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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