The Killers Within

Alpha female mom and pup


Today, as it has been for many weeks, the motion-sensing cameras are in place on trees in the forest. In the few small meadows in this remote stretch just east of the North Cascades, there are bait stations being set. The goal is to kill the wildness from our forests, by destroying the wolves: in this case, the remaining pups and a single female, which is all that remains of the once great Profanity Peak Pack.

Why is it that wildness and animals such as wolves must continue to be destroyed to maintain ignorance? We are witness to a killing that goes beyond a need, goes beyond logic and is filled with terror, suffering and pain for the wolves involved.

Yet, the most disturbing aspect of this killing is not the actions by the livestock industry; their behavior and guilt in this killing is something they wear like an escutcheon on their heart. It’s the actions of those organizations that view themselves as conservationists.

Let’s be clear, it is not the work of their organizers, or those that spend countless long hours in their offices. These are good hard working people, who care very deeply about conservation and wolves. It is the direction of their Boards of Directors and those that take leadership positions in organizations that are sanctioning the destruction of these animals. They include: Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest.

I mention these names again because like many people, I believe the following:

  • The relationship between humans and wildlife is akin to a sacred trust. It is something in these times of massive exploitation of the earth we must take more seriously than ever;
  • Animals feel pain and understand humans, that relationship should not be based on fear, but trust and in our case tremendous respect and responsibility for ensuring their co-existence;
  • The protection of wilderness and the wildness that animals bring to wilderness is a gift to humanity, making it priceless;
  • As conservationists, we more than any, have the moral obligation to fight for species and wildness, it is our core mission;
  • Wolves are symbolic of all we hold dear about nature: wild nature. They are vital to maintaining balance and rewilding the lands that cattle have been placed into to subjugate that wildness, which represents our sprit and the earth in its purest form.

When organizations masquerade as defenders of wolves they must be called out. These groups want you to believe that by working within the system they are generating progress for wolves. The problem remains that this is a rigged system, one that does not understand or accept wildness, but defines land in terms of profit zones. Through such a lens, it sees ‘predators’ not balance or perfection. It allows the livestock industry to place cows in some of our wildest country so they can count the days to depredation. It Ignores pain and suffering and places an emphasis on compromise, which in this case means the savage killing of wolves.

Conservation groups that buy into this thinking are accepting from the start that wildness is somehow an abstraction. They see the killing of pups and animals in a systematic and cruel manner as the price for insider status, which helps give them fundraising superiority. Through these actions, we relinquish the moral high ground and give ranchers moral authority in negotiations.

You see, compromising and allowing the killing is the easy way out. Fighting and changing people’s opinion and understanding of wolves requires real organizing and education and will require holding a tough public stance.
There remains a real answer, but like many elections means people may have to accept not voting for the favorite, but committing to real systemic change. We can no longer allow wolves to be killed. We cannot contribute to organizations that continue to yield of the principles of wildness and species to the seduction of fundraising and the internal pressure of a sheltered group of Foundations that see only cooperation and compromise as the avenue for healthy wolf populations.  We do not need mega-groups, just like we do not need factory farms. Such corruption is directly contributing to the current wildlife slaughter.

High in the east side of the cascades as the evening takes hold a lone female tries once again through shear will to feed the packs remaining pups, cameras follow her movements. This morning once again, a chopper will hover close by, sharpshooter waiting to make his kills.  Historic estimates show that it will cost $200,000 to steal these vital lives; is this what we want for wolves? Is this making our lands healthier? The answer is simply we are continuing to feed the ignorance which has killed the spirit from our lands though these compromising actions.

Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest, the time have come to rethink your positions. You are now partners in the killing of innocents: the murder of wildness. The time has come to partner with those that seek a new vision for the West: one that involves rewilding, respect for all creatures and a vision for rural communities that goes beyond livestock. To get there will require passion, vision and a resolve that keeps the Profanity Peak pack alive in our collective hearts.


10 thoughts on “The Killers Within

  1. Hunting for sport is killing for fun. Trapping for money, fur, or fun is murderous, extremely barbaric. Both endeavors are barbaric traditions from the dark side of human nature. Canned hunting or not, regulated or not, licensed or not, deemed falsely in some places (like Alaska) as subsistence hunting and therefore justified and rationalized. Hunting, in any form, perpetuates hunting, the recreational killing of wildlife. It is brutal, barbaric, senseless, not sporting, not a sport, not a wholesome activity for individuals or family, not fair chase in any form, under any circumstances, not good for wildlife, not good for humankind. In no good way is it conservation. The targeted animals did not agree to the “sporting fun” or so-called “fair chase” of high powered, scoped rifles, binoculars, ATV’s, dogs.

    Hunting and trapping perpetuates the dark nature of man as a wanton killer for fun or profit or blood lust, man as a terrible, unique, beast. It may satisfy a blood lust, a primeval past, or feeling of power from shooting guns or bows, but it is time to grow up boys and girls. Elmer Fudd Nimrod and Jeremiah Johnson Wannabes need to find some substitutes like NFL, other sports, paintball, laser tag, target shooting, wildlife photography.

    Canned hunting, is as bad or worse, than any other form of killing for fun. It is time so-called civilization gives up the killing tradition of wildlife hunting. At its best, it should be called harvesting, but still it would be looking at other sentient beings as renewable resources, as objects, as pests, as less than sentient. Only about 6% of the population in the USA continues this killing tradition. and far less than 1% trap. It is time for the other 94% to end the barbarity of killing wildlife for fun or profit, tradition or not.

    Much less of the population can afford the travel, outfitter, travel expenses of trophy “hunting”, collecting animal parts, pictures of self behind a dead animal like they are a hero, listing in Safari Club International. Time to put away your toys for recreational killing. Take a camera, go camping, hiking, get out in the wild without the killing.

    Killing wild animals, such as the wolves on public land, for ranchers is unethical, barbaric, and cruel, to say the least. Killing coyotes by the thousands for ranchers and farmers is doubtfully effective, certainly cruel and barbaric. Wildlife Services (USDA) kills millions of animals annually. Civilization’s war on wildlife continues, and it is rancher, hunter led.


  2. I already had a fight/discussion about wolves vs. ranchers with Conservation Northwest years ago, so I knew what they were about. It’s too bad hearing about HSUS and I am very surprised at their stance toward wolves vs. ranchers because they really do make a difference in aiding a wide variety of animals. Defenders of Wildlife really ticks me off however, because they were one of the major players in bringing wolves back and for them to side against the Profanity Peak pack is egregious. This particular situation was so purposely stacked against the wolves by the dick head rancher that they should NEVER have condoned this pack slaughter.

  3. I entered the post below in response to Mr. Capra’s article, “Dying to Save You: Arrogance, Wolves, and the Destruction of the Profanity Peak Pack.” I noted the same lukewarm response from organizations who should be more forceful in condemning the continued killing of the wolves:

    ahimsaforever on August 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm said:

    Okay. So Mr. McIrvin is largely responsible for the death of another wolf pack. He and many other ranchers graze their cattle on public lands in areas that put the animals at risk for multiple dangers, including predation. When the inevitable occurs, they demand that fish and game departments deliver the death sentence. In this case WSFW complied, again, caving in to the rancher’s sense of entitlement, and agreed to kill the wolves his own ranching practices attracted. We also get it that WSFW, like similar bureacracies in other states, is influenced by powerful ranching, hunting, and gun organizations who have loud voices and deep pockets that get legislators’ attention and compliance.

    What I find even more revolting is the tepid and half-hearted response by the so-called wildlife defenders. As the wolves are being gunned down, their “defenders” are busy being reasonable in dealing with other members of their “working groups–ranchers, conservationists, and fish and game departments–to achieve peace between carnivores and ranchers.

    The Joint Conservation Wolf Advisory Group issued a statement “to express regret for the loss of the pack while asking for a reasonable response from the public.” This was signed by Wolf Haven International, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Humane Society of the United States.
    The advocacy group claims to remain “steadfast” that their ultimate goal is the long-term recovery and public acceptance of wolves, and they ask the citizens of Washington and other states to “engage in respectful and civil dialogues” as they work through the challenging events.

    Is that the best they can do? If so, it is pathetic! It seems that the advocates never have the same passion and determination to save wolves as the ranchers do to destroy them. Maybe they don’t have the money and the energy of the NRA or national or state cattlemen’s associations, but if they really cared about wildlife they would have the guts to stand up and say that killing one wolf pack after another or disrupting one pack after another by killing its members is not okay.
    But these groups have their own self-interest, membership, and fund raising to think about. So the lives and well-being of wolves and other wildlife always come last.

    Being reasonable is only getting the wolves killed. Mr. Capra notes the following: “From civil rights to gay rights to environmental protections, it has usually taken the hammer of our courts to force the changes in social norms.” But it took more than the courts. And those social justice movements did not win by having meetings where its members agreed to be reasonable and uphold the very injustice they were fighting. They took to the streets by the thousands. They articulated a firm moral stand. And they refused to back down.

  4. Excellent comments! As ahimsa says : “And those social justice movements did not win by having meetings where its members agreed to be reasonable and uphold the very injustice they were fighting.” Some of us continue to be extremely critical of these groups. I remember when HSUS actually took “positions” in writing, at what were Real membership meetings, often heated, but we could vote, directly, at such meetings on these positions. However, when most of these groups became “professionalized” all that changed. Now, its about getting “donations” and many simply believe that Facebook is activism. People born in the last decade or so know little or nothing else.
    Things will worsen in this country, and around the world, in the next few years, and desperation will set in, probably causing more suffering on non-humans.
    When the abysmal “Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program” came into being, with Defenders a big part of it, they went along with the Biostitute, David Parsons, who invited and sanctioned the infamous animal-killing federal agency, Wildlife Services (aka Animal Damage Control), to be a party of this reintroduction program in the southwest. It has never worked, and the wolves in southern NM and Arizona continue to be slaughtered because these alleged “defenders” IMMEDIATELY COMPROMISED, AND WORKED WITH THE ENEMY: WILDLIFE SERVICES AND THEIR PARTNER, THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY.

    We have met Mr. Capra. What he writes is correct, but what does he propose we do? Serious, dedicated, hard-core action is needed. Perhaps, starting here in NM, where Mr. Capra resides? How about a demonstratio/protest at the Albuquerque-based pro-livestock ranching Quivira Coalition, which is pushing Allan Savory’s snake-oil “green” ranching practices–which are nothing more than the same ol’ ranching, and destruction.

    • I absolutely agree! Capra notes: “These groups want you to believe that by working within the system they are generating progress for wolves.” That is what Dale Peterson calls “feel good conservation.” The organizations sell their mission of saving wildlife to raise funds and gain memberships and yet they cave in, cooperate, and agree with the forces that are destroying lives. It reminds me of how hard we try to “work within the system” to get laws passed to protect animals from abuse, and yet any laws that are actually passed are full of loopholes, without funds or will for enforcement. The abuse just continues.

      I suspect some of this is an issue of survival. There is a limited amount of funding available and multiple organizations fighting for it. Especially during the recession, any animals, especially wildlife that people do not see in their everyday lives and whose suffering and death they do not witness, are not on the radar, anymore than the farmed animals dying behind slaughterhouse doors.

      There is also the issue of pro-hunting and anti-environmental propaganda. Those who fight for wildlife and wilderness have repeatedly been tagged as radicals and extremists, as “bunny-huggers” and “tree-huggers.” Most organizations are reaching out to corporations and middle-of-the-road types as potential members and do not want to be associated with zealots.

      But I doubt if most of us are satisfied with just “feeling good” about what wildlife and environmental organizations promise. We want them to actually follow through on their goals and mission statements, even if that means that corporations, extractors, ranchers, and hunters can’t have everything they want.

      As for being extremists and radicals–you can count me in. The great Cesar Chavez once admitted to being a zealot himself because, he said,” they are the only ones that get things done.”

      So I’m thinking we need more zealotry and less compromise for the wolves and the bears and the cougars. Will we turn some people off? Yes. But maybe a firmer stand will get something done. It would at least be ethical and honest. How many wolf families alone has the current approach sent into eternity.

  5. I don’t understand why this doesn’t end now that the cattle have been moved? It’s an irrational battle. Leave these poor animals alone, especially since this rancher continually has a problem. In two more years, when the furor dies down (tptb hope!), it will happen again. Aren’t we fed up with having our intelligence insulted?

    It is our fault, not the wolves. Plunking down cattle in the middle of wildlife habitat is not realistic, and asking for trouble. We do not live in the 1800s anymore.

  6. Pingback: Today is the Feast of St. Francis – uddeer

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