Wolf-killing plans stir in lame-duck session of Congress

By on November 22, 2016 with 19 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Nobody eats wolves.

If you’re a meat eater, it’s one thing to hunt deer or some other wild animals and consume them. It’s another matter to go on a head-hunting exercise, or just kill for the thrill of it.

In the lame-duck session of Congress, there is a big move afoot to eliminate federal protections for wolves in four states that, for the most part, have a terrible record of caring for their small populations of that species. If Congress subverts the federal courts, and selectively removes wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, it will only serve to enable people to kill wolves for no good reason.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., recently came out with a statement urging Congress to strip federal protections for wolves, even though a series of federal judges have said that there’s no legitimate legal or scientific basis for delisting. Advocates of wolf killing have appealed the latest ruling affirming the need for federal protection, so an end-around the courts amounts to a subversion of judicial review.

If federal lawmakers go down this road, where does it end? To score political points with a favored constituency, or to try to neutralize or win over a problematic constituency, lawmakers will start removing species from the ark willy-nilly. It sets an awful precedent, and Sen. Baldwin should know better.

She would do well to recall the words – in fact, all of us would do well to recall them — of another Wisconsinite about our relationship with wolves. In his essay, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” part of A Sand County Almanac, naturalist and hunter Aldo Leopold recalled a hunting experience in which his party killed a she-wolf at a time when almost all conservationists believed that the killing of predators was necessary. “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes,” Leopold wrote. “I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.”

Hateful attitudes toward wolves should be overcome by clear-headed thinking about the role they play in ecology and also their value in rural communities. People trek to wolf-inhabited forests precisely because these animals are there, boosting tourism-related commerce. Wolves also limit deer and moose populations, depressing crop depredation, and shrinking the number of collisions between these animals and cars. Wolves kill weak, sick, and older deer and moose, beavers, and other animals, making the herds healthier, which has a broad, balancing, and beneficial impact on ecosystems. Wolves are a bulwark against the spread of chronic wasting disease, because they kill deer and other hooved animals that show the symptoms of the brain-wasting prion.

A maneuver to delist wolves is a bit of a cover-up and a bait-and-switch for poor oversight over domesticated dogs and farm animals. I’ve run across countless examples, from Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states, where wolves take the blame when a farmer doesn’t provide proper use of non-lethal controls or shows off poor animal husbandry that puts cattle or sheep at risk. Wolves often get the blame for animals they didn’t kill too, because no agency bothers to verify livestock losses that farmers and ranchers claim.

An overwhelming majority of Americans – 90 percent according to a June 2015 poll – support the Endangered Species Act, and it is the most important law our nation has ever passed to protect species at risk of extinction. Michigan voters took up two wolf hunting referendums in 2014 – the only state to have popular votes on the issue – and voters rejected wolf hunting and trapping in landslide votes.

Last year, more than 50 world-renowned wildlife biologists and scientists, many of whom have devoted their entire professional careers toward understanding the social and biological issues surrounding wolves in North America, sent a letter to Congress urging members to oppose any efforts to strip federal protections for wolves in the contiguous 48 states. If Congress were to take this adverse action, according to these scientists, it would upend two recent federal court rulings, which criticized the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for distorting the “plain meaning” of the standards of the ESA and admonished several state wildlife agencies for conducting overreaching and dangerous trophy-hunting and trapping programs upon federal delisting.

Sen. Baldwin, please reconsider your ill-advised recommendation to Congress to delist wolves and subject them not only to trophy hunting, but to being ensnared by steel-jawed leghold traps and being chased and savaged by packs of dogs. This is trophy hunting and trapping masquerading as wildlife management. It’s most definitely not proper stewardship of God’s creatures. And it’s not decent or humane.

Let Sen. Baldwin know you’re unhappy with her stance by calling her at 202-224-5653, and please contact your members of Congress at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose this plan.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Janice Sampo says:

    Please stop killing wolves and bears,they are very important to our Eco-System!
    Stop trapping and Hounders it is so INHUMANE! What is the matter with People!!

  2. Barb Beronski says:

    Why can’t the government; hunters and idiots just leave these beautiful animals live? Because of stupid fairy tales people don’t understand these beautiful animals. Thankfully there are people (and organizations ) that are educating (the unknown ) on the importance of Wolves and true facts about these wonderful animals. One day these beauties will finally be able to “Run free and be free FOREVER! “

  3. Diana says:

    Gee I thought it was only hateful, heartless Republicans who advocated for the destruction of wildlife…………………………

  4. Will Graves says:

    Wolves carry and spread numerous parasites and diseases, one parasite in particular is a threat to humans. The name of this parasite is Echinococcus granulosus. Wolves do not belong in human inhabited areas. Domestic dogs may become infected with this parasite, and then pass the parasite on to humans. Humans may also become infected with Echinococcus g. in other ways. Wolf numbers need to be strictly controlled. Will

  5. Kim says:

    Thank you Wayne Pacelle, and the Humane Society. When will we finally see the only answer that’s been begging us all these long years? The weight of management should be put on ourselves – to be responsible, and accountable – to cease killing wildlife, and to value their contributions. We have so much to learn.

  6. Wendy L Doll says:

    This needs to stop, delisting the wolves will lead to open season on these essential animals. No one eats wolf meat so this will be for trophy hunters. They need to be protected they are essential to the environment which they found out in Yellowstone. Still some states are allowing them to be killed. Why can’t any one listen to the science regarding how important they are.. If we delist the wolves what will be next, the Endangered Species Act needs to stay as it is, humans no longer have respect for our animals. Hopefully someone can convince our government we need the wolves and every other any animal listed on the Endangered Species list.

  7. Scott Slocum says:

    Sen. Baldwin’s letter is full of controversial statements, without a single scientific reference. A work of political imagination.


  8. Kaye Kale says:

    Please stop this cruel and destructive behavior. ..the impact you could have on the environment could be dedefistating by removing wolves from the equation…concerned New Zealanders. .

  9. Lori Marshall says:

    What a horrible statement to make, “If you’re a meat eater, it’s one thing to hunt deer or some other wild animals and consume them. It’s another matter to go on a head-hunting exercise, or just kill for the thrill of it.”
    ALL animals deserve to live, we should not decide which lives are valuable and which are not.That is wrong. I called Senator Baldwin.

  10. Deborah Vandamme says:

    It is absolutely shameful that our species, despite the extensive knowledge we possess and access to alternative and compassionate means of coexisting with other animals on the planet, we continue to enslave, torture and murder them relentlessly. Something is seriously wrong with our (humans) OVER-POPULATED and diseased (physically and mentally) species. Humans carry more disease, filth and danger than any other animal on Earth. Shame on you, who believe in murdering wolves!

  11. Vera Stewart says:

    I thought the Same. Shame on
    Senator Baldwin from Wisconsin.
    Look at the ecosystem so clearly explained in the article.

  12. Anirban (aka Abner) Bhattacharya says:

    I can tolerate hunting wild goats, deer, ducks, pheasants, hares, rabbits & squirrels for food as long as animal is quickly killed & eaten for food. But I can’t tolerate hunting animals just because it’s there. Also have added thoughts to cull hunting.

    People from other nations who go to Africa to hunt elephants, giraffes, etc. do that mainly because they want to kill an animal they can’t find in their own nations. These hunters can’t let well enough alone in that they can’t settle for the wild goats, deer, pheasants, etc. they hunt but need to hunt that giraffe. If people want to hunt deer, pheasant, ducks, hares or rabbits for food, then as long as they are swiftly killed, I have no problem.

    We don’t need private hunters hunting wolves, foxes & coyotes. If cull is needed to prevent overpopulation, then that can be done by wildlife officials since these are not food hunts. Problem with these hunts is that people take more than what is allowed.They could require cameras & have wildlife officials monitor these cull hunts.

    With govt. doing aerial shootings by helicopter of wolves, foxes, coyotes & other animals to prevent overpopulation & diseases. Public input in most cases given before it’s authorized. @least here there is less possibility of over hunting & there are statistics (hopefully honest) kept on how many wolves, foxes, etc. were killed in cull hunts.

    Now yes, you can have excess bobcats, cougars, wolves, foxes & coyotes attacking pets & livestock. Yes, you can have diseases such as parvo. If they can avoid hunting them & put them in zoos, then that would be better. If they are to be hunted, then it must be done by wildlife officials to cull diseases & not private hunters. But before they are, then there should be biological statements which show that culling is only choice & there should be public input. They should do what they can to avoid hunting bobcats, cougars, wolves, foxes & coyotes because these animals aren’t food & we don’t need fur coats anymore to stay warm.

  13. Anirban (aka Abner) Bhattacharya says:

    Something else on hunting & it deals with arrogance such as 1970s musician Ted Nugent (Ted Anthony Nugent). While I don’t listen to classic rock anymore as I like new music such as in 2016 Ariana Grande or JD Bieber, I used to think Ted A. Nugent only hunted wild game for food, until I learned that he has in past been convicted of poaching & on his Facebook, he arrogantly made excuses for the dentist who killed Cecil the lion. Guessing US HSUS knows that Ted posts pictures of animals he has killed where he is smiling such as where he brags of killing bobcats & coyotes which are not food.

    There are hunters who have told Ted A. Nugent that they are against killing an animal just because it’s there which isn’t going to be eaten & that it’s wrong to smile with an animal you killed for fun. Haughty Ted A. Nugent rudely replies with insults, using F word, other things. I have talked to hunters who are against Ted, by telling me that they only hunt what they eat or will give to others to eat & they are against killing animals just because it’s there. Their view is hunting & quickly killing a deer, wild goats, ducks, rabbits, hares, squirrels & pheasants which you will eat or will give others to eat, as long as there’s no poaching is 1 thing. But that what Ted does is wrong.

    Ted Nugent or Ted Anthony Nugent should have lost his weapons after he was convicted of poaching & he should have been forbidden from hunting. No surprise he sided with the dentist & Ted A. Nugent is rude & arrogant. I hope that Humane Society can do a blog on Ted & mention the fact that not all hunters agree with Ted. I don’t go to PETA extreme with their view against all hunting but hunting an animal just because it’s there which is not food is wrong.

    Hunting for food & eating your kills is 1 thing, but hunting for sports is wrong. If people want to hunt deer, pheasant, ducks, hares or rabbits for food, then as long as they are swiftly killed, then I have no problem. Though I do not listen to country music, singer Miranda Leigh Lambert in addition to the good work she does to protect dogs with Pedigree dog food also hunts & fishes for food. Miranda Leigh Lambert proves that it is consistent to support animal welfare & @ the same time have no problem with food hunting as long as the animal is humanely and swiftly killed. Miranda Leigh Lambert is a huntress who proves that there are people who support animal welfare who have no problem with food hunting as long as animal is swiftly killed and no poaching. I have a friend who has hunted deer for food. She has same views as country singer Miranda Leigh Lambert has on dogs and she has done humane work with dogs.

    Another eg. would be radio host Rush Limbaugh (Rush Hudson Limbaugh) who did announcements for U.S. Humane Society in 2009. Though I don’t know if Rush hunts, he supports people’s right to hunt for food. Rush in 2009 did announcements for U.S. Humane Society where he speaks against dog fighting, animal abuse & he talked of his cat & how he loved his cat and so on. Should the U.S. Humane Society have not used Rush? Should Pedigree Dog Food & U.S. Humane Society take announcements from people on animal topics like country singer Miranda (Miranda Leigh Lambert) and Rush because 1 has hunted?

  14. Jenny says:

    It’s a battle that will never end…
    It’s just a matter of time that humans cause their own extinction and then maybe the new beginning for animals will let them live freely.

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