Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wisconsin fur farm exposed

Originally Published in the Madison Cap Times on Jan 17, 2016


Photo courtesy of PETA

This fox named D2 by the eyewitness had visibly swollen gums but the eyewitness did not see him receive any veterinary care.

“Hidden off a country road in Wisconsin is a decrepit facility that makes a business of torturing and killing small animals for the fur trade.” ~ undercover PETA investigation

Dillenburg Fur Farm in Shawano County has been torturing and killing minks and foxes in a man-made government-sanctioned hell for 40 years. They suffer from the day they are bred to the day they are gassed, bludgeoned, have their necks broken, or simply die of exposure and abuse. For money. Cruelty as a business and way of life. It is one of hundreds if not thousands of such facilities across this state. Wisconsin is the primary mink producer in the country.

A PETA whistleblower worked at the Dillenburg facility for two months, documenting the casual everyday cruelty and filthy wire cages. This particular Wisconsin facility houses 100 foxes and 2,500 mink. You can see the report in this three-minute YouTube video and these photographs. From breeding to killing, it is a life of misery.

Even kind, conscious humans seem to  have a loose screw that allows them to ignore the reality of suffering around them, not to look at videos (too painful), and so these atrocities continue decades after we have understood the playful, loving and peaceful nature of other animals. Our pets teach us who these other animals are. Think of your dog in these conditions used for this purpose. Would you take a stand to end this?

The calm voice of the undercover witness describes a white mink he named Miss Mary, who was so frightened by the pressure washer used to flush out the cage that she chewed a hole through the bars, leaving her mouth bloody, her teeth broken. He saw no veterinary care given. This is often also the fate of animals trapped in the wild, who break their teeth on the steel traps and snares, chewing off their own limbs to free themselves.

Although DNR captive animal regulations stipulate that wildlife in cages with wire floors must have solid platforms for resting and dry bedding when the temperature goes below 50 degrees, none of this is evident in the video or photos.

The DNR website for captive penning of foxes stipulates 120 square feet per animal, minimum. Is that just for some other foxes? The fox cages in the YouTube look to be much smaller. No solid platforms. Fisher pen requirements are 120 square feet but there is no mention of mink.

The narrator describes and films feces piled over a foot high below the wire cages, so minks live in ammonia fumes. It shows the animal’s fear reaction, circling the cage frantically trying to escape. They often are found dead in their cages.

The foxes fared no better. The whistleblower describes a fox he named D2, pictured with this column, who suffered from swollen gums and a diseased mouth. The owner bragged about masturbating him to breed more foxes, saying: “I am one of only seven in the whole world that can do that.”

The owner, after killing D2 in a make-shift gas chamber, said, “He put up a hell of a fight.”

Workers crammed dozens of minks into the gas chamber and pumped it full of dirty gas from a running engine. One suffered 20 minutes in the chamber before dying, and the owner said, “Yeah — he’s moving around — hiding under carcasses for air.” He broke the neck of another who survived.

Some facilities use anal electrocution or bludgeoning — anything goes as long as it does not harm the fur product.

When I was fielded calls on Wisconsin Public Radio on a morning talk show some time ago, a caller recalled seeing skinned minks whimpering, still alive on the “dead pile” of a trapper’s fur shed.

Apparently anything can be done to these animals with no apparent oversight. There is no money provided or mandates for surprise visits or legal action.

A couple of years ago, I spent three afternoons poring over records of hundreds of captive wild animal fur farms from all over the state. I could not get through them all.

The Fur Commission USA, which has represented mink farmers since 1994, estimates the global trade at $40 billion. Retail fur sales in the United States increased over 7 percent in 2014 from 2013 sales, to $1.5 billion. It’s a mind-boggling growth rate.

Following their probe, PETA called for an investigation of animal abuse at Dillenburg Fur Farm, which is now under way by the Shawano Sheriff’s Department. As for the Fur Commission, its executive director, Michael Whelan, told the Shawano Leader that he had seen the PETA video from the Dillenburg farm, and said, “There’s nothing on there that I would call ‘horrendous.’” He said that that while he is waiting for results of sheriff’s investigation, he is skeptical of PETA’s claims.

You can help by contacting the governor, your legislators and authorities in Shawano County, where the Dillenburg Farm is located. The video and accompanying pictures can be shared with them and shared widely on social media.

Shawano County Sheriff, 405 North Main Street, Shawano, WI, 54166. Phone 715-526-3111

Lois Bressette, alderperson, District 4, 28 West Street, Clintonville, WI 54929 715-701-0361

Laurie Ross at the DNR can forward your statement to the Natural Resources Board and DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp:

Gov. Scott Walker:

Legislators: contact your legislators.

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. or



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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Lyme Disease: Trapping and deer policies host a deadly human epidemic

“All these systems are designed to crush us. It is time to resist.” ~ Chris Hedges

I have Lyme disease. My border collie had Lyme disease. Wisconsin is a hotbed of Lyme disease as seen on the map here. It is the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in the country.

The more I experience and research this infection, the more complex and frightening it is revealed to be.

I had a wake-up call on “The People’s Pharmacy” on Wisconsin Public Radio a few months ago. The topic was medical mistakes. The doctor interviewed mentioned that he had a heart transplant due to Lyme disease not being properly diagnosed in a timely fashion. A few weeks later, in the segment for suggestions for shows, several people called in to suggest a show connecting the artificially high deer herd, Lyme disease and car/deer accidents in Wisconsin.

Thirty-five percent of ticks collected in Wisconsin tested positive for Lyme.

WPR news also announced that 10 times as many ticks were found in the UW Arboretum in Madison this year over last. Lyme is not just a rural problem.

Lyme is a pet as well as a human problem. Ellen Richardson, veterinarian and owner of Mazomanie Animal Hospital, said, “Tick-borne diseases have become the big infectious disease thing we see at our clinic. More than heartworm.”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has perfected the exponential population explosion of the main hosts of the Lyme-transmitting black-footed tick. Mice and small mammals are hosts for baby ticks, and deer the main hosts of the adult ticks. Trapping out mid-range predators leaves little natural predation on mice, squirrels and rabbits. Because white-tail deer are the main cash crop of the DNR, management policies of killing “bucks only” promote the artificially high rebound birth rate of does left to produce the next live targets.

I live in the country north of Portage on a large wooded tract with a prairie restoration and creek. When I moved here in 2003, I had no problem with mice or ticks. That changed dramatically over the past three years. I noticed that all three propane tanks had mice living on them the past three winters — and mice started to be a nightly problem in houses. I talked to my propane provider, and he told me that mice are on top of tanks all over his route.

This coincides with the DNR’s recruitment of hunters and trappers on $5 license incentives, and expanding to seven months of unlimited trapping on all public lands and waterways, 24/7. The DNR hunter recruitment committee has trained 6,000 new trappers in just three years. This is added to 10,000 trappers already destroying foxes, bobcats, and coyotes, the latter relentlessly targeted year-round.

Trapping is unbalancing nature to such a degree that mice populations and ticks fill the void. We must ban trapping from our public lands to fend off tick-borne debilitating illnesses. The DNR is not just farming for high deer and mice populations — it is farming for Lyme disease. Deer are getting sicker. We are getting sicker.

Misbalancing nature produces diseases. It won’t be wolves and tigers and bears that kill us. Likely it will be prion diseases like chronic wasting disease (now in 25 percent of the 2-year-old bucks), avian flu, Ebola and tick infections. The Lyme tick not only transmits Borrelia burgdorferi infection, but a variety of diseases such as anaplasmosis and erlichiosis, infections likened to syphilis that screw into the muscles and joints and can migrate quickly into brain and vital organs.

According to the website Lyme Disease Action, “Lyme disease has been called ‘The New Great Imitator’ because, like syphilis (also a spirochaete) it may affect many parts of the body including the skin, nervous system, heart, joints and eyes (although transmission of the disease is different from syphilis).”

It has such a vast spectrum of symptoms that it is often misdiagnosed for years as chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, and even Alzheimer’s because of brain fog. The bacteria can morph and lie dormant or change shape to hide in the body until activated by an immune stressor or another bite.

According to a 2013 article in the Journal Sentinel, Lyme disease is dramatically under-reported and poorly diagnosed. While 30,000 U.S. citizens report contracting the bacteria, the CDC estimates 300,000 or more actually get it annually. That means that nine out of 10 people with Lyme disease do not know what they have until it becomes chronic. The CDC reports that states with heavy concentrations of the ticks and hosts like Wisconsin are more likely to under-report. “In 2010, the infected tick prevalence from all 21 counties was 21.6 percent. It increased to 32.4 percent in 2011, 40.9 percent in 2012, and 51.2 percent in 2013,” according to Lloyd Turtinen, a Wisconsin virology and biology professor. Ticks can survive in sub-zero temperatures.

Lyme disease is most often contracted from a bite by a baby tick. They are so small that many people never know they were bitten. This is where the disease can become serious. If not diagnosed and treated early, it can become chronic and debilitating. Lyme sufferers have put up their own website because the main medical establishment has insufficient knowledge of this disease and do not recognize the long-term suffering.

It turns out that the Lyme test used to detect fails 60 percent of the time and is totally unreliable.

I had the bull’s-eye rash after multiple tick bites last year. A few weeks later, I became lethargic and unable to do anything but the simplest life-maintenance tasks. I felt better almost immediately when starting the 30-day doxycycline drug treatment. That first time the pills cost $4.95 for a 30-day treatment of two pills a day. I heard that if one took two pills when bitten, one could protect oneself from being infected, but there is no research to support this, nor did it work for me. I was bitten multiple times this past spring. When I returned to get another round of pills, the price had gone to $145 for the same dosage. This time, the symptoms were different. I had burning pain in my knees and hobbled about as if I were 95, with sharp shooting pains and the bottoms of my feet extremely tender. My neck aches. I am easily tired. The doxycycline gave me no relief at all. Another month course of a different antibiotic has proved futile.

In comparison to the approximate $100,000 per year in DNR income from licensing trappers, the citizens of this state who contract Lyme disease each will pay thousands of dollars in medical bills and long term antibiotics. It is a budget-busting disease. Fifty percent of patients see seven or more physicians before being diagnosed. Eighty-four percent are not diagnosed within four months and 36 percent are not diagnosed within six years. It can put one in a wheel chair, cause massive depression and rob life of function.

Wisconsin citizens are collateral damage to the nature-destroying policies of this DNR and Legislature. We do not seem to learn cause and effect. Trapping is a public health hazard that must be ended now.

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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Koko the gorilla eloquently delivers message to humans


“If you want to turn the world around, you have to turn it upside down.” ~ Canadian indigenous 14-year-old singing at COP21 climate conference

Koko is the gorilla who learned sign language to speak to humans, who met Robin Williams and laughed with him in a tickling contest, who adopted a kitten and mourned when she died. Koko gives an elegantly expressed message to national leaders debating climate change in this short video. She says, “I am gorilla. I am flowers, animals. I am nature. Man Koko love. Earth Koko Love. But man stupid — stupid! Time hurry! Help Earth!”

It is our choice to save or destroy millions of years of evolution, the climate, the rain forests, and life on earth. We depend on this fragile, interwoven and miraculous evolution of other beings.

We must change — the upside down kind of change.

It was timely that last week Kathleen Dunn hosted a show on Wisconsin Public Radio featuring Carl Safina, Ph.D. in ecology, of Stony Brook University. He has just published a book, “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel.”

Safina starts the interview by expressing how a lot of people are threatened by the thought that other animals think and feel very much like we do. He speaks of meeting a woman who has studied elephants for over 40 years. When he asked her how her study helps us understand humanity, she said, “I am interested in elephants.” The lives of other species are not all about us. He realized how shallow the question was. He would go deeper. In fact, he said of all seven books he has written, studying the emotional lives of animals was the experience most totally immersive and captivating.

He really wanted to write about the lives of animals without the influence of humans, but realized he could not give an accurate accounting without acknowledging the pressure of humans and their violence. In every case animals are influenced by us.

Poignantly, Safino said, “We are becoming inconsistent with the existence of everybody on earth. We are reducing the numbers of every other animal on earth. … Elephants and other animals have been living on the planet for millions of years across Asia and Africa. They are running out of room.”

Dunn says, “People are killing them.” This sad cartoon explains more.

Natural deaths of elephants have rarely been witnessed. As an elephant was dying, her elephant friend stayed by her side for days, trying to help her to her feet. She was visited regularly by other family members, and when she died, they returned to mourn, touching her teeth and tusks, the most recognizable parts of her remains.

Safina’s book recounts a female wolf with pups half grown, in Yellowstone in winter. She leaves her pups to fend for themselves for a week when her mate is killed. Safino describes this as mourning — breaking her pattern, leaving to go where there was no food and no prey, very much like someone needing time to oneself to process loss and grief.

He documents a baby humpback whale dying and being washed ashore, and a lighthouse caretaker hearing mournful whale sounds coming in across the ocean.

Safino says, “Perhaps we are not top dog anymore.” Brain technology is teaching us that the neurons and structures of our brains, the hormones, sleep and dream brain activity of humans and other animals are the same.

He makes the case that anthropomorphism, so shunned by scientists, is likely the first guess about animal behavior. If an animal acts curious, playful, frightened, he most likely is! During the program, Dunn asks Safino if anthropomorphism is allowed in academia now. He replies that it is not for those who study animal behavior in contraptions and cages (like animal research here at the UW Primate Center), but for those studying animals in natural environments, it is very obvious.

A caller to the show asked about animal creativity. Safino told an amazing story of a baby dolphin watching a keeper taking a cigarette break, then going to its mother, nursing, and returning to emit a cloud of milk. Obviously the dolphin immitated the visual cloud of smoke with the cloud of milk. Safino says, “When people use one thing to represent another, we call that art.” He cites the preference of birds for mates with prettier plumage or better nest-building skills. He tells of animals sitting together watching beautiful sunsets.

Joe Hutto, a biologist who lived with mule deer for seven years, found the same truth. Deer suffer greatly and mourn when their friends, offspring and mates are killed. They are deeply emotional and bonded. They have feelings and needs and are not just numbers to be managed on the landscape.


What could it mean in 2016 to know other species on this earth are just like us? It could mean ending slaughterhouses, ending hunting and trapping animals for their flesh and skins and heads on walls. It could mean ending the destruction of our oceans. It could mean ending war.

It could open a whole new world of discovery and amazing new friendships.

Safino says, “How many people have the actual experience of raising a wild being? When you do it is astonishing how relational, responsive, and playful they are. How they remember you.” He tells of a tiny squirrel he raised and released and how she would return every day to jump all over him and get tickled.

He said, “It is embarrassing to say it’s surprising. They have always been this way.”

Let 2016 be the year we turn the world around and upside down to keep it spinning with life.

Happy New Year!

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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wolf persecution is another tragedy of the commons



“It is imperative that wolf delisting language, along with other harmful policy riders that weaken the Endangered Species Act, are kept out of upcoming government funding negotiations.” ~ Howling for Wolves alert.

Wolves are again the target of blood lust. This time riders are being attached to a must-pass federal budget deal. They throw Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming wolves off the Endangered Species List, permanently, and bar the courts from protecting them. The courts have been the only check and balance on good ol’ boy trophy-killing of wolves. The riders authored by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., endanger the authority of and scientific standards set by the Endangered Species Act as a safeguard for survival of species.

Please network the urgency of making calls to Johnson (202-224-5323 or via his website) and Tammy Baldwin (202-224-5653 or via her website) asking them to vote to remove these riders.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and 25 other Democratic senators have urged President Obama to veto anti-Endangered Species Act and anti-wolf ventures. They deserve our support.

Recently John Vucetich, Michigan Tech associate professor of wildlife ecology, spoke on Wisconsin Public Radio, discussing why he co-signed a letter by scientists and academics urging legislators not to sabotage the effectiveness and intent of the Endangered Species Act, and to continue to protect wolves. Adrian Treves, head of the Carnivore Co-Existence Lab at the Nelson Institute, also signed. “We present the scientific evidence that there (are) a lot of questions about adequate state management of wolves,” he said. “A lot of unanswered scientific questions.”

Vucetich explained that humans have persecuted wolves since Europeans moved to this continent bringing myth and misunderstanding. Although it is often said that wolves now occupy only 5 percent of their historic range, Vucetich put the figure at “less than 10 percent.”

The most important revelation of Vucetich’s radio interview was his contention that law suggests a recovered species has to occupy most of its historic range to be considered recovered and come off the Endangered Species List. Even if half the former range is accepted as adequate, he said, it is obvious that less than 10 percent is not a recovery. He mused that if we do not want wolves to survive, that is one decision that could be made — but it means neither success nor recovery.

An example of continued state lunacy comes from Oregon, where a mere 81 wolves, those remaining, were removed from protection. States, over and over again, have proven they cannot treat wolves with the respect wolves deserve. They are too compromised by hunter control. The Wisconsin Legislature and Department of Natural Resources are particularly cruel and regressive: legalizing dogs fighting wolves, trapping, and torture even while hunter websites brag about gut-shooting and glory in wolf suffering.

Neither the Legislature nor the DNR requires education to promote the celebration of wolves as our natural ally and inform citizens of their vital role as a keystone species.

A survey conducted by Mason-Dixon in 2013 found that Wisconsin citizens by a ratio of 8 to 1 want wolves to be protected. By a ratio of 9 to 1, Wisconsin citizens do not want wolves to be run by packs of dogs, baited or trapped.

Those are compelling talking points to make to senators who are supposed to represent us in law-making.

Wisconsin’s Indian tribes also want to protect wolves. The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian wolf stewardship plan is the most sane and respectful advocacy for wolves in the state:

• “The Bad River Tribe feels there should be no population cap placed on Ma’iingan (brother wolf) and management should be directed towards resolving current and future wolf conflicts.

• The Tribe does not provide financial assistance for property lost or injured by wolves.

• (The) goal is to identify long term, non-lethal solutions to areas with chronic wolf depredations. The killing of individual animals that have caused a depredation is a short term fix. To ensure a long term, non-lethal solution is achieved, the mechanism driving the depredations must be identified and resolved. The impact wolves have on farms across wolf country is minimal compared to other negative impacts.”

USDA statistics reveal that 3.7 percent of livestock deaths are caused by wolves in the United States. By far the largest cause of cattle losses in Wisconsin are respiratory problems and lameness or injury, whereas the largest cause of calf losses are digestive problems and respiratory problems.

It took 38 years and millions of dollars of citizen funding to support an estimated 800 wolves in Wisconsin before the last three years’ wolf hunts. Madravenspeak documented that over 1,100 wolves died in those three years, including illegal killings estimated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, agricultural tags, natural mortality, and legalized killing. It likely will take another 38 years to recover from that killing spree. Yet the DNR claims there are over 700 wolves in Wisconsin. Its estimates are highly suspect.

The federal budget and these riders will be voted on before Dec. 11.

Howl for Brother Wolf now so he can live to protect the wilderness we are so wantonly destroying.


Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Mentoring toddlers to kill wildlife with guns

“If we don’t hook them at an early age, we lose them.” ~ Safari Club International lobbyist

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, a Republican, is a busy man. He is the author of two bills that were the subject of a Nov. 17 hearing: AB 411, which liberalizes the rules for mentoring potential hunters and trappers, including dropping the current 10-year-old age restriction, and AB 415, which drops the requirement that hunters wear back tags.

At the same meeting the Assembly panel voted to pass out of committee AB 448, another bill that liberalizes the requirements so more new hunters can be mentored. They also reported out AB 433, which criminalizes nonhunting citizens who “intrude” on hunters running packs of dogs, baiting, and killing our wildlife. Both bills were co-sponsored by Kleefisch.

AB 411 would allow children of all ages to be to be indoctrinated into inflicting violence, without government restrictions. This is child abuse.

Hunting is declining in popularity, so the main targets now are women and children. Pink guns. Pink camouflage. No doubt, next up are camouflage diapers and strollers designed as blinds on wheels. Toddlers could be wheeled out to kill wildlife like old men in wheelchairs continue their killing. Cradle to grave.

The death “culture” of the good ol’ boy patriarchy was the dominating presence at the Nov. 17 hearing on AB 411 and AB 415 — mostly men in their 60s and 70s.

A Families Afield lobbyist testified in favor of AB 411. Their flyer states the group “was established by the Sportsmen’s Alliance, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the National Wild Turkey Federation in 2004 in an effort to reduce and remove unnecessary barriers that impede the next generation of sportsmen and women from joining our ranks.” They are supported by the NRA (and countless weapons manufacturers).

Much like the American Legislative Exchange Council, which designs model bills, Families Afield designs bills to deregulate hunting and recruit hunters, trappers and hounders to shore up their flagging form of recreation. If they indoctrinate children early, they are likely to keep them killing all their lives.

The group has been successful. Since 2006, it has added 1.5 million apprentices and passed apprenticeship bills in 38 states. Fifty percent of those recruited say they would not have hunted at all if not for the program. Retention is also high. And whereas 11 percent of hunters are now female, 28 percent of apprentices are female.

Wisconsin became a Families Afield state in 2009 by passing AB 672, which allows a child 10 years old to be mentored with a limit of one weapon between mentor and apprentice, who must be at arm’s length from each other during the training. AB 411 is stage two, dropping those safeguards. The mentor could have additional weapons and the age restriction would be dropped entirely.

Hunter education instructors testified in opposition to AB 411, without exception. One after another instructor described failing 8- to 12-year-olds for unsafe use of a gun. One instructor told the representatives that he commonly has guns pointed in his face by children 25 times a session. Another described a child panning toward 15 adults standing near a building, and he had to react immediately to push the gun toward the ground. These instructors said that the mentor should have all his attention on the apprentice and that having other weapons (so the instructor does not miss out on hunting too) is a distraction. They described parents pushing their children into hunting classes when the children do not have strength or maturity to manage a gun. Parents are filling out online courses for their children. People are licensing children to get more tags for themselves. One instructor said he would not allow his 24-year-old daughter to hunt without his presence.

Those instructors want the age to stay at 10.

Surprisingly, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, comprised of organizations that promote hunting, trapping and fishing, lobbied to put the issue on the Conservation Congress questionnaire at the annual statewide election April 11, 2016. However, that “public” election and vote, the sole advisory to the Legislature on wildlife and public land use, is dominated by hounders and trappers.

What was not discussed at the Nov. 17 hearing was the immorality of indoctrinating children into killing wildlife as recreation. This is about not the welfare of children, but about “saving hunting.” This is about increasing killing of fast-dwindling wildlife populations as recreational target practice. This is about entrenched power.

Children, and really all those mentored into killing wildlife, should have a required parallel opportunity to get to know wildlife. They should be required to volunteer with wildlife rehabbers, zoos or farm sanctuaries. They should be empowered to make an educated choice.

The other bill addressed at the hearing was Kleefisch’s AB 470, which would do away with hunters’ back tags. These tags were the only concession granted when the Legislature, disastrously, legalized running packs of dogs on wildlife. Dogs are radio-collared and run far ahead of their hunters to exhaust the animals for an easy kill, or are encouraged to kill wildlife for human entertainment (not legal, but common). Dogs do not read trespass signs and eager hunters do not want to miss their chance to kill a trapped animal. Wisconsin’s 178 wardens, monitoring millions of acres of public land, are not authorized to enforce trespass laws. If landowners cannot use field glasses to identify a trespasser with a back tag — they are unwise to confront armed men and women with dogs — they are unlikely to get a sheriff to show up in time to arrest the perpetrators.

I left the hearing in despair. We are in a race between acquiring wisdom and courting catastrophe. Get involved.

Citizens can find their Senate and Assembly members’ contact information in the upper right-hand corner of the Wisconsin Legislature home page to comment on this legislation.

ACTION ALERT: The U.S. Senate will vote on gutting wolf protections and blocking courts from protecting them (the only protection they have had from state trophy killing). Sen. Ron Johnson is supporting this. Please contact Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson against these efforts:

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


ALERT: November 17 Hearing at Capital on Eliminating Back Tags and Eliminating Age Requirements for Kids Being Mentored into Killing & More


Citizens can find their Senate and Assembly members’ contact information in the upper right-hand corner of the Wisconsin Legislature home page here to comment on this legislation. Citizens can organize at if they wish to work toward fair participation in governing our public lands.

When the “sportsman” committee meets to vote on AB433 and the trapping bill to encourage more mentorship of trapping to children, Tuesday, November 17, they will also hold a hearing on dropping backtags from hounders and on another bill eliminating age requirements for children to be mentored into killing our wildlife…two more hearings in the same meeting where they vote on whether to criminalize citizens for documenting the godawful policies the legislature has legalized that are just animal cruelty. Criminalize peaceful citizens for photographing animal cruelty on their own public lands purchased 94% by wildlife watchers – with cruelty and suffering of our wildlife to watch most of the year.

When the legislature legalized running packs of dogs on wildlife in Wisconsin, the ONLY concession made to public opinion majorly against, but as usual ignored, was that the hounders would have to wear backtags. This is because of the systemic trespass that hounders do, on the excuse of “following their dogs” into private land – when their adrenaline is pumping and they are on the kill, wanting to finish off some poor creature or creatures who have gone into private land seeking a safe place to hide.

Since landowners should not have to risk confronting armed men, women and children with packs of dogs taught to be vicious, when they are on their own land (or on our supposed “Commons”), the backtags are supposed to provide some level of anonymity in reporting so that landowners did not put themselves at risk to try to find out who was trespassing.

Notice that Kleefisch and Moulton are behind much of this – Kleefisch who grilled Coronado at the criminalizing citizens for photographing or nearing killers on our public lands. Really? These wildlife torturers, Michael Vick on a statewide 8 million acres scale (our public land- not Michael Vick’s basement) – do they need protection from the majority of peaceful citizens, and do they deserve anonymity? What kind of leadership is this?

The hearings on continuing to deregulate killing and expand it without accountability can be found here:

Tue Nov 17 Assembly – Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Executive Session
1:00 PM
417 North (GAR Hall) Items: AB421; AB433; AB448
Tue Nov 17 Assembly – Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Public Hearing
1:01 PM
417 North (GAR Hall) Items: AB411; AB415; AB470; AB471

I believe that we need a presence there, on Tuesday, to let them know we are watching them and to bear witness. And to testify against this continuing enrollment of children into killing – children who are not allowed to drive or go into the military before the age of 16 and 18 because they do not have the good sense to make moral decisions. They are being sacrificed to this power mongering desperation to keep exclusive power in the hunting/trapping and now hounding minority who have always had the only say.

Relating to: eliminating age requirements for participating in the hunting mentorship program and hunting devices authorized to be used under the hunting mentorship program.
Representative Kleefisch
Senator Moulton
A-Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage

Relating to: back tag requirements.
Representative Kleefisch
Senator Moulton
A-Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage

Thank you for contacting your representatives on these new bills (backtags, child mentoring without age limits) and AB 433 and SB338.

For a living, humane and related world that is so much better than the one this legislature is promoting.

Please let me know if you are going to attend. I will be there even though I have another column due that evening.

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Posted by on November 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Bills would criminalize citizen oversight of hunting cruelty


“The idea you’re going to regulate who can take photos on public land is pretty shocking. You don’t see laws like that anywhere in the free world.” ~ Justin Marceau, Animal Legal Defense Fund, law professor, University of Denver

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, the “sporting heritage” committees of the Assembly and Senate held overlapping hearings on what legislators persistently referred to as “important legislation.”

You can watch the video of the hearing here on Wisconsin Eye.

These twin bills concern “interfering with hunting, fishing, and trapping and providing criminal penalties.” AB 433 and SB 338 expand the current definition of hunter harassment to maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a hunter or approaching, confronting or photographing him or her. The text and legislators supporting these bills can be seen here and here.

Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, who is not a hunter, suggested that current hunter harassment and stalking laws already protect hunters. He claimed that citizens have a right to record legal and illegal practices in order to work for policy changes in the governance of our public lands.

Some laws cannot be morally justified. This legislation would expand hunter abuses that are already protected. Baiting and running dogs on bears for months before killing them would be protected from citizen scrutiny.

Most nonhunter citizens have never seen hounding, or been attacked by a pack of dogs. To clarify what is already legal on Wisconsin public lands and in fenced enclosures, here is a (graphic) video of a hunter who has wounded a coyote, now lying in the snow: “I shot him three or four times…he might have some fight left in him…his eyes are still open.” He encourages the dogs to kill the coyote, which they do. A young boy is standing next to him. He says, “This is the first kill this child got to see today — good he could see it.”

According to the League of Humane Voters of Wisconsin, hunters here set out 82,000 bait piles with 4,600,000 gallons of bait this year, mostly unhealthy sweets. The bait attracts wolves and coyotes and disrupts all wildlife. They come in conflict with the dogs being “trained.”

Tom Solin, head of law enforcement special investigations for the DNR, now retired, told me that wildlife are regularly killed by dogs.

Twenty-three dogs have been reported killed this year while hounding our wildlife. Citizen donations to the endangered species fund compensate owners who choose to put their dogs at risk — often at $2,500 per dog.

Melanie Weberg, who lives up north, testified at the hearing. “I know property owners in five counties — Rusk, Bayfield, Douglas, Burnett and Polk — who have been verbally and physically intimidated by parties of bear hounders during summer and fall. I know of a married couple in their 80s in Bayfield County…who lost their beloved dog to a pack of bear hound dogs, who were afraid to report it for fear of retaliation.”

Armed men and women, on the kill, adrenaline pumping, drinking, with packs of dogs taught to be vicious — and it is they who need protection? Hounds run miles ahead of hunters, often trespassing on private land and threatening livestock, pets and children.

Hounders were bused into the hearing in full camouflage drag, to stand up for their “sport.” They testified that they “worked closely with the DNR” to craft this legislation. They whined about how abusive it is to have nonhunting citizens watching them. Abusive — like our streams and land laden with lead shot that poisons millions of songbirds, water birds and wildlife? Abusive — like controlling our wildlife exclusively for their killing recreation and politically strangling humane citizen participation on the public land we as taxpayers purchase?

“Bear hounding is a family sport. … People think bear hunters are low life, uneducated — I work at a trauma center. … I have killed bears for 28 years,” bragged Michelle Edwards in her testimony. She should know what trauma does to flesh and bone and spirit.

Hunters’ “God-given rights” were confirmed by chairman Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, who chided me that “God made man to run the world.”

One trapper, who also hounds and kills bears, invited any and all on the committee to stay in his lodge up north — a chummy bribe.

This legislation was initiated in response to Rod Coronado’s Wolf Patrol. Coronado and his volunteers reported a wolf trap set after the wolf hunt ended, resulting in an investigation and the trapper given nothing but a verbal warning. It is this kind of citizen monitoring that Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, who introduced the bill, and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association want to quell.

Wisconsin has a very low warden-to-hunter ratio, with poor oversight of these very controversial wildlife abuses. The DNR tip line supposedly encourages citizen input.

Rick Hanestad, of Dunn County, was taught to trap at age 5. He quit hounding, saying it was too brutal for him. He is the trapper whose heart was changed by adopting a coyote who is now a beloved family member. He told me that trappers live-trap as many raccoon babies as they can get in spring for the hounders to release to their dogs to kill, to teach them bloodlust. He estimates that a third of the bear cubs run by dogs in “training” are too little and inexperienced to make it to trees, and are killed on the ground.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates, testified at the hearing that the Legislature is on shaky legal ground. Photography is considered a form of free speech. She said, “When people try to hide things, there is usually something to hide.” Citizens cannot back up claims of wildlife abuse without pictures. Criminalizing citizen oversight has a chilling effect on reporting abuse. She correctly stated: “Citizens who don’t hunt or trap, the vast majority in the state, spend the majority of the money on outdoor recreation in this state,” and asked, “Why not propose a bill that reflects that trend?”

It is time for a “Respect for All Life Heritage Committee” to protect our citizen majority and wildlife. We purchased these public lands for all citizens of Wisconsin, and we should all be safe on them. That should include protecting native species.

This is their world too.

Citizens can find their Senate and Assembly members’ contact information in the upper right-hand corner of the Wisconsin Legislature home page here to comment on this legislation. Citizens can organize at if they wish to work toward fair participation in governing our public lands.


Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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