Wisconsin anti-wolf resorting to fables

Some anti-wolf folks in Wisconsin are showing their contempt for the public’s intelligence by producing this TV commercial . . . Red Riding Hood

I suppose “The Three Pigs” are next.  There seems to be no level they won’t stoop to in trying to exploit primitive emotions.







  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    The one word that comes to mind to describe this “ad” is despicable.

  2. Alan Avatar

    I’m reading David Brown’s book about the extermination of the Lobo from the Southwest. This is vintage 1920s hysteria. What’s next? Issuing 1080 and “coyote getters” to government-paid bounty hunters?

  3. kt Avatar

    In Idaho, the livestock industry through Wildlife Services, can use 1080 collars on sheep.

    Wildlife Services oversees it. The ID legislature ok’d it a little while back (4 years or so???). It’s use has arisen again in this form in several western states. VERY quietly. I went to the leg. hearing and do recall Mr. Noh (below) being there. It was a joke – and clear they would not listen to serious concerns about its effects and dangers to wildlife or humans. Part of a creeping rollback of environmental protections – Yes, to before Nixon – that has been going on in Idaho over the past few years.

    The people, on-the-ground that are closest to this horrible substance are the poor largely Spanish-speaking herders that all the big sheepmen out here USE to do the work of herding their sheep.

    These folks, largely here on some kind of guest worker-type plan, are spend 3 years or so in some blend of indentured servitude or slavery, living in cold, drafty sheep wagons following the Sheep Barons sheep across the landscape. It’s really abuse of the abuse of workers desperate to make money so their families can survive. BUT my point in bringing this up is that it is these largely Spanish-speaking workers who, besides all of our wildlife, are endangered by use of this toxin/weapon.

    I think 1080 or some other nasty substance WS uses used to be made by a company in Pocatello — any one know?

    They might make it, I’m not sure, but they certainly store it in Pocatello. The facility is about a mile from my house. Recently there was an article about it in the Pocatello newspaper. It kind of gave people the creeps because some of guys who worked there were nervous, according the article. Ralph in Pocatello.

  4. be Avatar

    2 things strike me with regard to the ad.

    the first is what Dr. Maughan mentioned – it is an outright exploitation of base emotions/fear. the anti-wolf folks have an easy sell when people don’t educate themselves. all it takes for lay-folks to extend their logic is a re-connection with preconcieved notions built in large part from the mythical stories cited in the ad -that is very compelling to the lack of intellectual motivation that too many of us find ourselves stuck in.

    the second thing that i notice is a willingness of the anti-wolf parties to consolidate and unify these horrible messages. cattlemen organizations, “sportsman” organizations, etc. are all willing to throw in for an ad and cede subjectivity to a more common message.

    i think that we know that those who care about wolves find their volition supported in science and on-the-ground facts to a larger extent than those who seek their eradication. but the on-the-ground facts and compiled science are less compelling from a public relations standpoint (as opposed to the FWS whose legally mandated open ear to science and relative even hand has sustained a somewhat reasonable management) if we do not start building a similairly consolidated machinery to amplify a thoughtful and informative message to counter the disinformation.

    – thanks to ralph for this forum and others for theirs –

    my understanding of the “public” meeting in idaho leads me to better understand exactly what is at stake with FWS ceding management to the states and why it is inappropriate to do so at this moment.

    FWS has the mandate of science – a tempered obligation. Gov. Otter, Wyoming, and IDFG do not espouse the respect for that objective approach – their approaches are derivative of the organized efforts of the knee-jerk, gut-reaction localized lobby.

    litigation will be extremely important – but i hope that somebody is listening to the idea that there needs to be a PR campaign elevating all of the science-based rational management approach.

    it’s time to start hedging our bets and gearing up for the hearts and minds of our states’ people – who if given a chance and adequate exposure to the reality of the controversy of the wolves, i believe will act in good-faith.

    i’m going to write a letter to the leadership of my conservation orgs of choice and ask that they make the necessary phone calls across the board of like-minded orgs that is needed to demonstrate the concerted effort and more heavily invested front of PR that is crucial to more effectively counteract the organized efforts of the anti-wolf lobby.

    An incisive post. RM

  5. be Avatar

    i apologize for the length 🙂

  6. Jordan Avatar

    Most of the sheep herders now in Idaho come from various regions of Peru. They speak an Indian dialetc and someone who understands Spanish can converse with them.

    For a long time, I’ve thought that an investigative reporter should do a story on the plight of the imported herders, who as KT says, come for three years.

    Then, they go home and hope to receive a permanent way to stay in the U.S.

    Some herders do a good job and make an honest effort to protect the sheep and shoo away predators. Others not.

    Some herders are treated far better than others and have access to a vehicle, good food and phones.

    Others do seem to be treated as servants or near slaves.

    The lives of wolves often hang in the balance on whether a herder who barely speaks English and as never camped out in the wild before, can protect his flock and deter wolves.

    There are no statistics, BUT SHOULD BE, on how many of the scores of Idaho wolves who have been killed by Wildlife Services since reintroduction, were done so because of sheep being driven into wolf den sites or rendezvous areas in late Spring/early summer.

    Wolves are attracted to sheep bands by the barking guard dogs and herd dogs. Wolves do not like other canines in their territory.Canines of any sort seem to enjoy chasing sheep — that’s why sheep need protecting by a herder doing his job. It can work. But it takes a lot of work and now with delisting in the future, why bother making the effort?

  7. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Yes! the livestock industry basically enjoys an indentured servitude, and you can imagine how much training these non-English speaking men get about how to deal with wolves or how to tell when the sheep are in compliance with BLM or Forest Service grazing regulations.

    The only option these men have is to suddenly disappear from the range into the mass of undocumented aliens in the Country

  8. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    You follow that link an what do you discover? SCI is involved again! Maybe you remember, this is that worldwide wildlife conservation org. 🙂 with strong ethics, 27000 members all over the globe, and a certain Gov. as a lifetime member.

  9. TRS Avatar

    Recently relocating to Wisconsin, I am shocked at the anti-wolf views in this state. It seems a large portion of the sportsman community is strongly anti-wolf.

  10. Mike S. Avatar
    Mike S.

    I don’t see any difference between this commercial and your petitions and pro wolf ads.

    Hopefully Wolf management will now be carried out.

  11. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Pro wolf groups don’t use children’s fables or nursery rhymes.

  12. mike Avatar

    Ah, yes, the three little pigs, do you mean Butch Otter, Bill Sali, and Cal Groen?

  13. Rob-S Avatar

    No, pro wolf groups may not use children’s fables or nursery rhymes. However, they do use disillusioned, partially true, overtly inflated stories about the livestock industry being the fault for the condition of public lands, global warming, poor fishing habitat, poor wildlife habitat, etc. etc. It amazes me that livestock industry is totally to blame for all these issues. So if livestock were not allowed on public lands then we would not have these problems but then again, what scapegoat could the wolf advocates point to next. Hmmm?

  14. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I don’t recall seeing any advertising at all from “wolf advocacy” groups; but maybe it is something they should do.

    Seriously, can’t you point to any? It is possible I have missed it.

  15. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Every thing you stated in your post relating to the livestock industry is true as to what negative effects the livestock industry engenders. Only a truly delusional individual would argue otherwise.
    Please reference ONE pro wolf ad anywhere in any media outlet to date. Internet blog sites do not fall under that category. At least try to be coherent.

  16. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    There is no advertising by pro wolf groups (or pro-bear, pro-tiger, pro-puma, pro-leopard etc.groups). Why? Basic economical reasons. You need a (very) healthy financial background to fund a TV-spot, a high-gloss advertisement in a magazine, or even a radio spot. Most if not all “pro” groups survive on a meagre budget obtained through donations or contributions through membership! They simply cannot afford such a high-end PR.

  17. Alan Avatar

    Here’s an account of the advertisement from the Madison (Wis.) Capital Times newspaper: http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=/tct/2007/01/30/0701300319.php
    Note the reference to Wisconsin DNR livestock-kill data. Yet, no data are actually cited, just a reference to wolves killing or injuring “livestock on 25 farms last year — triple the number from five years ago — plus 25 dogs, mostly hunting hounds.”

  18. Alan Avatar

    But some groups have, indeed, financed, or at least helped underwrite, TV commercials. Click http://www.nmwild.org/press-room/multimedia/television-commercials-interviews-and-stories/ to view two such spots the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance co-sponsored. Both are excellent, in the opinion of this cynical old print journalist.

  19. be Avatar

    i think in large part it’s a matter of priorities – groups have been used to the efficacy of litigation – it is a lot easier to convince a judge of the letter of the law and the predominance of science than it is to develop a message that pierces through all of the mis-information that has been laced across the public’s awareness. this has an unfortunate alienating effect. it is a wonder that it hasn’t marginalized wolf advocates more – which is, i believe, a strong sign that the public is ready and capable of recieving wolf-advocates’ message. the potential fruit of building this PR bridge has the ability to extend beyond this symbolic species and elevate conservationists’ message more generally.

    so many of the tides which were once obstables have flipped in such a short time (Congress, Global Warming bringing conservation to the tips of the public’s tongue, the “Cowboy” rhetoric of the Pres. being overwhelmingly rejected, etc.)

    it’s heating up and i hope that the gift of this window that this species’ symbolism presents is not lost.

    once again, i have written a letter to my conservationist orgs of choice asking that they more robustly invest in the PR. i hope others will do the same. it’ll be interesting to see whether i get a form letter similar to the stack i have that were sent in response from my reps in congress.

  20. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    Further to my comment No.16: Wish we would have a large and powerful organisation (eg. Defenders) here in Europe, able to raise substantial amounts of money to sponsor tv commercials or much needed PR work or at least able to raise thousands to sign petitions. For example: There are 3 wolf conservation organisations here in Germany caring for our “own” 20+ wolves as well as supporting organisations in other States. Membership in one of these orgs. is round about 40 Euros (roughly equals the Dollar) annually. Total members per org. is between 100 and 300 individuals. That makes the budget (+ donations of course). And – I agree “be” – it´s a matter of priorities. PR work unfortunately but somehow understandably comes last. There are however small trends of improvement, very recently there was a colour brochure sponsored by the Government distributed with selected magazines.

  21. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    One more point: A nice idea came up today (seems to be a good one and not to costly): A german wildlife protection organisation, together with the city of Wolfsburg (famous for Volkswagen and having “wolf” in its name) and Volkswagen itself start a pro-wolf cartoon campaign with the aim to cure “the red-riding-hood syndrome”. They are looking for creative and witty cartoons. Everybody can participate!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan