Poor Josh Bransford, the victim. That is the hue and cry that we keep hearing from hunter and trapper apologists after outraged living wildlife advocates demanded that Bransford be fired from his job at the U.S. Forest Service. For anyone who doesn’t know that is a smiling Josh Bransford in the photograph above with a wounded, trapped, and suffering wolf in the background. Since the photographs of Bransford spread across the world furious living wildlife advocates have expressed their outrage at the actions of Bransford through various methods. Some demanded that he be criminally charged with animal cruelty, some demanded that the be fired from his job with the U.S. Forest Service, while others made threats of violence against him and his family.
While I agree with the first two actions, the threats of violence against Bransford and his family are unacceptable no matter how revolting of a human being the man is. While covering this story I received several comments where people wanted to post Bransford’s personal address and other information. I refused to post these. Keep up the official pressure, but please keep the threats of violence against Bransford and his family out of the equation. We do not want to stoop to the same level as those who constantly threaten living wildlife advocates.
That being said I have been disgusted with the number of apologists, including the Idaho Fish and Game Department and several trapping groups, who have come to the defense of Bransford’s actions. Most recently was this article by former Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Conservation Coordinator, Erin Zwiener. In the article Zwiener basically says that after anti-trapping group Footloose Montana received a vile death threat they should have tucked their tall between their legs and not pushed the Bransford issue:
“This photo went viral, and Footloose Montana reported receiving a death threat via email. A death threat ought to be a good indication that it’s time to tone down the rhetoric. But Footloose Montana responded by reposting the story multiple times, and on April 1, the group posted the full name, work phone number and work email of the trapper posed with the wounded wolf. The group even provided contact information for his supervisors and noted that he was a Forest Service employee. Now, more than one organization is calling for him to be fired, as well as a full investigation into the wolf’s death.”
For anyone not familiar the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently gave the state of Montana $51,000 for wolf “management.” Meaning that they want the money to be used to kill more wolves. Then she says this:
“I am a strong supporter of wolf management, but I am neither a proponent nor an opponent of trapping. I try to see both sides of the issue. At this point, I assume that Footloose Montana will eventually win its battle to ban all trapping on public lands. But I don’t believe that exposing and attacking private individuals is an appropriate way to effect change, however sincerely that change is desired. And public opinion should not dictate the private morality of federal employees. Let’s not target a few men for their legal activities. Activists can fight this out at the voting booth and in the Legislature and leave law-abiding citizens alone.
So basically whenever a thug threatens living wildlife advocates we should just back down and let the status quo take it’s course. Then according to her we should let government employees act anyway they want when they are off the clock. During my time as a public servant how we behaved off the clock could have been grounds for dismissal. Whether legal or not any behavior that put a bad light on the department could have been met with repercussions. Apparently there is a double standard when that behavior includes torturing animals.