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Sens. Cruz, Mullin Introduce Legislation to Protect Ranchers from Federal Government Overreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) joined Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) in introducing the Black Vulture Relief Act, which would alleviate burdensome government regulations allowing farmers to protect their newborn livestock from black vultures without a depredation permit whenever their livestock is threatened.

Upon introducing the bill Sen. Cruz said, “Texas has long been a stronghold in American agriculture. Our ranchers already face headwinds like drought, high input costs, and inflation.The last thing they need is to get a permit from the federal government to protect their own livestock. Livestock producers must possess the autonomy and authority to defend their livelihood from black vultures that are killing nearly 2.1 million cattle each year. The federal government has no place to stand in their way.”

Cosponsors of the bill include Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Read the full text of the bill here.


• Black vultures are known to attack livestock, especially calves. These attacks are gruesome, often lasting hours, and cost ranchers an average of $2,000 per calf killed.
• The black vulture population has increased by 468% since 1990.
• Despite being listed as a species of lowest conservation concern, black vultures are still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, making it illegal to take one without a depredation permit from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS).
• FWS currently operates a pilot program that allows state entities to register for a master permit and disburse sub-permits to ranchers. However, these sub-permits limit ranchers to 3-5 black vulture takes per year, even though attacks normally involve 20+ black vultures at a time.
• This bill maintains protections for the species by requiring annual reporting of takes to ensure FWS receives accurate data to monitor the population and prohibiting the use of poison as a method of take.
• The legislation is endorsed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife & Conservation, 19 state cattlemen’s associations, and 5 additional state farm bureaus.