The lone surviving member of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf pack has been spared by the stroke of a federal judge’s pen.
IFiberOne News reports the Friday ruling was made just days after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced it had already eliminated four of the pack’s five members in an effort to curtail their depredation of livestock.
The lawsuit was filed by a pair of Seattle residents with the backing of the animal rights group Center for a Humane Economy, which is based in Washington D.C.
The suit had initially sought a restraining order to prevent the lethal removal of wolves from the OPT pack, which was denied by the judge.
The same judge ruled Friday that “due diligence on non-lethal methods” had not been properly explored by the state and ranchers who were impacted by the predations.
“Having to carry out lethal removals of wolves is a difficult situation and something the department takes very seriously,” said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman in an email to the Spokesman Review. “WDFW makes every effort to make a responsible decision after considering the available evidence. We appreciate the time the court put into reviewing this material and will work with the court throughout the process ahead.”
The suit contends the WDFW acted illegally and failed to properly follow the policies of the state’s Wolf Advisory Group by reauthorizing the order to lethally remove the OPT pack.
A series of WDFW investigations had shown the pack responsible for 29 depredation incidents. Director Kelly Susewind reauthorized the lethal removals on July 31, in response to continuing depredations of cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River range of Ferry County. The removal decision was made with guidance from the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the lethal removal provisions of the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol.
The OPT pack has been involved in 14 livestock depredations in the last 10 months, with nine in the last 30 days, and a total of 29 since Sept. 5, 2018. The livestock producer who owns the affected livestock took several proactive, nonlethal, conflict deterrence measures to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock, and WDFW will continue to monitor for wolf activity in the area and work closely with producers.
The OPT inhabits the same area as the Profanity Peak Pack, which the state killed seven members of in 2016.
THE UN’S INTERGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change released a dire report today arguing that humanity can’t truly fight climate change without addressing the land problem—habitat degradation, deforestation, and soils beat to hell by agriculture. We now use nearly three-quarters of the world’s ice-free surface and waste a quarter of the food we produce, all while the global food system contributes up to 37 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.
In short, we have to fundamentally rethink how we grow crops and raise livestock. There’s no cure-all, and every potential fix is fraught with maddening complications. But if we can’t figure out how to feed our species in a more sustainable way, climate change will continue to accelerate, making it all the more difficult to grow enough food. Food systems will collapse, and people will die.
The fundamental problem is that we have finite arable land and an exploding population. And trends that are positive from a social perspective, such as the ascent of the poor into the middle class in booming economies like China’s, end up ratcheting up the demand for meat even more.
So let’s start with meat. Raising livestock for slaughter is, of course, not particularly good for the planet. Animals demand lots of food and water: A single cow might consume 11,000 gallons of water a year. And that cow burps up methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
MATT SIMON COVERS CANNABIS, ROBOTS, AND CLIMATE SCIENCE FOR WIRED.
In labs around the world, researchers are working on an alternative, by trying to get meat cells to grow in petri dishes. Using vats controlled for temperature, oxygen content, and more, they are replicating the conditions inside a cow without the methane side effects. And that, they promise, will be far better for the planet than growing beef out in a field.
But the promise of a lab-grown meat that replaces livestock in a significant manner is still far off. No one has a fully operational facility churning out the stuff. That means there also isn’t much data to show how, exactly, it stacks up against factory farming. “If you’re growing cells, you have to provide them with oxygen and heat and food and clean their waste and all the rest of it,” says Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal geneticist at the UC Davis. “That won’t come free. A cow is keeping its body temperature and doing its own waste removal.”
Labs and cows also release different greenhouse gases. To grow meat in the lab, you need electricity, which means CO2emissions. That CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for thousands of years, whereas the methane released by cows lasts more like 12 years. Powering future lab-grown meat facilities with renewables will be essential to improving the climate-wrecking profile of meat.
But cows are not just raised for their meat. India, for example, has 300 million cattle, three times as many as the US, but most Indians don’t eat beef. What they do use is the dairy; in fact, they are the biggest producers of dairy on the planet. “I don’t have a simple solution for what you do with a country that has the most cattle on Earth and has the lowest beef consumption,” says Van Eenennaam. “Just saying eat less beef doesn’t take care of that problem.”
There are also regional differences. A cow in one country is not fungible with a cow in another. Raising cows in Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa produces twice the emissions of cattle kept in Europe or the US, because animals in the latter countries are fed more nutritious food and are more likely to be vaccinated and medicated when they get sick. So they reach slaughtering age quicker, which means they have less time to belch methane.
Switching humans to an entirely plant-based diet would solve some of these problems, but not all of them. For one, clearing forests and peatlands—essentially sparser forests laid on a bed of slowing rotting organic matter—to make way for agricultural land destroys essential carbon sinks. Healthy forests sequester CO2 during photosynthesis and store it. In the case of mucky peatlands, they can sequester carbon for perhaps thousands of years.
Also, prior research has shown that increased CO2concentrations in the atmosphere can actually help crops grow. “But now we know that high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere decrease protein values in grain crops, and also some micronutrients like zinc and iron,” says Cynthia Rosenzweig, a coordinating lead author on the report. Lower protein in crops might then make it even harder to wean ourselves off the easy protein of meat.
So we’re caught in a brutal tension here: We need to protect and plant more trees to sequester more carbon, but we also need more land to feed a booming human population. “We can reduce our demand, or we can increase the amount of land we grow stuff on and the number of animals that produce food,” says Van Eenennaam.
Tackling this problem will require looking at every piece of the land-use problem individually, and thinking hard about how we solve each one. For example, one way to lower the demand for food might be to eliminate the massive amount of food that gets wasted every day. But the reasons why food gets wasted vary from place to place. In the US, consumers are responsible for a great deal of it, whereas in the developing world the supply chain is the bigger culprit. There, insufficient refrigeration can cause foods to spoil before they even get to the market. The solution? More refrigeration—which means more emissions and more warming.
“Raising cows in Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa produces twice the emissions of cattle kept in Europe or the US.” —Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Davis
Researchers are racing to develop solutions to the preservation problem—a clever spray, for instance, can double the ripeness window of avocados. Robots, if deployed widely, could help fill in labor gaps and grow fruits and vegetables more efficiently, for example using machine vision to determine optimal ripeness. All great ideas that are still very young.
“The products are coming out faster than the science,” says Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer of the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources division. “But there’s definitely a lot of promise there.”
But to make a meaningful impact on climate change, he notes, those new ideas need to be deployed not in isolation, but as part of a larger technological system. A robot that picks apples may help fill a labor gap and get more fruit to market, but that’s just one crop. Our whole food system needs to change, a sort of biotech awakening. So optimizing the supply chain to cut down on food waste, while boosting yields with optimal varietals could allow more food to grow on the same amount of land, preserving more habitats for reforestation.
The vast scale of this crisis can only be tackled through massive, perhaps unparalleled cooperation—everyone needs to find the solutions that work for their corner of the world. But by tailoring solutions to a community, researchers can capitalize on particular customs. In Madagascar, for instance, scientists have launched a program to get folks to ditch bushmeat and eat sustainably farmed crickets, which was already the tradition, but had been forgotten in the country of late. That would be a tougher sell in the US, where lab-grown meat might have a better chance of taking hold.
Changing our ways will be a massive political, cultural, and technological undertaking. But change we must, because we’re eating this planet to death.
With record heat waves, costly fire seasons, rising sea levels, and superstorms wracking our planet, it is clear that human-caused climate disruption is causing major problems for all of Earth’s inhabitants. Fossil fuels have long (and correctly) been identified as the biggest culprits, with the majority of humanity’s atmospheric carbon contribution coming from burning fossil fuels — oil, coal, and natural gas — and reversing hundreds of millions of years of natural carbon sequestration on the part of swamps and forests. However, there is an increasing global awareness that animal agriculture also plays a major role in accelerating climate change.
Cattle and other domestic ruminants have a four-chambered stomach, including a fermentation vat (called a rumen) that enables the animal to use microbes to break down cellulose — the main component of wood, paper and cardboard — into sugar. This fermentation process creates methane, which increases atmospheric temperatures 25 to 84 times as much as carbon dioxide. Thus, cattle, sheep and other livestock boost the carbon dioxide absorbed by plants into a far more climate-potent gas.
Livestock belching, farting and manure emissions of this and other gases has been estimated to account for 14 to 18 percent of the total human-induced greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. The remaining 82 to 86 percent of carbon emissions into the atmosphere comes from taking carbon out of the ground and pumping it into the atmosphere, whether through equally-potent methane leaks from natural gas wellfields and pipelines or through burning fuels to produce carbon dioxide. Thanks to the combined effect of greenhouse gases from livestock production and fossil fuel combustion on the world’s climate, the survival of the planet’s life forms, humanity included, is now at risk.
But the livestock also convert and degrade lands, radically reducing carbon sequestration — the natural ability of the biosphere to soak up atmospheric carbon — creating an even greater climate problem than methane emissions themselves. This effect is most obvious in tropical rainforest areas, which are being deforested at an accelerating pace to create pasture lands for livestock. This upsets natural nutrient cycling, as soil nutrients present in rainforest settings quickly leach out of the soil. Following deforestation, the massive carbon banks tied up in rainforest trees, vines and shrubs are gone for the long term. This bankrupting of carbon reserves in the tropics is paired with a catastrophic loss of biodiversity, an environmental crisis co-equal to climate disruption in its severity and significance.
Less visibly but perhaps more importantly, livestock grazing on the world’s grasslands, shrubsteppes and deserts can cause even greater withdrawals from a carbon banking standpoint than cutting down the forests. Livestock grazing eliminates deep-rooted native grasses and wildflowers, replacing them with shallow-rooted annual weeds that thrive in disturbed environments and die every year, releasing their carbon back to the atmosphere. Annual weeds therefore have little ability to store carbon in the soil.
In addition, once rangelands become degraded through overgrazing, shrubs sometimes increase, but clearing these shrubs to stimulate forage production for livestock further cripples the land’s ability to store carbon.
Throughout the Intermountain West, heavy grazing by livestock flips the ecological switch that converts healthy native habitats to an annual weed called cheatgrass, by suppressing the native perennial grasses and destroying the soil crusts that otherwise prevent cheatgrass invasion. Cheatgrass is highly flammable, and the resulting high-frequency range fires can eliminate deep-rooted shrubs, accelerating carbon loss from the soil.
Restoring the 25 million acres of livestock-degraded and cheatgrass-infested rangelands in the western United States back to native shrubs and grasses could offset some 23 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions. Stopping the livestock-induced damage would allow the land to heal over time and regain its carbon-storing capacity.
Natural areas are the lungs of the planet, breathing in carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen. Personal choices by consumers (adding rooftop solar panels, eating less meat) can help, but they’re not enough to stem the tide. Returning half the Earth to nature would restore carbon reserves while also addressing the biodiversity crisis.
We need major policy initiatives like the Green New Deal to force decisive action, stabilize and slash carbon emissions, and restore healthy levels of carbon sequestration through the natural processes of photosynthesis. Major livestock reforms on America’s western public lands would be a key step forward in this effort.
Over the past decade, we have seen the media place blame for our changing climate on cattle. Scientific evidence does not support this claim though for cattle in the United States.
Cattle produce a lot of methane gas, primarily through enteric fermentation and fermentation of their manure. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that, along with nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and some other compounds in the atmosphere, create a blanket around our planet. This is good; without this atmospheric blanket, the earth would be too cold for us to survive. The current problem is that concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere are increasing, which is thickening our blanket.
Greenhouse gases and the atmosphere
The methane that cattle produce is part of a natural carbon cycle that has been happening since the beginning of life on our planet. Through photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is extracted from the atmosphere and fixed as carbohydrates in plant material. Cattle consume and digest these carbohydrates, where some of the carbon is transformed to carbon dioxide and methane gases that are respired back to the atmosphere. This methane is oxidized in the atmosphere through a series of reactions, transforming that carbon back to where it started as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In contrast, when we burn fossil fuels, we are taking carbon that has been stored in the earth since pre-historic times and converting it to “new” carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere. For every gallon of fuel consumed, about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide are created and released to the atmosphere. We are releasing this gas more rapidly than it can be absorbed in our oceans and soils. Thus, we are observing a rather rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, and the effect of this change will be with us for 1000s of years. Whereas cattle are part of a natural cycle with short-term impact, burning of fossil fuels has a more permanent impact.
Cattle numbers and greenhouse gas emissions
We must also consider the number of cattle and their productivity. Cattle numbers in the United States have been stable or declining for many years. Beef cow numbers peaked in 1975, and the current number is similar to that maintained in the early 1960s. Dairy cow numbers are the lowest they have been in over 100 years.
We also have to consider that modern cattle are getting larger and more productive. They consume more feed and produce more methane per animal, but they are also more efficient producing more meat or milk per unit of feed consumed. Considering cattle numbers and these increases in productivity and efficiency, methane emission from cattle in the United States has not increased over the past 50 years.
This is recent history; what if we look further back? Ruminant wildlife were prevalent in North America before European settlement. Although there are not accurate numbers for the buffalo, elk, deer, and other ruminants on the continent at that time, estimates are available. Based upon those estimates, these animals produced methane in the range of 50% less to 25% more than the current population of cattle, other farm ruminants and wildlife. This indicates that cattle today are not contributing a substantial increase in the methane emissions from U.S. lands compared to pre-settlement times.
So what might be increasing methane concentration in the atmosphere? Global cattle numbers are increasing. Methane is also released during the extraction, refining, and transport of fossil fuels. This methane also oxidizes in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide, but this is not part of a natural cycle. Like the combustion of fuels, this removes carbon stored in the earth to create new carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with very long-term effects.
Can cattle be part of the solution?
The fact remains that cattle produce a lot of methane. This methane is essentially wasted energy escaping the rumen. Reducing this waste by increasing the efficiency of the rumen may provide a substantial benefit by producing more meat or milk with less feed consumed. Dietary changes can reduce enteric methane production, and feed supplements are being explored to improve feed efficiency and reduce emissions.
Depending upon the cost of dietary changes and supplements, these interventions may provide economic benefit to the producer. In addition, there is the possibility of claiming carbon credits for this reduction. Companies and other institutions desiring to reduce their carbon footprint may be willing to pay cattle producers to use these mitigation practices. This is largely in the future for now.
So, although cattle in the United States are not causing an increase in global warming and related climate change, they may become part of the solution. Reducing any source of greenhouse gas emission will benefit our planet.
Belching bovines are a primary culprit when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. Farmed livestock are responsible for 14.5% of all emissions related to human activity, and cows make up by far the largest proportion of that.
Although vegan diets are on the rise in countries like the UK and US, and meat alternatives are increasingly available, cattle farming is still widespread.
So attention has turned to putting a cork in the volume of methane cows produce, by targeting their gut microbes.
Researchers looked at more than 1,000 cows on farms throughout Europe, and found they had a large proportion of their gut bacteria in common. By inoculating calves with targeted probiotics, the scientists suggest the mix of microbes could be altered, and the volume of methane produced limited. By eliminating the worst-offending gut bacteria, emissions could be cut in half, they say.
Environmentally friendly cows?
The researchers say the gas-causing bacteria in cows’ digestive systems are linked to their genetic make-up. Longer-term, this could mean some of the most problematic microbes could potentially be eliminated by selective breeding.
Previous studies have suggested mixing seaweed into cattle feed could also be a way to cut the volume of methane produced. And it might also help cows grow bigger and stronger. However, there are still questions about how this might work in reality: growing seaweed on the scale necessary is likely to be problematicand environmentally damaging in itself.
Failure to mitigate the effects of climate change is one of the primary threats facing the planet, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report. And methane is one of the biggest causes of the problem, after the more commonly discussed carbon dioxide.
Given the pure number of cows in the world, farmed for beef and milk, intrepid scientists have spent a lot of time investigating their burps and belches.
But unfortunately, it would seem these aren’t the only bovine emissions we need to concern ourselves with – cattle urine is also a climate offender. It releases nitrous oxide, another harmful gas, particularly in poor-quality pastures, new research has demonstrated.
“A unique opportunity to address climate change can be found in our agriculture sector,” writes Kruger, “an area which must be made sustainable if we’re going to survive.” (Photo: PeopleImages/iStock)
This week, a petition signed by more than 100,000 people was delivered to Congress, outlining issues that should be addressed in Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) Green New Deal. This petition shows overwhelming support for the Green New Deal, and calls for more attention to be brought to how our food system can be reformed to combat climate change. With the food and farming sector being the United States’ largest employer, and the country being one of the highest contributors toward climate change, citizens are calling for action to be taken to protect our world.
As someone in their mid-twenties, I have grown up seeing how climate change is actively impacting me and my community. Here in California, I expect droughts in the summer and extreme wildfires or mudslides in the fall; learning from a young age to always conserve water because the next shortage is just around the corner. Young activists from all across the U.S. have seen similar changes in their home states, and we recognize that our future depends on action being taken to stop the climate crisis before it is too late.
“Disinvestment from factory farms is necessary, not only from a climate standpoint, but from a larger human and environmental health perspective as well.”
A unique opportunity to address climate change can be found in our agriculture sector—an area which must be made sustainable if we’re going to survive. Climate scientists have identified agriculture as one of the largest contributors to climate change. This an opportunity to shift agricultural practices away from the large scale, conventional farms that currently dominate our food system to a regenerative, locally-focused, small-scale system that values the welfare of the land and those who work it. CFS has identified several focus points that should be implemented with the passing of the GND resolution to cut back greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier, more sustainable food system.
1. Invest in regenerative, local agriculture
The future of agriculture lies in the shifting of practices away from large scale monocultures towards small and medium-sized diversified farms. We must wean away from the mass amounts of toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers being used, and instead integrate regenerative practices such as cover cropping, the use of compost, and the implementation of hedgerows as alternatives that not only add nutrients into the soil, but provide many other ecosystem services. Among these, regenerative agriculture protects biodiversity, including the native bees and pollinators that are currently being decimated by conventional agriculture. Our “Regenerating Paradise” video series covers many practices currently being practiced in Hawai’i—including several that can be implemented nationwide—to reduce carbon emissions and protect our soils. Implementing these practices can sustain our food production all while sequestering carbon, protecting pollinators, and promoting on-farm biodiversity.
Switching to these regenerative agriculture practices will not be easy, but it will be beneficial. Despite research showing the vast benefits that come from cover cropping and other regenerative practices, farmers have been slow to start implementing them. Government and university grants, technical assistance, and further research should be funded to help promote these practices, transition farms, and aid the continuous education of farmers and farmworkers. This investment will have far-reaching effects on farms—preserving native pollinator habitat, sequestering carbon, and providing climate-smart food to local communities.
2. Cut meat consumption and shut down environmentally-harmful animal factory farms
Disinvestment from factory farms is necessary, not only from a climate standpoint, but from a larger human and environmental health perspective as well. Large scale animal operations pollute the water, lead to a higher risk of disease in humans, and contribute large amounts of methane and other greenhouse gases into the air. Cutting back meat consumption, purchasing meat from local sources, and shifting toward plant-based sources of protein are all ways that individuals can help. More people than ever, especially young people, have recognized the harmful impacts of meat consumption and we are turning toward a flexitarian diet, vegetarianism, and veganism as a way to cut back on our carbon footprint. The government has the opportunity to support this effort on a larger scale by providing financial support and technical assistance to ranchers to help them transition to pasture-based and integrated livestock operations that reduce livestock’s impact on climate change and help sequester carbon in the soil.
CFS’s recently launched EndIndustrialMeat.org, a website that highlights some of the negative impacts that come with factory farming, including the vast amount of carbon released into the air and heavy metals being drained into the ground; serious consequences that disproportionately affect rural populations and disadvantaged communities. The GND’s goal to secure clean air and water, healthy food, and a sustainable environment for all communities mean that shutting down these harmful operations is imperative.
3. Reverse the trend of consolidation within the agriculture sector
For decades now, there has been increasing consolidation of seed, livestock, and other agriculture-related companies. These mega-corporations have purchased vast quantities of land and set the rules for how a farm has to run, undercutting disadvantaged farmers and farmworkers, and wrecking rural communities. GND policies can be used to break up these mega-farms, and empower local communities to take back the food system. Breaking up these predatory mega-farms would not only reinvigorate the economies of rural areas, but it would also give these communities access to the healthy, climate-friendly food necessary to slow the rate of climate change.
The growth of small and medium-sized farms would allow farmers and farmworkers to set fair wages and provide safe and humane conditions for themselves and a future for their children. Doing so would not only allow current farmers to continue their operations, but also would open the door for young farmers to have access to the land, resources, and funds needed to operate for a viable, sustainable farm.
4. Support young and disadvantaged farmers
Finally, we must utilize the GND to support disadvantaged and young farmers, paving the way for a climate-friendly food future. For a long time, people have been turning away from farming, instead opting for job opportunities found in cities. For the past several years, there has been a renewed interest in working the land in a regenerative, holistic manner. We must support these new farmers, along with the farmworkers who have been subjugated to the abuses of industrial agriculture, to forage a community-focused, regenerative food system.
The principles of equity and justice outlined in the GND must guide our transition away from industrial monocultures, and toward a food system that supports and uplifts disadvantaged groups, providing the economic assistance and infrastructure needed to improve these communities, and ultimately improving our economy as a whole. Likewise, many young and disadvantaged farmers have limited access to the equipment and mentorship needed to run a successful farm enterprise. Having grants and training programs available to take on the huge costs of tractors, land, and resources necessary to start a farm should be central to the Green New Deal.
Young people have paved the way for the Green New Deal and our future depends on immediate action being taken to stop climate change. Not only will this resolution allow for the huge changes needed to prevent climate change, but will allow for new opportunities for farmers. While the challenge ahead of us won’t be easy, there are many things that can be done to mitigate current greenhouse gas emissions that aren’t being implemented. The GND is an opportunity to reform our way of farming to allow for huge cuts to current emissions, all while creating a more equitable food system.
Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified the even as a confirmed wolf attack.
Author: Brooke Wolford
Published: 10:14 AM PDT July 13, 2019
Updated: 10:19 AM PDT July 13, 2019
EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above is about a different story where Washington lawmakers looked to find non-lethal methods of curbing wolf issues in Eastern Washington.
ASOTIN CO., Wash.– The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday that an investigation into the death of a calf in Asotin County indicated a wolf was responsible for the calf’s death.
WDFW discovered a dead 400 to 450 lbs. calf in a 160-acre fenced pasture while working on the agency’s Ranch Wildlife Area July 8, according to the report posted on WDFW’s website. Conflict staff contacted the livestock producer, who has authorization to graze livestock on the land through a lease with WDFW and conducted an investigation on site.
WDFW staff’s investigation of the calf’s carcass revealed hemorrhaging and tissue damage on the calf’s left side, including the chest and lower neck area, front and back of the front leg, lower portion of the rear leg and tooth punctures and scrapes on the inside of the lower leg and groin, according to the WDFW report. WDFW also documented hemorrhaging and tissue damage on the calf’s right side, including the chest and lower neck area, rear side of the front leg continuing into surrounding tissue behind the leg, the area in front of the rear leg and the lower half of the rear leg, according to the report.
The report says most of the calf’s hindquarter had been consumer. WDFW removed the carcass and buried it after the investigation.
WDFW’s report says the damage to the carcass was indicative of a “wolf depredation,” the term used when a wolf kills a domestic animal. Location data from the collared wolf in the Grouse Flats pack also showed at least one member of the pack in the vicinity during the approximate time the calf died, according to the report.
Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified the even as a confirmed wolf depredation, the report said.
The producer who owned the calf monitors the her by range riding at least every other day, the report said. The producer maintains regular human presence in the area, removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves and avoids areas known for high wolf activity, according to the report.
The producer deployed Fox lights in the grazing area following the attack and will increase the frequency of range riding until cattle can be moved to a different pasture, the report said.
The Grouse Flats pack was involved in three depredation incidents in 2018, according to WDFW.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials have ordered the killing of the members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) family.
Why? To protect cows grazing on public lands.
Last September, WDFW killed two members of the OPT family in an attempt to stop livestock attacks. When the depredations continued, officials attempted to kill the remaining two wolves but were unsuccessful. Director Kelly Susewind then paused action seeking to lethally remove the two remaining wolves from the OPT pack.
Beyond being cruel and in violation of the desires of a majority of Americans, these kill orders are not working.
“WDFW has been killing wolves to deter conflict since 2012 when the agency wiped out the entire Wedge Pack, yet depredations on livestock continue,” said Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “Peer-reviewed research demonstrates that killing predators is not only an ineffective solution to deter depredation on cows, but it can even result in increased attacks.”
WDFW knows that peer-reviewed research demonstrates that killing predators is not only an ineffective solution to deter depredation on cows, but it can even result in increased attacks on livestock by survivors.
Killing state-endangered wolves on to benefit the profit margins of a private business is wrong on every level.
Please contact WDFW Director Kelly Susewind before it’s too late and respectfully ask him to call off the kill order.
URGENT! Please read and make just one phone call! This could be the fourth time that Washington State politicians kill wolves because of the same rancher, Len McIrvin, who is a known wolf hater and saboteur. McIrvin’s private, non-native cows do not belong on public lands, land that is clearly vital native wolf habitat. PLEASE MAKE ONE PHONE CALL TO: Washington State Governor Jay inslee NOW, tomorrow may be too late. Urge Gov. Inslee to rescind the kill order on these native wolves. Inslee is running for President. Tell him your interest in his candidacy will sky rocket if he rescinds the kill order! Call Gov. Inslee at 360-902-4111, and leave an urgent comment on his comment line. If enough good people call, we have a chance to stop the killing.
The net zero carbon target will require sweeping changes to almost every aspect of British life, affecting our homes, food and the way we get around, as well as jobs and businesses across the board. Ministers hope there will be health benefits and improvements to the natural environment along the way, as well as helping to stave off the global climate emergency.
On some of the key areas where rapid change is needed, however, the signals so far have been mixed.
Phasing out coal use and bringing more renewable energy on stream are the key planks of the government’s strategy. Gas has become an increasingly important source of fuel in the last three decades, particularly for domestic heating, but to reach net zero it will have to be phased out too.
Support for renewable energy has been reduced and in some cases scrapped by the government. Onshore wind is now one of the cheapest forms of energy, but the withdrawal of subsidies and stricter planning rules have resulted in a dearth of new projects, though offshore wind is continuing to make progress.
The number of new solar installations plunged by 94% in April, according to Labour, after the government’s withdrawal of support. Chris Hewett, the chief executive of the Solar Trade Association, says: “Solar and wind are now the lowest cost forms of power generation in the UK, yet there is no route to market and government is continuing to subsidise the fossil fuels it is aiming to phase out.”
The number of jobs in renewable energy in the UK fell by about a third, from 36,000 in 2014 to 25,000 in 2017, according to the union Prospect.
Carbon capture and storage will be needed if we are to continue to use any fossil fuels. A long-running £1bn competition to build the first large-scale demonstration project for the technology was scrapped by George Osborne, but the government says that smaller projects not requiring taxpayer assistance could start to develop.
Controversially for some, the Committee on Climate Change says fracking is compatible with a net-zero target – but only if the gas produced displaces gas which would otherwise have been imported.
There are only about 210,000 electric vehicles in the UKAbout 1% of households use an all-electric car and about 2% hybrids, so tens of millions of cars will have to be replaced. Public transport, walking, cycling and ways of working that avoid travel will also be part of the solution.
Darren Shirley, the chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, says: “In the coming weeks the government should commit to restarting the programme of rail electrification, outlining further incentives to rapidly grow the market in electric vehicles in the UK, and start work on publishing a national strategy for buses with investment to grow the network and green the bus fleet to be published by 2020.”
The government has pledged to phase out diesel and petrol cars by 2040, but that target should be brought forward to 2030, according to the CCC.
The government has slashed support for electric vehicles, resulting in slower take-up. A lack of charging points is also hitting demand. There are about 8,500, but they are not spread evenly across the country, and some towns have few or none.
The CCC notes that the number of flights we take can continue to grow at least in the short term provided emissions come down in other areas, but campaigners say the decision to allow Heathrow’s expansion will blow away any chance of reducing the UK’s overall transport emissions.
All newly built homes – of which the UK needs a record number to solve the housing crisis – were meant to be zero emissions from 2016 under plans from the Labour government in 2006. Those plans were scrapped in 2015 on cost grounds, and now there are few requirements for new-build houses to incorporate energy-saving features or renewable generation.
Government policy is key to making the built environment, which accounts for roughly 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint, more climate friendly, says Juliet Barfield, an architect at Marks Barfield. “The government must regulate if we want to bring down emissions.”
Repurposing and refurbishing existing buildings is nearly always preferable to demolishing and rebuilding, unless the existing construction is dangerous or of such poor quality it cannot be remedied. Concrete is one of the most commonly used construction materials, but associated emissions are sky-high. If the global concrete industry were a country, it would be the world’s third biggest emitter. Alternative materials from timber to wool are not widely used, and while innovators are working on ways to bring down emissions from concrete – using additives from coffee grounds to beetroot, for instance – it remains a significant source of carbon.
When new buildings are needed, a long-term vision – at least 50 years, for the lifetime of a building – and resisting cost-cutting temptations are also important. Barfield notes that high ceilings make buildings more liveable and easier to adapt in future, as well as having benefits in ventilation and light that help in designing ways to reduce energy use. BMany architects, however, come under pressure to reduce ceiling height to squeeze in more rooms, which limits the building’s future potential.
Less than 1% of Britain’s housing stock each year is newly built, and old homes tend to be leaky, draughty, costly to heat and inefficient. The government scrapped measures, such as the “green deal” policy, to insulate existing housing stock. Cash-strapped local authorities lack the resources to offer the insulation needed, even though it would save residents money and improve their health. The CCC recommends turning down heating to 19C in winter, but that may be of little comfort to people in unsuitable and uninsulated homes.
Heavy industries such as steel and chemicals currently come under the EU’s emissions trading scheme. Companies are awarded a certain number of allowances to emit carbon dioxide, some free and some paid for, and the most efficient can sell any spares to laggards, who are supposed to be spurred by the additional cost to mend their ways. The system has suffered many setbacks in its nearly 15 years of operation, but it is still one of the main ways in which industry is held to account for its contribution to global heating.
It is not yet known what, if anything, will replace emissions trading after Brexit, when manufacturers and other heavy industries are likely to come under increasing economic pressure if trade is disrupted. Manufacturingoutput has already come under pressure from the prospect of a no-deal exit, but losing manufacturing in the UK will not reduce carbon emissions overall, but will increase reliance on imports.
Farming, land use and food
More than a tenth of greenhouse gas emissions comes from agriculture and this proportion is rising as other sectors have been able to reduce emissions faster.
Growing more trees is the key plank of the government’s strategy on land use, along with better soil management. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has set out plans for the UK’s first soil strategy since the “dig for victory” campaigns of the second world war. Soil is one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks, but can also be a major source of carbon depending on the farming techniques used.
Details of the strategy are still to come, and when it comes to tree planting farmers face some uncertainty. There are benefits under the common agricultural policy for planting new and maintaining existing trees, but these can be complex and hard to access. The government has promised £50m for rural tree planting in England to meet its target of 10m new trees across the countryside. The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe, with 10% of land forested in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and only 8% in Northern Ireland.
Our heavy consumption of meat is taking a toll on our health as well as the planet, and farmers can help reduce emissions from livestock, for instance by improving their diet so they produce less methane. Ultimately, however, meat consumption must be reduced. Moving from a high-meat to a low-meat diet would cut emissions by 35%, the CCC found.
Biodegradable food waste must not be sent to landfill, where it rots to produce methane, after 2025, according to the CCC. Food waste should be avoided as far as possible to bring down agricultural emissions. Unavoidable food waste, treated properly with anaerobic digestion, can be a source of natural gas to be used for heating or electricity generation, displacing fossil fuels.
Tim Benton, the dean of strategic research at the University of Leeds, says food will only increase in importance as a source of greenhouse gases. He says: “When you have reduced everything else – energy, transport, and so on – the thing you’re left with is food.”
A ‘just transition’
When the UK first made its “dash for gas”, it was in the context of closing coal mines and the aftermath of the miners’ strike of the 1980s. Hundreds of thousands of workers in traditional coal-mining areas lost their jobs and the devastation is still keenly felt across swathes of the UK. The recent and enduring memory of that loss and upheaval should act as a warning of how not to engineer a transition to a new form of economy, trade unions believe.
Sue Ferns, Prospect’s senior deputy director general, says: “We need a just transition for all the workers affected and this means we need to work proactively to ensure that the damage inflicted on coal communities in the 1980s is not repeated.”
After years or revisions, scores of contentious meetings, an outside mediator and the abandonment of talks by half of the stakeholders, Oregon wildlife commissioners approved the state’s long-overdue Wolf Management Plan on Friday.
In a 6 to 1 vote, the 155-page plan, which governs how wolves are handled in the areas of the state where they don’t enjoy federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, was approved by the seven-member commission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Before several hours of public testimony began, Commissioner Holly Akenson, who recounted her past experience studying wolves as a wildlife biologist, acknowledged the tension that surrounded the process, but noted the growth in Oregon’s wolf population and called the state’s previous management a success.
“We see a lot of concern on both sides of this plan,” she said. “For someone like me, who has looked forward to seeing wolves living free on our landscape, it’s time to celebrate.”
The state’s first wolf plan was issued in 2005, before any wolves had actually come back to the state after decades of extirpation due to hunting and trapping. Language in the original plan called for updates every five years and, in 2010, just a year after wolves had been confirmed in the northeast corner of Oregon, the second version of the plan was released. At the time, at least 21 of the canids were known to wander the state’s rural areas.
When it came time to update the plan for 2015, though, stakeholders on both sides — hunters and ranchers on one side, environmentalists and wolf advocates on the other — couldn’t come to a consensus on some of the most sensitive issues. Over the following years, facilitated meetings were held all over the state in an effort to find compromise between the two sides.
The talks grew so rancorous that, in January, the environmental groups pulled out of negotiations, calling the process “biased, superficial and unscientific.
Environmental groups pull out of talks to revamp Oregon’s wolf plan
The main sticking points in past negotiations have come over when and how lethal action can be taken against wolves that kill livestock.
Much of the tension surrounding the wolf plan boils down to when wolves can be killed, why and by whom. The latest revision has some key changes to the plan’s most controversial provisions.
Under the old plan, a wolf that attacked livestock twice or more over any period of time was deemed a “chronic depredator” and could be killed in the eastern third of the state, where wolves are managed by the state. The new plan will allow the state to kill wolves after two confirmed attacks during a nine month period.
State officials have stressed that when a wolf meets that threshold, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be killed. Non-lethal deterrents like fencing, alarm devices, hazing and removal of carcasses must be documented before a permit to kill a wolf can be issued. Even then, the state can exercise its own discretion, taking other factors into account before allowing a wolf to be killed.
“Discretion is more valuable than an actual number,” said Derek Broman, the state’s carnivore coordinator and one of the key architects of the plan. “When lethal action is taken, it’s not retribution.”
Once a wolf is deemed a chronic threat to livestock, however, the state can issue a permit for lethal action against the animal and, because staff and resources available to the state are limited, those permits can be issued to members of the public. That kind of action, called “controlled take,” was clarified in an amendment to the plan that said any permits issued to the public would require approval from the commission. Still, wolf advocates remained fiercely opposed to the provision, saying it could open the door to wolf hunts by the general public.
“With just 137 wolves in the state, it is absurd that ODFW would put hunting on the table,” Sristi Kamal, Northwest representative of Defenders of Wildlife, told commissioners. A spokesman for Rep. Peter DeFazio read a letter from the Oregon congressman that called for the provision allowing permitted hunting by the public, even under very specific circumstances, to be stripped from the plan.
Akenson responded that the commission would not issue permits lightly.
“This commission isn’t going to meet and say ‘Yep, let’s do it.’” she said. “It’s going to be a deliberative process.”
Numerous ranchers and hunters expressed concern over some aspects of the plan. Many said the state didn’t do enough to track wolves, particularly in Wallowa County, where the majority of wolves reside and most attacks on livestock take place. When a wolf is suspected of killing livestock, it must be confirmed by an investigation and many ranchers said it could take up to a week for investigators to show up, time when evidence can degrade and a confirmation becomes more difficult. Without a confirmation, ranchers aren’t eligible for compensation from the state.
“Ranchers get compensation for confirmed or probable kills,” Earl Nelson, a rancher from Douglas County, told the commission. “But the bar is set too high for kills to ever be counted.”
Others livestock producers said, given the continued growth of the wolf population, the state should establish “management zones,” defined geographic areas that would have a maximum number of wolves. Any wolves in the area beyond the maximum could be killed.
Though both sides found parts of the plan they disagreed with, many in the ranching community urged commissioners to adopt the plan as it was written, while environmental advocates pressed officials to revise the plan or remove the provisions they found most troubling.
After public comment concluded, Commissioner Gregory Wolley, the sole “no” vote, acknowledged the divide in the room.
“We have one side that seems to support the plan despite its imperfections, while the other side is 100 percent against it,” he said. “We say we’re trying to go down the middle, but that doesn’t sound like a compromise.”
Friday’s commission meeting came against the backdrop of a push from federal regulators to strip the wolf of protections under the Endangered Species Act. That plan, like Oregon’s plan but on a larger scale, has been met with condemnation from advocates and scientists, but was welcomed by hunters and ranching industry groups.