In today’s Sacramento Bee, my colleague Jennifer Fearing wrote a column questioning the outdated policies governing predator management that have dominated for too long. The public is fed up with unsporting and inhumane practices, as evidenced by the ban on hound hunting that passed in the California legislature last year. Within the last year, the Sacramento Bee itself has run a series of exposés on the ruthless predator-killing practices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which spends millions of tax dollars to create little more than a grisly body count.
But it’s not just California that needs to step up. It’s all of the states that are allowing and encouraging the slaughter of wolves, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, foxes, and other predators. Conservation biology reminds us of the important role they play in ecosystems by controlling populations of deer, elk, rabbits, rodents and others. Their effects are felt up and down the entire chain of life in their habitats.
Right now, we are working with Michigan citizens to qualify a ballot measure to block trophy hunting and trapping of wolves. In Maine, there is a growing movement to put a stop to reckless bear hunting and trapping practices. And with the federal government on the verge of budget cuts associated with the sequester, many people are saying the time is past due to trim the predator-killing ways of the USDA.
I hope you’ll join our efforts to stand up for apex predators, and combat the prejudice and persecution of so many magnificent species who deserve so much better than we give them.
Viewpoints: State must overhaul approach to predators
February 28, 2013
Jennifer Fearing, Special to the Bee
A year ago, a photo surfaced of Dan Richards, then-president of California’s Fish and Game Commission, bear-hugging a dead mountain lion.
Richards had shot the majestic animal – protected in California, but legal to be hunted in Idaho – out of a tree where the cougar sought refuge after hours of pursuit by a pack of hounds. The photo set off a social and mainstream media firestorm fueled by the outrage expressed by tens of thousands of Californians and many elected officials.
Read more at The Sacramento Bee…