February 14, 2019

As recent media reports surface about a Napa family defending their right to kill a mountain lion in defense of their family and livestock, the Napa County Farm Bureau would like to offer the following.

Napa County has continually advocated for diversified agriculture and the Farm Bureau represents all forms of agriculture in our community. As many undertake efforts to pursue this worthwhile endeavor of diversified agriculture, it is important to understand that there are times when difficult decisions must be made.

California’s Fish and Wildlife laws permit you to defend your livestock if there is the danger of an imminent attack to your livestock. As seen in recent media reports, the family involved had taken precautions to secure the animals inside of an electric fence, however, the mountain lion managed to penetrate the barrier.  It is unreasonable to assume livestock owners should place livestock in a lion proof cage. The north coast relishes our free range animals that graze our hillsides.

While we understand that trapping the animal may be a preferred method in some instances, we believe that the decision is that of the livestock owner. The lion in question had recently killed the livestock of neighboring families, was then trapped, released and continued to kill.  We ask the public to put themselves in the shoes of the livestock owner, with a lion showing up every night to your house and killing your livestock.  Whether you own a small farm flock or a large commercial herd of livestock, the financial and emotional toll weighs heavy on our producers.

It is discouraging that members of the public have resorted to intimidating and harassing the family on social media, in addition to parking in front of their home and verbally harassing them. Instead we should be encouraging more animal husbandry in this county, grazing is an economical and environmentally friendly environmental management and fire control tool. The public should understand that the family chose to protect and defend their livestock and family, which the law fully permits them to do.

The Napa County Farm Bureau encourages livestock owners to become familiar with California law that protects your right to defend your livestock and we are happy to assist members with practical predator protection.

Johnnie White

President

Napa County Farm Bureau