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Ruling Favors Owls Over Cows In National Forest

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New Mexico ranchers are criticizing a federal judge´s order that the U.S. Forest Service halt grazing on hundreds of thousands of acres of New Mexico and Arizona to protect the endangered Mexican spotted owl.

They say the ruling by a federal judge in Arizona is a blow for struggling ranchers.

A spokesman for the Farm and Livestock Bureau in Las Cruces says lawsuits by environmentalists have put ranchers in a precarious situation.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins of Tucson issued an injunction yesterday.

It will ban cattle as of January 22 from portions of about 150 grazing allotments. That´s about 11 percent of all Forest Service allotments in the two states.