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Alley Meredith Salem Hills High School Nebo District allison.m466@stu.nebo.edu Border Cattle Industry The foundation for the ranching industry in Texas sprang from the immensely large number of cattle that existed in Northern Mexico roaming the open range. In 1521 Gregorio de Billalobos was the first to bring cattle to the land of Texas. As we now know them today, the Texas Longhorn is the mixture of three different Spanish breeds that roamed the area. In the 18th century the industry began to form its self around the cattle ranches in Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas due to the shrinkage of other valuable resources such as silver and the other mining industries. This led to the trading of cattle between the three different ranching areas that are still functioning to this day. Since the 18th century there have been many complications such as diseases drastically spreading across the border, and the Rio Grande River drying up leaving the border cattle with little to no water source, but the most recent battle is taking place in Ojinaga a small border town in Mexico. Ojinaga use to be the biggest port for importing cattle into the U.S. At the least, nine of Mexico’s thirty one states use to have their cattle imported there. Every piece of cattle entering the facility is to be inspected and weighted and all sales finalized on Mexico’s side of the border at a facility that could hold fifteen thousand animals. In August of 2013 an uncalled for decision has been made by the U.S Department of Agriculture, that the productive trading facility should be shut down. After the choice they proceeded to move all the cattle inspectors across the Rio Grande and into Texas for their own safety, and switching all business concerns that were with Ojianga to Presidio, Texas. People on both side of the borders are agreeing that their actions are crippling the livestock industry in the Texas and Mexico area. The USDA has given us the reason to all this is because of concerns facing the recent escalating drug violence in Mexico. From the Texas Tribune in a Border Cattle Struggles article local residents from the Mexico side of the border tell "We feel we have been wronged. We feel the area is safe and were victims of circumstances occurring along many other borders with many issues". Most of the people in town have lost their jobs. This loss had added to the towns poverty rate which is now %34 and on average is only %17. The chief veterinarian Dr. Jesus Baca in a recent interview tells us “The cattle raisers union and others would do whatever was asked of them to improve security and put U.S officials at ease.” On several occasion they have shot and killed by passers of México in a vehicle assumed to be criminals trying to escape. Most of the workers think that it is unfair that they would allow the other inspectors to work in different parts along the border close to the area, and not in Ojinaga. There is just as much violence and a lot of the times even more in other places then there is in Ojinaga. There have been many resident of Ojinaga sending out letters to U.S.D.A but there have been no responding messages. The people of Ojinaga believe that they deserve evidence of the issue that the U.S.D.A think is to be growing in the small quiet town. They have had many meetings with places such as State Department, U.S customs and


Border Patrol and still there is no direct response. They tell them “Drug cartel violence continues to take a heavy toll not only on our rural land owners but our entire agriculture industry along the Texas-Mexico border. We must absolutely stop the cartels in their tracks and normalize trade relationships to restore lost jobs.” The decision to withdraw all the cattle inspectors in region have cost them millions of dollars, and now causing all the business they had to go else where because of the danger the U.S.D.A is accusing them to spread. The locals say it is possibly the safest place there when they tried to give their cattle inspectors military escort who proceeded to turn the opportunity down. During the whole situation the U.S.D.A plans to stand by their decision, and say that noting will not change their minds of shutting down. Lyndsay Cole a spokes woman for the U.S.D.A’s animal and Plant health inspection service or A.P.H.I.S, tells us that, “At a couple of the sites, there have been a specific instances that make our employees feel uncomfortable.” That was all the information she would give the interviewer about the site. She declines to give the many details pertaining to the instance or whether or not they occurred in Ojinaga or near. Cole also implied that violence from drug cartels was not just the only reasons that factored to the cattle import. Cattle crossing through the ports are now down 59 percent in that area with causes not related to the U.S.D.A’s doings. Between 2011 and 2012, about 280,000 cattle were exported at the Mexican site in Ojinaga. That fell to 68,700 from September 2012 to July of 2013 according to the statistics from the Chihuahua cattle raisers unions. Union officials have estimated the loss of money to be about $5 million. Nature its self is the cause of loss in cattle, the cycle is affected by weather conditions and droughts, cattle prices in the U.S, and the value of the peso against other foreign currencies. Right now the locals of Ojinaga are still trying to reopen the ports nearby. They have come up with a draft proposal that include more security, and with hopes that they will reopen. They tried to get it into the U.S.D.A before cattle season began from November to April. The draft includes designs for holding rooms at the inspection site, and various escape routes that the U.S.D.A will not be paying any attention to. The cattle industry along the Texas and México border is diminishing. Ports are getting smaller and some are going out of business. The price of cattle is rising and for some it is hard to keep up with it. “It’s an economic and political thing singling out the poor ranching community.”


Salem hills alley meredith  
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