proven predator kills) given for disappearances, so for the rancher, no fairy-tale-ending (girl and grandmother come back to life in Little Red Riding Hood) to conclude the sad saga. What can the rancher do? Not much.
It may help some to fill out and submit the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association 2011 cattle loss survey; the form can be accessed on the BCCA website at www.cattlemen.bc.ca. You don’t have to be a member (information given/strictly confidential) but send accurate loss/numbers as it’s the only way that the true extent of losses can be tallied regionally/provincially and those numbers will provide the BCCA with a solid foundation for serious dialogue, on your behalf.
Liz Twan is a local rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.