Elk NetworkColorado Cattlemen Groups Sue to Delay Wolf Introduction

General | December 14, 2023

12/19/2024 update: The United States District Court, District of Colorado, declined to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting the introduction of wolves into Colorado.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association (GCSA) issued a news release that they filed suit against Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the planned release of gray wolves in Colorado.

The groups filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. They say given potential looming conflicts, concerns to protect Colorado’s agriculture industry and the well-being of livestock were not sufficiently resolved during the public process. Specifically, CCA and GCSA claim such a “major federal action” is subject to requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.

“We regard this path of litigation not out of a desire for conflict, but rather as a testament to our unwavering commitment to supporting Colorado’s agriculture community and producers of the western slope,” said Robert Farnam, CCA president.

The litigation aims to ensure that the economic, ecosystem and animal welfare concerns of livestock producers are adequately addressed before any further steps are taken in the wolf introduction process. The associations seek to highlight the risks to livestock, wildlife and the potential economic repercussions for the agriculture sector should the introduction go ahead without the proper safeguards and mitigation strategies. The litigation looks to delay the release of wolves until the proper environmental impact review has been conducted.

“Impacts of wolf reintroduction, as would any other action of this magnitude, need to be properly reviewed to avoid unintended negative consequences to the natural environment, wildlife and people of the impacted communities,” said Andy Spann, 5th generation rancher from Gunnison and GCSA President. “GCSA put forth our concerns throughout the public process. We believe that much of our input, and that of many others across Western Colorado, was diminished by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. We regret that a course of litigation on this and other issues seems to be the only recourse left to have these concerns legitimately addressed.”

(Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)