Big Ag = Big Pollution = Big Problems

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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.

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Wildlife Advocates Must Brace Themselves for the Inevitable Wolf Delisting But We Must NEVER Stop Fighting

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Photo via WikiMedia Commons.

**UPDATE 12/16/2015** I have NEVER been happier to say that I was wrong. Much to my shock and the shock of wildlife advocates everywhere the desliting rider was not included in the spending bill. The threats remain but for now we can breathe a sigh of relief. 

As Congress is about to sell out our small population of gray wolves for some type of “political gain” on a spending bill I am left to ponder if it was even a good idea to bring a species back only to persecute, torment, and push them back to the brink again out of sheer hatred and revenge? Should Congress follow through with the very real and likely possibility of attaching a delisting “rider” to the current spending bill we are poised to return to the nightmare that we saw in 2012, 2013, and 2014 with reckless kill quotas that ALWAYS go over, the coordinated eradication of entire packs, unregulated 24/7/365 hound “training” against wolves, and the use of hounds to kill wolves in what can be described as no less than legalized dog fighting. States like Wisconsin will preach that they are “responsibly managing” the species while making sure to kill as many as possible with any and all methods throughout the year all the while presenting inflated population numbers and pretending that the species is “thriving.” It’s history repeating itself all over again.

Just as when on the very day that wolves were officially delisted in the Great Lakes in 2012 when anti-wolf Wisconsin legislators introduced the reckless and deplorable bill that led to the three years of hounds, traps, and overkill the same forces will conspire to kill as many as possible as soon as possible when they are delisted again. How this species has been able to hang on in the small numbers that they have in this state despite 24/7/365 harassment by hounds, killings by state hired USDA “Wildlife Services” goons, huge yearly kill quotas, rampant poaching, and all around government endorsed hostility toward the species is astounding. A hostile state like Wisconsin, as they have abundantly shown, is not capable of responsibly and ethically “managing” a polarizing species such as the wolf yet they keep getting the opportunity. No one seems to care that the federal judge relisted wolves because of the reckless, unethical, and frankly sadistic manner in which states like Wisconsin “managed” wolves. No one seems to care that with the 2012 Wisconsin wolf kill bill, Act 169, Wisconsin wrote legalized dog fighting into law by allowing hounds to be used against wolves. No one seems to care that there are ZERO regulations for the “training” of those very same hounds that can be used against wolves 24/7/365. What does that say about our state, society, government, and humanity in general?

All of this hatred over a wild dog? A wild dog that has no super powers. A wild dog that tries to survive like the rest of us. A wild dog that is not hiding in the shadows waiting to eat your grandchildren. A wild dog that is NOT eating all “your” deer. A wild dog that will always be a better hunter and predator than any human or so-called “sportsman” could ever be. Maybe that is the root of the issue. The wolf is a superior predator and hunter despite all of humanities technologically advanced killing implements and maybe some just cannot accept that and must kill them to feel superior. What else can explain the endless lies, myths, propaganda, and beating of the drum to destroy this species? Is it jealousy? Is it revenge? What is it that causes so many grown adults to harbor such hatred for a wild dog?

That being said no matter what happens in big ag/NRA bought and paid for halls of Congress, the killing cartel owned Wisconsin DNR, or in the hound infested killing grounds of northern Wisconsin one thing is very clear: myself and other grassroots wildlife advocates will NEVER stop fighting for OUR WILDLIFE and we will never stop exposing the brutal practices and corrupt “management” of that same wildlife. If the likely imminent Congressional selling out/delisting of wolves teaches us anything it is that we cannot trust our government to do the right thing when it comes to wolves, wildlife, and the environment in general. It is up to US to be vigilant and work to protect imperiled and vilified species from the apathetic government agencies and bloodthirsty killing cartels that seek their destruction.

In the coming days Our Wisconsin, Our Wildlife will be expanding our online presence with a Facebook page to keep you better informed about the daily war on our wildlife in Wisconsin, the nation, and the world. Despite the inevitable setbacks we have to keep fighting while we still have something left to fight for.

Shame on all of the FAKE “Democrats” that allowed this. Shame on President Obama for DESTROYING the Endangered Species Act. Finally, shame on the states that will ultimately push this species back to the brink or to a second eradication to appease extremist killing cartels and the never satisfied big ag interests.

We will keep you posted.

 

President Obama’s Legacy: The End of the Endangered Species Act?

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“Wolf by Brooks Falls” by BlackburnPhoto from Overland Park, KS, USA – Wolf by Brooks Falls.

There is no other way to put this so I will be blunt. For all of our hand wringing about Congress likely stripping protections from gray wolves and actively working to undermine the Endangered Species Act itself one thing has been made abundantly clear: the Obama Administration has already destroyed the Act right under our noses and it apparently took seven years for anyone to notice. The Guardian Newspaper, out of the United Kingdom, reported yesterday some sobering and frankly horrifying information about the gross failure of the USFWS to uphold the tenants of the ESA and to protect imperiled species as is their responsibility. Instead the USFWS under current Director Dan Ashe, current Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and former DOI Secretary “Cowboy” Ken Salazar, has actively pursued policies that favor ranchers, hunting groups, developers, and big energy interests to the detriment of each and every species allegedly under ESA protections.

From the Guardian article:

The US government has not halted a single project out of the 88,000 actions and developments considered potentially harmful to the nation’s endangered species over the past seven years, a new study has found.

An analysis of assessments made by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the agency very rarely used its powers to intervene in projects that could imperil any of the US’s endangered plants and animals, which currently number almost 1,600.

Of 88,000 actions assessed by the FWS between January 2008 and April 2015, just two triggered significant further action. A 2007 plan to drop fire retardant in California was deemed by the FWS to be prohibitively harmful to forest-dwelling endangered species, although this was challenged in court. The FWS also stepped in over a plan to divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta due to concerns over the impact to threatened fish.

88,000 projects that threatened species under ESA protection and only TWO were stopped? At those two were stopped under the Bush Administration which was certainly no friend to wildlife. Red flags were apparent both before and after President Obama was elected. At no time during his campaign or after did any element of the environment come into play except for the political buzzwords of the climate change movement. Obama appeared completely apathetic toward wildlife and their very survival. This was further confirmed with his selection of rancher and former Senator “Cowboy” Ken Salazar from Colorado. Salazar immediately continued Bush administration plans to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies, the Great Lakes, and Wyoming despite strong scientific evidence advising against a delsiting for all of these areas. When a federal court stepped in and relisted wolves in the Rockies the Obama Administration allowed a “rider” to be attached to a must pass budget bill in 2011 that stripped ESA protections from the gray wolf, blocked any court challenge, and led to all out eradication policies from the states of Montana and especially Idaho. The only safeguards remaining for wolves in this region is a provision that if they drop BELOW 150 in the entire region they “may” be relisted.

Then Salazar, and newly appointed Director of the USFWS, Dan Ashe, set their sites on delisting wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. Wyoming was not included in the 2011 Congressional “rider” delisting because their “management” plan was too toxic for even the anti-wolf congress members and Bush Administration. The Wyoming plan allowed wolves to be killed by any means, at any time, and over the vast majority of the state except for a small area near Yellowstone which would have “regulated” killing under the guise of “hunting seasons.” This plan apparently wasn’t a problem for Obama, Salazar, and Ashe because after a sit down backdoor meeting with Wyoming officials the plan was given the green light and the mass slaughter started almost immediately and lasted until last fall when a federal judge ruled that the Wyoming plan was fatally flawed and resisted wolves under ESA protections in that state.

The same thing played out in Wisconsin in late 2011 and early 2012 when Salazar, Ashe, and the USFWS removed wolves in the Great Lakes from ESA protections and opened the door to over three years of killing season in Wisconsin and Minnesota and one on Michigan. The Wisconsin “management” of the species entailed the 24/7/365 use of hounds against wolves under the guise of “training,” trapping, baiting, electronic calls, and the use of hounds to aid in the killing of wolves during the “hunting seasons.” Once again a federal judge stepped in and relisted the species based on the severely flawed “management plans” of Wisconsin and Minnesota in particular. Like Wyoming, Minnesota allowed for wolves that ventured out of their habitat in the northern part of the state to be killed at will and essentially cut off potential migration routes or any chance that the species could colonize other areas to the south.

Maybe most disturbing of all of the proposals introduced by the USFWS, apparently with the support of President Obama, is to strip ALL ESA protections from gray wolves in the entire United States with the exception of a tiny population of Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. Couple this with the refusal of the USFWS to provide ESA protections to wolverines despite only a tiny number living in the United States, and the recent decision to allow hostile states to determine the fate of the imperiled greater sage grouse rather than providing ESA protections. The USFWS also seeks to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region and once again turn management of an imperiled species to hostile states hellbent on killing them.

This is what the legacy of the Obama Administration will be when it comes to wildlife and the environment. Despite all of the meaningless lip service that the president pays to climate change and “agreements” allegedly to fight it, he has shown that wildlife has ZERO place in the world that he envisions and apparently is only a hindrance to the real agenda of his administration. If NOT ONE of 88,000 events that impact endangered species were stopped by the USFWS over SEVEN YEARS what does this tell us about the value Obama and his administration place on endangered species and upholding the Endangered Species Act?

Under President Obama the Endangered Species Act has been reduced to a paper tiger that allows wildlife hostile states to run roughshod over endangered species, threatened lands, and anything that gets in the way of “development,” agriculture, recreational killing, or just happens to “upset” anti-wildlife governors. Nothing illustrates this mindset better than this quote from Obama’s USFWS Director Dan Ashe who in 2014 made a comment at a Montana meeting stating that environmentalists:

“must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.”

Yes, he really said this and nothing better illustrates the complete and utter contempt that the Obama Administration and his Department of Interior has for environmentalists and wildlife advocates. Time and time again his administration has sided with ranchers, hunting groups, developers, and big energy interests while spitting in the faces of wildlife advocates and environmentalists. I regret voting for this man and I am under the impression that most wildlife advocates share this opinion.

While we have been scrambling trying to stop the disgusting wolf delisting “rider” now pending in Congress, it is apparent that the damage has already been done and the Endangered Species Act has been all but destroyed by an apathetic, arrogant, and pandering Administration more concerned with getting insignificant short term political “victories” than preserving imperiled wildlife. I hope that I am wrong and that Congress and the Obama Administration proves me wrong and stands up for wildlife. I am not holding my breath. This administration is poised to go down as the most anti-wildlife one since the introduction of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, signed by of all people, Republican Richard Nixon. What a shame. Those of us in the wildlife advocacy movement had such high hopes for President Obama after what we thought at the time was the disastrous wildlife record of George W. Bush. We could not have been more wrong and felt duped into supporting this president that is on the verge of destroying not only the gray wolf population in the United States but also the bedrock law of species protection, the Endangered Species Act, and for what? A short term budget deal? A few meaningless concessions from the right wing in Congress?

I do not say this lightly when I say that President Obama has failed our wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. I can show you two wolf riders and 88,000 other reasons proving this to be the case.

 

 

Anti-Wolf Zealots and Fake “Democrats” in Congress Planning to Sell Out Wolves and the Endangered Species Act This Week

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Here we go a again. Where have we seen this before? The courts rightfully step in and restore protections for the gray wolf and the NRA/big ag zealots in Congress step in and remove those protections and take away your recourse to challenge it in court. Just like the infamous 2011 anti-wolf “budget rider” that was tacked onto a must pass spending to declare war on wolves in Idaho and Montana, the anti-wolf zealots in Congress are planning to do the same for wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming this week.

As I wrote about earlier in the year, there is a group of right wing politicians and a collection of fake “Democrats” like the “Democrat in Name Only (DINO)” Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and the anti-wolf “Democrat” Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin that will stop at nothing to resume the 24/7/365 persecution and hounding of wolves in Wisconsin and elsewhere. This week they along with Tea Party extremist Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin are trying to slip a wolf delisting “rider” into another “must pass” spending bill. This bill will delist wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming while blocking YOUR right to challenge YOUR government in the courts.

Not only will this bill destroy what is left of the Endangered Species Act and open the door to anti-wolf states once again pushing the species back to the brink through the use of hounds, traps, guns, arrows, and everything short of artillery, but it will open the door for each and every species currently under ESA protection to be delisted by Congress for some alleged short term “political gain.” This is a disaster waiting to happen and I am not so sure that Congress or the President care one way or another.

Does President Obama want his legacy to be that of the president that presided over the second eradication of wolves and the destruction of the Endangered Species Act? If he and Congress allow this “rider” to be slipped into the spending bill, passed, and signed then that is exactly what will happen. First it was the wolves of the Northern Rockies he sold out in 2011, then the failure to protect the greater sage grouse, and now wolves once again are in the sights of this administration. But make no mistake wolves are not and will not be the final nail in the coffin of the ESA. Next we will see the delisting of the grizzly bear in the west  likely leading to an all out war against that species by the same factions hellbent on destroying the wolf. When does it stop? When, if ever, will President Obama say ENOUGH and uphold his responsibilities to protect our dwindling wildlife and wild lands?

It is crunch time folks. The time is NOW to contact your congressional representatives, senators, and the White House to demand a stop to the assault on the Endangered Species Act and imperiled species like the gray wolf. If this passes and is signed we will be right back to the endless months of reckless killing of wolves and 24/7/365 hounding to placate the violent and extreme minority seeking to destroy this species one way or another.

Short of the disastrous Iraq war and those responsible I can’t say that I have ever been so disgusted in OUR government. I am sick and tired of our dwindling wildlife being sold out year in and year out as a political giveaway to extremists. Will they be satisfied when the last wolf is trapped or shredded by a pack of dogs? When the last sage grouse is gone? When the last grizzly is a rug or stuffed trophy for a great white hunter to brag about? ENOUGH.

Find and call your representatives and senators here:

https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

Call the White House here.

Call the President
PHONE NUMBERS
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Here is a script to use if you wish:

As a constituent of yours I ask that you strongly consider voting against (VETO for the President) any and all bills and or “riders” to spending bills that seek to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protections. Despite the hyperbole and propaganda from hunting groups and agricultural interests, the gray wolf is still imperiled by centuries old hatred and reckless state “management” plans that allow for only a token number on the landscape and in isolated pockets only. It also must be noted that supporting any effort to delist wolves in Wisconsin will be viewed as a tacit approval for what is essentially the legalized DOG FIGHTING that the state allows by law. Wisconsin is the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of hounds to be pitted against wolves with ZERO oversight and the allowance of 24/7/365 “training” against wolves also with no oversight. I implore you not to support any law that furthers the persecution against this species and that seeks to weaken the already imperiled Endangered Species Act. Any legislation delisting a species from the protections allowed by the Endangered Species Act will be the death knell for not only the gray wolf but for the Act itself. Your actions on these issues will be closely watched and strongly considered in future elections.

Death by a Thousand Hounds (And Traps): The Endangered Species List is Not a “Farm Team” for Hostile States

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This is what “state management” of wolves looks like. Photo used via Fair Use for Educational and News Reporting Purposes.

It’s been almost one year since the end of Wisconsin’s last “legal” wolf slaughter and the subsequent federal court ruling that placed the species back on the Endangered Species Act protected list. During that last year the states, anti-wolf politicians, the killing cartels, certain media outlets, big ag lobbies, and even misguided wolf “experts” have been pushing to forcefully remove the species from ESA protections and resume the yearly killing sprees under the guise of “state management.”

Summary of what the Endangered Species Act exists for:

The law requires federal agencies, in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the NOAA Fisheries Service, to ensure that actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species. The law also prohibits any action that causes a “taking” of any listed species of endangered fish or wildlife. Likewise, import, export, interstate, and foreign commerce of listed species are all generally prohibited.

Federal Judge Beryl Howell made it very clear in her ruling last December that the states “management” of gray wolves was severely flawed and and failed miserably at providing the protections and species growth that is a key element of the Endangered Species Act. While not explicitly spelled out, the state “management” of Wisconsin very likely played a key role in the decision the judge made to order the relisting of the species in the Great Lakes region. Wisconsin’s clear and open policy of pushing the species numbers down to a token number and allowing for 24/7/365 harassment by hounds very likely also played a role in her decision.

There are times, she said, a court “must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough. This is one of those times.”

She singled out Minnesota’s plan, which she said permitted the unlimited killing of wolves in some areas. The plan calls for a minimum population of 1,600 animals in the state.

But it allows “a virtual carte blanche” for eradication of wolves in the southern two-thirds of the state by allowing land owners and managers the right to kill them any time to protect their livestock and pets, even in the absence of attacks.

What was clearly spelled out in the Judge’s decision was the inadequacy of Minnesota’s plan that forcefully kept wolves in a small pocket in the state and much like the disgusting Wyoming plan, essentially allowed for open eradication through the rest. Minnesota also made it clear that their killing season was strictly for recreation and played no real role in the adequate “management” of the species other than to provide “hunter opportunity.”

“The intent of the wolf season was to allow sustainable hunting and trapping,” said Dan Stark, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wolf specialist. “We weren’t trying to have an impact on the [wolf] population or [livestock] depredations.”

In the past year the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota have done nothing to change their plans or how they want to “manage” wolves. Instead the state “wildlife” agencies, killing cartels, big ag lobbies, and anti-wolf state politicians ran to anti-wolf representatives and senators in Congress to force a legislative delisting to continue on their “death by a thousand hounds (and traps)” management plans. Instead of making a good faith effort to change the elements of their “management” that led to the court relisting and the furor of millions of wildlife advocates the states did NOTHING except to reinforce that they are hellbent at regaining control over the species and resume their reckless killing seasons and in the case of Wisconsin, the unlimited 24/7/365 harassment by hounds.

This entire issue illustrates the failure of the true intentions of the Endangered Species Act and allowing hostile states to “manage” wildlife. The purpose of the ESA was to throw a lifeline to imperiled wildlife and protect them from the often depraved and hostile eradication methods that originally pushed them to the brink and making sure that never happens again. Instead the ESA, particularly for species like the gray wolf and grizzly, has become a “farm team” for states to provide “hunter opportunity” for mass killing immediately following delisting. That was NOT the intention of the ESA but that is what our government has allowed to happen. This happened immediately following the Obama Administration’s misguided and ESA weakening 2011 “rider” that delisted  wolves in Montana and Idaho where both states immediately instituted eradication plans. It also happened immediately following the delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes in 2012. In fact the very day, and almost to the hour that wolves were delisted here, anti-wolf legislators, led by the disgraced former Rep. Scott Suder, introduced the bill that would lead to Wisconsin declaring war on wolves and becoming the ONLY state in the country to allow dogs to be used again them, including the 24/7/365 “training” of hounds against wolves. Minnesota soon followed suit with their own “recreational” hunting and trapping season. This was in addition to their secret hiring of USDA Wildlife Services goons to kill hundreds each year even while under ESA protections.

Today, instead of changing how they want to “manage” wolves the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wyoming are counting on Congress and the most anti-wildlife president in modern history to forcibly delist wolves once again to destroy the ESA and return to their near-eradication “management” of the species on the behest of big ag and the killing cartels. If the congressional delisting fails then they hope a federal appeals court overturns Judge Howell’s ruling. If either were to occur the ESA will become a paper tiger that becomes open for attack at the behest of any political “deal” and it will make wildlife hostile states even more aggressive and brazen with their “management” of species they already despise like wolves and soon the grizzly bear.

Wildlife advocates such as myself are often asked WHY we fight so hard to keep wolves and other vilified and imperiled species under federal ESA protections? One only needs to look at the picture above, visit the hate filled anti-wolf/wildlife social media sites, and listen to the fear mongering and misinformation presented by hostile states and politicians to have the answer. For these people “management” of the gray wolf and other “less desirable” species is an all or nothing proposition as their own actions demonstrate. Many wildlife advocates, such as myself, wouldn’t necessarily be against a delisting for the wolf if state “management” didn’t consist of what amounts to a declaration of war against the species and pushing it back to the brink AGAIN.

As I stated above species removed from the ESA should NOT be used as a “farm team” for hostile states and to provide “hunter opportunity.” This WAS NOT and IS NOT the purpose of the law. When anti-wildlife politicians talk about “reforming” the Endangered Species Act the mean that they want to further weaken it and for some outright destroy it. For wildlife advocates reforming the act means allowing it to function as it was intended to. This means the act should be in place to prevent wildlife hostile states like Wisconsin from regaining “management” of any listed species while the reckless policies that led to the initial listing are still in place. The act should also demand these states not be allowed to immediately institute mass killings of a delisted species and require that the states update their “management plans” to reflect the changing populations and changes of the reality on the ground. When a state like Wisconsin allows their entire “management” of a species to be determined by extremist “hunting” groups, like the openly anti-wolf Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, they are proving that they are not up to the task of responsibly managing a species fresh off the ESA list. Add on the disgusting and irresponsible allowance of dogs to be used against the species 24/7/365 and how can ANYONE with a straight face say that a state like Wisconsin can responsibly “manage” this species? You can’t and this is exactly why Judge Howell ruled as she did last December.

Wolves must remain under ESA protections until hostile states like Wisconsin make an effort to ethically “manage” this species. If you are a Wisconsin resident DEMAND that our state put aside the reckless and revenge minded policies that eliminated this species the first time and work WITH wildlife advocates instead of against us. By allowing the use of dogs against a species like the wolf the state of Wisconsin is showing to the world that they cannot “manage” this species in a responsible and ethical manner.

Find your Wisconsin legislators here and make it clear that they have failed miserably when it comes to “managing” the wolf population and regardless of a potential Congressional or court ordered delisting wildlife advocates will not back off nor will we accept any form of “management” that continues the use of dogs and reckless mass killing. The political pendulum always swings back hard and when it does the massive overreach Wisconsin has endorsed when it comes to “managing” this species will come back to bite the anti-wolf factions and their tactics very hard. The anti-wolf factions should be very careful about what they wish for and the ramifications of that overreach. Delsiting or not WE are not going anywhere and WE will continue to expose the reckless and barbaric attacks on wolves and other vulnerable species.

Please also contact your federal legislators and DEMAND that they not support any effort to weaken ESA protections for wolves or any other species until the states show that they will be responsible stewards for these species and not continue with their revenge/persecution policies.

 

Pope Francis and President Obama: Which is the Real “Progressive” When it Comes to the Environment?

U.S. Government Photo used in public domain.

U.S. Government Photo used in public domain.

When I was growing up my parents tried to get me indoctrinated into Catholicism. When it didn’t take they came to the realization that it was a lost cause and gave up around the time I was 12. I was born a freethinker and I wouldn’t change that element of my genetics for anything. To this day I find the vast majority of religions to be nothing more than mythical fantasies used as justification to destroy or exploit life on our planet, both human and animal.

When it comes to Catholicism in general I am hard pressed to find an institution that makes me bristle more following the numerous child molestation scandals and their nonsensical teachings about contraception and family planning. With that being said I have found it quite humorous and ironic that I find myself agreeing with and even cheering on Pope Francis and how he is speaking out against unregulated Capitalism and how human greed is destroying our environment and life on this planet.

While it is hard for me to take anything seriously coming from a 70 something year old dude wearing a dress, I have to say that it takes a lot of courage for the leader of that institution to speak out regarding such critical matters. If a religious institution that is historically stuck in centuries old mindsets can evolve enough to see what damage we are causing our planet with unregulated human arrogance and greed, why can’t modern day “conservatives” or even those that are allegedly “progressives?”

Upon seeing and reading the “conservative” responses to Pope Francis’ speech before Congress and before the United Nations regarding climate change and the environment, I am led to ask what exactly modern American “conservatives” are “conserving?” Other than holding on tight to xenophobic, homophobic, and hatred of anything progressive feeling, I fail to see them “conserving” anything else. When the often hypocritical and misguided Catholic Church can see and acknowledge that human caused climate change is a very real and present threat to the very existence of life on this planet, why can’t American “conservatives?”

It seems that for many of the so-called “religious conservatives,” even ones that profess to be Catholic, the “church” of greed and modern day corporate fascism are what they kneel before.

I NEVER thought that I would find myself siding with a pope and agreeing with most of what he is saying at least regarding how we are failing the environment and our planet. I personally find religion in all forms to be a disease and the number one justification for the violence, hatred, and greed that controls our species, but if the Catholic Church of all institutions can accept the reality of climate science, why can’t American “conservatives?” It seems that American “conservatives” would rather worship at the altar of greed and grovel at the feet of modern day corporate fascists like the two brothers from Kansas rather than listen to the alleged “emissary of “god” here on Earth.

Contrasting Pope Francis and President Obama 

But it is not just “conservatives” that worship at the altar of greed and have complete and total apathy toward our environment and wildlife. When President Obama was elected in 2008 I made the foolish assumption that he would at minimum protect the Endangered Species Act and work with those of us that truly care about wildlife and our dwindling wild lands. I could not have been more wrong. I am of the opinion that President Obama, and his Department of Interior, have turned out to be the most destructive, pandering, and anti-wildlife in my lifetime at least. Since taking office in 2009 President Obama has proven to have zero regard for wildlife and wild lands. His administration has allowed the neutering of the Endangered Species Act through misguided “riders” attached to legislation and by appointing extractive industry shills to lead the DOI and the agencies under it.

In the past week we saw firsthand the complete and total disregard this administration has toward imperiled species with their decision not to provide the dwindling greater sage grouse with ESA protections.

Even before the decision was announced it became quite obvious that the Obama Administration would once again pander to the big ag and big energy special interests and allow another species to be pushed to the brink of extinction for some alleged “political gain.” This is why I bristle each time alleged “wildlife advocates” claim Obama is a “progressive” or that he gives a damn about the environment in any way, shape, or form. This is why for the first time in my life I actually listen to and agree with a religious figure without the title of Dalai Lama. While I tend to ignore proclamations form religious leaders I was pleasantly struck when I read these words from Pope Francis:

“We must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures,” he declared in his encyclical on the environment. “The Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism.”

While I don’t believe or follow the bible or any other religious text I appreciated reading these words because Christianity and the idea of “dominionism” have long been used to justify the exploitation, torture, and killing animals for selfish human wants. I like to contrast these words to the actions of our sitting President and one could conclude that may be what the Pope was talking about.

President Obama, in my opinion, has been an absolute disaster for wildlife. While I can support many of the issues that he as championed such as equal rights for same sex couples, the Iran nuclear deal and, improved healthcare access I have been horrified at how apathetic and hostile he and his administration have been toward wildlife. Unfortunately his apathy toward wildlife isn’t exclusive to just him. Several other so-called “progressive” or “liberal” politicians appear through their words and actions to share the same disdain for wildlife that Obama harbors. Let’s not forget these words by Obama’s appointed head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, where he said that conservationists:

“must accept a world with fewer wolves, salmon, and spotted owls.” The Director of the very agency most responsible for protecting the nation’s biodiversity went on to say that, in the name of compromise, we must accept “a world with less biodiversity.”

What Obama, Ashe, and other anti-wildlife “Democrats” apparently cannot understand is that there is a difference between “compromising” and pandering. While the Obama Administration plays lip service to climate change they have expanded destructive fossil fuel extractive processes across the country. Of particular note was when the Obama Administration approved oil drilling in a sensitive part of the Arctic. Then as if to rub his hypocrisy in the faces of environmentalists, a few months later he visited the Arctic to talk about climate change.

Much like the hypocritical idea that “killing is conservation” put forth by the killing cartels like the National Wildlife Federation and their state affiliates, President Obama thinks that he can address climate change while ignoring the “canary in the coal mine” that is the destruction of our wildlife for selfish human endeavors. Even Richard Nixon, who was by no means a “liberal,” understood the threats that our wildlife faced due to habitat loss and from a growing human population. Apparently President Obama doesn’t see the same threats or he just doesn’t care, which is even more dangerous. In my view and in that of many other wildlife advocates that is the legacy that Obama will carry with him after he is out of office. The legacy that “Tricky Dick” Nixon was by far a more caring and effective President regarding the environment than a supposed “progressive” like Obama.

I never thought I would see a world where I could make this observation. The Pope, of all people, GETS IT when it comes to animals and the environment while an allegedly “progressive” American president does not. I used to think that the biggest threat to our imperiled wildlife were the great white hunters, habitat loss, and human greed. Now, I think that the greatest threat to our wildlife is the indifference and total apathy exhibited by President Obama and other pandering “progressives” that now seem to think that the environment and wildlife can be used as objects to barter for short term political gains. This is the real threat to our wildlife and also the legacy that President Obama will carry with him once he leaves office.

Please remind President Obama about this here and ask if this is what he want to be remembered for:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

The Boys and Girls Who “Cry Wolf” and the Morons That Believe Them

Boycriedwolfbarlow

Fear mongering has become a staple of rural mindsets and right wing politics in general. One week ISIS is going to march down your streets and impose Sharia Law on all the good “god fearin'” Christians in Murcia. The next week immigrants with cantaloupe sized calves are going to stream across the border, take our jobs, and infect us with the disease of the week as part of some socialist plot. The fear mongering tactic of the month for anti-wolf factions appears to be to make us think that our poor poor farmers struggling on the lonely landscape are in danger of having their cattle, their pets, and grandchildren eaten alive by rampaging hoards of wolves. Literally within hours of the December federal court ruling that reinstated Endangered Species Act protections to wolves in the Great Lakes big ag propaganda arms were putting out stories about wolves eating newborn calves and terrorizing the poor defenseless ranchers.

“The stories we’ve been hearing over and over from our farmers and ranchers are tragic,” said Amber Hanson, associate director of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. A member this week reported a fatal attack on a calf two hours after it was born, Hanson said, adding, “When your only option is to scream at a wolf, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good.”

Click this LINK and press the big red button to get my response to this.

They seemed to forego the tired and disproven “them wolfs is eatin’ all the deer” crap for the time being to make people believe that these poor defenseless farmers were out on the lonesome prairie trying to keep packs of vicious wolves at bay while the evil “Eco-Nazi” groups laughed at their “plight.” This tactic apparently works because the two so-called Democrat senators from Minnesota and the scandal plagued “progressive” senator from Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin, came out in support of “state management” for wolves in the past and it appears she is onboard with the eradication program now. The fake Dems from MN even went so far as to buy into the lies and exaggerations from big ag interests in their state.

Klobuchar and Franken responded by email to a request for comment from the MDN.
“Senator Klobuchar has always supported delisting the gray wolf, and believes the science and the facts support the delisting. She successfully led the effort to delist the wolf through the Endangered Species Act and disagrees with the recent court decision relisting the wolf.

“As a result, she believes the Department of Interior should appeal the court decision and she is also considering legislation to address this,” said a spokeswoman in Klobuchar’s Washington office.

“Our farmers and ranchers are rightfully concerned about losing their livestock — their livelihood — to wolves,” said Sen. Franken. “That’s why I supported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to delist the gray wolf in 2011.

“My office has been in regular communication with the Fish and Wildlife Service about the judge’s ruling and I understand they are likely to press for an appeal. In the meantime, we need to deploy resources to protect livestock, and we have to make sure any losses are adequately covered by the Farm Bill’s livestock indemnity program.”

PRESS BUTTON

For all of the years that I worked for law enforcement agencies one of the most frequent calls we would receive were citizens reporting that someone “broke into” their vehicle and stole something. 99.9999 percent of the time when they were asked if they locked their doors the answer was a sheepish “no.” The same analogy applies to ranchers. In all of their freeloading arrogance they expect to leave “their” animals unattended or unguarded and then scream when a wolf or other predator behaves like a natural predator does.I am not comparing wolves to opportunistic criminals that steal from vehicles because the thieves know exactly what they are doing. Wolves see a prey species and see lunch regardless of how it got there. The point is if you lock your car doors it is highly unlikely that your stuff will get stolen. If you provide fencing, guard animals, and various other proven non-lethal techniques you will likely not lose any livestock. Unfortunately that means work and effort and just isn’t as “fun” as shooting, trapping, and hounding a species like the wolf. That and knowing the government is going to come in with a nice fat check leaves little incentive to change practices. Unfortunately it appears Congress feels the same way. Why peacefully solve a “problem” when you can just kill it? Funny how the issue with the wolves parallel our foreign policy failures.

I understand that there is hyperbole on both sides of this issue. But when one side only cares about handing out death based on lies and propaganda and the other side wants to protect a maligned species from this witch hunt, I think it is obvious which side to fall on. The anti-wolf lies and propaganda have reached a fever pitch in local newspapers across Wisconsin. Below are two examples of actual “letters to the editor” in Wisconsin newspapers. These are the people that our DNR and Congress listen to instead of the majority of citizens and world renowned scientists. I warn you now that if you are eating or drinking anything, please stop before reading these:

Wolves present problems

They kill cows, spread diseases and can threaten people.

The letter to the editor from Cheryl Hentz questioning my credibility regarding the threat posed by wolves plays fast and loose with the facts.

Hentz claims that cow depredation by wolves in 2014 amounted to 0.001 percent of the cattle in the state. In fact, cattle killed by wolves in 2014 occurred in 11 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, primarily in the northern forested counties. If the total number of cattle are proportioned equally among the 72 counties, there would be 48,600 per county; thus, the cattle kills represent 0.07 percent in the 11 counties.

There’s also the matter of diseases carried by wolves that are transmitted to ungulates. Neosopra caninum and hydatosis are the most prevalent. The former causes abortions in ungulates and the latter causes large body cysts. Consequently, the impact of wolves cannot be measured only by the number of cattle killed and maimed.

The study cited by Hentz found that “when social structure (of wolves) is disrupted, multiple litters per social group become more common, in part because dominant individuals can no longer prevent subordinates from breeding.” It appears that hunting and trapping help wolf numbers to increase at a faster rate.

It may surprise Hentz to know that wolves cause me no angst. I’ve reserved my angst and sympathy for the families of the 2-year-old boy killed by a wolf in 1981 in Michigan, the 3-year-old girl killed by a wolf in 1989 in Minnesota, the 22-year-old man killed by wolves in 2005 in Saskatchewan, the young woman killed by wolves in 2009 in Nova Scotia, and the 32-year-old female teacher killed by wolves in 2010 in Alaska.

Earl Stahl,

Neenah

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What Stahl presents here goes from flat out lies to dubious claims of what really killed the man in 2005 and the woman in 2010. The other two instances are either flat out fabrications or wolves in captivity killing these people. These are the kind of lies and distortions that people like this guy push and the newspaper apparently makes no effort to correct. The “fuzzy math” is also laughable. But this isn’t even the most absurd one that came out in a local paper recently.

Remove wolves from Baraboo woods

My neighbor went ice fishing, and, after cleaning his catch, put the remains on my property near a game camera that he had mounted there with my permission. The next day, he had a picture of a wolf eating the fish remains.

I’ve lived five miles north of Baraboo for the past 38 years. I’ve seen and heard coyotes on my property many times, but this was the first wolf I know for sure was on the land.

This past summer, I saw very few squirrels and rabbits in the woods, ducks on the little pond, or turkeys, cranes and deer on the 40-acre grain field.

Our grandparents had the common sense to remove the wolves from the woods. Any resident of northern Wisconsin will tell you the wolves ruined the deer hunting opportunities there.

The Department of Natural Resources needs to remove the wolves from the Baraboo area so our woods will once again be filled with wildlife.

Shame on the people who placed the wolves in the Baraboo woods.

Brian Krusko, Baraboo

PRESS BUTTON OVER AND OVER AGAIN 

Other than an occasional disperser there are no documented wolf packs this far south in Wisconsin. So wolves are going out onto ponds and killing ducks now? Cranes? I thought there were so many of them that the DNR and Joel Kleefisch wants to start wholesale killing? This letter would be laughable for it’s sheer absurdity but this is truly the mindset of a vast number of yokels in this state. EVERYTHING is the fault of wolves in their eyes.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after reading these fear mongering and ignorant propaganda pieces. Frankly I am not sure why these papers felt it acceptable to post such obvious drivel, but that is their choice. It does show what we are up against. Our country really hasn’t evolved much past the glamorized “Wild West” period that saw the genocide of Native Americans and the eradication of species like the bison and gray wolf from the lower 48. Those sick mindsets remain and the killing is now labeled as “conservation” and “management.”

While you digest all of the absurd musings of anti-wolf politicians, lobbyists, and ignorant yokels, please make sure to continue to keep the pressure on Congress and the White House to listen to the world renowned scientists that recently wrote a letter against the asinine and arrogant proposals before them. Do not let up. Share on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever your favorite social media forum is. We have to call these frauds out on their lies and propaganda. This is especially the case for the fake “Democrats” that are really only Tea Party-Lite. Shame them all and call them out for their misguided and spiteful positions.

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