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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

“The Betrayal of Point Reyes”: An Environmental Travesty - A Plea to Protect Precious Habitats, Part 1 of 2

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Point Reyes National Seashore is a magnificent National Park located approximately 48 km (30 miles) north of San Francisco, California, USA. However, events are occurring within Point Reyes that threaten the lives of the Tule elk-people. Park authorities are allowing several cattle-people ranches and factory farms to operate within the Park, and one-third of the Park’s land has been set aside for their use. Not only are these so-called “ranches” destroying the environment, but they are also threatening the lives of the wild animal-people kingdom, especially the delicate Tule elk-people. Even worse, Park authorities are considering killing some of the Tule elk-people to protect the ranchers’ operations. Many people are deeply opposed to having factory farms on precious protected park lands.

To raise awareness about this dire situation, award-winning filmmaker and photographer Tony Sehgal produced a documentary film called “The Betrayal of Point Reyes.” “When I was doing the documentary and doing all the interviews, it really became apparent to me that there was a real betrayal going on. The land was purchased with tax dollars in 1962 for about $57 million, and 27 ranchers were paid. And the intention was the land would be returned to a natural state. And so, the betrayal there is that the ranchers were supposed to leave the National Park Service and the federal government has allowed them to stay.”

Many organizations have also been working diligently to raise awareness about this dire situation and have the factory farms removed. One such organization is ForELK, co-founded by Diana Oppenheim. “You don't have to be an expert to go to Point Reyes and look at the land and see that the land is completely degraded where the cattle grazing operations are. The land is completely barren.”

Tony is also deeply concerned about the devastating environmental damage caused by factory farming. In fact, it was his primary reason for shifting to a vegan lifestyle. “So, the impacts of animal agriculture is just tremendous -- the amount of water required and the energy used and the pesticides used. So, by going to a plant-based diet, I realized I'm cutting out all these inputs, all this land use required. And so, it really made a lot of sense for me.”
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