Back To the Bad Old Days

What’s up with all the anti-wildlife legislation going on around the country these days? Everywhere you look there’s some state senator or representative introducing bills to keep non-human animals down and implement some new form of cruelty to punish them for the crime of not being born of our privileged species.

A few examples: a self-amused eastern Washington representative is calling for east-side wolves to be moved out of his district to the west side of the Cascade Mountains; at the same time Washington State politicians just introduced three bills to make it easier for ranchers to use lethal measures on wolves whenever they see fit; and of course you’ve heard that Montana’s public servants are on a rampage to get rid of their resident wolves. Now one of their legislators wants to lower the minimum hunting age for that state to nine years old.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, a senator just put forth legislation to instate a $100.00 bounty on sea otters! Never mind that these playful, aquatic mammals were nearly completely wiped out during the fur trade era, are critically endangered or extinct from much of their former range and are still listed in Alaska as Threatened or Endangered under the federal ESA, those poor, underpaid (sarcasm intended) commercial crab fishermen see them as competition. (Far from downtrodden, crabbers take pride in being the wealthiest of commercial fishermen; no doubt the senator who proposed the bounty is counting on a kickback into his campaign coffers from the crabbing industry for his otter oppression bill.)

And the list of detrimental anti-wildlife legislation goes on and on.

Is it just me, or have good ol’ boy state politicians stepped up the pace of non-human animal persecution? It’s as though they’re intentionally trying to drag us back to the bad old days of the 1800s, arguably this country’s most reckless period for uncontrolled animal exploitation—besides, perhaps, the present.

Take Action:

Not surprisingly, state legislators only take input from residents of their given state, but since there are bogus bills and measures cropping up across the country, there should be something to speak out against wherever you live. For instance, if you live in Washington State, contact your senator and urge them to oppose anti-wolf bills SB 5187, SB 5188 and SB 5193. Let them know:

  • These three bills would undermine the state’s wolf management plan by giving authority to the county legislators and local sheriffs over the state wildlife agency biologists, and would allow the public to override the state and kill wolves perceived to be a threat to livestock on public and private lands.
  • There are only 50 wolves in Washington.  Now is not the time to remove their protection.
  • Washington’s wolf management plan was created with massive public involvement and adopted unanimously by the Washington Wildlife Commission; powerful ranching advocates should not be allowed to undermine it.
Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

 

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7 thoughts on “Back To the Bad Old Days

  1. Washington’s wolf management plan is actually a pile of crap. The WDFW Director appointed the 17-member citizen’s advisory group or Wolf Working Group (WWG). The WWG did not reflect the makeup of the general public. At least 11 of the 17 member WWG were pro-hunting or represented hunting organizations, ranchers, farmers, cattle producers, and private forestland owners.

    The WWG even included a board member from the Safari Club International! This extremist group’s purpose in life is to encourage and help its members to kill the most animals and the greatest numbers of species possible; the more rare the species, the better.

    The WDFW went through the motions of gathering comments on the plan. The majority of comments asked for more protections for wolves and to require a higher number of breeding pairs of wolves before they could be removed from the state’s Endangered Species List. Per usual these comments were trivialized and dismissed.

    The main objective of Washington’s wolf management plan is to delist wolves as soon as possible so that they can be hunted. While awful, the proposed legislation removes some of the minimal protections that the plan provides, so it is still important to oppose the mentioned bills.

    On a separate note, I saw a car today with a bumper sticker saying “Hunting Is Not A Crime”. Sounds pretty defensive. Maybe we are starting to have an impact. I really, reallly, really hope so.

  2. I just read a story about Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Florida where they’ve just this year approved an alligator hunt … despite overwhelming opposition. I think the percentage against was something like 95 percent. In spite of that, officials gave in to the interests of a clear minority of hunters. These cases are beyond exasperating, heartbreaking and unforgivable on every level. With respect to the alligator hunt: “This will be the first non-commercial alligator on a national refuge, as far I know ever,” said Rolf Olsen, the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge’s assistant manager. They’re setting precedents toward the negative, toward cruelty and against conservation. It’s difficult not to be disheartened … but I refuse to feel defeated by these downturns. They are, I believe, on the wrong side of history and will be shown for the backward-thinking fools they are.

  3. The experiences related in the other comments about the vast majority of residents in Washington wanting wolves protected, and the vast majority in Florida wanting alligators protected, is reflected here in New Mexico, where the Squish & Maim dept got 12,000 requests to ban trapping. Their reaction was to increase trapping. I echo Just The Truth’s hope that their defensiveness is a last vicious gasp of a dying mindset. I also hope Gandhi was right when he said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

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