Texas Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson is taking action to preserve an iconic cattle breed often associated with the state after the Texas Parks and Wildlife sold almost a third of the official state herd.
The official state longhorn herd consisted of 372 cattle preserved on state parkland. According to the Houston Chronicle most of the animals are kept at the 311,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park as well as San Angelo State Park and Fort Griffin State Park and Historic Site. Park officials made plans to cut the herd at Big Bend seven months ago from 149 to only 10 animals in a 3,000-acre pasture. As a result, the group has already sold 107 longhorns.
The proposed legislation, House Bill 3037, would prohibit Texas Parks and Wildlife from making any more reductions to the herd kept at Big Bend, but would allow heifers and calves to be sold.
Anderson, who is a veterinarian by trade, says tests by Texas A&M and the University of Texas show the authentic longhorn bloodline consistent in the herd and calls the animals a “unique asset.”
Parks and wildlife director Brent Leisure told the Houston Chronicle longhorns have a strong position in Texas ranching heritage as a hardy breed because they are relatively lean, drought and disease tolerant and know how to survive in tough conditions.
The New York Times shows environmental groups including the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club support the sale citing the herd’s impact on the landscape during the drought.