The Earth is being raped, strangled and left for dead by people who care only about themselves and what they can get in the short term. The suffering of others is inconsequential. Indeed, they pride themselves in their ability to disregard the cries and struggles of their targets, whom they objectify while denying their very sentience. Like psychopathic serial killers, they ignore the rights and welfare of their victims, intentional or incidental.
Group explores options to protect wildlife from future development
As protesters stood at Founders Parkway and Factory Shops Boulevard — waving signs and shouting at drivers to help save the prairie dogs — a few hundred yards behind them exterminators were already laying traps.
The grass-roots campaign, called Save the Castle Rock Prairie Dogs, wants to push back the construction of the Promenade at Castle Rock, at the north end of town between I-25 and U.S. Highway 85, near the Outlets at Castle Rock, until June.
That’s when the animals, many of them pregnant, could be moved. The prairie dogs are being trapped with baited cages. It is unknown how or if they are being killed at this time.
“Of course I was at the protest,” said Castle Rock resident Keith Lattimore-Walsh, one of about 40 protesters at the Feb. 24 rally. “My heart won’t allow me to do anything less than to fight for those who cannot speak.”
The controversy is part of the town’s continued conversation about growth and began when more than 20 residents spoke out against the Promenade at the Feb. 17 council meeting.
Activists said they hope snowy conditions and the slow pace of capture will give them time to find available land for relocation of the colony — about 1,000 prairie dogs.
“It’s slow, they aren’t capturing many at a time,” said Brian Ertz, board president of the activist organization the Wildlands Defense.
Alberta Development Partners, the developer behind the Promenade, could not be reached for comment about the removal of the prairie dogs, despite repeated attempts by the News-Press.
Town officials reiterated their stance that the situation is a matter of a private developer building on private land, therefore they have no jurisdiction to stop or delay construction.
This would be different if the prairie dogs were protected by state law, which they aren’t, because they are not an endangered species. [Not officially, buy they should be on the list–I challenge anyone who says prairie dogs are still common throughout the state.]
Poisoning and fumigation—the most common methods of killing prairie dogs—cause convulsions, vomiting, internal bleeding, gradual pulmonary and cardiac collapse, and a variety of other reactions that cause animals immense suffering and a slow, agonizing death. Yet developers of The Promenade at Castle Rock, a 160-acre mall project underway in the town of Castle Rock, Colorado, reportedly want to massacre hundreds (possibly thousands) of these animals who call the site’s open spaces and wetland areas their home. And despite an outcry from compassionate citizens, the Castle Rock Town Council has green-lighted this slaughter, which is scheduled to occur in the coming weeks. Your voice is needed!
Using the form below, please politely urge Alberta Development Partners and Castle Rock officials to halt this cruel killing initiative and to employ humane prairie dog control methods instead. And please forward this message widely!
Please send polite comments to:
Peter Cudlip, Principal
Alberta Development Partners
Castle Rock Town Council
Please feel free to use our sample letter, but remember that using your own words is always more effective.
Here is a short multiple-choice quiz to test your knowledge of our fellow animals.
Instructions: Choose the species that best fit the descriptions below.
Note: Although some may share a few of the characteristics, they must meet all the criteria listed in order to qualify as a correct answer.
1. Which two species fit the following description?
- Highly social
- Live in established communities
- Master planners and builders of complex, interconnected dwellings
- Have a language
- Can readily learn and invent words
- Greet one another by kissing
B. Prairie Dogs
Answer: A. and B
2. Which two species fit the following description?
- Practice communal care of the youngsters on their block
- Beneficial to others who share their turf
- Essential to the health of their environment
- Without them an ecosystem unravels
- Have been reduced to a tiny portion of their original population
B. Prairie Dogs
Answer: B. and C.
3. Which two species fit the following description?
- Out of control pest
- Multiplying at a phenomenal pace
- Physically crowding all other life forms off the face of the earth
- Characterized by a swellheaded sense of superiority
- Convinced they are of far greater significance than any other being
- Nonessential in nature’s scheme
B. Prairie Dogs
D. Sewer Rats
Answer: Sorry, trick question; the only species fitting the criteria is A.
If this seems a harsh assessment of the human race or a tad bit misanthropic, remember, we’re talking about the species that single-handedly and with malice aforethought blasted, burned and poisoned the passenger pigeon (at one time the most numerous bird on the entire planet) to extinction and has nearly wiped out the blue whale (by far the largest animal the world has ever known). Add to those crowning achievements the near-total riddance of the world’s prairie dogs, thereby putting the squeeze on practically all their grassland comrades, and you can start to see where this sort of disrelish might be coming from.
When the dust settles on man’s reign of terror, he will be best remembered as an egomaniacal mutant carnivorous ape who squandered nature’s gifts and goose-stepped on towards mass extinction, in spite of warnings from historians and scientists and pleas from the caring few…
The preceding was an excert from the book, Exposing the Big Game.
Keystone Prairie Dogs
Population and Sustainability Director, Center for Biological Diversity
When you bite into a hamburger or steak, you already know the cost to the cow, but what about the wolves, coyotes, bears and other wildlife that were killed in getting that meat to your plate?
There are a lot of ways that meat production hurts wildlife, from habitat taken over by feed crops to rivers polluted by manure to climate change caused by methane emissions. But perhaps the most shocking is the number of wild animals, including endangered species and other non-target animals, killed by a secretive government agency for the livestock industry.
Last year Wildlife Services, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, killed more than 2 million native animals. While wolf-rancher conflicts are well known, the death toll provided by the agency also included 75,326 coyotes, 3,700 foxes and 419 black bears. Even prairie dogs aren’t safe: They’re considered pests, blamed for competing with livestock for feed and creating burrow systems that present hazards for grazing cattle. The agency killed 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs and destroyed more than 30,000 of their dens.
The methods used to kill these animals are equally shocking: death by exploding poison caps, suffering in inhumane traps and gunned down by men in airplanes and helicopters.
How many of the 2 million native animals were killed to feed America’s meat habit? No one really knows. This is where the secrecy comes in: While we know that they frequently respond to requests from the agricultural community to deal with “nuisance animals,” Wildlife Services operates with few rules and little public oversight. That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity, where I work, has called on the Obama administration to reform this rogue agency to make it more transparent and more accountable. Despite the growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, the federal agency shows no signs of slowing its killing streak.
There are two important ways that you can help rein in Wildlife Services. First, sign our online petition demanding that the Department of Agriculture create rules and public access to all of the agency’s activities. Second, start taking extinction off your plate. Our growing population will mean a growing demand for meat and for the agency’s deadly services, unless we take steps to reduce meat consumption across the country. By eating less or no meat, you can reduce your environmental footprint and help save wildlife.
May 19, 2014 5:59 PM
Many outfitters bring clients in to hunt pheasants, deer, and even prairie dogs in South Dakota. Recently the population of prairie dogs has been hurt by a plague, but hunters are still showing up in droves.
Prairie dogs may look cute, but their effects on pastures can be catastrophic.
“The prairie dogs from a ranchers stand point eat a lot of grass and almost mow it down to just basically dirt. They do a pretty good job of hurting the value of the land and how well you can utilize it, “said co-owner of Buffalo Butte Dillon Springer.
Some land owners though have found opportunity with the reckless rodents, which some affectionately call the barking squirrel.
“We started doing it five or six years ago just as a small blurb, some of our pheasant hunters wanted to do it, “said Springer.
A recent outbreak of Sylvatic plague has put a huge dent in some prairie dog populations, and that’s a good thing right? Not for outfitters who cater to clients who travel from all over the country to hunt the critters.
“You take those folks from the city who never see land that stretches out as far as this does, and they’ve got their guns that they just can’t shoot, “said Springer.
For many the prairie dog hunt brings a laugh and a reasonably easy shot. But they are now an important slice of the revenue pie for the outfitters.
“They are pretty resilient critters, they can bounce back from a lot of stuff, “said Springer.
Even with a plague and hunters trying to eradicate the vermin, they continue to hold their ground.
Tell U.S. Forest Service: DO NOT Poison 16,000 Prairie Dogs
Action Alert from All-Creatures.org
The U.S. Forest Service is considering a plan to poison as many as 16,000 prairie dogs in Wyoming’s Thunder Basin National Grassland. Prairie dogs are a keystone species and vital to the survival of many other animals. Tell the Forest Service to reject this heartless plan.
Image by Jim Robertson / Animals in the Wild
Sign an online petition here
And/Or better yet, make direct contact:
District Ranger, Douglas Ranger district
Thunder Basin National Grassland
c/o US Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Region
740 Simms Street
Golden, CO 80401
(303) 275-5350 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (303) 275-5350 FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting
INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS
In Wyoming, prairie dogs are slowly recovering from decades of hunting and disease, and Thunder Basin National Grassland contains some of their last protected habitat. But the U.S. Forest Service is considering a plan to poison any prairie dog colonies on the Grassland within a quarter-mile of private or state land. They could kill an estimated 16,000 prairie dogs, which are essential to the survival of many other species. Urge the Forest Service to reject this heartless and misguided plan.
I am outraged at the plan your agency is considering — to kill an estimated 16,000 prairie dogs in Thunder Basin National Grassland. This would be inhumane to the animals and environmentally disastrous for the Thunder Basin ecosystem.
In 2009, in an exemplary decision, you set aside 85,000 acres of grasslands to provide a safe haven for prairie dogs from being shot, poisoned or gassed. Today, the Thunder Basin National Grassland is part of the remaining two percent of America’s untouched prairie grasslands, and contains the best prairie dog habitat in the country. Prairie dogs are essential to the health of our grasslands but are victimized by misinformation and widely extirpated from their former range.
Furthermore, I understand the plan may call for anticoagulant poisons such as Rozol. Rozol, a barbaric poison, can take one to three weeks to kill prairie dogs. After being poisoned, they will bleed internally and externally, wandering more and more disoriented and vulnerable to predators. Animals that feed off of this keystone species — including golden eagles, ferruginous hawks, swift foxes, turkey vultures, badgers, raccoons and coyotes — will also fall victim to the poison and may die.
As a federal agency charged with protecting our nation’s unspoiled flora and fauna, the Forest Service must turn down this plan to poison prairie dogs in the Thunder Basin National Grassland. Please find alternative methods for managing this species and the wildlife which depend on them.
or, send pre-written message here:
Thank you for everything you do for animals!
Imagine you’re a hunter and you just bought a copy of Exposing the Big Game to add to your collection of books and magazines featuring photos of prize bull elk, beefy bison and scary bears (the kind of animals you objectify and fantasize about one day hanging in your trophy room full of severed heads). This one also includes pictures of “lesser” creatures like prairie dogs and coyotes you find plain ol’ fun to trap or shoot at.
You don’t normally read these books (you’re too busy drooling over the four-legged eye candy to be bothered), but for some reason this one’s burning a hole in your coffee table. So you take a deep breath and summon up the courage to contemplate the text and its meaning. Several of the words are big and beyond you, and you wish you had a dictionary, but eventually you begin to figure out that Exposing the Big Game is more than just a bunch of exposed film featuring the wild animals you think of as “game.”
This book actually has a message and the message is: hunting sucks!
You don’t want to believe it—the notion that animals are individuals rather than resources goes against everything you’ve ever accepted as truth. But reading on, you learn about the lives of those you’ve always conveniently depersonalized. Finally it starts to dawn on you that animals, such as those gazing up at you from these pages, are fellow earthlings with thoughts and feelings of their own. By the time you’ve finished the third chapter your mind is made up to value them for who they are, not what they are. Now your life is changed forever!
Suddenly you’re enlightened and, like the Grinch, your tiny heart grows three sizes that day. The war is over and you realize that the animals were never the enemy after all. You spring up from the sofa, march over to the gun cabinet and grab your rifles, shotguns, traps, bows and arrows. Hauling the whole cache out to the chopping block, you smash the armaments to bits with your splitting maul. Next, you gather up your ammo, orange vest and camouflage outfits and dump ‘em down the outhouse hole.
Returning to the book, you now face the animals with a clearer conscience, vowing never to harm them again. You’re determined to educate your hunter friends with your newfound revelations and rush out to buy them all copies of Exposing the Big Game for Christmas…
Or suppose you are a non-hunter, which, considering the national average and the fact that the percentage of hunters is dropping daily, is more than likely. Avid hunters comprise less than 5 percent of Americans, while you non-hunters make up approximately 90 percent, and altruistically avid anti-hunters represent an additional 5 percent of the population. For you, this book will shed new light on the evils of sport hunting, incite outrage and spark a firm resolve to help counter these atrocities.
And if you’re one of the magnanimous 5 percent—to whom this book is dedicated—who have devoted your very existence to advocating for justice by challenging society’s pervasive double standard regarding the value of human versus nonhuman life, the photos of animals at peace in the wild will provide a much needed break from the stress and sadness that living with your eyes open can sometimes bring on. As a special treat cooked up just for your enjoyment, a steaming cauldron of scalding satire ladled lavishly about will serve as chik’n soup for your anti-hunter’s soul.
So, who should read Exposing the Big Game? Any hunter who hasn’t smashed his weapons with a splitting maul…or any non-hunter who isn’t yet comfortable taking a stand as an anti-hunter. The rest of you can sit back and enjoy the pretty pictures.
The preceding was an excerpt from the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport.
When I wrote my book, Exposing the Big Game, its subtitle, Living Targets of a Dying Sport, was appropriate. But like so many things in this rapidly changing world, by the time the book came out, that subtitle was becoming obsolete. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the sport of blasting birds, murdering deer, culling coyotes and plunking at prairie dogs—in a word, hunting—is seeing a seemingly inexplicable resurgence.
Lately we’re seeing longer hunting seasons on everything from elk to geese to wolves, with more new or expanded “specialty” hunts like archery, crossbow, spear (and probably soon, poison blow gun) in states across the country, than at any time in recent memory. Meanwhile, more Americans are taking up arms against the animals and wearing so much camo—the full-time fashion statement of the cruel and unusual—that it’s starting to look ordinary and even, yuppified.
So, when did cruel become the new cool and evil the new everyday? Are the recruiting efforts of the Safari Club and the NRA finally striking a cord? Did the staged “reality” show “Survivor” lead to the absurdly popular thespian cable spin-offs like, “Call of the Wildman,” “Duck Dynasty” and a nasty host of others? Is “art” imitating life, or is life imitating “art?” Did the author of the Time Magazine article, “America’s Pest Problem: It’s Time to Cull the Herd,” ratchet up the call for even more animal extermination?
Whatever the reason, I don’t remember ever hearing so many shotguns and rifles blasting away during the last week of January. By the sound of the gunfire, coupled with the unseasonably dry and warm weather here in the Pacific Northwest, you’d swear it was early autumn.