A Senate Republican attack on animals menaces grizzlies, wolves in Alaska

By on March 22, 2017 with 68 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

I tossed and turned almost the entire night.

It wasn’t a nightmare that roiled me.

It was yesterday’s awful spectacle in the U.S. Senate.

By a 52 to 47 vote, senators approved, on a party-line vote, their colleague Dan Sullivan’s resolution to rescind a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rulemaking action that forbids the most inhumane and unsporting practices ever contemplated in the era of modern wildlife management on national wildlife refuges.

I couldn’t stop thinking about grizzly bears being chased by a plane or helicopter. The pilot dumps the hunter close to the grizzly, and the hunter shoots the magnificent animal dead. All for a trophy.

I couldn’t stop thinking about some other poor bear, just trying to gather enough food and water to survive, traipsing through a forest or on the tundra, and being snagged in a snare that’s staked to a tree or planted deep into the ground. The noose constricts, digging deeper through fur and flesh and tightening with every mighty pull. This first loss of freedom stirs every muscle to resist and every instinct to flee, but to no avail. Hours and hours pass. The cold wrestles down the quarry in a different way. The injured leg swells, the blood unable to flow past the snare. The lower limb starts to wither. The whole body is numb from the bitter cold. Fear and suffering spike. Eventually the creature gives up.

And I couldn’t stop thinking about a man killing a mother wolf and indeed the entire pack, who are easy targets as they remain close to the den site to provide for and take care of their young. The pups are anxious and excited for their return. They don’t know they’ll never again see their mother and other providers who have been killed and dragged away. The pups wait and wait, not understanding what’s unfolding. Hunger and thirst sink in. Their bodies start to break down. Organ failure sets in. Death comes.

Not a single Republican stood against the barbarism packed into H. J. Res. 69. And not one of them stood for the principle that it was Congress that vested power in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the final say on wildlife management practices on national wildlife refuges.

Together, they enabled a putsch. An overthrow of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authority.

The federal government will pay the bill for staffing the refuge, but the state will call the shots. That means these 16 national wildlife refuges will become killing fields for trophy hunters and trappers and baiters and spring hunters. When Congress enacted the Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act in 1980, lawmakers never imagined such a design. Their purpose in enacting ANILCA was to set aside places for the wildlife and the tourists who’d come to see them — the animals, of course, would be unharmed and no worse for it.

I am so proud of New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, himself an ardent sportsman, and Sens. Dick Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., for deconstructing the phony arguments advanced by the backers of H.J. Res. 69. If they had been arguing the case in front of a jury, they would have carried every fair-minded juror considering the evidence and honoring a standard of decency.

They eviscerated the phony states’ rights arguments advanced by their colleagues. Their phony subsistence hunting arguments. Their inaccurate representations of the views of Alaskans.

My thanks go also to the thousands of caring Americans like you who wrote and called your senators to block this disgraceful resolution. You are a credit to our society, standing up for what’s good and right about this country and about humankind itself.

But in our system of government, there are no guarantees. Right does not always prevail. We’ve had some ugly chapters in our history when southern Senators blocked civil rights bills. When lawmakers mocked women’s suffrage. We’ve gone through a lot of that in our own movement, too.

The lawmakers in Washington who voted in the majority yesterday do not represent the views of regular Americans on animal welfare or wildlife conservation. On wildlife issues at least, they are captives of special interests who want to kill wildlife for their pleasure.

But this is not the last word on the subject. It cannot be the last word.

Dust yourself off. Grieve for the victims. Tell the Republicans what you think.

Await guidance on our next move. We are developing plans. Let’s struggle on.

See how your Senators voted and tell them what you think of their vote >>

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

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  1. Annoula Wylderich says:

    I couldn’t stop thinking about how we have just dialed back the clock on humanity in this country and how tax payers are paying for this disgrace. Regard for the humane treatment of animals should be a matter of human decency regardless of parties or affiliations. It’s about doing the right thing; votes are also a reflection of character.

    • Gary says:

      If anything, this atrocity compels me and my family to become more politically active in the hopes of reversing the immorality we will experience. I hope young people learn from the idiocy of our contemporary system! Your comments make me glad to support the Humane Society.

    • Jane Lowes says:

      Absolutely right

    • Helen says:

      Why not cull the grizzly ill informed, ignorant, uncaring representatives who voted for the senseless slaughter of such amazing creatures.
      The buffalo was slaughtered almost to exstinction, now elected reps wish to inflict a similar outcome upon bears.
      As they say ONLY in AMERICA.
      For centuries animals have suffered & continue to suffer at the hands of humans.

    • Diane says:

      The problem needs to be dealt with by changing the minds of those who hunt for sport, ostracizing them as a society. There is no reason this legislation can’t be enacted at the state level which is the proper authority for animal protections that only apply to a few states. Let the feds represent the US internationally as our founding fathers intented and let each state govern itself.

    • Josh Stetson says:

      Wildlife Congress and Trump revoked the predator-control ban on Alaska’s refuges. Now what?


      In this article it look likes the feds were gassing wolf pups. I cant believe that this cruel murder was carried on. It seems this bill will stop this practice. I live in Anchorage AK.

      Flying into Lake Illiamna Grizzles & Black bears are plentiful. Most of the time we flew over on the way to fish the Grizzlies would stand on their back legs & swat their magnificent paws at the sky. Trying to wack us out of the air. We stayed high as to not disturb but wind & sound!

  2. Randy l Haugen says:

    We will fight on,We will never quit protecting nature!

  3. Will says:

    You eloquently described my every thought, fear, and feeling. Thank you! We must keep this in the news……actually, we must get this on all mainstream news. Please everyone call the senators and reps who voted for this appalling bill. This deserves big time media coverage and these folks need to have their names and faces shown! They voted for it, they own it!

  4. Robyn Potter says:

    I wish the outcome had been different this makes me sad too 😞

  5. Lynn O'Toole says:

    A refuge should be just that – a safe place for wildlife to live out their natural lives. Why should taxpayers pay for private hunting preserves where the animals can be killed by the most brutal means possible? And that’s what this tragic vote just did, it turned our tax supported refuges into hunting preserves. And once again, in Missouri, we see Senator Roy Blunt voting for heinous anti-animal legislation. He’s consistent. Thanks for nothing Roy. We’ll remember this at the polls.

    • Andrea says:

      Roy Blunt needs to go! I’m from Missouri, too. He’s part of the all boys club, and one can only hope someone will be able to replace him sooner rather than later.

  6. Joan Glasser says:

    Wayne, Will it you and other like organization be able to tie up this horrific legislation in court? This is devastating..

  7. Margaretburns says:

    I simply can’t believe that this horrid killing fest is going to take place,it’s wrong and inhumane

  8. Emily Miotke says:

    My family and I want to help in any way possible. Please keep us informed on how to stop this

  9. Brian O'Neill says:

    Is there any chance that the liar-in-chief can be convinced to not sign the thing?

    • Stef says:

      Not to be political but I just don’t see him as caring to do this.. What about a court order?

    • Lisa Blanck says:

      what, and deprive his sons of blowing away a bear or a wolf? Nah. He wants more dead animal heads at his golden shower tower.

  10. Laura Hammond says:

    A country is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable and animals. How will America be judged if she allows such a barbaric policy? Right now, I’m thinking that this world would be a much better place without these “good old boys”. How about they were made the targets for trophies instead of these innocent animals?

  11. Sally Palmer says:

    “Sin, he reflected, is not what it is usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind. And then for the first time a real prayer rose up in his heart.”–Shusaku Endo, Silence

    I will be sending the facts about the terrible suffering this vote is going to cause to my members of Congress. Thank you for the information.

  12. Valerie says:

    Thank you Wayne for standing up for the animals and bringing attention to this barbaric ruling. I was curious if there is any way to reverse it? Can it be appealed on grounds of being inhumane?

    Thanks, Valerie

  13. Judy Hughes says:

    I just emailed Rubio stating that this a a barbaric action of killing endangered wild life! I will continue to be the Voice for our animals!

  14. Tony Povilitis says:

    Please let me know if I can help you advance the compassionate conservation movement. Cheers,
    Dr. Tony Povilitis, Life Net Nature

  15. K Magnus says:

    You sound like…you have a heart.

    On behalf of the rest of us, thank you.

  16. Maggue says:

    It’s better to urge Trump to VETO this bill. Email and Call too!!
    Just. Do. It.

    Comments: 202-456-1111
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414

  17. Carol Deich says:

    After this weeks heartbreaking decision approving HRJ 69. We are planning a Call to Action to boycott Alaska Tourism. A call for a boycott 1992 for wolves was a winner, let’s try it again. #DontDelistGrizzlies, EcoUprising, Vote 4 Wilderness planning this action and a few other groups cooperating to share it. Can we count on you to support this action?

    • Stef says:

      Yes. We need a BIG campaign to reverse this…it would be best it come from the Humane Society as it is so well known.

      It’s hard with all the petitions floating around go get people to sign even if they are in support of animal rights…but it has been effective. What we need is a compassionate government that immediately supports animals, and protects nature…we shouldn’t have to fight every little bill.

    • Megan says:


    • tiggs says:

      Sounds excellent,. What we need, seriously need, is everybody to come together under one direction. we can have only one vector or we are going to scatter all our energy and money. It is comforting Wayne spoke of fighting and to await further direction. It would be wonderful if we could challenge this in court… feels like everything is hanging in the balance now.. if that creep gets in the Supreme Court, and it gets there, as it probably will, well I don t even want to think about that.

  18. Shelley Powers says:

    I swear, this can be challenged in court. I know the CRA has a “get out of jail card” embedded, but this represents a conflict in laws.

    If the State institutes laws that run counter to federal laws, preemption comes into effect. However, there’s a Constitutional conflict because of the CRA.

    We have to try. We can’t let this one go.

    • Christine Stever says:

      What Shelley Powers said makes sense There has to be a way to reverse this through the legal system based on the practices themselves or something. I keep visualizing the bears and their cubs running , being chased down ,hearing gun shots, orphaned animals who will se their mom’s get killed right in front of them. I can only imagine the fear they will experience. We have to try to do something before we have to grieve for any animals. I am not sue what though. Are wild animals protected under the Animal Welfare Act. Are there any spoke persons or animal activists that can speak out to gain media attention that may be well known or famous? I am so angry and sad that this bill was passed, but do not know how or if this legislation can be changed. I am sure there is a loophole somewhere that can reverse the bill. It is nice to see so many people that care about animals and are willing to take a stand to try to protect them.

  19. Stef says:

    This is deplorable. We need more action. Calling for a boycott is OK but we need laws. What can we do? Can the Humane so iety get a big petition to reverse the decision of can we file a law suit to block it?

  20. Frankie Beverly says:

    This is absolutely insane to do this to these beautiful animals. Shame on the people who supported this move.

    • Frankie Beverly says:

      This is absolutely insane to do this to these beautiful animals. Shame on the people who supported this move.

  21. Patricia Friedman says:

    I will write my senators and call the White House but that can’t be our only plan. We need to do everything we can to fight this cruel law. Please form a coalition of animal protection groups to fight this bill in the courts. If we can get it delayed in the courts for two years we may be able to change it when we elect more compassionate lawmakers! I look forward to a plan from the HSUS and other groups to fight this in the courts.

  22. Pizzadel says:

    “The federal government will pay the bill for staffing the refuge, but the state will call the shots.” – Fact
    “That means these 16 national wildlife refuges will become killing fields for trophy hunters and trappers and baiters and spring hunters.” – Biased assumption, probably not based on fact, since I don’t believe it has been put in place yet.

  23. Kerry Grant says:

    Very saddened to learn of this appalling, cowardly act.
    PLEASE what can we do to stop it from passing?

    If this passes then all Federal land is at stake! This is ethically and morally w-r-o-n-g! Our wildlife deserves so much better than this man made cruelty.

  24. Maria Rase says:

    Whatever it takes we’re going to fight for this poor animals WHATEVER IT TAKES!!!! Let’s not give up on them!!

  25. Pete Colman says:

    Outrageous and disgraceful . Our own ” moderate ” Susan Collins renowned for her concern for animals voted for this . I guess her concern for animals are only those ones that the NRA , Ruger or Smith and Wesson have no interest in killing .Moderate ? ,what a joke she is like the rest of the party she is aligned with. Tools of the elite!

  26. Debbie says:

    That is totally absurd.
    Those animals have a right to live in our mountains and have young ones.
    It’s not a sport is as most people think it’s alright to take a life whether human or animal.
    A sad world we live in.

  27. Jewel Haines says:

    This is just terrible. I can’t believe that Congress would pass this. I am disgusted. I will pray for all of the Animals.

  28. Tammy Lynn Clark says:

    What would God want us to do?! Simple as that. We all are Gods creatures and all have a RIGHT TO LIVE AND BE HAPPY..

    TAMMY LYNN Clark. TLC.

  29. Roseann Hurd says:

    I am terribly disappointed in my Senator Ron Johnson of WI. I’m really disgusted with the hunters who support this. We need to go after them with a vengeance!

  30. Jenny Pruim says:

    Amen. I feel your pain. It is bottomless. These wonderful majestic creatures at the hands of insecure people who need to prove themselves. Disgusting. Heartbreaking.

  31. Ramona Meischner says:

    That’s why I do not grieve at all when something happens to any human being period I feel like God sort them out. Too much cruelty you don’t know who’s a demon at all anymore standing next to you I’m just not friendly with anyone. Animals have more compassion and unconditional love than any human being that walks this planet

  32. Bruria Tal says:

    Can this disastrous ruling be reversed and how can I help with this?

  33. Irene Lambiase says:

    I live in NJ and did call and write both my Senators who thankfully voted against this disgrace. Special thanks to Senator Booker for standing up and speaking against this on behalf of the defenseless animals who should be safe from this torture, especially on a National Refuge. How any of these other USELESS senators can have a clear conscious at the end of the day is beyond me. Decisions should not be based on GREED, they should be based on integrity, doing the right thing, merely because it is the right thing. Murkowski and Sullivan both from Alaska, are misguided and should not have the privilege of serving in office. Alaska must get rid of them, along with all of these other heartless senators. We must all be diligent in voting for the right people, and removing those who do not act in the best interest of their constituents. Call your Senators that voted against this and thank them. If you senator voted for this take time out of your day and call them too – let them know that every day you will be working hard to get them unelected. We must all remember to be informed and involved. We cannot step aside and accept defeat . Every day even if it’s just 5 minutes, take an action, do something to get these politicians out of office forever and get the right people in. The only way we will rid ourselves of these USELESS GREEDY politicians is take ACTION and be consistent. Again thank you to both my NJ Senators, Senator Booker and Senator Menendez for doing the right thing.

  34. Nancy says:

    I was truly sickened when I heard of this vote. I wrote, I called and sadly I cried. I can’t help but wonder with the current congress climate of revenge voting and party over country attitude….is anyone listening. Today I feel so defeated…so many cruel decisions being made in our country. I couldn’t sleep last night, thinking of our beautiful wildlife. They have no idea what is coming their way….what used to be their little piece of paradise will now become their cruel nightmare. Thank you to all who care, to all who fought……

  35. Bonnie McKnight says:

    For the first time in my life I am embarrassed and disgusted to have voted for South Carolina’s Senators: Tim Scott and Lindsay Graham. Shame on you!

  36. Rosemary homeister says:

    I’m with u to go to Alaska and fight for the animals

  37. Rita Bengtson/Rayburn says:

    I just heard about this right now as I was reading my F/B.There was nothing on the news, nothing about this anywhere. I can’t believe this is happening. I was hoping this new President would change things for the better but they are all the same, all out for themselves and their buddies. I hate them all for what they just did and I pray there will be a turnaround so none of these animals are brutally slaughtered just so these guys can boast about it. You have said everything that I feel and so much better. I can see these next 4 years are g oing to be nothing but hell.

  38. Barbara Patalics says:

    I think something visual works miracles, especially for those who support a party blindly.

    As inhumane as it sounds, photos on the internet, in newspapers and in magazines would change people’s hearts. People need to see the carnage the this vote will allow. And yes, children need to understand and see the slaughter as well….

  39. Veronica Follan says:

    I am so sad about the passage of this bill and the effect it will have on our wildlife in “wildlife refuges”. It makes no sense to call a refuge a place to kill wild animals that deserve our respect and protection. My heart breaks for the litters that will be born this spring and the chance that they will not live due to the inhumane ways that animals will be hunted. Please keep us posted on what we can do to change this turn of events. The clock on wildlife management has been turned back many years. To think that unknowing bears, wolves, foxes and other animals will be hunting, gathering and trying to feed their families while in the cross hairs of aerial hunting, baiting, cruel traps, poisoning, use of dogs and other methods. I pray that we can come up with a coalition that can somehow rise up in court or in the public eye to let the country know who voted for this bill. I believe that if the majority of Americans knew about this bill being passed they too would be horrified.

  40. Nicole Houser Kizer says:

    Rite on! Love what you wrote!!!

  41. Robsert Cook says:

    I’m with you 100% in whatever you decide to do. I agree a boycott of Alaska tourism is a great idea. We as a nation cannot sit by and let mother bears and wolves and their children be subjected to such cruelty.

    • Anne-Laure Gambier says:

      Hello everyone, I am french and I am so sad… I have discovered this evil bill on internet this morning… Shame on all this dangerous men and women who are voted for this insane bill… I am with you and all the animal with all my heart !
      Trump doesn’t deserve his place !

  42. tiggs says:

    I feel totally as you feel. In fact, at that moment, If I could have renounced my citizenship I would have. In my heart, I have. They could not wait to do this. These people are not people, they are devils in disguise. We must fight this, we must come together, groups and individuals and fight it. I certainly hope Wayne gets right on this, as I am sure he will, and get us marching in the right direction because I am more than ready for war.

  43. Jackie Phillips says:

    I totally agree with all your comments. I live in Israel & am absolutely sickened by what is going on there. All living creatures have a right to live the life they were intended to.

    There is so much evil in this world, when is it going to stop. Unfortunately the perpetrators of these heinous crimes do not get anywhere near the punishment they deserve, if any.

  44. Mavis Tompkins says:

    America needs more people like you. You HAVE to stand firm. We tried to ban fox hunting in my country, the U.K., but imbeciles still bait, lure, trap and use dogs to rip them from the holes they cower in, the tails are cut off while still alive for ‘trophies’, and the dogs tear the foxes to pieces. Don’t allow this barbarity in your own country to escalate. Stop it now.

  45. Leann Baddick says:

    It’s bad enough all of the animals that are already extinct because of humans , why are we actively TRYING to kill off more species??? We think we own this earth, WE DO NOT! We share it with many creatures that also have a right to be here!

  46. Donna chase says:

    I love you Henrietta …this is so awful…..I’m heartsick and heartbroken. Cowards Is what they are. Thank you for what you said. I couldn’t have said it better

  47. Brunie colòn says:

    What’s wrong whit this diabolic people, why they want to exterminate the animal, man are not better tham the animal because men and animal have the same aucome they die you idiots die too , stop killing this beautiful criatures they all created by Jehovah God , so stop the killing

  48. Susan Kelley says:


  49. Karina Hwang says:

    This is absolutely horrible. It’s heartbreaking. I wonder how these politicians can sleep at night without any regards or care for the consequences of their decisions. Everything they do has an interior motive and for some reason a humane side is always missing. It’s sad to see that the president who is supposed to be a role model for all the people including young minds, finds this practice to be acceptable. Since Trump has been elected, we are going backwards – going back to the unacceptable and despicable hunting practices and let’s not even talk about climate change and eco-friendly practices. What can we do to undo this decision? There has to be something…

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