Reader Letter on MT Wolf Hunting/Trapping

Hello Mr. Laughlin,

it is the kind of articles like yours, “Wolf hunting and trapping down despite added opportunities,” that does nothing to inspire a better relationship between humans and nature in general, and wild animals, in this case with wolves.

And this at a time when we need to cultivate empathy and compassion for others, especially for nonhuman animals–domestic and wild,–and are in need for education on how to co-exist, become more tolerant and appreciative of nature–recall that we are in the midst of an accelerating rate of plant and species extinction, global destruction of ecosystems and mass killings of nonhuman animals, oh and let’s not forget climate change.

Your article presents the activity of killing wolves as something that is valuable, when an opposing view would call it an activity of ‘very sick’ individuals.

Stating that hunters and trappers have “achieved” killing a mere third of the allowable number of wolves in Montana is supporting the status quo of this ecologically and ethically indefensible madness brought on by legislators, and a Governor and his choice of FWP Commissioners –a representative of the Safari Club International and Outfitters, who are wolf haters and have no sense of respect for wild animals here in our state. The only decent member of this commission with decency is Pat Byorth.

Repeating the new language of “threshold,” which has a much better sound than a “quota,” shifts the focus of the tragedy of the high number of wolves killed to the human, who then will act. This tells the public that there is nothing to worry about, no need for concern, let alone empathy. This trivializes the lives of wolves even further.

Putting your emphasis on the “harsh weather conditions” and increased gas prices that make wolf killing so hard for the poor sportsmen, omits the animal side completely. It really does not get more anthropocentric–only the human side matters; forget that wolves and tens of thousands of other wild animals are getting killed by trappers this year alone; forget that these sentient animals greatly suffer from physical pain and psychological trauma in neck snares, and other body-gripping and killing devices set by ‘poor’ trappers; forget that this mass killing impacts not only on these animals themselves but also on their mates and young, the latter of whom may die as a result of their mother killed in traps or shot by a so-called ‘hunter.’

How many wolf pups are going to die in their den, now that their mother won’t come home to nurse them? Do you really not care about this?

Just like sometime ago in the Bitterroot, when a mountain lion mother who was found, strangled to death by a snare with her two little cubs also dead next to her body.

In conclusion, presenting the disaster of the ongoing wolf slaughter as a game where ‘sportsmen’ compete, achieve and are allowed etc., could not be further from reality.

It would be very helpful for the public to read articles that are more sensible, consider the animal side for a change, and encourage us not to engage in aggressive, violent and cruel behavior such as most hunting and all trapping, and the ongoing wolf slaughter but rather cultivates empathy and compassion for ‘others’ as stated before.

It is one thing if you personally support killing of wolves, but please do not put your opinions in a public article that presents us with a biased information. As you certainly know, words matter.

Best, Anja Heister, Missoula

6 thoughts on “Reader Letter on MT Wolf Hunting/Trapping

  1. I was reading along, in awe of this great letter, planning to share it to my facebook page, but one word stopped me. “…not to engage in aggressive, violent and cruel behavior such as most hunting and all trapping…” That word “MOST” is what stopped me. ALL hunting is aggressive, violent, and cruel when practiced by any human for any reason. ALL.

      • Nope, I stopped trying decades ago. There is nothing reasonable about volitional killing, and I felt like a horrible traitor to the animals whenever I tried to be “inclusive.” Like a collaborator. I’m all for others using any tactic that they think will help the animals, but my feelings of guilt curtailed my choice of tactics long ago.

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