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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Anti-Wolf Factions Using the Media to Fear Monger and Spread Misinformation…..What Else is New?

Photo by Cindi Micheau

Photo by Cindi Micheau

In the two weeks since a federal court ruling returned the Great Lakes gray wolf to their rightful place on the federal Endangered Species List there has been an organized effort among anti-wolf groups, bought and paid for politicians, and their newspaper “editorial board” allies to paint the judge’s ruling as “out of line” and not “science.” The editorial boards from various right leaning newspapers pretend that the reckless “management” plans of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan are what is needed to “manage” wolves and that with this ruling endless numbers of farm animals, pets, and grandchildren will be devoured by the big bad wolf.

The hysteria started last week with a press release from the Wisconsin State Senator, mining company shill, and anti-environment Tom Tiffany. Tiffany (R-GTAC) is long known for being bought and paid for by the mining interests that hope to rape and pillage the Penokee Hills in Northern Wisconsin and for pandering to anti-wolf/wildlife interests in Northern Wisconsin. Now Tiffany (R-GTAC) has put out a “press release” that along with quoting himself seeks to spread more misinformation along with the usual fear mongering he and his ilk are famous for.

“It should be disturbing to our federal representatives that a D.C. judge with little wildlife experience is overriding bipartisan agreement and the Great Lakes states’ ability to manage their individual wolf programs. Wisconsin has been using sound science in its management, and this judge’s decision was clearly not based in sound science,” added Tiffany.

“I also would call on incoming members of Congress to review the Endangered Species Act,” stated Tiffany. The decision will greatly impact our state’s whitetail deer population, agricultural community and our northern economy.”

Tiffany neglects to mention that the DNR itself has shown that wolves have minimal if any impact on the deer population in Wisconsin. He also fails to mention that those “pets” that wolves are killing a dogs trained to attack bears, coyotes, bobcats, and now wolves themselves. But when have industry shill politicians ever allowed facts to get in the way of some good fear mongering?

What should really be “disturbing” to federal representatives is that the term “science” has been whored out in typical right wing fashion to justify the mass slaughter of a just “recovered” species through the legalization of dog fighting and through reckless kill quotas. Then Tiffany jumps into the usual right wing “states rights” talking points:

Republican Tom Tiffany from Hazelhurst says U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell’s decision calling the state’s program “arbitrary and capricious” is out of line. “We have built a wolf program here in Wisconsin that works for Wisconsin. Wolf numbers are at all-time highs, yet she’s saying now that the Great Lakes states, the wolf should be put back on the endangered species list, and there’s no justification for that.”

All time highs? Really? The wolf population plummeted by 19 percent last winter and following this years “legal” and illegal slaughter those numbers are expected to plummet even more. Apparently it’s those pesky facts getting in the way of another misleading talking point again.

Tiffany, like many landowners and lawmakers, believes the federal government is infringing on states rights under pressure from environmentalists. “I think it’s just a very important issue because it really is the federal government intervening to prevent states from being able to manage wildlife populations, and doing it in an inappropriate manner. It’s the extreme environmentalists who always run to the federal courts when they can’t get their way in a state Legislature.”

Funny how people like Tiffany (R-GTAC) seem to have no problem when federal courts intervene and shoot down laws that they disagree with (Obamacare, Hobby Lobby, etc.) but they have a major problem with it when the courts rule against their interests. This seems to be the overriding mindset among the modern right wing and especially in the one party ruled Wisconsin. The concept of “Separation of Powers” is an affront to bought and paid for politicians like Tiffany (R-GTAC). Tiffany (R-GTAC) also seems to have a major problem with control at any level of government unless it is from him. This is what you voted for Wisconsin so now this is what you are going to get.

In addition to the anti-wolf fear mongering from Tiffany (R-GTAC), newspaper “editorial boards” are now jumping to the defense of Wisconsin’s reckless wolf slaughter and pretending that “science” plays a role in how wolves are “managed” in this state. As usual the anti-wolf Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are masters at rehashing DNR talking points and rewriting history:

Since the gray wolf in Wisconsin was taken off the endangered species list, the state Department of Natural Resources generally has done a good job of responsibly managing the population and conducting three wolf hunt seasons. Now a federal district judge has ruled that the delisting was “arbitrary and capricious” and has restored all federal protections for the wolves.

Good job? Mass overkill in specific zones? Legalized 24/7/365 hounding? Exceeding the kill quota each of the three years? Stacking the “Wolf Advisory Committee with anti-wolf groups? Good job? Are you kidding me? Yeah they are doing a “good job” alright. A good job ushering in the second eradication of this species from the state. Even more disturbing is how these “editorial boards” seem to think poaching is something that “comes with the territory.”

That’s not good news for some farmers and landowners in wolf territory and it may not be such great news for the wolf. The ruling could result in further livestock and other losses due to a growing wolf population and more illegal killings of wolves by angry landowners. Landowners need to keep their tempers in check and authorities need to enforce the protections, but the ruling by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., needs to be revisited.

Later in the propaganda “editorial” the Journal Sentinel pretends that the wolf isn’t under threat but maybe there should be some changes to state law, like removing that little thing about legalized dog fighting. But overall they think that the bear hounder dominated DNR is doing a “good job” with gradually eradicating the wolf population for a second time under the guise of “management.”

The parameters set by the Legislature in establishing wolf hunts weren’t perfect; in particular in allowing the use of dogs. Some changes in the law are warranted.

But the gray wolf population is an endangered species success story. It has rebounded from just about zero to at least 660 wolves in late winter 2013-’14, down from an estimated high of 834 in 2012, according to the DNR. The return of the wolf is a wonderful thing for the state and its natural habitat; it shows we can restore some of the natural treasures that have been lost.

But it also comes with a price. Wolves have been responsible for some attacks on livestock and pets, and more of that is possible as the population grows. It seems to me that a state-managed hunt with quotas is a reasonable check on that growth, albeit with some changes in the state law. Refusing to allow the state any role in managing the population would be a mistake.

No. Allowing a state like Wisconsin to have ANY role in “managing” this species is the mistake. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel propaganda is nothing compared to a recent “editorial” that begs for some of that “big government” intervention to overturn the federal judge’s ruling and eliminate all ESA protections for wolves nationwide.

This time, the alarmists are not crying “Wolf.” They’re crying “Too few wolves.”

But the effect will be the same: a cynical public not only ignoring the calls, but also resenting the groups that keep raising false alarms.

Expect a backlash, in the form of Congress taking control of wolf populations out of the hands of activists and judges and giving it back to wildlife biologists, where it belongs.

It has happened before. It should happen again. And if it does, it’ll be well deserved.

Cynical public? The same cynical public that voted in Michigan to overwhelmingly support continued protections for wolves and the Wisconsin DNR survey showing widespread support here as well? That cynical public? Or like Tom Tiffany (R-GTAC) and the Wisconsin DNR is the only “public” that matters to this writer the extreme anti-wolf right wing? The author of this “editorial,” Tom Dennis, writes for the Grand Forks Herald out of North Dakota. North Dakota is known as an anti-wildlife state that has very few if any wolves. Should the opinion of this guy mean any more or less than that of the citizens that overwhelmingly support wolf protections in the Great Lakes? It shouldn’t but unfortunately it seems to be part of a concentrated effort by anti-wolf factions to put out tired and disproven talking points to undermine the decision by Judge Howell. This “editorial” along with several others seems to be taking the word of trapper and wolf biologist turned pro-wolf killing shill, L. David Mech as the only “authority” on this. Mech turned his back on wolves a long time ago and has since become one of the biggest voices that the anti-wolf factions like to quote to support their eradication and persecution agenda. Dennis then writes what may be the most insulting and inflammatory “opinions” I have yet seen in mainstream media on this topic:

Congress has intervened in this issue before. In 2011, lawmakers forced the delisting of gray wolves in Montana and Idaho in accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s wishes, but over the court’s objections.

Today, lawmakers should offer up the same remedy, letting federal and state wildlife managers do the job for which they were trained: manage wildlife. When an animal no longer is either threatened or endangered, it simply doesn’t belong on the threatened or endangered species list, regardless of whether the animal’s numbers are back to where they were in 1492. Biological success trumps only-on-paper endangerment every time.

Nice that the word “biology” has been whored out to the anti-wolf factions as well according to this “editorial.” Like Tom Tiffany (R-GTAC) the anti-wolf factions in the media have their taking points and marching orders down to a “science.” This includes the “outdoors writers” like the kill everything, Patrick Durkin. Durkin is no stranger to insulting wolf and wildlife advocates with his inflammatory justifications for killing animals in every conceivable way but now he crosses into the domain of the rabid anti-wolf factions by calling advocates “wolf worshippers.”

We see examples of the wolf’s fabled influence in reactions to Howell’s ruling. Without bothering to read the ruling, some wolf worshipers declared that outdoors-folks “brought this on themselves” by hunting and trapping wolves, and pursuing them with hounds.

No “outdoor folks” didn’t bring this on themselves. Rabid hate filled anti-wolf sadists brought this on themselves. If Durkin would take the time to read the ruling himself it faults the entire process by which the USFWS issued the delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes and hidden between the lines are faults in how the states chose to “manage” the gray wolf. People like Durkin like to pretend that there are not entire websites devoted to the eradication of this animal. They like to pretend that poaching isn’t ignored by the very same state agencies that they carry water for. Finally people like Durkin like to pretend that agencies like the Wisconsin DNR will always do the “right” thing when it comes to “managing” a species. They do none of these things and Durkin damn well knows that. But again we can’t let facts get in the way of talking points. Durkin also makes sure to quote Mech, bring up the poaching angle, and also expects Congress to step in. Even more laughable is the same tired talking point that killing seasons on wolves breed “tolerance” for the species. Yeah we sure saw that “tolerance” grow with the past three years of slaughter, didn’t we?

Unfortunately, Howell’s ruling could have unintended consequences, such as turning wolves into symbols of outside interference and overreaching government. Poaching could increase if locals think the federal government favors wolf interests over theirs. In contrast, new research by Erik Olson at UW-Madison found that illegal behavior could be moderated with “responsible and effective wildlife management programs,” which includes regulated hunting and trapping.

It seems that the above “wink and nod” threat of poaching if the wolf haters don’t get their way isn’t just reserved for the likes of Durkin. Even more brazen are the words of Wolf Advisory Committee member and big ag shill, Eric Koens.

Eric Koens owns a cattle ranch in Rusk County and represents the livestock industry on a state wolf advisory committee. Koens said many landowners don’t think non-lethal ways of controlling wolves work very well, and are debating what to do now.

“Well, I guess everybody is going to have to do what they feel is best for their operation,” said Koens. “I certainly believe that we as livestock producers have a right to protect our interests on our property … That’s our business. We pay taxes on our farm to raise livestock.”

Am I reading this wrong or did this guy just advocate for the poaching of a species that is currently protected under federal law? Remember this is who Cathy Stepp and the Wisconsin DNR allow to control wolf policy in this state. Not content having committee members that allegedly bragged about “gut shooting” wolves, now we have this guy essentially saying that wolves can be illegally killed if that is what is “best for their operation.” And wolves don’t need federal protection? If the anti-wolf factions keep pumping out quotes like this then they are doing our job for us. Isn’t it obvious by now that the anti-wolf politicians, “outdoors” writers, and “editorial” shills don’t wish to see the gray wolf “managed” responsibly? They want to see the gray wolf brought down to the lowest possible numbers if not completely eradicated. They are laying out their entire game plan for all of us to see and we need to be ready for it.

All of these anti-wolf elements are parroting the same talking points and are pretending that the mass slaughter of the past three years was “responsible,” “scientific,” and uses sound “biology.” They neglect to mention that hate filled websites exist advocating for the poisoning, torture, poaching, and eradication of this species in between the racism and hate of all things “liberal.” They neglect to mention that the legislative measures used to authorize the state slaughters were done with political motives in mind rather than with the “scientific” ones as they claim. The very states that authorized mass killing over established quotas, state sanctioned dog fighting, and the exclusion of wildlife advocates from any decision making about this species now want to pretend that they are the “victims” and were wronged by this judge’s ruling? Really? Now they expect the hated “big gubmint” to come in and “save” the day by further weakening the Endangered Species Act? We cannot let them do this. No other species has such hate and vitriol directed their way. People like Durkin bemoan the emotions that “wolf worshippers” have toward this species while neglecting to point out that hate is also a strong emotion that is abundantly on display by the very anti-wolf factions that he seems to be sympathetic toward. Funny how caring and empathy toward another species is viewed as a “bad” and “unscientific” emotion yet hate and foaming at the mouth vitriol is apparently “scientific” and has a basis in “biology.”

The writing is on the wall that Congress and the Obama Administration will do everything that they can to undermine the protections for the gray wolf and further weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA) along with it. It’s time for for the so-called Democrats in the Senate with any backbone to do what the anti-environment factions have been doing to them for the past few years. They need to stand up and block any and every “rider,” or legislation that seeks to remove federal protections for gray wolves or further weakens the ESA. The rabid right wing in this country likes to pretend that President Obama is this raging “liberal” when he is the farthest thing from it. The wolf haters should be huge fans of Obama because he apparently despises wolves and the environment as much as they do. We cannot trust him or his allies in Congress. We must be vigilant and stay ahead of the curve. It is clear that the anti-wolf factions intend to have a legislative “fix” to continue on the path toward eradication for the gray wolf nationwide. We cannot let that happen.

Contact your Representatives and Senators below and tell them that if they want support from their supposed “constituents” that the wolves, the ESA, and the environment should NEVER be used as bargaining chips to appease destructive special interests. In the meantime please remain vigilant and do not hesitate to call out the fear mongering and misinformation being spread in the media. I will do my part but I need to your help as well.

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Thrown to the Wolves: Finally a Small Victory But the Threat Remains

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Photo via Cindi Micheau

 

“Your an idiot.”– Comment left by anti-wolf poster following news article about wolves yesterday. The irony burns here.

In a stunning and forceful repudiation of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the state wildlife agencies of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, a federal court in Washington DC returned Endangered Species Act protections to gray wolves in the Great Lakes. The court found that the USFWS had major flaws in their 2011 rule that stripped ESA protections from wolves in the Great Lakes. That delisting led to an all out war against wolf populations in Wisconsin and Minnesota and later Michigan. Through lies and fear mongering these states over a three year span allowed in excess of 1500 wolves to be slaughtered “legally” with untold more killed illegally. All along these states claimed that they were following their antiquated “management” plans while ramping up their war against these animals to push them back to the brink.

Drew Charpentier 

Every wolf, coyote , bobcat etc. should be exterminated!!!Predators are decimating our deer herd, and they will be hunted!! The wolf/coyote population is out of control, and it needs to be managed.- Comment left on this blog last week. Current location? Spam folder. 

The states claimed that their “managed hunts” would allow for increased “tolerance” of wolves among the wolf hating elements that inhabit the rural areas of these states. This did not happen. In fact calls for poaching and increased killing reached a fever pitch on the various anti-wolf hate sites that sprung up across the Internet. The most vile of all these sites, the Facebook hosted “Wisconsin Wolf Hunting” page, became a bastion for the hate of not just wolves but ethnic minorities and everything perceived to be “liberal.” One of the more vile posters to this and other anti-wolf pages even sent private messages taunting wildlife advocates by threatening to rape them and calling them “timber niggers.” Other posters continued with the death threats against wildlife advocates and “liberals” with apparently no oversight from Facebook. The people running that page continue to post gruesome photographs of killed wolves along with “memes” urging their readers to “smoke a pack a day” along with calls from posters to continue poaching wolves with no regard for the law. If this is the “tolerance” that the DNR felt their slaughter would bring I would hate to see what their idea of “intolerance” would be. If the courts or USFWS need any evidence as to why permanent federal protections of wolves are needed they should spend five minutes perusing the comments posted to that site brazenly and openly threatening poaching. Even more disturbing is that these threats and boasts come directly from residents of Northern Wisconsin and can easily be traced yet the DNR and law enforcement do nothing to follow up on them. Along with the tried and true “they done be eatin’ all the deer” nonsense some comments about how wolves are “eating grandchildren” at bus stops and huffing and puffing and blowing houses down are showing up following mainstream media articles. Here are a couple of examples of the fear mongering, lies, and false equivalencies that wolf haters posted following this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article:

macormack
It’s interesting that the vast majority of those here on the forum that are in support of wolves – which are animals that cause much pain and suffering as they rip apart the bodies of their prey – are the same people that are in support of the abortion process in which developing human being’s bodies are ripped apart as a form of birth control.

Compassion for the pain and suffering that the victims go through as they’re being killed doesn’t seem to be the wolf/abortion supporter’s strong suit, does it?

Wow. I would bet that this guy doesn’t have a problem with packs of vicious dogs ripping apart a wolf,coyote, bobcat, or bear though. Then we have this one that apparently thinks Little Red Riding Hood is non-fiction:

chetfield
First of all I don’t hate wolves. I want the govt. to live up to its word that there would be only 350 wolves. That’s not hate, that’s holding the govt. accountable.

Second, wolves don’t just prey on the weak and old. A pack of wolves can run down, overpower the best and strongest deer, etc. in deep snow. The pack operates in gang fashion.

And my comment about the judge was to illustrate that you city folk, including judges don’t know jack about reality in rural WI, and know even less about wildlife management. You’re thinking with emotions instead of real knowledge. There’s plenty of other habitat for wolves in the wilds of Canada and Alaska where they do not conflict with humans and agriculture. Eventually, there will be a tragedy where some young child gets killed by a wolf pack if we don’t continue reducing their numbers.

“Gang fashion?” “City folk?” Am I the only one getting some “bell whistle” vibes from this guy?

Earlier this week their hero, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, threatened to call out the National Guard in the event of protests following the eventual decision on indicting a police officer for killing an unarmed man in Milwaukee. Any sane person taking look at the toxic vitriol coming out of the anti-wolf hate sites would probably assume that the guard would be better suited patrolling the woods in Northern Wisconsin to protect against these anti-wolf/government radicals threatening everything short of war against those different from them.

While yesterday’s ruling was a victory, no matter how short lived it may be, we need to remain on the offensive and pay attention to how the Obama Administration and his anti-wolf allies in Congress may try to undermine the court ruling. They did it once with the infamous 2011 budget “rider” that delisted wolves in Idaho and Montana and I fully expect then to try the same here. Ones to keep an eye on are the two fake “Democrats” next door in Minnesota. They are no fan of wolves and are essentially owned by big ag and mining interests. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try some underhanded tactic to further erode the Endangered Species Act in favor of big money interests. I to this day do not understand why supposed “Democrats’ pander to rural yokels that wouldn’t vote for them anyway. Maybe they should realize that pandering sunk them in November and it will further erode their standing with their “base.”

I leave you with these phenomenal words from yesterday’s court ruling:

“The D.C. Circuit has noted that, at times, a court “must lean forward from the bench to let an agency know, in no uncertain terms, that enough is enough.” Pub. Citizen Health Res. Grp. v. Brock, 823 F.2d 626, 627 (D.C. Cir. 1987). This case is one of those times.”

I would say that is as close to a judicial “bitch slap” as one could legally get. I guess the USFWS was “thrown to the wolves” here. See the complete ruling below:

12/19/2014 Great Lakes Wolf Ruling