The crux of the problem are the politicians who manipulate the land leases within their State/district. An old buddy/reward system that is as old as the States themselves. Unfortuantly most of these ranchers I have observed operating undervalued land leases, truly are horrible cattlemen. They don't do calf counts, they leave their dead cows to rot, attracting predators. They for sure are not good managers of the land. The worse violations of true land conservation really occur in the desert leases. Some of these ranchers are friends of mine. I can tell that the generation I know, the current operators, really look glass eyed at me when I start talking cattle management and the like. Most obviously have other businesses, because even with a cheap land lease, cattle farming in the desert is no get rich quick scheme I can assure you. They run the leases, because their "daddies and grand daddies" ran the leases and thus their families still garnish favor with the bureaucrats and politicians in charge of renewing said land leases. The damage cows do to desert native brush and soil is quite intensive. Had a friend who ran a lease in the Ghost Wilderness area of the Canadian Rockies. Went out with him one day on horseback, like ten years ago, and helped him take stock in his herd. It was during calving season and I remember doing a calf count to try and determine his calving ratio and the dude had never even taken the time to do that. He just thought he would bring them in at weaning time and sell them. He was not a cattleman, but rather somebody who had a land lease he sure did not want to lose. If you do not use it, you lose it. It is a corrupt system. As with everything in life, I have a hard time holding those accountable who simply take advantage of a legal hand out. Rather, I take issue with who is doing the handing over of public lands and trust and their motive for doing so.
I do not eat beef, have not for many years. I do eat bison. Bision have yet to be successfuly confined. Their genetics have yet to be manipulated enough to survive confinement. Canada has large free range bison operations on private land and it is easy to buy bison at just about any market or restaurant. In the states, not so much once you leave MT and WY. Southern UT it is just about non-existent. Why folks think confined beef taste better is the marbling effect. Basically the ability of confinement operators to inject fat into the muscle. Confine the animal, disallow exercise, feed them concentraed products, shoot them up with antibiotcs to keep them alive so they don't die of respiortiary failure because they are forced to live over or in their own feces. That is what you are eating when you eat non-free range chicken, pork or beef. But then how many fancy climbing clothes have I seen advertised for sale on SP that are Xtra Large. So I don't think many Americans have much of a problem with their fat flavored meat. I personally think it tastes like shit and have always felt that way since I can remember being punished for not eating it when I was like 7rs old. Maybe it is because I saw first hand where my food was coming from. How enlighening that would be for folks to resarch what they are actually eating.