Big Ag = Big Pollution = Big Problems

Holstein_dairy_cows

CAFO Dairy cows. Photo via USDA.

Great Lakes Wolf Appeal

Last week the the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the December 2014 ruling by federal Judge Beryl Howell affirming that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally and improperly designated the Great Lakes gray wolf population as a “distinct population segment” in order to push through a delisting. The appeals court in a unanimous decision ruled that the creation of the distinct population segment strictly for the purpose of delisting violated the Endangered Species Act and the proper scientific process of taking into account the former range of a species when making this decision. As expected the extremist usual anti-wolf zealots once again screamed about wolves “ravaging” livestock, pets, and grandchildren at bus stops or on their way to grandma’s house. What the zealots like state senator Toxic Taconite Tom Tiffany refuse to acknowledge is that despite the “record” wolf population in the state the “depredations” of livestock and hounds are down significantly from this point last year. At this point last year there were 54 “depredations” and this year that number has dropped to 32 despite the so-called “record” population being hyped by the media and anti-wolf zealots. If you listen to these people and their special interest masters, the gray wolf is responsible for all of the problems in northern Wisconsin and they must be “managed” to “control” their population. Through all of the fear mongering and hyperbole there is never one mention of the number of hounds and livestock that are killed by disease, poor husbandry, and in the case of hounders, thorough the legal animal fighting against bear and other wildlife that occurs in our woods daily. That number far far far exceeds 32 yet there is total silence on that. What I am seeing here is that the wolf is being used as a scapegoat by the anti-environmental politicians, their special interest masters, and the media to distract from the real environmental threats facing the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Dairy Industry: The Rules Don’t Apply to Us

Yesterday, it was reported by the Wisconsin State Journal that one of Wisconsin’s largest big agriculture lobbying groups, the¬†Wisconsin Dairy Business Association, filed a lawsuit last week to demand that they not be subject to pollution regulations until the pollution has already occurred. From the article:

A dairy industry group is suing to end Wisconsin’s requirement that large animal feedlots producing hundreds of millions of gallons of manure undergo state scrutiny before they begin operating.

If the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association prevails, the operations would no longer need state approval for their methods of storing and disposing of the manure unless it was demonstrated they had polluted lakes, streams or drinking water wells.

While the special interest puppets in the state legislature and anti-wildlife/environment lobbying groups try to convince you through the media that the gray wolf is “ravaging” the state, big ag is working behind the scenes to make sure that they can poison you and your family with waste from their ever growing factory farms in Wisconsin and not be subject to the already weak laws governing them. This is in addition to the recently signed law that allows produce growers to tap an unlimited amount of water from our depleting aquifers regardless of the impact on nearby streams, lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.

Do you still think that the gray wolf is the biggest “threat” facing Wisconsin citizens? While the anti-wildlife zealots in the state legislature, the media, and big money special interest groups scream about the gray wolf and the 32 “depredations” this year, the legislature and big ag groups are working behind the scenes to poison and pillage the water that is supposedly part of the “public trust.” That means that the water is “owned” by each and every citizen in the state of Wisconsin. This is even enshrined in the state constitution. You know that same document that has the “right to hunt” provision that the great white “hunters” of Wisconsin love to throw in our faces when we challenged the disgusting practices of hounding, baiting, and trapping? In fact all “resources,” including wildlife, are supposed to be part of that “public trust.”

Recent events show that it is not just the wolf and other wildlife under threat from big money special interests and the politicians under their sway. Those of us in the wildlife advocacy/protectionist movement would be wise to realize this and not focus so exclusively on one issue. Our entire environment and frankly the existence of all life on this planet are under threat from a minority of very wealthy and very powerful people who want to extract all that they can without regard for their neighbors or even the future of this planet. People like myself spend a significant amount of time talking about the attacks on the gray wolf and other imperiled species while often pushing aside that every species, including humans, are under threat from these selfish special interests and those under their sway. All of us need water, air, and a productive landscape to survive and each of those precious elements are under threat and being sold off for often what amounts to a small campaign donation. The attacks on the gray wolf are just one small skirmish in the overall war against our entire environment at the behest of a wealthy few and it’s not just far right Republicans that are doing the bidding of these destructive interests.

While the appeals court wolf decision was a welcome but likely short-lived victory it showed that when used properly, our courts are the last line of defense against the extremist ideologies that seek to pillage and destroy on both sides of the political spectrum. Many so-called “Democrats,” like Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, are fully onboard with selling out the gray wolf, the Endangered Species Act, and a myriad of other bedrock environmental protections. The courts are our last line of defense and even those are under assault from the likes of Baldwin and other “Democrats.”

When will these attacks against our wildlife, land, air, and water stop? When the last wolf is killed? When the last drop of water is sucked from under the ground? When the last mineral is taken from planet? We are already losing what is left of our fragile democracy and health of our planet based on the whims of greedy special interests that seek to poison you and your family so that their profit margins can increase or their power be consolidated. When will it end? I’m afraid it will end when our planet is a lifeless sphere orbiting the sun and I am afraid that day is coming much sooner than most of us think.