Anti-wildlife, pro-hunting act reaches U.S. Senate; you can help stop it

These are some of the animals who will be affected - you can help stop this!

These are some of the animals who will be affected – you can help stop this!
Courtesy: Mark Kolbe, John Moore, Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Your Next Hamburger May Come With a Side of Endangered Wolf

A group argues for adding wildlife conservation facts to nutrition labels.


The remnants of uneaten hamburgers at a 2014 burger-eating contest in Washington. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)

May 29, 2016
Emily J. Gertz is an associate editor for environment and wildlife

When it comes to valuable real estate, the square inches that comprise the official food nutrition label may be a hotter commodity than the most impressive street address in Manhattan. How consumers react to the label’s black-and-white facts about calories, fats, sugars, and vitamins is worth billions of dollars to the food industry.

An environmental group would like to factor in one more thing: how food production affects wildlife. Piggybacking on the government’s overhauled nutrition label—which, despite industry opposition, now distinguishes added from naturally occurring sugars—the Center for Biological Diversity has released “extinction labels” that suggest how much impact a hamburger, a chicken breast, or a serving of bacon has on water supplies, forests, the climate, and the survival of endangered species.

“People probably don’t think that when they’re eating a hamburger they’re harming a wolf, but there’s a direct correlation,” said Jennifer Molidor, senior food campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A wolf, for example, will be targeted by predator control programs in their natural environment, at the behest of the livestock industry, to protect the cattle.”


The “extinction facts” label. (Image: Center for Biological Diversity)

The Center for Biological Diversity and other animal welfare groups have charged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program, which kills millions of wild coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, and other animals annually, lacks transparency as well as scientific justification for its practices. States also run such programs.

RELATED:  This State’s Population of Wolves Is Recovering, So Now Ranchers Can Shoot Them

There are other impacts as well. Increasing amounts of livestock manure are the leading driver of growing methane emissions from agriculture. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and can also degrade air quality. Raising alfalfa for cow feed uses up 2.7 trillion gallons of water a year in California alone.

The Center for Biological Diversity would like the government to advise the public on how to make eating choices that have less impact on wildlife and natural resources. “We’re in the sixth major extinction crisis, the first human-caused extinction crisis, and it’s highly related to our diet,” said Molidor. “Americans eat about three times the global average of meat consumption. If the rest of the world ate like Americans ate in terms of meat and dairy, we would need four more Earths.”

Author and futurist Jamais Cascio has experience using the nutrition label format to make an environmental point. His “cheeseburger footprint” graphic, which was based on his research into the carbon emissions created by a quarter-pound cheeseburger, went viral in the mid-2000s, landing him an appearance in a National Geographic documentary about climate change.

(Full disclosure: Casio and I were colleagues on a blog-and-book project called Worldchanging during the mid-2000s.)

Ten years later, Cascio said, he continues to get requests to use the image, and he features it in his consulting on sustainability and future planning.


The “cheeseburger footprint” label. (Image: Courtesy of Jamais Cascio)

“I can say from my experience that adding that carbon facts image dramatically increased the amount of conversation around carbon footprints,” he said. “I started to see, in some places, the cheeseburger as the symbol of unintended climate consequences.”

Cascio called the extinction label “a good first draft,” but noted that “it doesn’t pretend to be objective.”

“This looks like they’re combining the nutrition label with a cigarette warning,” he said. “If you want to blame the elimination of sage grouse and wolves on beef production, I can understand that. I’m not sure how it factors into polar bears.”

But images can evoke interest and reactions in ways that pages full of text can’t match, he added.

“Greenhouse gases, water, manure, all have links to beef production,” Cascio said. “If they can draw a more direct link to the consequences, I could see this being applied across a wide array of products—or even a political candidate.”

ALERT: Stop the Senate sneak attack on wolves‏


Anti-wildlife senators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a series of amendments to the Energy Bill that would cripple wolf conservation and set wildlife protection back by decades.

Urgent – Tell your senators to oppose anti-wildlife amendments to the Energy Bill when it comes up for a vote.

These amendments would undermine protections for individual species like wolves and tear away at the very fabric of the law by limiting citizens’ ability to enforce essential protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in court.

There are three amendments in particular that must be defeated:

The “let’s throw wolves under the bus” amendment – would delist wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes. We’ve seen what delisting looks like in Wyoming, where it was open season on wolves every day of the year in 80% of the state before the courts put a stop to it;

The “leave bats in the dust” amendment – would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the highly imperiled northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act; and

The “forget your day in court” amendment – tries to block citizens from going to court to hold the government accountable when it does not properly enforce the ESA. This amendment would bar recovery of legal fees otherwise available under the law and allow local governments to veto a federal court’s decision to enforce the law with regard to certain species.

In the past year alone, anti-wildlife forces have introduced over 90 legislative measures aimed at crippling America’s commitment to restoring and protecting imperiled wildlife.

Tell your senator to oppose these lethal amendments!

Thank you for all you do.

Black female wolf 831f Yellowstone National Park_2012 NPS

‘Carnivore cleansing’ is damaging ecosystems, scientists warn

Extermination of large predators such as wolves and bears has a cascading effect on delicate ecological balance

Carnivore extermination damaging ecosystems : hunters drag wolves they killed, Belarus
Belarus hunters drag wolves they killed overnight near village Pruzhanka, some 110 km south-east of Minsk February 8, 2005. Hunting for wolfs in Belarus is legal throughout the whole year with a hunter getting 168,000 Belarus roubles ($77 US dollars) for every wolf killed. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Who is Making More Waves?

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2015. All Rights Reserved


Blind anti-sea lion hatred or anti-cormorant animosity, like anti-wolf bigotry, seems born into in-bred, backwards communities, but it is a product of “nurture,” not nature and will (as with racism and sexism) surely fade away over time.


The question is, how many of these animals will be left after all the arrogant, narcissistic, speciesist, selfish blood lust is finally appeased?


And when it comes down to it, who is really making more waves—the sea lions for eating fish as they have for tens of millions of years (not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of MILLIONS) or the humans who are in the process, generally, of destroying the planet by changing the climate, polluting everything from the seas to the air we breathe, overfishing, overhunting, overpopulating and single-handedly bringing to an end the Age of Mammals?


Hats off to all the good folks with the Sea Lion Defense Brigade who stand up for sea life, despite local animosity, on a daily basis.


Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson


Michigan DNR appeals ruling that put grey wolves back on federal endangered species list

Featured Image -- 7624

By Jonathan Oosting

LANSING, MI — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources on Friday announced that it is appealing a recent federal ruling that returned the state’s grey wolves to the endangered species list.

The ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in December, reinstated federal protections for wolves in Michigan and other Great Lakes states that had been removed in 2012, effectively blocking local control efforts.

“Returning wolf management to wildlife professionals in the state of Michigan is critical to retaining a recovered, healthy, and socially-accepted wolf population in our state,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh said in a statement.

“Michigan residents who live with wolves deserve to have a full range of tools available to sustainably manage that population.”

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to slightly more than 600 wolves, up from just six in the 1970s. The DNR has advocated for stronger management and backed the state’s first ever wolf hunt in 2013 as a means to reduce conflicts with livestock and comfort levels around humans.

Michigan’s grey wolf population has been the subject of intense debate in recent years, with the state’s Republican-led Legislature approving two separate hunting laws that were rejected by voters. But a third wolf hunt law, initiated by a petition drive and approved by lawmakers, cannot be overturned via referendum.

Animal rights groups, energized by the December ruling that reinstated federal protections, argue that hunting seasons in Michigan and other Great Lakes states have jeopardized the wolf recovery.

Jill Fritz, state director of the Humane Society of the United States and the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition, said she was not surprised by the DNR’s appeal but “baffled” by the logic.

“I’m curious how having a wolf hunt — and that’s exactly what they want to do — would help retain a quote ‘recovered, healthy, and socially-accepted wolf population,'” she said. “I cannot make any sense of any part of that sentence.”

HSUS and allies have asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to “downlist” Great Lakes wolves, reclassifying them as a threatened species rather than an endangered one, which would give the state flexibility to kill or remove nuisance wolves.

Livestock attacks have been an issue for some farmers in the U.P. As MLive previously reported, there were 35 wolf attacks on livestock or dogs in Michigan last year, up from 20 in 2013 but lower than the 41 in 2012.

DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason, in a statement, called Michigan’s wolf recovery a “great success story” but said the endangered status “leaves farmers and others with no immediate recourse when their animals are being attacked and killed.”

WA legislation proposes relocating wolves


Kretz legislation proposes relocating wolves

Washington’s best wolf habitat is in the southern Cascade Mountains, where vast federal lands support more than 20,000 elk in the state’s two largest herds.

State biologists expect wolves to discover this prime territory and thrive there by 2022, after gradually dispersing south along the Cascade range.

But seven years is too long a wait for state Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, whose Northeast Washington legislative district is currently home to 11 of the state’s 14 wolf packs, as well as cattle ranchers and sheep herders.

He’s again sponsoring what he calls a “share the love” bill that would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to try relocating wolves to other parts of Washington.

“Most of the support in the state for wolves … comes from areas where there are no wolves,” said Kretz, who last year sponsored a bill to capture Eastern Washington wolves and transplant them to the districts of West Side legislators opposed to any controls on the predators.

But the current bill, HB 1224, isn’t a jab at Western Washington, Kretz said. Instead, it’s intended to speed up wolves’ colonization of the state, which would hasten the removal of federal and state protections for wolves and allow for more active management.

The legislation is among several wolf-related bills scheduled for hearings today in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Relocating wolves would face steep political hurdles, but some livestock producers and environmental groups think the idea has merit.

The Washington Cattlemen’s Association wants ranchers to have more options for dealing with wolves that attack livestock, said Jack Field, the association’s executive vice president. That won’t happen until wolf populations recover to the point that federal protections are lifted throughout the state, and relocating wolves would make that happen faster, he said.

According to Washington’s wolf recovery plan, wolves will remain a protected species until at least 15 breeding pairs are documented across the state for three years. The pairs must be geographically dispersed so there are breeding pairs in Eastern Washington, north-central Washington and a zone that includes the south Cascades and Western Washington.

Environmental groups also support faster colonization.

“The South Cascades has the best wolf habitat in the state because of the prey base,” said Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest’s executive director. In addition to the Yakima elk herd, with about 10,000 animals, the area contains the St. Helens herd, which is infected with a bacterial hoof disease.

“The state is hiring gunners to mercy-kill some of those elk. Wolves would do a better job,” Friedman said.

But the southern Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula, which also has good wolf habitat, are rural and conservative, much like Northeast Washington. Politically, it would be difficult to get the support to relocate wolves, Friedman said.

“There’s a big difference between wolves coming there on their own paws versus in a state pickup truck,” he said.

That’s one of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s concerns, said Dave Ware, the agency’s policy lead on wolves. In the Northern Rockies, anti-wolf advocates have never forgotten the federal government transplanted Canadian wolves into Yellowstone and Central Idaho.

“There’s that stigma that you brought them here, versus them moving in naturally,” Ware said.

The endeavor also would be costly and time consuming, he added. State biologists figure they would need to trap and transplant about 30 wolves – preferably in packs – to end up with several breeding pairs that would stick around in their new location.

Such an action would require thorough state and federal environmental analysis, which would take two to three years to complete. A wolf relocation pilot project, as outlined in Kretz’s bill, would cost about $1 million, according to state estimates.

In a few years, wolves will be establishing packs in the South Cascades on their own, Ware predicted. Wolf tracks have been documented northwest of Yakima, in the foothills of the Cascades, where credible sightings of multiple wolves also have occurred. Last spring, a photo of a wolf was taken in Klickitat County.

“They are bounding around. They’re looking,” Ware said. “It’s just a matter of time before a male and female find each other and decide to start a pack.”

But Kretz said livestock producers in Northeast Washington need faster action to protect their animals from wolf attacks. He and Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, also are sponsoring or co-sponsoring several other wolf bills.

Also on the agenda for today’s hearing are bills that would order the Fish and Wildlife Department to manage wolf problems with “lethal means” under certain circumstances and give the Fish and Wildlife Commission more leeway in changing a state endangered species classification.

Sen. Brian Dansel, R-Republic, is sponsoring a companion bill in the Senate, allowing state endangered species to be declassified by region. If adopted, it would allow the state to manage wolves differently in the eastern one-third of Washington than in other parts of the state.

“We’re putting out a number of ideas,” Short said. “We’re saying we just need some relief.”

copyrighted wolf in river

This Bud’s Not For Me

Poll at bottom of page….

A Super Bowl ad has some people howling mad.

No, not Nationwide’s commercial about a boy who died , though way to bring down the mood, Nationwide.

It’s Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” spot, which featured an adorable puppy, majestic Clydesdale horses and a big, bad wolf.

Budweiser 2015 Super Bowl Commercial ‘Lost Dog’

To summarize, dogs and horses good, wolves bad. (Sharks? Thanks to Katy Perry, that’s another story.)

No, the wolf lobby didn’t like it.

Viewers see horses come to the pup’s rescue as he’s being threatened by a menacing wolf who bares its teeth and snarls at the poor, frightened little guy. But then the pup returns home, joy ensues and all is right with the world, allowing us all to sit back and enjoy a cold one. (As if we weren’t doing that already.)

For puppy lovers and horse lovers and beer lovers, the ad was a touchdown.

But to wolf aficionados everywhere the ad unfairly demonized the endangered gray wolf population and was an affront to the species.

Witness this headline form onEarth, the magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The King of Fears? Budweiser’s ‘lost puppy’ Super Bowl commercial has us howling on behalf of wolves.”

The people at the Center for Biological Diversity said the ad “drums up anti-wolf sentiment to try and capitalize on our culture’s outsized fear of wolf attacks.”

The organization launched a petition it called a “reality check” asking the beer maker to pull the spot. It has nearly 20,000 signatures.


Here’s what the petition says: “1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters in the United States each year while another 1.2 million dogs are hit and killed by cars on America’s roads. By comparison, wolves are a virtually non-existent threat to our furry canine friends, only in very rare instances attacking dogs if they feel threatened or perceive them as competitors. The real threat to both dogs and wolves, as these numbers show and as Budweiser’s cynical attempt to boost sales indicates, is people.”

Here’s how it ends: “Purposefully demonizing an animal that is part of America’s natural heritage is no way to sell beer.”

There’s some growling going on about the issue on the The Wolf Conservation Facebook page.

Many of the commenters agree that the ad should no longer run but then there was this: ” For god sake this is stupid… It shows a wolf growling once and you do this? You people are unbelievable…”

What do you think? Weigh in below.

Should Budweiser pull its ad because of the wolf?

  • Yes. Wolves should be protected and not demonized.
  • No. What’s next? Do we ban Little Red Riding Hood?

See results

Polarized Wolf/Anti-Wolf groups battle with billboards

The Defenders of Wildlife launched a pro-wolf billboard campaign in the Spokane area this month to counter anti-wolf billboards.

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Opposing views of gray wolf recovery in Washington are on display in a Spokane-area battle of the billboards.

The Defenders of Wildlife, a national wildlife advocacy group, has contracted for nine billboard posters that appeared this month. The message responds to a similar outdoor advertising campaign initiated in November by an anti-wolf group called Washington Residents Against Wolves.

Four of the eight WARAW billboards feature photos of a deer, an elk, a calf, a dog and a young girl on a swing with the text: “The Wolf – Who’s Next on Their Menu?”

“What we want is for people to ask very serious questions about the presence of wolves in Washington State before the reality confronts them,” said WARAW spokesman Luke Hedquist in a media release introducing the campaign.

In response, Defenders has put up nine billboards with the headline “Reality Check! What’s More Dangerous?” Four images help answer the question based on average deaths per year in the United States: “Lightning 33. ATVs 413. Elevators 26. Wolves 0.”

“We just want to cut through the myths to the facts,” said Shawn Cantrell, Defenders Northwest director based in Seattle.

Gray wolves remain under state endangered species protections in Washington as they naturally reoccupy their native range in the state.


Science and Sentiment Say Wolf Trophy Hunting Doesn’t Wash

Anti-wolf billboard, Spokane, WA

Anti-wolf billboard, Spokane, WA


Science and Sentiment Say Wolf Trophy Hunting Doesn’t Wash


If policy makers stick to their guns and continue allowing trophy hunters to kill  wolves in six states in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies regions, they will be defying both science and, generally speaking, the will of voters.

Folks, the recent weeks of 2014 have brought us to a turning point. So let’s turn. It’s time to turn away from the past and catch up with the future in the way we manage predators in the wild.

The right decision now, after what we have learned, is to suspend trophy hunting and trapping programs for the small, recovering wolf populations just recently taken off the federal list of endangered species – with the knowledge that it’s the right thing to do on so many levels.

One compelling reason is science. Underlying the growing number of wolf hunts in the United States is the wrongheaded, but long-standing, belief that trophy hunting and trapping programs for wolves reduce the threat that wolves pose to cattle, sheep, and other free-ranging livestock.

Well, that theory is now in doubt. And it’s not just me who says so.

The first serious study of that theory has been released and it found just the opposite. When I say serious, I mean very serious science. Washington State University researchers dug into comprehensive statistics from 25 years of wolf “management” and found that shooting wolves indiscriminately may make things worse for farm animals. As well as for wolves.

That’s because when disrupted, wolf families adapt, move, split up, increase reproduction — and then they kill even more livestock.

Researchers found that shooting wolves indiscriminately reduces predation on cattle and sheep only when wolf populations are brought so low that, guess what, they end up protected again under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolf haters are having a hard time coping with the truth here. A spokeswoman for one Washington state group was quoted as criticizing the integrity of the 25-year statistical survey because it was sponsored by the state legislature.

Or here’s what a spokesman for Idaho’s wool growers told National Geographic: “The professor can say whatever he wants. We’re not going to just let wolves run wild.”

Well, folks, you can’t invoke science only when it suits you — as the trophy hunting lobby so often does. The science may not be the final word, but it’s an important set of facts to inform a final decision.

The other element to consider is our values: obviously, here we differ with the wool growers and the trophy hunters. But let’s face it, by all accounts, it appears their views are in the minority. The public wants more protection for wolves, in a world where we all are showing greater conscious consideration of animals.

In the first-ever plebiscite on the subject, voters in Michigan sided with wolves and against trophy hunting and trapping. Voters faced two separate votes on laws passed by the Legislature to permit wolf hunts, and both were repealed. The margins were overwhelming, 64-36 and 55-45, with one of the measures getting more than 1.8 million votes against wolf hunting, more votes than any of the statewide candidates for office received in their winning elections.

Let me add that Michigan has one of the most deeply rooted and publicly popular hunting traditions in the United States. But voters there, including hunters, understood that wolf haters were plain wrong — and that these ancient animals played a vital role in the wild ecosystem, and in fact were more valuable as a draw for tourists than as stuffed decorations in private trophy rooms. What’s more, nobody eats wolves, so the idea of killing them has no practical value, and responsible hunters don’t go for that, either.

Just as with the new science, there can be no quibbling with the meaning here.

The two pillars of good policy — independent and verified science and thoughtful electoral consensus — agree: Hunting wolves is not acceptable to the public and makes life worse for ranchers who raise cattle and sheep.


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This article first appeared on Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation.