Tuberville Introduces Legislation to Protect Farmers and Producers

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and other Republican Senators to introduce the Black Vulture Relief Act to allow farmers and ranchers to protect their newborn livestock from black vultures without burdensome government interference. The legislation provides regulatory relief by allowing farmers and ranchers to take black vultures anytime the birds threaten their livestock without a depredation permit. Currently, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) operates a pilot program that allows state entities, including Alabama, to register for a master permit and disburse sub-permits to livestock producers to safely depopulate black vultures, but this practice creates a patchwork of state regulations whereas a federal permit program would streamline program ease and transparency for producers. 

“Black vultures pose a huge threat to our livestock farmers and producers,” said Sen. Tuberville. “Government red tape is preventing farmers from protecting newborn calves and growing their herd. Our producers need a larger, more comprehensive approach to removing these predators. This bill will provide much needed relief and security to our nation’s cattlemen.”


Despite being listed as a species of lowest conservation concern, black vultures are still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, making it illegal to take one without a depredation permit from FWS. FWS currently operates a pilot program that allows state entities to register for a master permit and disburse sub-permits through individual states to ranchers. However, these sub-permits limit ranchers to 3 to 5 black vulture takes per year, even though attacks normally involve 20+ black vultures at a time.

The black vulture population has increased by 468% since 1990. Black vultures are known to attack livestock, especially calves, costing ranchers an average of $2,000 per calf killed.

The Black Vulture Relief Act would maintain protections for the species by:

  • Requiring annual reporting of takes to ensure FWS receives accurate data to monitor the population.
  • Prohibiting the use of poison as a method of take.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, The American Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, 16 other state cattlemen’s associations (OK, CO, FL, GA, IN, IA, KS, MN, MS, MO, NC, OH, OR. SC, TN, and VA), and 4 state farm bureaus (OK, FL, PA, TN).

“Alabama livestock producers continue to experience depredations from black vultures. Allowing livestock producers to take more black vultures that are threatening their livestock without an obtaining permit would significantly reduce cow and calf deaths,” said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate.

“Cattle producers across the state, particularly in north Alabama, are threatened each calving season due to regulatory constraints on black vultures. These predators wreak havoc on a newborn calve and cause extreme stress to the mother cow in the process. We are grateful for Senator Tuberville’s leadership on addressing this overburdensome regulation impeding our members ability to protect their cow herds,” saidErin Beasley, Executive Vice President of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representative John Rose (R-TN) and Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) earlier this year.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.