Some large beef-producing states are fighting a resurgence in cattle rustling, reports USA Today. The thefts, including one involving the ranch of baseball legend Nolan Ryan, are related to the rising cost of beef, said Larry Gray of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The group, which draws its members from Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, reported $6.2 million in livestock thefts – mostly cattle – in 2005, up from $4 million in 2004.
“As the cattle industry has escalated, so have the number of thefts,” said Joyce English of the Livestock Board of Trade. “Everything follows the money.” Last fall, a flurry of calls from more than a dozen victims, including the foreman of Ryan’s Texas ranch, reported 17 cows and 14 calves were missing. Later, 16 more calves were stolen from Ryan.