Fed Government Decision Paves Way For Destruction Of Gray Wolves
Man's fear and hatred of wolves goes back centuries. That unbridled fear is engrained into our cultural fabric by stories like "Little Red Riding Hood," and "The Three Little Pigs," stories aimed at instilling fear into us as children. We were n by Russell W. Dickson
Monday, July 18, 2011
The Federal Government Ok's The Destruction Of Gray Wolves
By Russell W. Dickson
Man's fear and hatred of wolves goes back centuries. That unbridled fear is engrained into our cultural fabric by stories like "Little Red Riding Hood," and "The Three Little Pigs," stories aimed at instilling fear into us as children. We were never told that wolves and other predatory species play a critical role in our ecosystem.
According to advocateswest.org, the gray wolf once called most of North America its home, and was nearly exterminated out of ignorance over the last century. The wolf, a top predator species, is critical to maintaining healthy vibrant ecosystems by keeping prey populations under control.
It was because of the protection of the Endangered Species Act that wolves were able to rebound in sections of their lost historic range. In the Northern Rockies region reintroduction of species in the1990' has been a great success. Wolves are now seen not only in the Yellowstone region, but the Sawtooth Valley and other parts of Idaho and Montana, and in rare cases, parts New England too.
Despite the environmental gains we have made, animosity towards wolves still runs deep in some circles, like among many public lands ranchers who fear (without reason) that wolves will destroy their livestock.
The ranching industry has a lot of political clout, state and federal wildlife managers kill entire wolf packs if so much as a single sheep or calf is killed by wolves, even if it is the ranchers fault for turning out their livestock right in the midst of a wolf den.
The fate of our wolves is in jeopardy and now rests in the hands of state officials. Some states are taking an extreme approach to wolf management. Congress has eliminated federal protections for gray wolves, so now it is our responsibility to protect them. We need to make state officials adopt a more practical, species friendly, wolf management plan.
A two-year battle attempting to prevent the slaughter of wolves in the Rocky Mountain States ended in May, when the federal government ended its protection of the animals. The interior secretary, Ken Salazar, said populations of wolves throughout the Rocky Mountains have rebounded to sustainable levels, according tofws.gov.Federal protection for wolves is set to end in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, as well said Salazar.
"Like other iconic species such as the whooping crane, the brown pelican and the bald eagle, the recovery of the gray wolf is another success story of the Endangered Species Act," Salazar said. "From a biological perspective, they have now recovered."
Environmental organizations say the federal government is wrong and their move is premature and opens the gates to their slaughter once again. Montana and Idaho are currently planning to start hunting them in the fall. The federal government however, did not end protections in Wyoming and is continuing their protection of wolves, state authorities there have been insisting on shoot-on-sight rules for wolves.
All three states are lobbying hard to eliminate federal government protections because they believe the species has recovered and now pose a big threat to ranchers. In 2009, federal wildlife officials agreed, but were prevented by environmental organizations who kept state governments tied up in court for two years. The states got what they wanted in the spring when the White House and Congress agreed to eliminate funds and remove environmental measures crucial to the protection and preservation of wolves in some back room compromise designed as an appeasement offer aimed at getting a budget passed.
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Posted By: Bill Gee
Date: July 18, 2011 07:49:24 AM
Some years ago my brother purchased a 95 acre farm in upstate New York, 70% of which is woodlands. The previous owner did not allow hunting on his land but regularly shot on sight any predatory animal that happened to cross into his apple orchards. His rationale was that the wolves, foxes and other predatory animals posed a personal threat to him even though the animals rarely came within a hundred yards of his house. The result was a population explosion of rabbits and deer which devistated his apple orchard and made it impossible for him to grow any vegetables in his garden. Since my brother took over ownership of the property, he stopped the practice of hunting predators and he has also allowed for some limited hunting of the deer. To this day, due to the practices of his neighbors, the population levels of preditors is still too low and the number of deer and rabbits is way too high.
My brother also raises herritage lifestock on the land and to this day, not one of his animals has ever been attacked by a predator because he engages in the practice sustainable herd management where the animals are free to protect their own and feed on naturally growing grasses and hay in the winter.
You touched on the main reason why the gray wolf and other predatory species are in danger yet again. The practice of factory farming and overdevelopment of the wild lands of this country is incompatable with the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem. "Big Ag" has a lot of money and influence. So it is not only a cultural problem that threatens the grey wolf, but it is also an economic one. If one calf is killed due to sloppy ranching or overbreeding, it is easier to blame a wolf than to blame the rancher. That's one of the reasons why I've been a vegetarian for six years now.
Posted By: reality8070
Date: July 18, 2011 01:50:03 PM
The idea that the wolf can live in harmony with humans is extremely flawed..... it took 10,000 years to teach the dog not to kill livestock on the other side of that fence & they still do it on occasion! No matter what you do where you go you & all the non-lethal things that are dreamed up you will never be able to teach the wolf to stay away from livestock! PERIOD!
All the money that is spent on the gray wolf is a waste & if spent on saving habitat would be far better for the wolf in the long run..... All the places in the lower 48 that are good habitat to marginal habitat have wolves. Some parts of Northeast Minnesota are good habitat.... Now that the game in Yellowstone have been depleted with the help of wolves, the 2.5 million acre park is only marginal habitat for wolves.
Posted By: Bentree
Date: July 19, 2011 09:48:44 AM
Bill wrote, "You touched on the main reason why the gray wolf and other predatory species are in danger yet again. The practice of factory farming and overdevelopment of the wild lands of this country is incompatable with the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem. "Big Ag" has a lot of money and influence. So it is not only a cultural problem that threatens the grey wolf, but it is also an economic one. If one calf is killed due to sloppy ranching or overbreeding, it is easier to blame a wolf than to blame the rancher. That's one of the reasons why I've been a vegetarian for six years now."
I read this paragraph and rather than get too angry, I think it best to react the way cowboys and ranchers reacted to me when I first moved to Wyoming 36 years ago. While personalities are various they share certain traits, patience, mental toughness, work ethic, intelligence, most are highly educated not only in cow sense but also secondary degree's. They know to survive in a tough unrelenting business they must perceiver.
The energy put into saving one calve during calving season, repeated over and over. Prolapsing cows, scours, subfreezing and subzero weather, cow checks every 2 hours or just stayin up all night, night after night for weeks on end. Then after being up all night the cows have to be fed in the morning, check fences and corrals that the cows may have torn up. If some escaped, saddle your horse, find them and run them back in. Then you may have to fix the truck or tractor that broke down while feeding. Through all of this you had to pull a few calves, cesarean a cow to save the calf and maybe lose the cow. Now, you may be faced with a cow and calf that won't motherup or you have a dead calf and you need to skin it, you can put the skin over another calf that has lost it's mother in order to fool the cow who lost the calf in the first place.
While you do all this you still have to be ready to farm in the spring, fix gates and fences to make room for the cows and calves, the ones, you know the ones that managed to survive your sloppy management. Then you have to farm and irrigate, changing water all through the night, kinda like calving. Usually, you only receive a check for your calves or yearlings once or twice a year. Which I guess really isn't a problem since the corporation, LLC or partnership, has cash stuffed in bank accounts. Of course the real fun begins when you must deal with the forest service, state agencies, the EPA, riparian issues, you know, the real wolves. Like badgers digging holes in the road or dudes standing in the gate. Of course you may not have 95 acres to be responsible for, it maybe 900 or 9000 or 90,000. In the winter you may have to dig out sheep from a fence corner, the only way you even know they are there is you can see little puffs of snow and vapor when they try to breath. You wonder what happened to a horse, well he was there all the time standing or lying in a snow bank, revealed when the snow melts or evaporates.
In the spring, down the road comes the next generation of bureaucrat with a brand new degree, head full of grand ideas and theories backed up with nonsensical studies, facts a figures and you know that you must deal with it. Howdy, it sure is nice to meet you.
Guess what? if they are poor managers, sloppy and lazy, they will fail and do. I guess they can always trade a riding job for teaching. Seems to be where those that don't even know that they don't know go.
Then some dingle berry vegitarian type comes along an tells you that you must tolerate predation of your livestock and you're ok with that, just send money.
Posted By: rwilymz
Date: July 19, 2011 10:29:45 AM
The idea that the wolf can live in harmony with humans is extremely flawed
Wolves that have enough mice, voles, rabbits and deer to eat will leave dogs, cats, cows, horses, chickens and sheep alone. Wolves will even kill and eat coyotes, which are at least as great a threat to livestock and pets as wolves ever were.
I can see making the point that wolf reintroduction is not a federal authority - I don't see "harmonious nature" in Art I, Sec 8. But that it is, in itself, a bad or misguided thing in general? no.
The practice of factory farming and overdevelopment of the wild lands of this country is incompatable with the maintenance of a balanced ecosystem.
The practice of factory farming and overdelepment are the direct result of urban sprawl and the necessity of growing more on less land. Of the CAFO operators I personally know, not one likes it. They don't like it for the cost they incur to do it, they don't like it for the conditions their animals are put in, they don't like it for they have been reduced to in order to make a living doing the only thing they know how to do.
I know dozens of these guys. They collect at the feed and grain store in the morning and yack about who is the latest among them to be put in the position of having to sell off a hay field or pasture to pay the property taxes that are rising because of the manner of equalization used in more and more places, which generates more property taxes for state and county governments to spend. If you live in a subdivision, you're part of the problem.
Posted By: Bill Gee
Date: July 20, 2011 10:17:11 AM
Fair enough. Just as I know that my brother takes excellent care of his lifestock I understand that there are lots of ranchers in Wyoming and elsewhere who do the same. However, don't you see a problem with a rancher taking care of 90,000 acres and thousands of head of cattle? Don't you see that simply by the "Law of Large Numbers", that many of those livestock will not receive the care and dignity they deserve? Don't you see a problem with using artificial hormones and antibiotics for the sake of protecting their "investments" when doing so can have a caustic effect on the quality of our food supply?
Whatever happened to the family farm? Why does agriculture need to be done on such a gigantic scale when we have millions of unemployed people who would be happy to trade their unemployment check for an honest day's work and the opportunity to eat unadulturated food?
Posted By: Bentree
Date: July 21, 2011 07:23:47 AM
As to whether or not some one or some entity has to many cattle or too much land, you will find the answer to your question in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. As to adulterated food, the cattle industry has progressed from the gate cut, to performance testing, from growth hormones to where hormone free is the trend. Drug use has been reduced in many cases to only those neccesary, I realize that that can be an arbitrary decision but market demands certified beef these days to command top of the "market" prices.
As to what has happened to the family farm? Our tax system for one. I know of family ranches with multiple generations that have been decimated when one or, god help you, if two head of family die in the same year or even several years apart. Thier assets are tied up in land and livestock, not liquid by any means. Many are mortgage free, valuable and cash poor, relatively speaking. So if you have to sell a 25,000 acre outfit with 1000 mother cows and say 3000 sheep. I didn't include bulls because many ranches AI now. The livestock are one thing, but the land, who do you think has the horsepower to buy the land? It's not the family farm down the road. Well pretty soon a ranch foreman from some big outfit is living in your family home of 4 or 5 generations. Hired hands are living in the other house where the sons or grandsons or even great grandsons were living, someone else is running your cows and equipment. No entitlements here, only a rapacious entitlement dominated federal government, and by no means is this unique to agriculture.
The horse was for the most part replaced by the internal combustion engine, best thing to ever happen to the quarter horse as a matter of fact, old joke, I'm sorry. Same with the farm and ranch hand, it's called reality economics, if it eats and craps, have as few as possible, except cows that is.
Posted By: rwilymz
Date: July 22, 2011 12:49:34 PM
Whatever happened to the family farm?
Squeezed out of existence by state and federal regulatory pressures - regulation incentivizes institutions large enough to have loyyers and CPAs on staff. If you can't afford a loyyer because you live season to season watching the sky for signs of too much rain or too little, you have absolutely no idea what regulations apply to you and which don't, and when some USDA yutz comes and slaps a Summons To Appear on your front door over a regulation that doesn't apply to you, you may as well just fold up the tent right then, because you'll bankrupt yourself proving that the regulatory authority was misdirected.
There is a family farm in PA [I recall] which is, as we speak, fighting its third round of regulatory horsepuckey with USDA over their "raw milk" rules. I've usually got no respect for the courts, but the courts have twice told the USDA that their regulatory authority does not extend to this farm. Each time USDA is told this they go right back to trying to close down the farm for violating raw milk rules. In law, the burden of proof is on the government; in regulation, the burden of proof is on the one being regulated BY the government.
Local communities which wish to increase their local coffers rig the zoning plats to convert AG to RES or CML. Agricultural land is virtually worthless - it has nothing on it, no structures with "value" that can be assessed; residential has structures; commercial has structures and [if they're any good] revenue. While grandfathering can forestall this for a time, the moment title changes on land that has been rezoned, it can no longer be used for its previous purpose. Farms MUST sell; either because farming is now unlawful on their farmland, or because the land is being taxed at the residential/commercial property tax rate and they can't afford to leave it empty.
Why does agriculture need to be done on such a gigantic scale
That's the type of agricultural outfit that is suited to operating in this political climate. They can navigate the regulations; they can push back against zoning board.
Big government breeds big business. The more government you require to handle the perceived excesses of the big business, the bigger the business will become.
millions of unemployed people who would be happy to trade their unemployment check for an honest day's work and the opportunity to eat unadulturated food?
I'm going to call shenanigans on this.
There may be some people willing to do grunt farm work. But not many. And family farms aren't hiring anyway. These folks could start their own family farm - that is, in fact, when I started my small sheep deal, during the last defense contract flux when I was out of work for a few months in '04. Gave me something to do - I certainly don't make money at it. But these folks can only start that family farm when the zoning allows it.
And as someone who grows 'organic' lamb [but cannot call himself organic because he doesn't have the estimated $3-5,000 necessary to navigate the regulatory nonsense needed for the certification] I can tell you with zero chance of meaningful contradiction that poor people do not give a rat's *** over whether they are eating "adulterated" food or not. They just want to eat. Organic food, "all natural" food, "free-range", "hormone-free", and all the other buzz-words are only important to the affluent food consumer; that guy doesn't get an unemployment check.