Boycott Elk Killers, Ross and Sons Dairy Farms

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Elk are native to the Southern Appalachians and the eastern seaboard. They have seen a tremendous comeback in states like Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, bringing in tourist dollars, hunting and outfitting dollars, and benefiting the ecosystems they exist in by browsing down young forest, fertilizing meadows and opening up grassy areas that other wildlife like deer, turkey, grouse and bear depend on.

Unfortunately, while the public at large has hailed the return of the majestic elk to the hills of the smoky mountains, a handful of bad actors has taken it upon themselves to poach, poison and shoot these animals. 

One of the worst culprits is the Ralph Ross and Sons Dairy Farm of Waynesville, NC. Just this year 2 young bull elk were found dead on the farm. The owners did not report the incident, the elk were found by a wildlife officer doing his rounds. When the officer returned the next day to investigate further, the facility had attempted to cover up the killing by burying the 2 elk on the property.

This was after the NC WIldlife Resources Commission installed an electric fence on the farm to keep the elk out, at taxpayer expense. The fence cost $19,000 and was funded from state hunting license sales. Ross farms did not shell out a penny, and has likely been reimbursed for any damage the animals ever inflicted on crops. Again, at taxpayer expense. Between 1995 and 2014 Ross and Sons Dairy farm has received $222,787 in state dairy subsidies, and are among the top 3 farms receiving such subsidies in Haywood County.

During the same period they received a total of $336,330 in Federal USDA subsidies.

Yet despite the significant public dole this facility is on, they continue to shoot the public's elk at every opportunity. The Wildlife Resource Commisions members were infuriated, and described the shootings as a "spite killing".

Not only this, on January 29 of last year, no less than 7 elk were shot on or near Ross Farms. Ralph Ross called the NC WRC to report shooting 3 elk that were eating his crop, but WRC officers found 4 more shot to death on the property and in the woods nearby. 

This brings the total number of elk shot by Ross Farms to 9, that we know of (who knows how many others they've buried in the woods), and suggests that the farm is not only killing elk that trespass, but also *proactively murdering and possibly poisoning elk that venture anywhere near the farm*.

There is absolutely no evidence that Ross Farms has even attempted to take any non-lethal measures to keep elk away, such as taste and odor based repellents, salt shot, trained dogs, strengthening existing fencing, etc. 

Small farms like Ross Dairy are entitled to numerous subsidies and tax write offs in this country. It is likely that none of the non-lethal methods mentioned above would cost Ross Farms a penny. Furthermore, it is unlikely that any of the small amount of crop damage done by elk thus far has cost the farm any money, either. 

I'm sure we all support small farm operations; I do too. I want Ross Farms to do well and stay in business. But I cannot in good conscience patronize a farm operation engaged in an ignorant war with wildlife, and a precarious population of elk at that. When Ross Farms cleans up it's act I will be comfortable purchasing from them again.

We're asking that you all boycott Ross and Sons Dairy Farm, and that the officials and administrators linked in this petition impose legal and monetary sanction on businesses that dip their hands into the public coffers while pursuing anti-conservation practices. They're stealing from the people of North Carolina and hurting the cause of wildlife conservation. Those of you who live in North Carolina can contact your House Representative

and Senators

and ask that Ross and Sons Dairy Farm and anti-wildlife businesses like them be punished.

Everyone else please contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife

the National Park Service

and the Department of Interior

and say the same. Everyone can also contact the Waynesville, Haywood County and North Carolina Chambers of Commerce and tell them that no ethical business would purchase from Ross Farms!




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