(The following excerpt from the chapter, “War on Coyotes an Exercise in Futility and Cruelty,” in the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, parallels points I raised about wolves being incriminated in yesterday’s post—just substitute wolves for coyotes and sheepman for cattle rancher)…
In removing weak or diseased animals from a given gene pool, coyotes, as well as wolves and cougars, secure healthy traits for future generations. Furthermore, although introduced livestock (their wariness bred out of them through the domestication process) are far more vulnerable, it’s been documented that predators like coyotes would prefer to stick to their usual prey—yet they are ever the scapegoats.
As Jack Olsen, author of Slaughter the Animals, Poison the Earth, put it:
“By simple dint of pounding over and over on the same points, the sheep industry has succeeded in characterizing all predators as deadly killers that would rather dine on lamb than anything else that lives on the range. In the sheepman’s demonology of the coyote, every fallen sheep is brought down by coyotes. If Canis latrans comes across a dead sheep and plays his natural role as carrion-eater, the rancher shows teeth marks as proof of murder. If a sheep falls dead and the coyotes ignore the carcass, the sheepman charges an even more heinous crime: killing for pleasure. No matter what the predator does, a diabolical explanation is provided, and grandiose overstatement becomes the rule. Two lambs dying at birth are transformed into twenty lambs killed by coyotes.”
Ordinarily a writer of true crime books, such as Son, a Psychopath and his Victims and I, the Creation of a Serial Killer (about a murderous trucker whose violence continuum began with a long history of cruelty to animals, including coyotes), Olson did not have to stray far from that genre in addressing the mentality of the kind of nutcase who would victimize coyotes.