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New Regs on goat and sheep herding


Tommy Coyote
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I thinl it's sad that the article makes light of a very realy human humane treatment issue. Convenient to call it "nanny government," but I bet the guy doing the name calling would feel different if it were his child doing that work. I understand the arguments against over-regulation, but seriously, if we weren't so inclined to exploit others, then such regulations wouldn't be necessary would they?

 

FWIW, I considered a summer shepherding job such as that alluded to in the article. The pay was incredibly low, and you're isolated for long periods of time, at the mercy of the person you work for to provide adequate food and decent living conditions as you live with your flock in the middle of nowhere. I chose not to take the job, but I imagine there are folks who feel they don't have that choice....

 

And the comments are just pathetic.

 

J.

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Very nicely stated, Julie.

Sometimes we forget that it wasn't monsters, but reasonable people who brought us this: weal_02_img0409.jpg

 

All too often it's easy and profitable to adopt the social Darwinist attitude and choose money over humanity. I'm one of the much maligned "gubmint regulators". I understand that the time and money spent complying with regulation can be onerous, but all-too-often, I've gotten to see the flip side; like the wastewater treatment plant operator who thought it was his right to discharge raw effluent (that's sewage complete with corn eyed brown trout) to a wash 100 feet from a suburban development...or the guy who bulldozed hundreds of acres of State lands without ownership or permit, then placed goats on the property to keep the weeds down; the goats had an eye disease that was communicated to the resident bighorn population, blinding them.

I have a trunkload of these stories, all generated by reasonable people who thought that regulations were onerous.

 

Edited to add: I'd love to have just one regulation which read: Do the right thing....but time and time again people have demonstrated that they won't, especially if money is involved.

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And it's all to easy to bring up the bad examples. For every bad case how many good ones are there? One doesn't hear about the good, that's not news worthy, yet the bad, we never hear the end of and *everyone* pays the price. To get back on topic...Julies example, she made the choice yet had no evidence it was bad or good. It's choices and personal responsibility. The costs involved (above the $38 B ) will be passed down to us, so not only are we liable for the cost of the regulation, we're now going to pay more for the end result.

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Karen,

I think Lewis Moon makes the important point: If people could be trusted to do the right thing, treat their workers fairly, etc., then we could do away with most/all laws. Unfortunately, humans often don't do the right thing. And if government is required to FORCE people to do the right thing, then I guess it's a necessary evil.

 

J.

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“Such a unit shall include a comfortable bed, cot or bunk, with a clean mattress,” the rules state.

 

Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, unearthed the policy in the "Federal Register​," the massive daily journal of proposed regulations that Washington bureaucrats publish every day.

 

Under the Obama Administration, the nanny state has imposed 75 new major regulations with annual costs of $38 billion.

 

“This captures what is wrong with government,” Katz said. “I could not have made this up.”

 

Actually, this passage captures what is wrong with slanted "journalism." Who calculated the $38B number and how? "Washington bureaucrats?" Really? Get a grip, people. Do you really think that employers should be able to impose any horrible working conditions on employees that they want? After all, the employee could just quit and go get another job where he'll be treated better. Of course we should insist on government being as efficient and unobtrusive as possible. But let's be realistic. That proposed regulation didn't drop out of the sky, it came up because employees were being exploited in a pretty bad way.

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But why not *force* the bad by peer pressure instead of *force* on the entire human population in the US? What's next? Where does it stop? When one can't afford food? No wait then we have food stamps......which we *all* pay for. That's the problem here, no personal responsibility, yet total responsibility on everyone whether you take part or not.

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Peer pressure? How would that work, Karen? You want your neighbors to decide how to "pressure" you if they don't like something you're doing?

 

I have to pay bills to support my local firefighter and police forces, but (knock wood) have never had to use either. Why should I have to pay for it? I have to pay for schools, and I don't have kids. I pay for repairs on roads I never use. Sure would be nice to pay only for the exact services I use myself. Figuring out how I could afford to pay for and maintain the streets I do use without the help of taxpayer money, though, would be a little more challenging.

 

The costs to maintain these services are astronomical, and they are affordable only if everyone chips in. The argument that you should only pay for what you in particular use or need falls apart pretty quickly when you realize that these services wouldn't exist at all if everyone didn't pay a small share of them. Living in a civilized society does have its costs. But not nearly those compared with truly living on your own.

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But let's be realistic. That proposed regulation didn't drop out of the sky, it came up because employees were being exploited in a pretty bad way.

 

It came up because illegals (imo) want to exploit their *rights* and in the g'ment atmosphere right now they have more rights than do US citizens. Seriously, a company paid cell phone? What if there's no reception? How will you charge it? Will the employer be required to put up a tower next? Yes, we expect more from the US, but at this rate how soon will we be a 3rd world country due to overreaching regulations?

 

I agree a slant may be contributing to skew numbers. Has anyone found the actual bill? Did it go through Congress or did it not need to?

 

And why does it lead off with Goat Herders and a picture of a flock of sheep!

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But why not *force* the bad by peer pressure instead of *force* on the entire human population in the US? What's next? Where does it stop? When one can't afford food? No wait then we have food stamps......which we *all* pay for. That's the problem here, no personal responsibility, yet total responsibility on everyone whether you take part or not.

 

Can you give a concrete example of a case where peer pressure has worked when capital and profit were involved?

 

One of the responsibilities in an economy based on capital is to make sure that the capital doesn't end up eating itself--such as happens, predictably, when it is unfettered (witness the behavior of the financial industry concerning mortgage securities).

 

Who do you have in mind with respect to "not being able to buy food"? The employees who should be happy to sleep on straw with no shelter, light, sanitation or means to contact their employer when there is an emergency with the capital (goats/sheep)? Or do you mean the employers?

 

Whose personal responsibility do you mean?

 

I'd also like to know what's next and where does it stop.

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Why exactly can we count on peer pressure to force employers to stop exploiting employees, if by continuing to doing so they can keep profits higher? And they can point to their industry and say, "Everyone does this?"

 

If peer pressure, rather than a union or a government regulation, could be counted on to be effective, I'm sure we'd all like that. But let's have a reality check. How many of us take the time from our busy lives to write companies, boycott products, spread information publicly, etc., when there's a bad situtation we're aware of? How many times does that actually work in the absence of some kind of government enforcement?

 

Who is jumping up to exert peer pressure on behalf of immigrant shepherds? There was a story describing the shepherd situation in the New York Times a while ago. NY Times stories are widely syndicated. I don't think it caused any big movement to pressure the employers to provide more humane working conditions.

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It came up because illegals (imo) want to exploit their *rights* and in the g'ment atmosphere right now they have more rights than do US citizens. Seriously, a company paid cell phone? What if there's no reception? How will you charge it? Will the employer be required to put up a tower next? Yes, we expect more from the US, but at this rate how soon will we be a 3rd world country due to overreaching regulations?

 

I agree a slant may be contributing to skew numbers. Has anyone found the actual bill? Did it go through Congress or did it not need to?

 

And why does it lead off with Goat Herders and a picture of a flock of sheep!

 

Nothing in that article mentioned "illegals"--why do you assume that's what was meant? There are non-US citizens who do work in this country legally, including in the agriculture industry--amazing as that is to ponder.

 

Are you putting pressure on your colleagues who hire "illegals" in order to get inexpensive labor to stop? Do you go into every restaurant you eat in and every store you purchase something in and make sure that every worker there is documented and if not, "pressure" the owners to change their practices?

 

Can you cite actual evidence for the claim that "illegals" have *more* rights than US citizens?

 

Seriously--does this really come down to "illegals"?

 

ETA: If you're that worried about regulation--why are you worried about "illegals" at all? Do you understand the regulations involved in coming into this country? Do you think those shouldn't be in place because of the burden and cost to the US taxpayer (guess how much money goes to patrolling borders, deporting "illegals", etc. Is that o.k. to pay for IYO?)

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Peer pressure? How would that work, Karen? You want your neighbors to decide how to "pressure" you if they don't like something you're doing?

 

Presssure is much better than *force*, and when there are no votes, it is force. In some areas if you don't pay a yearly due to FF's they won't show up if you need them. We're talking livestock production here though not civil or social services. And yep, I am ticked about paying school taxes w/o kids, and more so with nieces that are home schooled.

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Capitalism without regulation doesn't work. It just doesn't. About two seconds after you set it up greed rears it's ugly head and the bottom line becomes the do all, end all of everything.

 

Just think what society was like before we had regulations in the work force. We had children working in the mills. Laborers worked 16 hours a day for nothing. Working class people lived in hovels with no heat or running water. People just lived, worked and died and that was life.

 

I don't have children. I pay a lot of taxes for schools. I went to public schools all the way thru college. I don't complain. I like driving on good roads and having street lights and sewers and garbage collection.

 

I do complain when crooks in government waste the money - or just plain steal it.

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In the example of shepherds, this isn't a case of "illegals." They are by and large here legally. And how in the world do "illegals" have more rights than American citizens? Sheesh!

 

I'm from Arizona. I've stood on a hill and watched people crawl over the fence, but I refuse to call them "illeagals". I call them humans.

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Peer pressure, like the "invisible" hand, doesn't work within effective timeframes.

...and how does this "peer pressure" thing work, anyway? How does one use peer pressure on a corporation? One that can throw lawyers at you by the boatload? One that can spool up their Madison Avenue advertising firm to discount or play down any damage they do? One that can (now) give huge amounts of money to electoral campaigns?

 

Lawsuits and unions are forms of peer pressure, yet people are trying to gut them as fast as they can. Powerful people don't want peer pressure. Did peer pressure stop the dump truck driver that passed me at probably 30 mph over the speed limit this morning? No, a cop did. Did peer pressure stop the guy discharging raw sewage near a housing development? No, the State did.

And who are the peers that are going to do the stopping? Other businesses? They'll complain that the other guy is doing something wrong, but who do they complain to? The government. How does the individual worker use peer pressure? By quitting? In this economy? Really?

 

I think people are forgetting their history. Not too long ago child labor was the norm. Not too long ago companies could exclude women and minorities from jobs. Have we evolved to the point where, if there was no regulation, this wouldn’t happen? What about product safety? The Ford Pinto didn’t change due to peer pressure from Chevrolet.

 

Personal responsibility is a wonderful concept, but are we going to ask parents to analyze the paint on their children’s toys to check for lead? How ‘bout we leave it up to the consumer to analyze their own tap water? Hey, I bet everyone has the information they need to decide if an automobile is safe or not.

 

Where does the regulation stop? It will stop when people quit taking advantage of other people in the name of money.

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Re: the illegal issue. The jobs in question are advertised widely. That's how I found the one I considered applying to. But ultimately I decided that such a job might suit a college kid who just wants an adventure and to make a small amount of money (because you ain't gonna spend it anywhere up there) on break from school. I don't know how you would find "regular" people (meaning people with real expectations about what they should make in order to live) to do such jobs. But as others have pointed out, not all foreign workers in this country are here illegally. And those foreign workers consider the paltry salaries available a goldmine for their families back home. That's how the whole exploitative cycle is set in motion.

 

I also think the idea that forcing the employer to pay more and hire Americans is a non-starter. While those employers are crying about regulation, I can assure you that if they had to pay what the average American was willing to work for, they'd be out of business. But then maybe that's the appropriate ultimate outcome, I don't know. But if it is, then don't be surprised when the price of food jumps exponentially....

 

J.

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Interesting. It's a shame regulation is apparently needed to assure the basic necessities for rural ag workers, but I'd like to know where on earth the article got the figure of $38 billion. Thirty-eight billion from who? Tax payers? The sheep ranchers and farmers themselves? Are there really $38 billion dollars worth of sheep camps needing overhaul?

 

Years ago, hubby and I worked for cattle ranches and pack outfits. As a married couple, we usually manned camps apart from the rest of the crew. Cow camps and spike camps are and always have been pretty rough. Usually we had a cabin or a camp trailer. Older, kind of run down, but they kept out the weather and the storm. Back then, we had no cell phones, so if someone needed help, you had to get in the truck and drive for it. Sometimes water had to be hauled in, because there was no plumbing 30 miles from the blacktop. No flush toilet, if there was no running water. In those cases, we hauled our water in barrels, used an outhouse for our "business," and bathed with a backpacker style sun shower or buckets of water. That's just how it was.

 

The camps that had a cabin usually had a well, in which case we'd have running water and propane hot water, plus a propane stove and fridge. Light was white gas or propane, as well, but we had no TV, no computer, and our radio ran on batteries. When people from town came out to visit, they were somewhere between horrified and fascinated that such 1800's-style living still existed.

 

And I haven't even gotten into the way the cowboys lived, on outfits that still ran a summer chuck wagon.

 

What seems a shame to me is that, if the big sheep ranches aren't providing these basic amenities, why the hell not? Why has it gotten to a point that the government must be involved, at all? HAS it gotten to that point, really?

 

Or have some do-gooders from the city gotten a look at some guy with a camp trailer, a wooden outhouse and a Coleman lantern, and freaked out because it offended their city sensibilities?

 

It's a question worth asking, any time the government gets involved with how private business works. But if there is a genuine problem out there, and sheepherders are being housed in sub-modern, unhygienic, physically debilitating circumstances, then something needs to change.

 

Per the suggestion, above, that peer pressure should cause that change ... I'm not sure how or if that would work. Ranchers tend to mind their own business. They don't go about shunning Joe Sheepman because his shepherds live in canvas teepees instead of cabins, or only get to a shower once a week. In fact, that's probably the way things have been done since 1870-something, so they may not give it any thought, at all. They're a lot more concerned about coyote depredations, the price of lamb, and how much wire fence material has gone up in price. Even if the neighbors do stop talking to ol' Joe, it won't change how he treats his help.

 

Is there a problem out there? This articles says there is. Should the government intervene? I don't know. Is it really going to cost $38 billion? I'm not sure how: if you bought every working shepherd in the US a Posture-pedic mattress, I don't think it would come close to that figure. There's probably something awry, all right, but there's not enough information in that article to really say what. Or how much. Or what changes are genuinely needed.

 

It's a reactionary article to an issue we know too little about. I'd like to hear more, myself. If there's a problem, we need to fix it. But let's have some specifics. Let's have some data. Let's find out what's really going on, out there at the pavement's end, and then I'll know whether to get outraged and demand change, or just slap Uncle Sam upside the head for sticking his nose where it ain't wanted.

 

Just a few musings from me. Ignore as you will, and have a great afternoon. :)

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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P.S.

Julie has a point. If the law should start requiring ranchers and farmers to pay workers (say) $10 an hour and hire mainly papered Americans, we can expect food prices to shoot through the roof, and food production to plummet. There just aren't many American kids wanting to work that hard or put in days that long, and they darned sure won't stay with it more than a summer or two. Plus farmers and ranchers could not long afford to keep on the crews they need for harvest and/or upkeep of an operation.

 

Exploitation and mistreatment of employees is never acceptable, and must be addressed whenever found. But when it comes to ag workers, I'd venture there is a certain amount of "leave it alone," if we expect the system to keep working.

 

Hubby and I were actually kind of proud that we could do work "regular" people weren't "tough enough" to do. ;)

 

~ Gloria

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This is one of the stories posted last year (it takes a Biblical message at the end because the author is a pastor, but describes the living conditions for the shepherd and the fact that the shepherd is a permitted temporary migrant worker ("temporary migrant-worker program that allows companies to hire foreign workers if no Americans want their jobs"). The story is here.

 

And this is the article someone else referred to: Immigrant sheepherders.. It was an AP article, so picked up by a bunch of different news organizations.

 

It's interesting to note that CA moved to raise sheep herder wages to bring them on par with those of other agricultural workers. I'm sure some ranchers take good care of their workers and others do not. It's a shame those who do not create the problems for those who do, just as in every other human endeavor.

 

J.

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Interesting reading, Julie, thank you for that.

 

It does seem that there's a mix of perception and potential for real abuse. No electricity isn't what I consider a valid excuse for gov't intervention. Nor is the lack of a flush toilet. Kinda hard to install those luxuries 30 miles up in the Absaroka wilderness or 40 miles out of Ely, NV. But holding a shepherd's identification documents, giving him bad or poor food to eat, failing to provide him with basic comforts and necessities ... that's just wrong. And paying him $700 a month in this day and age is ridiculous! We were making more than that in cowboy wages 13 years ago.

 

Uncle Sam can't feasibly do much about the hours or the weather or locations where these shepherds work. Sheep don't stop having lambs because it's after 5, coyotes won't stay out of the flock because the shepherd's still in bed, and it's gonna snow whether all the livestock are off winter range, or not. But the physical living conditions may well warrant some examination, if there are ranchers and farmers who refuse to step up to what's right.

 

Still, if the wage is changed to $9 an hour ... Well, I suspect we won't be eating much American lamb or wearing much American wool, if that ever happens.

 

Complicated situation, that's for sure. I just don't know if the gov't is over-reaching, and I'm still baffled about the price tag that first article throws out there.

 

Thanks for sharing those links, Julie. :)

 

~ Gloria

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