Lupophobia: Wolf Fear and Hatred

 Article from All-Creatures.org

By Dr. Michael W. Fox November 2013

The fear and hatred of wolves goes back in our European history for centuries. Such lupophobia is manifested still today in such purportedly advanced civilizations as the United States of America, a mental pathology which is certainly not shared by indigenous native American Indians.

Any rational person visiting these Sportsmen Against Wolves Facebook and other internet sites will see beyond their passionate, self-righteous rhetoric, which at deeper levels reveals their own insecurities and fears of extinction of a ‘way of life’ that they are enjoining across wolf-inhabiting states to justify and protect.

wolf wolves Jim Robertsonwolf wolves Jim Robertson Images Copyright Jim Robertson, Animals in the Wild

The fear and hatred of wolves goes back in our European history for centuries. Such lupophobia is manifested still today in such purportedly advanced civilizations as the United States of America, a mental pathology which is certainly not shared by indigenous native American Indians. The internet pages being put out today by “Sportsmen Against Wolves” are especially instructive, combining graphic photographs of slaughtered wolves with supportive comments by hunters who see wolf protectors and wildlife conservationists as representing the kind of society that they abhor: A society of tree-hugging Bambi-lovers who are challenging their right to shoot wolves and any wild animal who crosses their paths that may threaten them; provide them with a meal; offer them a challenge of manhood as a ‘worthy adversary’ to test their survivalist skills to track and kill to win a trophy head or pelt to sport on their walls or to decorate their homes or adorn their women.

Supportive letters from wolf hunting advocates on these internet pages also disclose a degree of ignorance about the balance of nature, wolf-deer and prey-predator relationships. They amount to endorsing the self-affirming mythology of wolf hunters that exterminating competing hunters such as the wolf is their right, scientifically/biologically justified, so they can have an abundance of prey all for themselves. The notion of co-existence, as being promoted by organizations such as Project Coyote, is anathema to this  community which lives in close association with the last of the wild and which most American citizens are calling for better protection.

Any rational person visiting these Sportsmen Against Wolves Facebook and other internet sites will see beyond their passionate, self-righteous rhetoric, which at deeper levels reveals their own insecurities and fears of extinction of a ‘way of life’ that they are enjoining across wolf-inhabiting states to justify and protect.

Their critics may see them as evidence of the devolution of Homo sapiens, of a regression to the hunter-stage of our ancestral past. The anarchistic individualism and anachronistic pioneer spirit are barely concealed under the camouflage of their costly hunting attire and high-tech scopes and other killing gear. But to be charitable and offer a paw or frond of hope and recovery fro this American sub-culture, if they were to connect their fate with the fate of the wolf and every tree in the forest and frog in the swamp, they might, as Henry David Thoreau advised over a century ago that in wildness is the preservation of the world.

That does not mean the preservation their way of life and of lupophobia but of their evolution as an effective, non-governmental community of wildlife monitors and conservators. Many deer hunters, for instance, like traditional Native American Indians, have discovered the wisdom of biophilia, seeing themselves and wolves and other predators as essential components of healthy ecosystems. This is especially germane considering that across much of the U.S. the white tailed deer population has risen over the past century from some 300,000 to an estimated 30 million.  With such an ecological perspective they can begin to articulate a hunting ethic, acknowledge the vital importance of wolves and other predators in helping prevent deer overpopulation and loss of biodiversity, and become a ‘boots on the ground’ force and voice for conservation, habitat preservation and restoration in concert with wolves.

But so long as lupophobia persists, wolves and other essential predators will continue to be killed by some hunters as well as by cattle and sheep ranchers whose subsidized grazing rights on public lands should come with a caveat prohibiting lethal methods of predator control. Putting the wolf on the protective federal Endangered Species list to prohibit sport hunting and trapping of these highly intelligent and social species is a limited deterrent against their illegal killing by lupophobes when there is virtually no effective local enforcement and informant network.

The many thousands of applicants for licenses to kill wolves now that it is legal in most wolf-inhabited states is surely indicative of a significant degree of lupophobia with many others seeing the wolf as a trophy animal, a mere object to be ‘sustainably harvested’ for personal gratification. Both of these attitudes are part of the ‘moral pluralism’ of America’s culture which makes a mockery of democratic process revealing minority rule and the power of vested interests when the majority of the populace want full protection for the wolf. Without a unified sensibility, like those deer hunters who also abhor the killing of wolves as sporting trophies along with the majority of non-hunters, the disunited states will surely continue to fall short of becoming a truly civilized society.

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The author of the best selling book The Soul of the Wolf, Michael W. Fox has done research on wolves and other wild canids.

7 thoughts on “Lupophobia: Wolf Fear and Hatred

  1. GRAZI!

    Veda

    > > Exposing the Big Game posted: “Article from All-Creatures.org By Dr. Michael > W. Fox November 2013 The fear and hatred of wolves goes back in our European > history for centuries. Such lupophobia is manifested still today in such > purportedly advanced civilizations as the United State” >

  2. I am glad to see Dr. Fox’s work again! Many, however, do not believe the nonsense that ranchers have any “right” to graze livestock on public lands. These ranchers, in the late 1800’s, came West, after many of them left the slave plantations, now out of work, after the Civil War. The West was “theirs” to rape and kill, with the help of the U.S. Army. Ranchers fought each other, cattlemen against sheep men, and ranchers fought with farmers. Animals were things, just as slaves were. This mentality continues today. No, ranchers have no intrinsic “right” to be grazing on wilderness areas, National Forests and other public lands. They stole these lands early on, and have a delusional mindset that they “own” these lands by virtue of having a federal permit to graze. Most of the public lands, are grazed to the bone. The Livestock Industry has never changed its official discriminatory attitude and outright hatred of many native wild animals, such as wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcat & others, and there is nothing to suggest that this will change. Even when groups “collaborate” with individual ranchers, trying to get them to use so-called “non-lethal methods” & other human manipulations on the lands, we do not see these ranchers going up against their livestock bureaus, stock men’s associations or livestock commissions.
    This week, in Albuquerque, there will be a wolf rally and meeting with the FWS. I wonder just how many of these “wolf-friendly ranchers” will stand up to the scores of other livestock industry people attending, who hate & kill wolves. We will see.
    http://www.foranimals.org

    • Well put, Rosemary!
      I wish I could be there but no dough for plane fare! FWS only had one comment session on the East Coast, in D.C. which was easy for them but sucked for us activists in the far reaches of the Northeast. I’m sure those in the deep south could not attend. I think to really make this a fair segment of the population, they should have two more open comment sessions in the East. Perhaps someplace with lots of reasonable hotel rooms like off-season ski areas in NH and perhaps Orlando, Fl, so people can take their kids on the rides at Disney World? These kinds of family trips mixed with activism teach kids they are the next generation, important to the future of the planet but that it is ok to have a little fun along the way! It’s ok to be kids, the whole world isn’t on their shoulders yet. We must teach them ethics and civics at home because they sure won’t get the truth, if anything at all.
      You are correct about the story of how white people infested Indian Country. They not only harbor resentment for ‘government wolves’ but for ‘government Indians’. We have noticed on the wolf-hater blogs that they seem to have nothing good to say about the people’s land and lifeway, even children that they stole. It’s the same ignorant bunch of haters. You have more insight into them than anyone I have read onlie so far! Knowing what we know, do you think Dr. Fox knows what he is up against? They are not going to evolve in my opinion. I read Native blogs and news, too and there is real fear that they or their children will be killed by these ignorant haters over whichever natural resource anywhere from uranium to oil, gas or clean water…or just out for a night of drunken target practice! We have learned to coexist, at least in the northeast, even the game wardens try to ignore wild wolf sightings, saying we have big coyotes here, most dogcatchers, the same. The only time game officials bother anybody is if they have to come out on many loose dog calls or they make a drug bust on the same property and have to confiscate animals. Here in Maine, some wardens like wolves and wolfdogs and leave Native people alone as long as they have proper facilities in compliance with state code. When they find wolfdog puppymills, they conficate the animals but again, it is usually related to a call for drugs or DV at the residence. The conficated animals are tested for behavior and if they act like friendly dogs, they might be used in police work. If they act like wild wolves they get the needle, so much wolf education needs to be done on that level.
      For a short while, a Native woman brought some wolves from Alaska and was breeding some very high content wolfdogs crossed with malamute but about 80 to 90% Mackenzie River wolf. She really knew her stuff and loved her animals and placed them with extreme care. She is out of the wolfdog business. Just too old and sickly. I took one of her beautiful dogs, tried to get her unspayed female but she wasn’t ready to part with her. Another wolfdog breeder who I am sure is dead by now, saw the dogs as objects and just kept breeding and breeding his female every heat! He was a nasty money grubbing musher and trapper. I tried to get all his dogs away from him but he wouldn’t surrender them even though he was dying. He insisted on cash to even part with unhousetrained yearling brothers, both identical white arctic wolves. It broke my heart to leave them there but itt mostly makes me cry to leave the breeding females because I know when they get too old and worn out to breed, they will be taken out back and shot by this heartless type of individual. But I am sure you know this. I did get one male out of there. But I don’t know what became of the rest.
      I think wolf recovery could work in northern New England a whole lot better than in the Northern Rockies. At least with prior public education? What concerns me is that there are wolf haters in FWS. How can we restore our wolves with haters in positions of power? FWS made it too hard to get our opinions out in public. Wolf rescue people can’t just leave their animals behind, they will panic because they don’t see us as owners, we are part of their family! I hope FWS reads this but I doubt they have any interest in more meetings?jj

    • The ecosystem is coded for apex predators, not for millions of cows trampling all afoot and poisoning of all the wildlife which are the stewards of our planet
      .. This is sheer linancy and is not sustainable!
      The ignorance re: that we don’t know turns to hatred .. We need to educate and coexist !
      Kudos to Dr Fox !

      Let’s name the beast that lurks within us and eradicate this unfounded fear
      Just keep up all our work for these beautiful beings and soon the light will dawn on humanity … If not, we will all perish as this is then a foolhardy journey … And we have laid waste this beautiful place and it’s lovely beings we are so lucky to be here with doing their jobs each and everyday.
      In my heart I thank them; the wolves, the coyotes, the bears, the lions all of them and I know Dr Fox speaks a message that needs to be understood and implemented now !
      Spread the word and Howl louder !

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