Boise, Idaho. Four conservation organizations today filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program over its large-scale, often secretive killing of wild animals in Idaho. The program kills millions of animals nationwide every year, and in 2013 killed more than 3,000 mammals in Idaho alone via aerial gunning, neck snares, foothold traps, and toxic devices known as M-44s that spray sodium cyanide into the victim’s mouth, causing tremendous suffering and releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.

“It’s long overdue for Wildlife Services to be held accountable for killing wildlife and releasing pollutants into our environment,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project. “We want an explanation for this deplorable expenditure of public funds.”

The lawsuit will challenge Wildlife Services’ renewal of its efforts in Idaho to eradicate coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes and other important carnivores from the landscape for the benefit of private livestock and agricultural interests. Wildlife Services also plans to remove dozens of beaver dams using explosives that will harm bull trout, a protected species. The program admits that its trapping activities will harm threatened grizzly bears and Canada lynx. Trapping also targets fishers, which are in rapid decline in the Northern Rocky Mountains due to a vast increase in trapping activities in Idaho. Conservation groups have petitioned to protect the fisher under the Endangered Species Act.

“One of the many problems with this program is the many unintended victims left in its wake, including endangered species,” said Andrea Santarsiere, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzly bears, lynx and bull trout are all suffering at the hands of Wildlife Services, and that needs to stop.”

Wildlife Services has come under increasing criticism for the sheer number of animals that it kills and injures, (including many nontarget animals), the ineffectiveness of its methods, its cruel and inhumane tactics, and its antiquated attitude about carnivores, which scientists demonstrate are critically important to maintaining intact ecosystems in the western United States. Beavers similarly play a key role in healthy ecosystems and are critical to successful climate adaptation. New research demonstrates the essential role beavers play by stabilizing streams, slowing snowmelt runoff, and improving fish habitat, among other benefits.

“Native carnivores and beavers are key parts of healthy, thriving ecosystems,” said Drew Kerr, carnivore advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Wildlife Services needs to join the 21st century and follow the best available science to ensure its activities don’t further damage Idaho’s ecosystems.”

After members of Congress demanded an investigation of the program’s practices earlier this year, the Agriculture Department commenced anaudit of its wildlife control activities. Due to the lack of any regulatory framework to govern the program, the Center for Biological Diversity and allies filed a comprehensive petition for reform in December 2013.

Wildlife Services has never conducted either an analysis of the statewide environmental impacts of its activities or of the impact of beaver dam destruction.

“Wildlife Services–what a euphemism–has never shown itself to be biologically or fiscally sound,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “In fact, in the case of coyotes, the killing program seems to be a never-ending bloodbath that harms other species as well.”

Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and Friends of the Clearwater are represented by Boise-based law firm Advocates for the West.

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116 Responses to Lawsuit Launched to Stop Out-of-control Wildlife Killing by Secretive Federal Agency in Idaho

  1. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    Great . Long overdue. Will be a huge fight with the rogue agency finally out in the open.

    But do we need another 49 lawsuits against Wildlife ( Dis)Services, one for each state ?

    • avatar CodyCoyote says:

      I ask this because in Wyoming, the state Game & Fish Department contracts with Wildlife (Dis)Services to do a lot of their ” control ” work…basically anything not a cougar or grizzly , which G&F still manhandle themselves.

      But worse, Wyoming has a state-run state funded predator control authority which is run thru each county individually…stae pays half, the county pays half or they do an in-kind trade for services. But guess what ? – the state predator control system hires the same federal Wildlife ( Dis)Services to do a huge amount of the local work. And yes, Wildlife (Dis)Services is on call 24/7/365 for any phone calls from any rancher for any reason, and they come a ‘ runnin’.

      The only way it could be any worse was if Coyotes, Foxes, and Skunks were all fluorescent orange and glowed in the dark…

      • avatar JB says:

        Cody:

        You’ve described quite aptly the problem with disbanding wildlife. The urge/predisposition/desire (whatever) of ranchers to kill ‘vermin’ will not go away with the end of WS. Indeed, they may get even more aggressive. So you eliminate the agency and what happens. The same folks that are doing the trapping now will be doing the trapping in the future; the big difference–there will be no federal accountability, no EA/EIS, no FOIA, no entity to ‘reform’. Just lots of individuals engaged in ‘self-help’.

        I wish more folks understood this and could temper their emotional responses to WS.

        • avatar Ken Cole says:

          In your scenario, who would pay for it?

          • avatar WM says:

            Ken,

            Cost is nominal. From what I understand Idaho WS annual budget hovers around $2.5M/year. A little less than half is paid by it’s cooperators. So, I am guessing that amount won’t go away, and some might be added to pay for private contractors if federal dollars are reduced/eliminated, or as JB says, a little more self-help (maybe more predator derbies in all candor), and we won’t know how many animals are removed.

            I’d say be extra careful what you wish for as a remedy in this suit.

            • avatar CodyCoyote says:

              Cost is nominal you say ? The Wyoming predator control board spent $ 6 million one year trapping or killing 6 ,000 coyotes. Do the math . That is an even $ 1,000 per coyote. Nominal, like hell…..

              My question : how much of that cost was paid directly out of the livestock producer’s own pockets ?

              • avatar WM says:

                Cody,

                I can’t find a current WY WS/APHIS report, but if 2006 is representative, their budget is about $2.8M or so. One third to one-half of that is co-op matching funds, from private funds or local taxes.

                You prove my point, if WY predator control board is ALREADY spending $6M per year on coyotes alone. Their budget would just expand, and whatever counties/cities need help, or associations/boards that collect livestock assessments might just go over to them, if they want more coyote control.

                Other point is that some WS functions are not lethal removal at all. They are consultations, relocations, and technical assistance to others.

                The lethal removal stuff is not going to go away if all of a sudden somebody says no more WS wet work. And, of course, there is the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, which is another technical assistance arm. I think there is a coyote research facility at Utah State in Logan, too. The problem is nobody has come up with a sure fire solution that non-lethal works on coyotes (despite a very small body of research to the contrary). TX is probably the biggest killer of coyotes, with something like 34,000, per year, if I recall correctly, mostly done by the state and private sectors, with WS only dealing with urban coyote problems.

              • avatar WM says:

                And, by the way, Cody, when I said “nominal” I meant the total WS budget for all they do. Again, if the WY predator control board is spending as much as you say, that is where the real money is on ONLY 1 species. WS deals with so much more, and really not that much money, especially if you want to do the math on a per animal basis, not all of which are lethally removed.

                That is one aspect of this impending suit, that borders on nonsense, when you look at it closely. Sure does sucker some folks in though.

              • avatar CodyCoyote says:

                WM— if there is any real benefit to snipering or poisoning coyotes ( I don;t believe there is ) , that purported benefit is almost all to to the livestock producer’s gain. So I ask again : How much of Wildlife Services rpedator control expense comes out of the pkckets of the prime benefactor, thje Stockgrower ?

                In my Park County WY , ALL the taxpayers are paying into the line item of predator control , directly . Same for the State funding that trickles down as a matching fund . It’s just about like Weed & Pest …it is taxpayer funded. 23 counties, 23 county rpedator control boards…ALL for the livestock producer’s benefit but we already know that livestock and indeed all of Agriculture makes up only 6 percent of Wyoming’s economic activity, and only 3 percent of the population are employed in Ag or ag related services.

                Cowboy State my duff… we all pay forsustaining that myth , an no worse example of subsidizing ranchers than paying taxes to shoot MY Coyotes… needlessly IMHO. Killing coyotes is the methadone of ranchers addicted to subsidies paid by everyone but ranchers themselves. Their increased profit due to decreased cost of doing business is coming out of my pocket, to that extent.

                ( If I didn’t like Coyotes I wouldn’t use one for my handle , so I may be somewhat biased here. But I feel exactly the same about wolves, black bears, grizz, and cougar as well )

          • avatar JB says:

            “In your scenario, who would pay for it?”

            If WS were dissolved? Then it would depend on states, who would likely leave it to local governments to decide (except, of course, in states where the ag industry has considerable power in the legislature).

        • avatar Yvette says:

          “I wish more folks understood this and could temper their emotional responses to WS.”

          I think this manifests from more than an emotional response. Accountability and justification comes to mind.

          + numbers of animals killed, both proactively and at request of ag producer;
          + numbers of non-target animals killed and the response/action;
          + justification for funds used and how their budget is devised;
          + how is WS documenting that they follow safety protocols when administering the M44’s.
          + how transparent is WS when they use M44’s where the public has a potential of exposure?
          +justification of the proactive killing of millions of animals and thousands of predators; (have they updated their overall strategy with recent scientific studies? Is there a need to intentionally kill over 76,000 coyotes and over 1,000 bobcats? If so, perhaps WS should publicly justify this number, the methods, and back it up with scientific studies that shows this strategy is fulfilling the goal.

          If WS needs to be reined in or reformed then so be it. If that action causes ag producers to go rogue and start their own killing then they should be held accountable. Our society enacts laws for a reason. If we have laws that protect wildlife from indiscriminate killing then they should be enforced.

          A society evolves and its agencies and the people that govern the society have to evolve, even if, it means dragging them along kicking and screaming. We’ve seen this many times throughout history with many different issues.

          Lastly, yes, we can temper our emotions, but we also need to take note that if not for emotions we would never change. We would never act against injustices, never fight for the voiceless, never stand up against tyranny, and never fight against cruelty for those people and animals who cannot fight. That takes emotion. Without emotion we would be little more than robotic-like, or drugged up people shuffling to and fro jobs to end the day listlessly tuned in to our TVs and computers advertising their propaganda.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            BIG + 1 Yvette!!

          • avatar WM says:

            Yvette,

            Some of you folks just don’t get it. The naivete is overwhelming. State livestock boards will just step in and get the job done with less accountability than a federal agency. Probably more efficient, less transparent, more subject to entrenched ag nobleman lobby, less time screwing around getting cooperator contracts and writing reports, and certainly no federal NEPA requirements.

            • avatar timz says:

              No you don”t get it. You don’t ignore a wrong because stopping it might lead someone else to do it instead.

              • avatar WM says:

                Also maybe smarter to dance with the devil you know, rather than the one you don’t.

                You really think ID on its own could do animal damage control better and be more “accountable?” I don’t.

              • avatar timz says:

                Not better, but given budgets I think they would do a lot less of it.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                With state and local budgets, they are much more accountable (if citizens are paying attention) for how the money is spent also.

                Long live the open town meeting! 🙂

                I’m much more concerned about the lack of emotion shown with killing animals. Most of the time it would be considered psychopathy. People shouldn’t let themselves deny their gut feelings about this stuff just because the majority of people (seem to) go along with it.

              • avatar WM says:

                Looking at the federal wage scale as compared to ID local or state government, I am going to guess you might get two ID state employees for the cost of 1 fed.

                The fed will be better trained in safety, maybe alternative non-lethal strategies, and other technology transfer from the WS National Wildlife Research Centers, and may be some specialists available in a particular species/field control method.

                Yeah, turn an untrained Bubba or a local cop/deputy sheriff loose with poisons, traps and maybe a firearm to deal with a problem, and you might just have even more collateral damage than with WS.

              • avatar timz says:

                You mean the highly trained agents that turn their dogs loose on trapped coyotes or pose for pictures with trapped bloodied wolves.

              • avatar JB says:

                “Not better, but given budgets I think they would do a lot less of it.”

                Yep, because Idaho’s legislature is soooo unfriendly to livestock interests.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            “f WS needs to be reined in or reformed then so be it. If that action causes ag producers to go rogue and start their own killing then they should be held accountable. Our society enacts laws for a reason. If we have laws that protect wildlife from indiscriminate killing then they should be enforced.

            A society evolves and its agencies and the people that govern the society have to evolve, even if, it means dragging them along kicking and screaming. We’ve seen this many times throughout history with many different issues.”
            +1 as with nancy a BIG + 1 for all of it! well spoken

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            Yes, a big +1 from me too – I’m tired of putting up with the unacceptable because we fear the alternative might be worse.

            Whether or not certain people might take matters into their own hands, we cannot have our government sanctioning this kind of wasteful killing. We no longer live 200 years ago, our wildlife is tremendously stressed from our relentless, modern activities. We were wasteful of animal life because we must have perceived this country as endless abundance, but that is rapidly coming to an end. The more we encroach and develop our growing population and all the needs that go along with it, wildlife is pushed into ever smaller and fragmented areas. Every one we kill will be replaced by another, so where’s the sense in that? We should think of the future.

            • avatar Ida Lupine says:

              And we certainly need to get rid of those g-d M-44 devices and Compound 1080 from WWII!!!! We’re slowly poisoning ourselves along with everything else.

        • avatar Ed Loosli says:

          JB: States have very little funds for “controlling” unwanted wildlife and counties have even less money…Losing the 50% of funding for Wildlife Services that comes from the federal government would be a big step forward.

  2. avatar April Lane says:

    Finally the possibility of some accountability-let’s hope this turns the heat up and we see some reform!

  3. avatar Jon Way says:

    It seems these days that court ordered lawsuits are the only way to produce change… yet is much needed in this case. If “the good guys” win, this will certainly set precedence and reform the agency nationwide. It still is amazing to think that public funds are used to benefit mostly private ranchers, especially in such die-hard conservative states like ID where they want no gov’t interference. If nothing else, this suit will surely expose the hypocrisy of this program.

  4. avatar Joanne Favazza says:

    If the “fiscal conservatives” in Congress were really concerned about government waste, they would’ve abolished Wildlife Services a long time ago. By exposing the bloody deeds of WS, perhaps this lawsuit will lead to WS’s demise. One can only hope….

  5. avatar WM says:

    “…Out of Control Wildlife Killing…”

    That is an opinion, and possibly a yet to be proven fact. Critics of WS tend to look at things in the aggregate because it sound simpressive…like 3,000 mammals per year killed by WS in ID, of course, secretively with “no oversight.”

    One has to wonder if you break it down exactly how bad is it, really? I won’t pretend to know how many cooperator contracts Idaho WS has with counties in the state, but do recognize it is a huge state with something like 44 counties and a fair amount of acreage in agriculture and livestock production, maybe a couple dozen cities in those counties that could be candidate cooperators which contract for WS wildlife damage control services. Then there is the FWS, FS, BLM, IDFG, Corps of Engineers, the various port authorities, and probably some others I missed, which might request services.

    Even if they lethally remove up to 3,000 mammals, across a range of species, per year, considering problem wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars and other predators, along with skunks, raccoons, beavers and their dams (flood control or public safety to protect expensive bridges, roads, houses and commercial buildings), that is only 8.2 mammals/ day over 83,500 square miles of area, of agricultural, semi-urban and mountainous lands. Could be 3X that many animals get hit on the interstate and arterial highways in ID over the same time period, of some of the same species, too.

    ? – Was NEPA really intended to look at this kind of “significant federal action” when rolled up from individual requests of OTHERS to deal with wildlife damages problems on private as well as state and local public lands, which are not federal? And, let’s not forget the management of wildlife, except as specifically provided by federal statute, is left to the states. So, is it really “federal action” beyond the expenditure of federal tax dollars, especially when cooperator governments often pay for up to half of the costs for the services to remove state managed wildlife, or are services are requested, as in the case of management of wolves (ESA protected or not) which is ALREADY pursuant to federally approved management plans and, in the case of wolves in the NRM an overall EIS for wolf reintroduction and, of course their plans?

    Is it just possible this threatened legal action is the tail wagging the dog here?

    OK, so if plaintiffs are successful, maybe WS has to do an updated EA/FONSI or two ubder NEPA. And, a federal judge is going to TELL a federal agency how to do its job, under an “arbitrary and capricious” or “abuse of discretion” legal standard? Would a judge enjoin them from conducting their work until such NEPA reviews are done?

    I am a bit hesitant to do a prediction here, but my initial thought is – unlikely. And, if WS isn’t doing lethal removal of these animals I bet IDFG or private parties will be- and you won’t even know how many are removed or where. Then there are the beaver and their dams – if ponds created behind dams are deemed a public safety hazard, endangering costly structures and human life -even if endangered trout species are at risk – they will likely be removed. I just don’t see WS going around indiscriminately killing beaver/destroying dams without a reasoned request from someone else in the public OR a private property owner (if they provide that service) who is having unwanted beaver on their property gnawing down trees.

    • avatar WM says:

      First sentence …impressive.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      how many millions of wild animals need to be killed before out of control applies?

      • avatar WM says:

        Of course, they are removed for no legitimate purpose, right? When the break-down of species and reasons for removal are done the logic makes better sense to some.

        The example that comes to mind for me is control of the non-native species, common starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Fruit ranchers have seen what those little buggers can do to a cherry crop. Millions of this species alone cause tens of millions of dollars of damage to crops, and if a bunch get trapped, poisoned or shot it’s an absolute travesty, according to some.

        On the other hand, when you roll it all up into some friggin’ mostly meaningless number it sound so….. impressive, and “out of control.”

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          “On the other hand, when you roll it all up into some friggin’ mostly meaningless number it sound so….. impressive, and “out of control.”
          From http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/governments-kill-of-4-million-animals-seen-as-an-overstep/2014/06/06/1de0c550-ecc4-11e3-b98c-72cef4a00499_story.html
          ” The more than 4 million animals shot, poisoned, snared or trapped by the Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in fiscal year 2013 included 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks, 419 black bears and at least three eagles, golden and bald.

          Though there’s a list of animals killed, there’s little data showing the cause for each killing, the methods used and the reasons behind mistakes that lead to massive kills of animals that aren’t targeted.”

          Of course when you roll it up into some meaningless justification to kill 76,000+ wild coyotes, 866 bobcats, 3700 foxes and so on that cause absolutely no damage to crops I can now clearly see exactly how crazy and unjustified it is to want reform.

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      Won’t State and local agencies be less likely to switch to other wildlife-removal services if they have to pay the whole bill? As I understand it, the federal government is paying half of the bill for the work of Wildlife Services. If it costs more to do that work more scientifically, won’t it still come out more economical at half price?

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      I see now that my comment about the federal subsidy is related to Ken Cole’s question above: “In your scenario [of switching to other wildlife-removal services without a federal subsidy], who would pay for it?”

    • avatar Ed Loosli says:

      WM: States have very little funds for “controlling” unwanted wildlife and counties have even less money…Losing the 50% of funding for Wildlife Services that comes from the federal government would be a big step forward.

      • avatar WM says:

        “…would be a big step forward…”

        A step in which direction for what? … more self-help, or Bubba deputy sheriff chasing after skunks, raccoons and the occasional problem mountain lion, rather than doing the job for which he/she was trained?

        If you are worried about spending money, just think how much has been spent on these wolf reintroductions/repopulations and livestock compensation programs, as well as the non-lethal expenditures now expected of livestock producers. It is a bunch, and I imagine you would be surprised once it is all totaled up.

      • avatar JB says:

        Ed:

        The “agents” who control predators for wildlife services tend to be local trappers. If WS went away tomorrow those same guys would be out trapping the next day–this time with no paperwork, no EAs or EISs, and they get to keep and sell the pelts of the animals they ‘remove’.

        I get it– a lot of people don’t like that the feds are subsidizing the ‘control’ of nuisance wildlife. And I agree that if we (as a society) are going to fund such an agency that, at least to the extent practicable, that agency should seek to use non-lethal methods first (at least for native species). But it simply is not true that getting rid of wildlife services will in any way reduce the number of animals that are killed.

        • avatar JB says:

          Sorry hit “reply” too soon:

          But it simply is not true that getting rid of wildlife services will in any way reduce the number of animals that are killed. See the problem is that it is culturally-ingrained in agricultural communities to kill these animals. Get rid of WS and livestock producers will either do it themselves, or higher a local trapper. In either case, the animals will still be dead. The difference is we won’t know where, nor how many.

  6. avatar Gary Humbard says:

    We do not have a Wildlife Services problem, we have a livestock demand problem. If a large contingent of consumers quit purchasing livestock products, there would be a minimal need for Wildlife Services to kill coyotes, bears, bobcats, foxes and wolves.

    We certainly don’t need beef and lamb to meet protein needs as protein powders, free ranging chickens, wild caught salmon and bison are excellent sources of protein and provide a less intrusive impact to the environment. I have not purchased livestock products for 10 years and have not missed them one bit.

    Except for a few minor exceptions (ie. work boots) there is no need to purchase leather and wool products. There are many other material options that are less obtrusive to the environment.

    • avatar TC says:

      Gary – it’s not quite that simple, and you’ve purchased quite a few “livestock products”, probably without even knowing it. You could do a little background checking on each of these (and many more below) to see if there is a “vegan” or “animal friendly” alternative, but good luck with that and having an otherwise productive life. A cursory list of things in your daily life that likely contain animal products (cattle mostly, but perhaps sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry also) include: paint, wallpaper, carpet, plywood, drywall, refrigerators, air conditioners, ceramic tiles, foam rubber, detergents, fabric softeners, many disinfectants, household cleaners, polishes, credit cards, paper money, asphalt, concrete blocks, steel, lubricants and fluids, brake fluid and anti-freeze, tires (stearic acid), sunscreens, deodorants, soaps and shampoos, cosmetics, toothpastes and mouthwashes, stomach remedies, vitamins and mineral supplements, a few remaining cortisone and insulin preparations, treatments for anemia, emphysema, malaria, stroke and heart attacks, computers, photocopiers, electrical circuit boards, ink toners, copy paper, steel ball bearings, lubricants, industrial cleaners, fire extinguishers, photographic films, filters, inks, papers, brushes, art supplies, instruments (eg, drums, pianos, many stringed instruments).

      Moo. It’s all around you, and not just for dinner.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        But does it need to be all around us TC?

      • avatar Scott Slocum says:

        In most of those products, the materials that are currently coming from animal products have been, could be, or will be replaced by other materials.

        At any rate, few people envision a world totally free of animal products. What most people envision is less animal products, and thus less stress on the animals, their environment, our environment, and our health.

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        Not to mention that a vast percentage of the “alternative” prouducts are petroleum based….

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          Yes, we might as well mention that, as well as mentioning that a “vast” percentage are mined, logged, row-cropped, cell-cultured, and refined from the above.

          Yes, we do need to conserve our use of fossil fuels. But I doubt that substituting animal products comes out as a primary strategy for doing that in an actual economic analysis. Yes, please do refer me to an actual economic analysis (I’m no expert).

  7. avatar Yvette says:

    I’m a bit surprised that the discussion on this thread implies there is a snowball chance in hell that WS could be dissolved. That is improbable. I think most people would be satisfied with reform and accountability.

    What is the mission of Wildlife Services?

    To improve the coexistence of people and wildlife.

    How many of you defending them believe they are meeting that goal/mission?

    • avatar JB says:

      “How many of you defending them believe they are meeting that goal/mission?”

      You can count me in the group that believes that WS is having a positive impact on coexistence. As I’ve noted many, many times in the past, WS is much larger than the controversial predator control program that folks here are myopically focused on.

      —-
      I’m happy to be specific, Yvette:

      I fully support reforming predator control to emphasize non-lethal methods. I don’t support calls to do away with the agency, or the use of non-lethal methods for invasive or exotic species (as some of the animal rights folks demand). I also support the use of lethal methods for birds around airports.

      Fair enough?

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Yes, that is fair enough and it is logical. I understand there are times when lethal control is necessary. I may not like it, but I can live with it. I do not support the proactive killing for most of the species listed in their reports. I am not convinced that it is prudent or beneficial. If it is, I believe the public deserves an annual report that justifies the number of proactive kills based on whether the ecological and financial costs meet WS’s goals, mission.

        I do not support turning over wildlife control to the states.

      • avatar Scott Slocum says:

        Yes, let’s “reforming predator control to emphasize non-lethal methods.” And let’s continue research to develop more non-lethal controls at airports, too.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        No, not really fair enough. Likewise, I do realize there are times when lethal control may be necessary, but I think it is rare. There is much, much more we can do when it isn’t absolutely necessary.

        We take it for granted to much that we can just eliminate them. It’s always our first go-to option. We might consider not bringing in exotic species in the first place, such as making and enforcing laws about bringing exotics into this country, and taking more care with shipping and air travel ahead of time. Maybe we can make airfields less attractive to wildlife, we’re the ones with the supposed intelligence, use it! Don’t just react.

        At Logan Airport, they’ve been relocating snowy owls for 30 years.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            It was revealed last year that officials ordered staff to shoot snowy owls at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after five of the creatures flew into aircrafts in the New York area within two weeks. Outrage from animal activists ensued, prompting a quick change by officials allowing live trapping and relocation.

            Logan, however, is by far the most popular airport for the arctic birds, which prompted Jeffrey Turner, a wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture who has worked at Logan Airport for three years, to put together a new protocol that is now used throughout the country to live trap and relocate the birds.

            In case nobody saw this from the article I posted, I thought I’d highlight this paragraph. Yes, this wonderful person works for the government, and yes, he worked hard for a non-lethal solution.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              So it can be done. The old ways of doing things no longer apply in our modern world.

              The excuse given for shooting the mountain lion was that ‘he’d have fallen to his death up in the tree anyway’. But, what isn’t addressed is that they didn’t have to tree the poor thing with dogs in the first place! A young, inexperienced cat could have been tranquilized and relocated – not unceremoniously shot for his fatal mistake. And don’t lie to a public who want to believe in good by telling them you are going to make sure the right animal was removed, and do just the opposte.

              I’d be willing to bet that the kid wandered more than the ‘only ten feet ahead’ the media is reporting, as kids are likely to do while exploring and enjoying the outdoors. Small children need to be constantly kept an eye on and their gross motor skills are not fully developed – he could have fallen or been hurt in any number of ways. While I wouldn’t say the parents were ‘at fault’, if they happened to look away and he ran up ahead of them, it resulted in an accident that is their responsibility.

              Fast, dirty and cheap is the way to deal with wildlife according to these cruel agencies.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                LOL – the song “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” just came to mind – Wildlife Services’ theme song!

        • avatar JB says:

          “I do realize there are times when lethal control may be necessary, but I think it is rare.”

          Yet in 4? years of posting here, I’ve never once seen you admit that a particular case of lethal control is justified. People are always blamed.

          “We might consider not bringing in exotic species in the first place, such as making and enforcing laws about bringing exotics into this country, and taking more care with shipping and air travel ahead of time.”

          Actually, we already do those things, Ida. And guess which agency takes a lead role? If you guessed the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS, the parent agency of WS) then you’d be correct:

          http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/content/printable_version/fs_attack_of_the_invasive_species.pdf

          If you think the agency “just react[s]” then you’re really not paying attention.

          • avatar JB says:

            Here’s a suggestion for you, Ida: Since you’re convinced that you know best how wildlife should be managed, I suggest you join your state’s chapter of the Wildlife Society (look here: http://wildlife.org/subunits/chapters).

            After you join, you’ll find opportunities to meet agency decisions makers, participate in workshops and other learning opportunities, and you might even meet a few nice people. Most importantly, you’re virtually guarranteed to meet a hunter or three, and maybe even [audible gasp] a trapper (maybe even one who works for Wildlife Services!). Thus, you’ll have lots of opportunities to tell these evil barbarians how little they understand about wildlife. Who knows, with a bit of proselytizing, you may even convince a few of your superior morality?!

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              I don’t need any suggestions, but thank you anyway, I’m a member of wildlife and preservation groups already. I never said I know best, either – just taking part in discussion and opinion.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                Ida

                Approximately 40% of all posting today have been you. Your realm of knowledge is amazing.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                Elk, I care very much about these issues. Other people have things that are more important and take precedence, I guess.

              • avatar JB says:

                “I don’t need any suggestions, but thank you anyway, I’m a member of wildlife and preservation groups already.”

                If you’re really interested in knowing what’s going on with wildlife (especially policy) in your state, then you should join and show up at meetings. If, on the other hand, you’re really only interested in being yet another opinionated person with an axe to grind on the internet, well, by all means carry on as usual.

              • avatar Yvette says:

                If I may, give them a chance, Ida. There are plenty of good guys working as F&G managers for the state agencies. Because of my work I come in contact with them from time to time at various trainings or conferences. They aren’t monsters, and of the guys I’ve met, they do this work because they love nature, love to hunt and/or fish, and yes, they do want to protect it ecosystems and animals for reasons beyond hunting or fishing. Most of these guys are not your ‘Smoke a pack a day’ “hunters”.

                Personally, I think it’s a good thing to attempt to understand someone else’s viewpoint. There is usually something of value to learn from an opposing viewpoint.

                We have a huge wildlife and fishing expo coming up and I’ve never bothered to go. I plan to go this year. This isn’t a conference or training, but big family entertainment type event. Likely, I’ll be blinded by the camoflage, but that’s okay. I bet I’ll come across information that will be useful in my work.

                Give it a shot, Ida. What have you got to lose?

            • avatar Amre says:

              JB

              To be honest, i’ve always wondered about the true motives of these hunters when they preserve wildlife habitat. They only seem to do it if they can hunt on it…..

              • avatar JB says:

                “They only seem to do it if they can hunt on it…” (emphasis mine)

                Amre:

                I hear this a lot from people on this forum. The assumption (i.e., hunters are only motivated by harvest) simply hasn’t played out in any research that I know of. Let me give you a very recent example…

                Ohio sells a “Wildlife Legacy Stamp” that is primarily meant for habitat protection and T&E species. For your $15, you get a stamp and a pin, but no consumptive opportunity (as you would with a hunting, trapping or fishing license). The state wanted to know who these folks are, so we conducted a study that is just now wrapping up. One of the findings– 83.1% of legacy stamp purchasers had hunted at some point in their lives. Might they be donating simply to support habitat so they have places to hunt? Sure, it’s possible. But they donated–voluntarily and knowing that some of that money will go to T&E species.

            • avatar Nancy says:

              “Thus, you’ll have lots of opportunities to tell these evil barbarians how little they understand about wildlife”

              Long day at the office JB? I certainly wouldn’t refer to them as evil, but barbarians wouldn’t be a stretch 🙂

              • avatar Nancy says:

                bar·bar·i·an (bär-bâr-n)
                n.
                1. A member of a people considered by those of another nation or group to have a primitive civilization.

                2. A fierce, brutal, or cruel person.

                3. An insensitive, uncultured person; a boor

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              I’ll take it under advisement. But I doubt I could be in the same room with a trapper.

            • avatar Ed Loosli says:

              A better suggestion, I believe, is to work at the county level to convince them to end contracting with Wildlife Services and adopting non-lethal predator protection methods. Marin County, California has been off the Wildlife Services teat for ten years and they are saving money and saving their wildlife.

              • avatar JB says:

                That’s a great solution for Marin County–one of the most liberal places in the nation. There may be two or three counties in all of the NRMs that could be convinced to adopt a similar strategy. Not really a net gain for wildlife, IMO.

              • avatar WM says:

                ED,

                Marin County, north of San Francisco = 828 square miles, or the equivalent of about 29 miles long and 29 miles wide; has a human density of 300 humans/ sq. miles, and no agriculture.

                Wow, now there is a county model representative of the West.

                Of course you could cite Davis, CA, which terminated its WS contract a couple years back. Well, Yolo County and the county to the SW are still cooperators, which means that Davis (a liberal college town of 65,000 people) still gets the benefit of the work done around the city limits, AND PAID FOR BY OTHERS.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            I think you are wrong about that. I have said it before.

            I wasn’t referring only to the Agency; I was referring to people as a whole, who tend to react.

            Yes, I’m sure there are groups under the umbrella of WIS, but those are not the ones in question in this particular discussion. This is the one most have a problem with, the one in collusion with ranchers to make up fake wolf depredations:

            “It works like this: A rancher has a hurt or dead calf or sheep, calls the misnamed federal agency Wildlife Services, who will say it’s a wolf kill. Wildlife Services calls the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Fish and Game rubber-stamps whatever Wildlife Services wants—usually to “kill all offending wolves.” In the summer months, there are thousands of sheep and cattle on the SNRA. Some are going to be sick or hurt every day. If wolves come around, they are blamed.”

            http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2007152960#.VBI7CjfwvIV

            • avatar Amre says:

              Well, as long as IDFG and WS are pretty much controlled by the hunting and ranching industry’s, i don’t think this will change anytime soon.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              Sorry, that should read:

              “Yes, I’m sure there are groups under the umbrella of WS that do a good and admirable job, but those are not the ones in question in this particular discussion.”

              And with budget cuts, they can’t do the jobs they way they should be done. I’m well aware of how the government works. For example, exotic snakes are still being allowed to be imported and sold, despite what’s happening in the Everglades, and the dangers they present. Why must we always have such a slow and weak response? This should be a simple matter.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Yes, it’s pretty hard to coexist with humans when you’re dead. 🙁

      This is taking advantage of the public who want to do the right thing by lying to them.

  8. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Speaking of trapping, isn’t this like your worst nightmare? I can’t even imagine somebody legitimately contemplating opening up a torture chamber like this, let alone getting approval from fish and wildlife. No wonder the bobcats are killing their young rather than have them live in a place like this:

    Fur Flies over Montana Bobcat Farm

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Money. Too many people worship it and have no conscience when it comes to obtaining money. Comfort is not enough for many people. Unfortunately, our society is inundated with the message that money (and all physical objects of value) are the most important aspect of life. It matters not who suffers, how long they suffer, or what is destroyed in the process of obtaining money and physical objects. Embedded into our social mores is the message that those with the most money, and the biggest, best and newest of everything are the most important people. If the women (and some men, but it is driven mostly by fashion and women) didn’t wear fur coats (status symbol for money and power) there would be no need for commercial trapping or fur farms of any kind. I know it won’t go away, but we should be obligated to make it as difficult as possible to obtain fur, and shame people for their shallowness.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        The Bakken sounds like a haven for lowlife too, doesn’t it? Drugs, crime, prostitution, and taking every last drop of oil from the ground possible.

        I think wearing a fur coat is an insult to women, even offering them for sale to women is an insulting – the implication being that we are shallow, vain and preoccupied with our appearance, socially unaware, don’t care about suffering of other living things, and, well, just plain dumb. This man seems to think it isn’t any different than raising animals for food, which is bad enough, but at least there’s an element of necessity to it – but we don’t need to torture and skin animals, and keep them in unnatural, unhealthy conditions to decorate ourselves. It makes me think of the likes of Kim Kardashian or something. *shudder*

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          Each generation, in each continent, will stubbornly make its own, separate decision on these issues. North Americans and Western Europeans became convinced in the 1990s that “fur is dead,” but that seems to have been the generational and cultural limit of the movement.

          I wanted to leave a comment on this article to add a bit of darkness to its poor attempt at lightheartedness, but it didn’t seem to be open to comments. I really don’t understand how fur farms are allowed to slip by the normal prohibitions against raising wildlife in agricultural captivity.

          • avatar Scott Slocum says:

            It’s open to comments. Here’s mine:

            I’m going to try to add a bit of darkness, here, to this article’s poor attempt at lightheartedness: I don’t understand how fur farms are allowed to slip by the normal prohibitions against raising wildlife in agricultural captivity. Even those who grudgingly accept the industrial agriculture of farm animals don’t try to liken it to fur farming. Wildlife are much less appropriate subjects (if there is such a thing as an appropriate, sentient-animal subject) of industrial captivity.

  9. avatar topher says:

    Doesn’t take long for the conversation to descend into the same old stuff every thread seems to turn into.

  10. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Well, maybe you’re right, JB. I’ll take a look at what’s in my state.

  11. avatar Richie G. says:

    Ida this time I agree with you there is no place for trapping ,having an animal suffer is enough for me. When they put dogs down or you have a per who has to be put to sleep. Their is a method first shot is valium to put the dog at ease, then comes the injection to stop the heart. My question to JB and WM why do we treat wildlife different, the word harvest comes to mind, I know I brought this up before but harvest is a word mostly used for crops, not wildlife. Now your taking one step making wildlife inanimate objects they have a heartbeat . I know crops are alive too, but not like a wolf or a cat ,who has a breathing heart. No I cannot say any lethal method is necessary, IMHO as humane society we should go the extra mile to find a way move the animal. To coexist with wildlife not eradicate wildlife, oh by the way LA county just passed a law, no more traps for any animal. That includes nuisance animals etc , go get them California.

    • avatar JB says:

      “No I cannot say any lethal method is necessary, IMHO as humane society we should go the extra mile to find a way move the animal. To coexist with wildlife not eradicate wildlife…”

      Richie:

      What is “necessary” is a very subjective term. A homeowner living in an area where a cougar recently attacked someone may reasonably believe it is necessary to kill that animal. Assuming you could catch it, which county do you think would volunteer to host a large carnivore that had attacked a human being? Now consider that if that animal were to form a search image (human = potential food) and attack another person, a court may just hold the agency that decided to move it liable (as a Utah court did just last year).

      Indeed, coexistence does not equal eradication. I’m not aware of anyone who has suggested it does? But attacks (whether on people are livestock) create fear, and fear creates intolerance. So by killing animals that attack people or livestock, we reduce fear (and economic costs) and thus, potentially, intolerance. So the theory goes, you save a species/population by removing a few ‘misbehaving’ individual animals.

      Okay, now it is my turn. If you don’t believe sentient animals should ever be killed, then you need to articulate an appropriate ethical theory that suggests it is unethical to kill sentient animals. While you’re working on this ethical theory, you might wish to also consider the practicality of turning your theory into practice (via some policy mandate). You might consider that most western states actually still allow people to be killed under certain conditions (e.g., when they threaten others, or have been convicted of 1st degree murder). So you’re going to have to construct one hell of an air-tight theory to convince state legislatures that animals should have greater protection than people.

      Best of luck to you.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        For humans, it’s always been the M’Naughten test, refined today as the insanity defense:

        By the 18th century, the British courts had elaborated on this distinction and developed what became known as the “wild beast” test: If a defendant was so bereft of sanity that he understood the ramifications of his behavior “no more than in an infant, a brute, or a wild beast,” he would not be held responsible for his crimes.

        How can we punish an animal for acting like he was made to? Theoretically, all mountain lions could behave the way this one did, which is why I facetiously asked if we’d prefer to execute all of them pre-emptively to stop all dangerous encounters with wildlife. I don’t believe that animals ‘learn’ to see humans as prey – they are opportunists who take whatever is easiest for them at the time. To me, that’s a myth. What happens when another cat moves in to take the place left by this one? Or another female moves in to take the place of the one executed by the WDFG? Rinse and repeat?

        A better, and probably more successful approach is to try to get people to be more aware of the dangers of encounters with wildlife in their surroundings, as we push more and more into what was wild animal habitat.

        It’s also what the people in the locale find acceptable – and more and more they would prefer that a more humane approach is taken, and have an understanding that animals behave the way they were made to, and people are more able to avoid potential encounters and take care.

        Rare or not, this mountain lion encounter did occur. From all reports, it was a perfectly healthy animal.

        • avatar JB says:

          Ida:

          You’re confusing the question. Your response speaks to a defense–when someone should not be held liable for a crime. The question at hand is when is it okay to kill something. We currently allow police officers to use deadly force when a person is threatening another person, and, as I already mentioned, we kill people for, well, killing other people. Our government also kills people when it views them as a threat to our us or our society (under declaration of war, or less). The important piece is the justification–we deem it acceptable to kill other people when they represent a threat to others, or in some cases, a threat to our collective interests (are you starting to see the parallels?).

          On search images…

          “For predators that learn to focus attention on the cryptic prey type most frequently encountered during recent searching (termed a “search image”), rare prey types may be overlooked because of a focus on more common prey. Search imaging reflects biased searching for one of a number of available prey types, and has been studied widely in birds and mammals.”

          http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10144-009-0185-x

          —–

          “A better, and probably more successful approach is to try to get people to be more aware of the dangers of encounters with wildlife in their surroundings, as we push more and more into what was wild animal habitat.”

          You’re creating a false dichotomy. This isn’t an either/or choice. Of course we should help people live with carnivores through education, but that doesn’t mean that we should cease killing them when they represent a threat to us our our interests.

          —-

          “It’s also what the people in the locale find acceptable – and more and more they would prefer that a more humane approach is taken…”

          Individual judgments regarding the acceptability of lethal management are highly dependent upon the perceived cost/threat of the species/population/animal. Yes, people prefer humane methods, but they’re also quite practical (they prefer cheap methods, fast methods, methods that don’t require ‘government’, etc.) so there are trade-offs involved.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            The point I was making is that there is no comparison between humans and animals – humans do have reason, do know right from wrong. It’s not giving animals greater protection than people if they are spared and relocated for ‘infractions’, just because we’ve been known to kill our own kind under certain limited circumstances! Nothing could ever come close to the legal protections human beings have.

            Well, maybe it doesn’t mean they should cease, but that we just don’t do it as a natural reflex. Killing the 13 and 14 lb. cougar kittens in the backyard, for example, wasn’t necessary. And as far as threats to our interests – it should be more than the perception of a threat, and when we’ve done everything reasonable that we can to avoid a conflict. Just because we put sheep on the landscape doesn’t mean we can’t expect them to be left alone by predators. We’ve got to be the ones to take steps to live with wildlife and protect our livestock, pets, and ourselves – unless we want to make a decision as a society to rid the lower 48 of wildlife. Some of our interests really aren’t worth that, such as energy needs.

            I’d love it if a sage grouse hunter would voluntarily not hunt for a season or two to protect the sage grouse for the future, but we know that people’s immediate gratification trumps everything. Or if state governments and energy companies would spring for the extra four tenths of a mile radius to protect leks.

            • avatar JB says:

              The point you seem to be missing is that you need an ethical framework (whether we’re talking about people, animals, or trees) that provides a way to adjudicate WHEN IT IS OKAY TO KILL AN X. Until you can provide one, you’re peddling hot air.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                No, it would seem to me that we’ve taken care of ourselves quite well as far as ethical frameworks for just about everything.

                The ethical framework for how we treat non-human animals is what is lacking and even non-existent, but one I feel that is/will slowly change. The trouble is the old-think of government agencies such as Wildlife Services, put in place by long-time industries such as the livestock industry that don’t want to move forward, and don’t feel they have to lift a finger to prevent losses. Some of us would love to be able to contribute to providing ideas for this ethical framework, but as you can imagine don’t have much say in the matter.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                What would be a compelling interest to kill wildlife? Right now, it’s just about any reason. You need a flight to Chicago at a certain day of the week? Birds crapping on the sidewalk or the golf course and creating an eyesore? Mountain caribou in the way of snowmobiles? Manatees in the way of watercraft? A mountain lion gaffing your kid or and wolves preying on your livestock (for real, not to get money from the gubmint).

                And according to Dan ‘There’s Plenty in Canada’ Ashe, we are supposed to begin to prepare ourselves for a lower 48 with less wildlife.

  12. avatar Richie G. says:

    sorry pet

  13. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Thanks, Richie.

    And thanks too Yvette!

    Here we go, now it’s mountain lions (Easter Puma) hanging around the school bus stops (even tho they were declared extinct in 2011). *eyeroll* The media is really irresponsible. I guess the sharks have all gone home for the season.

    It didn’t take long for hysteria to go from one coast to the other:

    http://www.insidenova.com/headlines/possible-mountain-lion-sighted-twice-near-fairfax-elementary-school/article_e635c45c-3a16-11e4-abe4-77b9cfb5ec32.html

  14. avatar Richie G. says:

    This is very late but if you read this JB , it really sounds like your defending killing of wildlife period. Look I still say your state is far to the right in the killing department of killing wildlife. Yes as Ida stated we are moving into their territory. This had been going on since Europeans came here. They are the ones who named wilderness as in wild that alone should say it all to you. It is not wild, it God’s creation , the Indians coexisted with it. Yes they killed, but they killed for mostly food, clothing and within their culture to prove their manhood etc. We as a society kill to just kill in most instances. Wildlife has a right to live where they lived before we got here. JB how is this any different than what we did to the Indians? O.K. maybe some instances an animal must be killed, but all stops should be pulled before this happens. It should be a real last resort, and again you prove my point when you use the word harvest, they are living creatures that raise families too. Similar to humans , so how could use such a word as harvest, so we harvest creature that raise families? You call this humane, please take the human out of humane ,no you prove my point , out west in many states just do not have a heart. I will go as far as to say selfish, only what is good for them ,not the eco system.

    • avatar JB says:

      Richie: [sigh] To be honest with you, I get tired of having the same conversation with you animal rights folks. You’re full of outrage, full of self-righteousness, and quick to condemn the actions of others, and short on any realistic alternatives.

      Okay, here goes…

      (1) The ‘we’re the invaders’ / ‘why can’t we coexist like the Indians’ argument.

      Native Americans did not “co-exist” with wildlife–at least not with larger fauna. In fact, the bulk of the evidence suggests that early humans caused extinctions of large fauna around the planet–including North America. This argument simply doesn’t hold up.

      (2) “How is this [killing wildlife] any different than what we did to the Indians?” Frankly, I find the question insulting. It is different because Native Americans are human beings. It is different because we have federal and state policy that helps conserve wildlife species, and protects those valued as game from overharvest. [There are numerous other differences, but these should suffice to show you the absurdity of your comparison.]

      (3) “It [lethal managaement] should be a real last resort, and again you prove my point when you use the word harvest, they are living creatures that raise families too.”

      I generally agree. I would like to see lethal management used more judiciously. However, until you can construct a logical argument (complete with ethical premise), you’re just peddling hot air. BTW: Predators also commit infanticide, abandon their young, kill each, etc. The fact that they do things that some people interpret to be good (e.g. raise families) shouldn’t have any more baring on how we treat them then the fact that they do other things people interpret as morally reprehensible. Don’t judge animals by human standards.

      (4) ‘How can we use the word “harvest” for living things.’

      Easy. Plants are living things. We eat them. We harvest them.

      (5) ‘How can you call this [not precisely sure what you’re talking about, Richie] ‘humane”?

      I don’t see where I used the word “humane”? In any case, I try to reserve the word humane for when we’re speaking of euthanasia, or I use it to describe the relative pain associated with capture death (i.e., a continuum from very humane to very inhumane). How do you use the term, Richie?

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        I don’t want to speak for anyone, but if I may add a point or two:

        Native Americans did not “co-exist” with wildlife–at least not with larger fauna.

        Whatever they did was a hell of a lot better that what we did and continue to do. You certainly could say they ‘coexisted’, because they did not wipe out entire species like wolves and bison, but held them in high esteem as part of creation. Whatever the ‘bulk of evidence suggests’ early man did, there is real and actual proof that European Americans deliberately tried to wipe out wolves and bison (and, shamefully, native peoples) to further their own ends. Lots and lots of proof.

        (2) “How is this [killing wildlife] any different than what we did to the Indians?”

        It isn’t. It was and is the same principle – whatever was in the European Americans’ way, was removed/killed. We didn’t care that they were human. You ought to find it insulting.

        I don’t like the use of the word ‘harvest’ for killing animals either – plants do not have higher functioning nervous systems that animals do, and they do not feel pain or are capable of suffering. Let’s face it, ‘harvesting’ is just used as a euphemism to objectify living animals and make the entire bitter thing a little easier to promote. An equivalent to ‘dehumanizing’.

        The word ‘humane’ should be used for the sensitivity towards suffering of all living things, not just for how we kill them or decide to end their lives, but how we raise them, how we care for our pets, and respect and allowances made for other living things to live uninterfered with, such as wildlife.

        • avatar JB says:

          “You certainly could say they ‘coexisted’, because they did not wipe out entire species like wolves and bison…”

          Ida: Yet again you comment without knowing what you’re talking about. At the time of “native” Americans’ arrival, North America had giant sloths, short-faced bears, American cheetahs, smilodon (a saber-toothed cat), stag moose, dire wolves, giant beavers, the American lion, and numerous other species. All of which (at least 35 genera of mammals) went extinct shortly after the arrival of Native Americans. Coexistence my ass!

          (2) “…whatever was in the European Americans’ way, was removed/killed. We didn’t care that they were human. You ought to find it insulting.”

          The important element you seemed to have missed here is time. Richie asked how our killing of wildlife [today] is different than killing off of Native Americans. Your comment compares the killing of native wildlife (by early European Americans) with the killing of Native Americans. As I already noted, it is different because today we seek to CONSERVE (not protect every goddamn animal) species for future generations. This is done both at the state and federal level (though not always well). It is also different because Richie compares the purposeful eradication and confinement of humans with the conservation of game animals that allows for their killing under certain circumstances (which, again, I find insulting).

          Yet another illustration of moral indignation without adequate information (hey, a rhyme!).

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            No it does not compare, as the same – I just said that the mindset was/is similar. We killed them both, there’s no denying it, to take over the land. Wherever Europeans went, it was the same. It’s the same as apartheid. Stealing, killing, enslaving. Animal or human, and our policies didn’t differentiate well.

            Please do not kid yourself that we are conserving anything today. That we are not doing it well is an understatement.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              I guess what I’m getting at is that it is only in very recent history that all human beings have been treated with dignity and equality. Slaves and women, and children were once considered property. I do believe that animal rights is the last frontier of discrimination, and it is coming to and end.

              As many of the greatest thinkers and leaders of our time have pondered the rights on non-humans, ‘we animal rights folks’ are in good company.

              Charles Darwin, for example (from Wikipedia):

              Darwin was strongly opposed to any kind of cruelty to animals, including setting traps. He wrote in a letter that he supported vivisection for “real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity.

              Damnable and detestable curiosity, indeed.

            • avatar Yvette says:

              At the time of “native” Americans’ arrival, North America had giant sloths, short-faced bears, American cheetahs, smilodon (a saber-toothed cat), stag moose, dire wolves, giant beavers, the American lion, and numerous other species. All of which (at least 35 genera of mammals) went extinct shortly after the arrival of Native Americans.</b? emphasis mine. Coexistence my ass!

              JB, I have doubts that the people living during the late Pleistocene caused the extinction of the megafauna that lived during the epoch. So what has been postulated is that this small population of people that hunted with spears caused the extinction of mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths and the like of smilodons? That one hit my BS meter. It didn’t add up. After a little bit of research I found that indeed this has been postulated, but so has the possibility of climate change, which may have started a trophic cascade. That makes much more sense than a small, relative to the current world population, of people hunting with spears. Hyper-disease has also been speculated, but the truth is researchers do not know what caused this major extinction.

              Also, simply because this group of fauna went extinct shortly after the arrival of these people doesn’t mean they caused the extinction.

              You mention the arrival of “native” Americans (quotations are yours), but you did not mention the time period. Were you referring to land bridge theory? If so, that theory is linked to the Clovis first model. This too, is receiving serious challenges. It appears the Clovis first model is going to fall apart. An archaeologist from Texas A&M, Michael R. Waters has not only used a new collagen dating technique, which has dated spear points in a mastadon rib prior to the postulated arrival of the Clovis people, but he has also discovered dozens of stone tools in a Texas creek bed that are at least 15,000 years old. So, if the Clovis first model is unhinged it will also resolve the thesis that these early N. American people caused the extinction of these megafauna.

              As far as co-existing with animals, I think that vernacular is too modern and would be incorrect to use for Native Americans even 500-1,00 years ago, and definitely for the people who lived here during the Pleistocene. More likely these people were prey species to smilodon than their executors. I don’t think I could outrun a smilodon. I’m pretty sure I would have become smilodon food. It sure would have been amazing to them, though…..from a safe running distance.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            You’re also talking millennia as opposed to a few hundred years. What’s happened to this country in just a few hundred years is nothing short of shocking and unprecedented.

            • avatar WM says:

              Ida,

              Just curious, does diarrhea of the keyboard ever resonate with you?

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                Nope, never. And while I’ve got you – regarding the wonderful Mr. Rodney Coronado: I consider conscientious objection and civil disobedience different than mere crimes.

          • avatar JEFF E says:

            dancing with shadows JB, dancing with shadows

        • avatar topher says:

          Killing is one part of harvesting, utilizing that which you’ve killed is another. So while harvesting usually (not always) requires killing, killing does not necessarily become harvesting.

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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