Captain Paul Watson on Welfare Ranching

Paul WATSON, Brigitte BARDOT
Welfare Ranching Show Down in Nevada

There is a silly little drama going on in Nevada and the Neo Cons, the militias and the welfare ranchers would have us believe there is another Waco about to happen.

For some strange reason I am on the Conservative Daily mailing list. I think they confused the word “conservation” with the word “conservative.”

Joe Otto who I assume speaks for the Conservative Daily sent me this message today (below) and I could not resist responding to it.

It’s all about a rancher named Cliven Bundy who has not paid his grazing fees since 1990 and is now upset that the government has come to collect over two decades in back fees.

You see, Cliven believes that he has every right to graze his cows free of charge on public land. It’s called welfare ranching and they believe their “right” to feed at the public trough trumps the right of endangered species to exist.

So I decided to inject my comments into Otto’s somewhat hysterical letter defending Cliven and his fellow welfare ranchers from the tyranny of Obama. You see when anything happens they don’t agree with, Obama is always at fault, and Obama is especially at fault when the thing the Neo Cons are upset with is something initiated by one of the two former Bush Presidents like this particular case.

Anyhow, this is Otto’s letter with my comments.

Dear Conservative, (PW: You mean dear conservationist Otto. You were addressing me I think.)

By now you have probably heard about the crisis surrounding the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. In case you haven’t, here is the basic synopsis.

(PW: Yes the Fox Network has their undies in a knot over this, which means it is hardly a major story elsewhere.)

Cliven Bundy is a cattle rancher whose family has lived near Bunkerville, NV for the last 140 years. The Bundy family’s cattle have always grazed on what had always been state-owned, public land. In 1993, the Federal Government discovered that Bundy’s grazing area was also home to the endangered Desert Tortoise. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) swooped in and took over control of the land. In order to dissuade farmers and ranchers from using the land and threatening the tortoise population, the BLM instituted a policy where ranchers would be forced to pay a grazing fee before using the land.

(PW: Let me see, the Bundy family has lived on the land for 140 years and the desert turtle has lived there for hundreds of thousands of years. The Bundy family took their land by force from Native Americans but the turtles were there even before the Native Americans. In 1993, the government did not discover that the grazing area was home to the turtle. They knew that. What they discovered was that the turtle was endangered and one probable cause was over-grazing by rancher Bundy’s cows.)

For Cliven Bundy, this was an unacceptable affront to his livelihood. His family has lived off this land for over a century, long before the creation of the BLM, and the idea that he would now have to pay a tax to protect a turtle was nothing short of absurd.

(PW: To the turtles it is an unacceptable affront to their right to survive as a species. Rancher Bundy believes the turtle’s right to survive is absurd yet he believes he has a God-given right to graze his cattle for profit at public expense. It is also not a tax but a grazing fee. In exchange for the fee, Bundy gets to graze his cattle. Bundy wants free food for his cows at public expense. In other words he wants welfare.)

So, Bundy refused to pay the tax. He allowed his cattle to graze on the land and didn’t pay the federal government a dime to do it. Why should he? The land is technically state-owned public land, yet the federal government want’s a cut because of an endangered turtle. Well, after twenty years of court battles, the Bureau of Land Management has finally swooped in and begun confiscating Bundy’s cattle at gunpoint to pay the $1.1 million that he owes in back “grazing fees” for using public land! This is absurd and should be a wake-up call to everyone! The government doesn’t care about common sense or decency… these militarized agencies and bureaus will use every law, regulation, and technicality to come after YOU with the full weight of the Federal government!

(PW: The law assessed a fee and rancher Bundy refused to pay the fee for over two decades and now he seems surprised that the government has called to collect back fees. Otto states the land is state owned and public but somehow rancher Bundy has a right to use it free of charge. Bundy owes back fees and the government is collecting those back fees by the confiscation of the cattle that Bundy has been raising at the expense of the public. It’s a classic case of welfare ranching where the rancher believes he is entitled to have his animals raised for slaughter at public expense. I hope the government does use every law, regulations and technicality to collect the back fees and to protect the right of the turtles to survive.)

Tell Congress to STOP the out-of-control militarization of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

(PW: I intend to tell Congress in the words “Good on you for defending the turtles and enforcing the grazing fees.”

How despicable is this… The federal government is seizing a rancher’s cattle because he didn’t pay a $1.1 Million “grazing fee” that was set up to protect a damn turtle! Anyone with half a brain can see that this is ludicrous… yet the government continues to wage its war on Cliven Bundy and proceeds to seize his cattle at gunpoint.

(PW: If anyone else does not pay their bills, they forfeit their property. Why should ranchers be exempt and above the law. Why should the public support Cliven’s damn cows? Why do his damn cows have more rights than the desert tortoise? The government is not waging war on Bundy, they are simply enforcing the law. Personally I disapproved of the fee myself. He should have been banned completely from grazing his cows on the land occupied by an endangered species.”)

I’ve said it before: It is absolutely ridiculous that we have so many militarized, non-law enforcement agencies in government. Agencies like the Department of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the IRS, and even the Bureau of Land Management have been arming themselves to the teeth for years.

(PW: I’ve never seen an armed IRS agent, That would be scary, hell they are scary enough unarmed. I have certainly never seen an armed member of the Department of Education but considering all the school shootings, that might not be a bad idea. A law has been broken and it is being enforced. Pretty damn straight forward to me.)

Now, the full weight of the government has come down on the Bundy ranch. There are snipers watching the family’s movements, armed agents rounding up cattle, and the BLM has effectively made the whole area a “constitution free zone,” or at least that’s what they want it to be. The land is public land on a public road. Yet, anyone who wants to protest the government’s tyrannical actions is limited to doing so within a preset “First Amendment Zone” set up by government officials.

(PW: Can someone tell me where in the Constitution it says that ranchers have the right to graze for free on public land? The land as Otto says is public land on a public road. It is not Clive Bundy’s land. It is however turtle land. Thank you United States government for defending our endangered turtles. As for snipers, the fact is with dozens of trigger happy militia nut bars in camo, armed to the teeth, the deployment of snipers seems like a reasonable response. I admit the First Amendment zone is unacceptable but by order of the Governor of Nevada it has been taken down.)

That is ridiculous, and the protesters have fanned out, taking their frustration directly to the federal agents. In the last two days, one protester has been tackled to the ground and another has been shot with a stun gun. Now, militias from around the country have been mobilized and are beginning to arrive in Nevada to defend the ranch from this clearly tyrannical action. One county official warned the “inbred” militiamen (his words, not mine) from neighboring Utah that if they come to Cliven Bundy’s aid, then they “better have funeral plans.”

(PW: Oh no not the Mormons!!! I hope this is not another Mountain Meadow Massacre. It is amazing to see so many ultra conservatives ready to rise up and die to defend welfare rights for ranchers. Oh the tyranny of collecting unpaid bills.)

How despicable is that? Rather than defend the local rancher against the government thugs, the local Clark County Commissioner is actually threatening people if they show up to help him!

(PW: Yes I would imagine that the Clark County Commissioner would be opposing mob rule. When a bunch of wild eyed men in camo arrive with heavy weaponry it is reasonable for the County Commissioner to condemn their invasion of his county.)

I pray to God that there isn’t bloodshed. I really hope that the Federal government realizes that they are waging this war over nothing but a damn turtle and pull back. I mean, think about it… people could actually die over a dispute over cattle grazing on a turtle sanctuary… What on earth is this world coming to?

(PW: It is a world where human greed is eradicating endangered species and diminishing biodiversity. Otto you said it yourself, it’s a turtle sanctuary. It seems to me that people would be making a decision to risk dying for some damn cow. I think the turtle is much more deserving, after all it is a sanctuary for turtles. This is not a dispute over a turtle anyhow, it is a dispute over the fact that a welfare rancher has refused to pay his grazing bill.)

The fact remains that this is just one of the latest attempts for the Federal government to use loopholes to seize property for the “common good.” There is a case in Colorado where a couple’s mountain cabin is being seized and demolished to create “open space.” The government is actually using eminent domain to seize a piece of property just to create more open space.

(PW: If you build a cabin on public land you don’t have rights to the land just because you built the cabin. People have seized too much open space for their own use and by doing so they deprive nature of open space for wildlife. Nature needs more open spaces, more turtles and fewer cows.)

Rather than using common sense and restraint, the Federal government looks for every opportunity to come down hard on average citizens! This has to stop!

(PW: If citizens are a threat to the survival of an endangered species they should be stopped. Welfare ranchers are not average citizens, they are people who have grown rich at the public expense.)

The government shouldn’t be allowed to levy $1.1 Million fines on hard working Americans because their family’s ranch’s historical grazing grounds are now occupied by an endangered turtle! Americans from across the country shouldn’t have to mobilize in order to fend off tyrannical government agents!

(PW: It is not a fine, it’s a grazing fee, a fee that rancher Bundy has refused to pay for over two decades. Bundy’s lands are not now being occupied by an endangered turtle. The turtle’s land is being occupied by Bundy’s cattle.)

What if the government came into your home or business and threatened you because of a technicality or nonsense regulation? Things like this happen every day across America because we have given the Executive branch and its numerous agencies too much power over our lives!

(PW: When the U.S. Court and the IRS came after us for defending whales they were acting on the request of the Japanese whalers, I did not see many conservatives defending our rights to defend the whales. No most of them were defending the “right” of Japanese whalers to use American courts to stop American whale defenders.)

The Obama administration wouldn’t even send in one soldier to protect our ambassador in Benghazi, but it has sent in over 200 agents to harass a rancher in Nevada! This is despicable! The time has come to rein in these out of control, militarized government agencies. Congress must put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

(PW) Wow, they actually managed to fit Libya into their rant. That’s a stretch. The law removing free grazing rights came under the George H. Bush administration, not Obama.)

Tell Congress to STOP the out-of-control militarization of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

I will tell them in the words of George W. Bush, “Go get ‘em boys.” We need to put an end to Welfare ranching.

Sincerely,
Joe Otto
Conservative Daily

Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing

http://foranimals.org/

wildlife management

by Marc

The December 18, 2013, Santa Fe Reporter, featured a profile of

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

James Lane recently fired as director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. While no public reason was given for Lane’s firing, it seems likely that it was due, at least in part, to his public derision of the nonhunters as “tree-huggin’ hippies.” The department, sometimes known as “Maim and Squish,” manages wildlife on behalf of hunters and ranchers. Even after Lane’s ignominious departure, Scott Bidegain, a board member of NM Cattlegrowers Association, continues as chairman of the Game Commission, which supervises the department’s so-called professional wildlife managers.

What has been the reaction of New Mexico’s environmental and animal protection lobbyists? The supposed protectors of wildlife sheepishly sent a letter to the hunter-rancher-in-chief, begging Bidegain to replace Lane with a professional wildlife manager dedicated to the principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

This model is aptly summed up by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Man has hunted since he walked the Earth. Every early culture relied on hunting for survival. Through hunting, man forged a connection with the land and learned quickly that stewardship of the land went hand-in-hand with maintaining wildlife – and their own way of life.

In the first half of the 20th century, leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold shaped a set of ideals that came to be known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. They articulated the philosophy that all wildlife belong to all of us. . . .

The Pittman-Robertson act was passed in 1937, through which hunters voluntarily imposed a tax on themselves, ensuring that a portion of the sale of all firearms and ammunition would be expressly dedicated to managing the wildlife entrusted to the public. The Pittman-Robertson Act generates $700 million annually, which is distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to state fish and game agencies across America.

The federal tax on firearms and ammunition is collected by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). As its name suggests, TTB also administers federal taxes on alcohol and tobacco. No one expects these tax revenues to be used to promote smoking and drinking, yet hunters expect firearms taxes to be used to promote hunting.

RMEF is, however, correct to point out that hominids have been killing wildlife since they first learned to walk upright. In North America, hunting dates back to mass extinctions of the Pleistocene, which corresponded with the arrival of humans on this continent. Well before the establishment of “Native” American cultures species such as saber-toothed cats disappeared from the North American landscape. Species which were able to survive centuries of hunting with spears, bows and arrows, proved little match for European firearms technology.

Only when hunters began to fear an end to their gruesome blood sport did wildlife managers like Aldo Leopold begin to rethink the idea of hunting without limit. Along with the establishment of the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, the Pittman-Robertson Act attempted to protect ranchers and hunters from destroying both their own livelihoods and their ability to indulge in sadistic blood sports. Thus was born the myth that ranchers and hunters, who had come close to totally destroying the land and the wildlife who live on it, were the “true conservationists,” codified by the North American Model of Conservation.

In spite of the best efforts of the “hunter-conservationists,” hunting continues to decline in the United States. According to the latest [2011] National Hunting Survey, only 6% of the U.S. population hunts. When broken down by region, there has been a 45% drop over the last decade in the Mountain States from 11% to 6%. Correspondingly, the New Mexico report shows a 47% drop in expenditures by hunters.

The drop in hunting is a threat not only to hunters and ranchers, but also to conservation and animal protection lobbyists who have been collaborating with them. In their letter to the Game Deparment, Animal Protection of New Mexico, the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club, the New Mexico chapter of the League of Conservation Voters and Wild Earth Guardians expressed their support for the hunters’ North American Model of Conservation.

Many of the organizations which signed this letter have had a long history of collaboration with hunters. Hunter Jon Schwedler headed APNM’s wildlife program before leaving to form the short-lived Sierra Sportsmen, the Sierra Club’s failed attempt to organize hunters in support of conservation.

Now it is the turn of Wild Earth Guardians to join the ranks of hunters masquerading as environmentalists, with the hiring of Erik Molvar. According to his WildEarth Guardians profile, Molvar has a degree in “wildlife management” and “enjoys antelope hunting.”

This profile reveals not only the sadistic pleasure Molvar takes in killing animals and watching them die, but also the difference between a wildlife manager and a biologist. State game departments and other wildlife managers use the cowboy term “antelope” to describe pronghorns. The last of their family to survive the Pleistocene extinctions in North America, pronghorns are not related to antelope, which are native to Africa. “Wildlife management” might be considered a “science” similar to economics and political science, but it is not a natural science like biology and geology.

In any case, contrary to the propaganda of the conservation lobbyists, there is no “pure science” which can guide the protection of wolves, prairie dogs, pronghorn, and other wild species, whether or not they are legally endangered. As the career of Jon Tester, Rancher-Democrat of Montana, demonstrates, the U.S. Congress retains the right to determine what animals can be legally killed without limit. Tester, after using funds from the League of Conservation Voters to defend his seat against the notorious “evil Koch brothers,” authored the law which removed endangered species protection for the grey wolf. A belated attempt by conservation lobbies to petition the Department of the Interior to restore wolf protection in violation of Tester’s law may succeed in raising funds, but it will not succeed in protecting wolves.

Rancher-Democrat Tester has now been joined in the Senate by New Mexico Hunter-Democrat Martin Heinrich. Heinrich & Tester’s Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act (SPORT) Act (S. 1660) would open all federal lands, including National Park Service land, to hunters.

Sleeping With the Enemy

Q. When are wolf advocates not really wolf advocates?

A. When they advocate for wolf hunting.

While other wildlife groups have worked to get this long-suffering species back under ESA protection, the Montana-based, Wolves of the Rockies not only told the Missoulian, “We are not advocating the end of wolf hunting,” but followed up that howler with an article in the Great Falls Tribune, in which they stated: “We at Wolves of the Rockies understand and acknowledge the importance of hunting as a tool for managing wolves, and we stand beside the ethical* hunter in doing so.”

This group asked permission to use some of my wolf photos on their Facebook page. Assuming they were on the side of the wolves, I allowed it. Given their recently stated attitude, I am forced to rescind my permission and ask them to remove my photos from their site.

Why would a wolf advocacy group publically announce their support for wolf hunting, at the risk of alienating wolf supporters and undermining the efforts of other groups fighting the barbaric treatment of wolves across the country?

This question was answered nicely (nicer than I would have) by a Facebook friend with what she  called ‘just her two cents’ (but I would argue it’s worth a lot more than that): “I’ve seen other organizations feel they have to outwardly ‘support’ hunting to get the attention of game departments, DNRs, politicians etc., in order to appear ”mainstream” & therefore afforded a sympathetic ear and/or seat at the table….I DISagree with that stance because it doesn’t work. Even if you have 100 or 1000 hunters on your side, the wildlife management system is not going to support or implement non-lethal conservation or management practices. I’ll bet Wolves of the Rockies die a little inside when they say they support hunting as a tool for wolf management, because I think in a perfect world they don’t want them hunted any more than the rest of us do. It’s too bad they have taken a position of compromise…”

I see it as kind of a, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach; the same kind of thing that the Washington-based group, Conservation Northwest, pulled** during the state’s helicopter attack on the Wedge pack earlier this year. What these groups don’t realize is that when you sleep with the enemy, you don’t get just a little bit pregnant.

*see, In the Eyes of the Hunted, There’s No Such Thing as an “Ethical Hunter”

** see, Save the Wolves —Abolish Ranching and Hunting Now

And if you haven’t already, please sign these petitions to Stop Wolf Hunting in North America

and to Stop Wolf Trapping in Montana

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Call Today! The “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012 Must Fail

URGENT!  Before you read another line, pick up your phone, call your Senators and tell them to OPPOSE S 3525 (the so-called, “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012)! You can find the contact numbers for your senators at the following web page: http://www.senate.gov/

Though the threat of having to watch bowhunter Paul Ryan by crowned Vice President has passed, the specter of sport hunting still haunts the halls of Congress. Under the cunning guise of “conservation,” the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, S 3525, is a Senate version of the House’s ridiculous “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” (what will they think of next, a Serial Murderer’s Heritage Act?).

No animal should be reduced to the level of mere object only to be “harvested” at the casual whim of jaded trophy seekers out for a diversion from their meaningless lives.

For the sake of wildlife, public lands and unspoiled wilderness nationwide, we must stop this absurd act from becoming law.

Of course, the animal’s enemies are lining up behind it. According to a new post in Outdoor Life (a popular “sportsmen’s” magazine that actually promotes outdoor death) entitled, “Must-Pass Legislation: Sportsmen’s Act of 2012,”

“The fight for the Sportsmen’s Act isn’t over. The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Boone and Crocket Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a host of other national, regional and local groups are calling all hands to lobby their Senators for passage.”

Make no mistake, those of us who truly care about wildlife wouldn’t want to see this pass even if it were a painfully annoying kidney stone. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is a must-fail piece of legislation.

 

Thanks to the Animal Welfare Institute for the following action alert:

On November 13, their first day back in session following the recent election, the U.S. Senate will resume consideration of The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). Please call and urge your Senators to oppose S. 3525.

If enacted, S. 3525 will have substantial and direct adverse impacts on wildlife, public health and existing conservation efforts. This bill would weaken protections offered by laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Endangered Species Act. Included in the bill’s language are provisions that would:

•Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate hazardous substances—including lead, a dangerous neurotoxin—released by ammunition and sport fishing waste.

•Encourage federally-funded construction and expansion of public shooting ranges on state and federal land, including land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

•Amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to permit importation of polar bear carcasses taken before the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—including those taken despite multiple warnings of an imminent ban on imports.

This legislation, if enacted, will interfere with important statutory protections affecting animal welfare, human health, and the environment.

The Senate is moving quickly on this bill, so your help is urgently needed TODAY.  Please contact your Senators by phone, email, or fax and tell them to oppose S. 3525!

You can identify your Senators and their contact information here.

Sample Message:

As one of your constituents, I urge you to help protect human health, wildlife and public lands by voting against S. 3525. This legislation, if passed, will undermine provisions of existing conservation statutes including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. It will also interfere with the exercise of authority by federal agencies responsible for managing federal lands and protecting public health. Please oppose S. 3525, and help to protect wildlife, habitat and the public.

Thank you,

Save the Wolves—Abolish Ranching and Hunting Now

One of the most shocking things about the recent obliteration of the Wedge pack by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was that even the allegedly pro-wolf environmental group “Conservation Northwest” supported the slaughter. Sure, they had their sound bites about hoping that eliminating entire wolf packs every time there are a few cattle depredations would not become standard practice. But by conceding to the lethal removal of the Wedge wolves (via aerial gunning by helicopter, no less), they helped pave the way for future atrocities.

Conservation Northwest’s stance is comparable to that of the World Wildlife Fund, who recently declined to go as far as Greenpeace in calling for an outright ban on offshore oil drilling in the rapidly-thawing Arctic—they felt their concessions to the wildlife-destructive industry insured them a seat at the bargaining table.  I suppose CNW didn’t want to appear extreme, like some radical who might say something such as…

The surest way to keep this kind of canicide from happening again is to get cattle off our national forests. Better yet, abolish ranching altogether (thereby also sparing cows a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the livestock industry). The only way to guarantee you’re not supporting the abuse of cows and the destruction of wolves is to boycott beef. While you’re at it, why not go vegan and spare all animals unnecessary suffering? And of course, if we really want to protect wolves, we should abolish deer and elk hunting.

But the conservation group played it safe and didn’t even come close to mentioning these or any other long-term solutions. I guess they figure it’s better to leave it to the true animal extremists—compassionate people like the folks at Change.org, who added this postscript to their eleventh-hour petition urging the WDFW not to kill the Wedge pack wolves:  “That part of the world is “safe” for the burger & steak gluttons once again; no nasty wolves will cut into their meat farming profits.”

Many mainstream environmental groups and their members still cling to the notion of “sustainable” beef. It’s surprising how many people who advocate for wolves eat meat like there’s no tomorrow, comfortable in their rationalization that cows are “domesticated” or “dumb animals” bred for slaughter.

I lived for years in northeast Washington and worked on the Colville National Forest—where the Wedge wolves tried to establish a home. I pity the cows, who are cruelly de-horned, trucked up to the ends of the logging roads and left to fend for themselves on some thistle-covered clear cut with only a drying up creek for water. But as a forestry contractor taking seedling growth and survival surveys, I saw first-hand how the US Forest Service panders to the cattle industry. I routinely found half of the new green growth eaten on young conifers in a tree “plantation” or the whole tree trampled upon by the ever-present bovines, whose wallows and trails further denuded the landscape. A cow pie plopped right on top of a smothered seedling was a common sight.

Yet whenever I pointed out the damage caused by livestock grazing, the forest service representatives would tell me to record it as deer damage. By blaming the native deer and elk, the forest service kills two birds with one stone, so to speak. It lets their cronies in the cattle industry off the hook and serves as fodder for the game department good ol’ boys to help justify expanded hunting seasons.

For the sake of the forests and all who live there, it’s time to remove ourselves from the wildlife equation and leave the predating to the natural predators. Wild animals are not just playthings for sportsmen, and human beings can live much healthier on a plant-based diet, as their primate cousins always have. True carnivores, such as wolves, coyotes, cougars, marine mammals or members of the weasel family have to eat meat to survive. If you’re not willing to go vegan for the sake of the animals you eat, maybe you could at least think of the other animals affected by your bill of fare.

Earlier this month, Mitch Freedman of Conservation Northwest made the nebulous statement, “There needs to be a way for wolves and man to coexist. Wolves were here first.”

There is a way…but it would mean getting the cows off of our National Forests, the sheep out of our Wilderness Areas and putting a stop to the sport of big game hunting.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wolves Under Tyrannical Control

According to a recent article about the planned destruction of Washington’s Wedge pack, Bill McIrvin of the Diamond M ranch said in an interview in July that he believes radical environmental groups are conspiring to introduce wolves in order to force ranchers off public lands. Yeah right—nice thought—but that sounds pretty paranoid to me.

Most “radical” environmentalists are smart enough to know that cattle ranchers have wildlife and the wildlife agencies by the balls with a death grip that won’t let go until Nature hertself is under their tyrannical control.

If the rancher is this suspicious of environmentalists, how paranoid must he be of the wolves? And why should we blindly accept all his claims of depredation at an almost unprecedented level?

I can just see him laughing under his hat at the wildlife agents he’s duped into doing his bidding by annihilating the entire Wedge pack (he’s stated several times he won’t settle for anything less). Heck, even the presumed wolf-champions at Conservation Northwest (in an obvious effort not to appear “radical”) have turned their back on the pack for the sake of the cattle rancher.

Not only will McIrvin be allowed to keep grazing his cattle on public national forest land, but now he’s got the state sharpshooters’ promise that they’ll spend as long as it takes to kill each and every wolf in the pack.

No, there’s not much chance of crafty extreme environmentalists covertly re-introducing wolves to this crazy cattle-industry controlled world. But we can always hope that some animal ‘extremist’ will usher them back into Canada for now, until the ranchers of Eastern Washington can put their prejudices aside and learn to live with the diversity of wildlife they’re fortunate enough to have in their backyard.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

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Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson