In response to Kent Knudson's letter on the open range law and caged cattle:
We ranched west of Pine for about 20 years, and in that time I never once saw one of our cows open a gate and let themselves out into a subdivision or onto a highway to attack people or a car. In fact, I didn't even see them cut a fence to let a 4-wheeler or woodcutter through the fence so they wouldn't have to go to a gate.
Another fact, I don't recall our cows drinking one gallon of water you would drink -- they drank out of a dirt tank or spring, shared with deer, elk and other wildlife.
Most of the cows are gone now, but the few ranchers left keep the tanks and springs maintained so our wildlife can survive. A fact to ponder -- never once in the years we ranched were we paid for a cow that someone butchered or shot, one that a bear or lion killed, or a calf a pack of coyotes or dogs killed.
When a cow was hit on the highway, the ranchers, Forest Service, and state were usually sued, even though the cow got out on the road through a hole in the fence or open gate. Since you live in Phoenix, you probably aren't aware that when there was logging and cattle, and the Forest Service was allowed to maintain the forests, we didn't have as many of the huge forest fires that we have had lately.
Now, the Forest Service spends most of its time and money in lawsuits, instead of maintaining the forest. You may also not realize that a large part of the grazing fees that are paid go back into the public schools system.
Getting rid of the open range law is not the answer. Most of us fence our yards and property to keep out people, dogs, deer, elk and, yes, even cows, if someone leaves a gate open or cuts the rancher's fence.
I think the real problem starts with lack of respect. Maybe if people would give a little thought to their actions and teach their children to be respectful of other people and their property, and what the consequences of their actions are, the world would be a better place. Everything else in the U.S. is imported, including over half of our beef. Let's keep what is left of the American rancher, eat American beef, and let a dying breed die in peace.
Sue Hunsaker, Tonto Basin