Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: The Second Amendment: Looking into the mirror of cultural psychosis


What kind of mind actually wants to kill something? What is wrong with the psyche of a man who looks at a lion, or a deer, or any sentient being and wants to kill it for no other reason than the sport of killing? ~ Tom Grasso, Elephant Journal   

Wayne LaPierre heads a rigid, macho National Rifle Association that represents much that is sick in America and in the Republican Party. The NRA has played into the astonishing insecurity and entitlement of white male supremacy, marketing guns as if they represent “freedom” and “independence.” The United States is awash in this false idol, status symbols to be paraded in open intimidation and used for the recreational mass murder of wildlife — and people.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter of 20 children and six adults in 2012, it was estimated that there were then 3.75 million AR-15-type rifles in the United States, in a mix of 310 million firearms.

The most frequent victims of gun violence are not black people or people in wars, or people at all. They are innocent, natural wild beings who are tortured and killed annually by the millions just in Wisconsin, for recreation. This is insanity.

Scientific study has proven that animal, bird and human consciousness are the same, culminating in the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness.

As Albert Schweitzer famously said, “I am life which wills to live, in the midst of life which wills to live. As in my own will-to-live there is a longing for wider life and pleasure, with dread of annihilation and pain; so is it also in the will-to-live all around me, whether it can express itself before me or remains dumb.” He advocated respect for all life.

Often even progressive legislators, when braving the gun control topic, give the caveat that “no one is trying to take away the rights of hunters.” These rights are not God-given — these are undemocratic fictions created by legislators stuck in a cowboy mentality. The fact is that the main support of the NRA, beyond militia groups and gun collectors, are hunters, who are a minority of our citizens.

Wisconsin is one of 24 states that allow semi-automatics to be used on wildlife. They fire as rapidly as one can pull the trigger. Dana Liebelson of Mother Jones wrote: “A legal add-on can make assault rifles fire ‘as a machine gun would.’ “

As Ammoland Gun News reports: “(I)t should be abundantly obvious that hunting with semi-automatic ‘assault rifles’ is the norm, not the exception.”

Violence begets more violence. The state teaches children to numb themselves to the suffering they cause in hunting and trapping. That numbing, as we have seen in war veterans, has personal and societal costs — more violence.

Gerald Horne, professor of history and African-American studies at the University of Houston, speaking on “Democracy Now!” said: “Well, first of all, you need to understand that the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which is the calling card for the gun lobby and Washington, D.C., has everything to do with slavery.” Horne says that militias and guns were used to suppress slave revolts, and both freed slaves and indigenous populations were excluded from gun “rights.” He says the Ku Klux Klan was organized to disarm newly freed Africans.

Horne describes how the NRA and gun lobby actually wanted gun control after the Black Panther Party, fully armed in the 1960s, confronted the California Legislature. He concludes, “So, you cannot disconnect the history of the Second Amendment from the history of racism and white supremacy.”

Or from the history of specie-ism: “Fear of black people, indigenous people, domination over nature. Elevating the almighty white male top of his self-proclaimed hierarchy.”

Tom Grasso wrote in “Debunking the Second Amendment” for the Elephant Journal:

“Why ban all guns? Because there is a certain amount of insanity necessary to own a gun. Again, I’m not talking about someone living in the remote areas of our nation. I’m talking about the dentist living in urban Minnesota who owns a gun simply because he wants to kill something. He doesn’t have to kill to survive, he wants to kill. If there isn’t a measure of insanity there, I don’t know where else to find it.

“Suggesting you need to own a gun because you want to kill something should automatically disqualify you from the ability to purchase one. What kind of mind actually wants to kill something? What is wrong with the psyche of a man who looks at a lion, or a deer, or any sentient being and wants to kill it for no other reason than the sport of killing? Doesn’t that alone suggest a type of psychological issue?

“There are relatively few people living in the 50 American states who need to kill to survive. Instead, the killing of living beings is more of a statement than survival. It feeds our ego, our need for power, and our lust for blood.”

Australia began a ban and buy-back of all semi-automatic weapons 12 days after the Port Arthur massacre 20 years ago. Since that ban, there have been no mass killings in Australia. The program cost $230 million. Peter Baskerville, an Australian citizen, wrote of that change, “See, Australians don’t have an emotional, ideological nor political view of guns. In our country, guns are not seen as a ‘natural right’ of its citizenry nor are they a symbol of freedom and independence. Australians simply view a gun as a gun.”

He explains: “Other changes introduced at the same time significantly contributed to the gun law impact and included extensive background checks, the need for valid reasons to own ANY firearm and police-inspected mandatory secure gun safes.”

The assessment of the law changes 20 years later is “the benefits have enriched us beyond measure as a society, and as individuals.”


The state of Illinois wants to destroy two pet deer rescued and licensed through the state. Humane citizens should have as much right to our wildlife as do killers. You can add your name to the nearly 120,000 people who have opposed the state removing them on this petition.

Also, sign the petition to save Yellowstone’s remnant population of 750 bears, which are threatened with immediate hunting if taken off the Endangered Species List. 100,000 grizzlies thrived in the United States before Lewis & Clark’s voyage. The plan is to give hunters a once-in-a-lifetime grizzly head on wall. Please help bears survive this ignorance by signing and networking this petition

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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wisconsin legislators among most cruel to animals in country


“Firearms with repeating actions, which includes varieties such as lever action, pump, and semi-automatic are generally allowed during all of our seasons when firearms can be used.” ~ James Dick, DNR spokesperson

The Animal Legal Defense Fund annually ranks all 50 states on the strength of their animal protection laws. The organization’s 2015 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings dropped the Wisconsin Legislature from a rank of 36th in 2014 to 44th in 2015, near the bottom. It is an abysmal record, the result of anti-democratic Republican gerrymandering, voter suppression, disrespect for science and wildlife, lack of moral compass, and the poor choices of Wisconsin citizens.

To paraphrase Gandhi, a state can be known by the way it treats its animals.

According to rankings by the League of Humane Voters of Wisconsin, half the Wisconsin Assembly rated a zero (50 of 99 Assembly members) for not supporting humane bills and for sponsoring obscenely cruel bills. In the Assembly, only seven of 99 representatives scored 50 percent or above: Rep. Christine Sinicki (D), led the humane effort at 1 percent; Rep. Terese Berceau (D), 95 percent; Rep. Tod Ohnstad (D), 80 percent; Rep. Lisa Subeck (D), 65 percent; and Rep. Chris Taylor (D), a surprisingly low 55 percent; followed by Rep. Dana Wacks (D) and Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D), both at 50 percent.

Only two of 33 state senators scored above 30 percent — Sen. Fred Risser (D) shone brightest at 125 percent, followed by Sen. Tim Carpenter (D) at 60 percent. Twenty of the 33 senators scored zero, including Democrats Jon Erpenbach, Jennifer Shilling, Janet Bewley, and Nikiya Harris Dodd.

Sen. Mark Miller (D) drew a poor 30 percent and Sen. Chris Larson (D) 25 percent.

At the federal level, Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Ron Johnson, and Reps. Glenn Grothman, James Sensenbrenner and Sean Duffy, all Republicans, scored a predictable zero. Only Rep. Mark Pocan (D) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) scored 100. Rep. Gwen Moore (D), got 87 percent, Rep. Ron Kind (D) a not-so-kind 25 percent, and outgoing Rep. Reid Ribble (R) 12 percent.

Below are examples of the type of bills that provide the basis for the humane scorecard rankings.

AB 433/SB 338: These bills prohibit concerned citizens and landowners from documenting the abuse by hound hunters and their dogs in pursuit of wildlife while harassing and killing them. This overreach hides from citizen view the most horrific abuse of coyotes, bears, bobcats and other wildlife on our public commons. It was supported by the NRA, Safari Club, Whitetails of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Wisconsin Bear Hunter’s Association, and Wisconsin FORCE, a group recently formed to promote and support the NRA and wildlife destruction. Hunters are a major support of the NRA and the gun industry, and vice versa.

AB 719/SB 605: These bills legalize shining lights in the eyes of “unprotected” wildlife like foxes, raccoons and coyotes to confuse and blind them so they cannot defend themselves from being killed at night.

AB 700/SB 542: These bills move forward the date of starting a wolf hunt — if the wolf is again de-listed from the Endangered Species List as sought by many legislators — to give more opportunity to pit dogs against wolves. This bill was supported by the Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association, the Cattlemen’s Association, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and Wisconsin Independent Business, Inc.

Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Mary Czaja, who both scored zero on the humane scorecard, promoted a motion-to-budget bill to sneak in exempting hound hunters from buying any licenses to run dogs on our wildlife, thereby creating a free-for-all that the DNR cannot even regulate. The DNR therefore has zero idea of how many people or dogs are running on our public lands and wildlife. Trespassing on private land with dogs that run far ahead of trucks and armed men is a significant problem.

The Wisconsin Legislature continues to permit unimaginable suffering to millions of innocent animals mangled in traps and run by dogs indiscriminately from July 1 through the bear hunt that ends in October. In 2014, 4,630,000 gallons of bait were dumped in Wisconsin public forests. That, combined with an unlimited (and unknown) number of hunters running dogs on any creature that moves, helped hunters kill nearly 5,000 black bears, 60 percent of them cubs less than a year-and-a-half old.

Pro-wildlife bills that were left to die in committee can be found on the Wisconsin League of Humane Voters website here qunder 2015-16 Wisconsin legislation tag at the top.

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, has put forth a bill to ban assault weapons in this country, but it lacks the needed component of an assault weapon mandatory buy-back. You can contact your federal representatives to support that bill and suggest the buy-back, and sign a petition here in support. Semi-automatics used on wildlife is yet another crime against nature, increasing the proliferation of violence in this society. Ban them.

BCheck out the legislative scorecard, network it, and vote out cruel legislavtors in the next election.

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Posted by on October 1, 2016 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wildlife hospital petitions transmission line company for compassion



“(T)he highest role of the law is the protection of human and natural communities, rather than protection of the ruling elite.” ~ Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Breaking the Planet.

Wisconsin’s Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital describes the work it does with wildlife as “ethical, compassionate, and professional rehabilitation.”

“Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital was created as a special place for injured and orphaned wildlife to heal and be acclimated for return to the wild. 40,000 animals and over 100,000 people have received help — at no charge — over the last 30 years,” according to the organization, which is located near Lake Geneva.

American Transmission Company had scheduled a June 20 clear-cut of an easement near the sanctuary, 84 feet from the center of an adjacent highway. The proposed cut included a 100-year-old spruce tree that has been trimmed for 50 years to facilitate the easement.

Over 80,000 people have signed a petition asking that the easement be trimmed, not clear-cut. The petition explains: “The property is located on a rural road that becomes very busy in the summer months, and very noisy. The noise and human activity is detrimental to the wildlife in outdoor flights and habitats who require a peaceful, quiet and natural environment to prevent injuries caused by stress, and to prevent habituation to humans and human activities prior to release. … The trees and other vegetation provide a buffer from traffic noise, human voices and provide security and privacy.”

The sanctuary posted a short video and description of the bird habitat and small mammal nesting area that is threatened by clear-cutting.

People can sign and network the petition to social media, and contact American Transmission Co., based in Waukesha, at 866-899-3204 or email at

The town board has informed ATC that they cannot proceed without a planning commission approval of their cut, so for now, it is on hold. But Alissa Braatz, corporate communications for American Transmission Lines, wrote me, “Even if the town ordinance seems to apply, the laws and regulations of the State of Wisconsin take precedence … public utilities like ATC are exempt from obtaining a permit to cut trees.” An ATC flyer states: “A tree does not need to make direct contact with a transmission line to create a hazard or a dangerous situation … and power outages.”

ATC has control of 9,940 acres of easements in four states and plans to clear-cut all of it, according to Steven Blane, co-founder of the wildlife sanctuary. These lands contain ancient trees, vital wildlife and bird habitat, carbon sinks of vegetation that mitigate climate change. Trees and natural wild systems buffer people’s property from roads and power lines all along the toxic power line system. We humans and all mammals are electrical beings. “Living close to power lines has been shown to increase the risk of leukemia and other cancers since 1979,” EM Watch reports. Many other detrimental health effects have been well–documented, including brain cancer, childhood and aduklt leukemia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s, fatigue, and heart disease, the group says.

The DNR and state of Wisconsin offer no financial compensation or support to wildlife rehabilitators. Of course, the DNR and Legislature should financially support wildlife rehabilitation because many innocent wild beings suffer the result of state policies promoting special-interest trapping, lead shot, hunting injuries, and sport-killing that leaves wildlife orphaned.

State Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, once told me that if a legislator received 10 citizen contacts on an issue, it is a red flag that the issue is important. A letter, followed by a call to your legislator, would call attention to the need for state support of our wildlife rehabilitators who give their time and compassion to traumatized wildlife.


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Posted by on September 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Starting a bear tribe to protect our bears


“Wisconsin has one of the largest black bear populations in the country and high hunter success rates — this combination makes it a great place to hunt.” ~ Dave MacFarland, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources carnivore specialist

In his new book “Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging,” award-winning journalist Sebastian Junger makes the point that humans evolved to bond together in crisis. We are tribal and need each other. He discusses his ideas in this YouTube video.

At this point of history, it would behoove us to realize we are all in this challenge of climate crisis and biodiversity destruction together. We need all the life of this world. We are the only species with the power to destroy all that is. We need to make shared purpose in survival, with less than half of wildlife left on earth.

Any and all who are interested in protecting bears are invited to contact Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic to help form the Bear Tribe.

Prior to the 1950s, bears were considered “vermin” and killed without limits. Now the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources treats them as a commodity from which it obtains hefty lottery and sales profits. Anyone can run packs of dogs on our wildlife without even buying a license. “A Class B license is no longer required to bait bears, train dogs to track bears, act as a back-up shooter, or assist hunters with pursuing bears,” the DNR notes. Youth of any age can join in the harassment.

Bears enter a period of hyperplasia, or intense foraging for, food in July. And that is just when the DNR has promoted running packs of dogs on them. Bears need to eat constantly to up their body fat by 20 percent in order to survive the winter, yet the DNR allows them to be run to exhaustion, separated from cubs when the babies are small and vulnerable, and tormented at whim. With no licensing, the DNR has no idea how many people or packs of dogs are terrorizing the woods.

In 1989, the DNR estimated the black bear population in Wisconsin at 9,000 bears. For the next seven years, the estimates remained 11,000 to 14,000 bears. That changed in 2006-2007, when following a study the DNR changed the estimation to 23,000 to 40,000 bears. On the basis of this one study, the DNR increased the bear kill by 60 percent. “The last 7 bear seasons represent the 7 highest bear harvest in Wisconsin history. Wisconsin continues to lead the nation with more bear harvest than in any other state,” boasts the DNR website.

David Mattson, a grizzly bear expert, gave a talk defending Yellowstone grizzlies from delisting on July 15, 2015. He spoke of bears with great love and respect, calling them “miraculous.”

Mattson makes the point that one of the ways that government bear managers skew population data is by changing the way that they count bears (as happened in Wisconsin). He also reports: “However large the population might be, and however fast it might have grown, tells us nothing about the unfolding present and impending future.” He cites the unprecedented and unpredictable effects of climate change as bears saw reductions in two of their major food sources in Yellowstone in just the past few years — cutthroat trout and whitebark pine seeds. These changes forced bears to turn to meat, which brings them into conflict with hunters in pursuit of elk and deer — and with wolves. Females forced toward meat consumption are putting cubs at risk from male bears, wolves and men.

Mattson reports that 80 percent of adult bear deaths are attributed to human violence. Bears’ predictable behavior leads to their vulnerability. They are no match for guns, traps and targeted “seasons.” He says that the destruction of 100,000 bears from 1800 to 1910 “demonstrated when we turn lethal, we slaughter bears like crazy.”

Over 26,500 black bears have been killed in Wisconsin in just the last six years. That is over four times the rate of historic killing of grizzlies that Mattson characterizes as genocide: “Our European ancestors were remarkably lethal to grizzly bears. … Fair to say that virtually every grizzly bear that encountered an armed European between 1850 and 1950 ended up dead. Besides having large caliber firearms, it had a lot to do with what was going on between their ears — and that had a lot to do with Manifest Destiny. It was a story of domination, use, and death. I don’t want to be overly dramatic here but it essentially gave European settlers permission in their minds to perpetrate genocides … bears, bison, native peoples being swept away.”

With the human population continuing to escalate and wild places disappearing, plus the unknowns of sudden rapid changes in climate and food supplies, drought, floods, wildfires and loss of habitat, there is nothing predictable here and now.

Mattson says: “Prospects (are) not good if we continue to tell ourselves stories of domination, use and death … if we told stories of respect and kinship and appreciation — (we have) room for a lot more bears than we have now … a good basis to be more humble and realize we have released forces we cannot control.”

The Grizzly Times reports: “According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), over 212,000 comments were submitted on the 2006 proposal to remove endangered species protections (“delist”) the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Over 99 percent of those commented opposed delisting. Particularly strong were voices of children, scientists, conservationists, and old timers. Many invoked spiritual connections to bears and the earth, stewardship and leaving a legacy for future generations.”

Bears are a public trust — not a trophy for the elite few. Who will stand in solidarity with the Bear Tribe of Wisconsin?


Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Legislators promote wolf kill in defiance of science


“We know we are confronting the wildlife establishment but it is our duty to give the public our best scientific assessment of what happened to their wolves.” ~ Adrian Treves, UW-Madison, in an interview with Isthmus, May 10, 2016 

In 2013, Wisconsin citizens polled 8 to 1 in favor of protecting wolves from a trophy hunt.

Despite public sentiment, state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, are planning a September wolf summit to attempt to circumvent the Endangered Species Act. Their agenda is to expand killing of wolves, essential creatures that are critically endangered.

Both of these hunting activists have Democratic challengers in the fall election. Jeff Peterson, Jarchow’s challenger, lays out Jarchow’s overall destructive record here. Peterson co-founded the Wisconsin Green Party in 1988 and says: “I believe that wolves have an important place in our ecosystem, including as a check on the spread of CWD in the deer herd. They have an inherent right to exist, and we have a responsibility to figure out how to co-exist with them.”

Dave Polashek, opposing Tiffany, emailed that he has purchased a hunting license every year since he moved back to Wisconsin in 1978. He has a utilitarian attitude toward wildlife. They are a commodity of food and serve a purpose to human ends. But he is more wolf-tolerant than Tiffany: “Wolves in the wild are a barometer of a healthy ecosystem. It would be sad if we did not have that measure.”

Wolf-killing advocates have postulated that legal wolf hunts would ease hunter frustration, acting as a safety valve to “protect” fragile populations from poaching.

Adrian Treves, who runs the Carnivore Coexistence Lab of the Nelson Institute at UW-Madison, collaborated with Guillaume Chapron of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences to test this rationale for killing, which is also used to justify trophy-hunting grizzly bears and other large carnivores. They recently published their findings.

Treves, after 16 years in wildlife management, by 2012 had begun to question the assumption that hunting is an effective management tool for predators. A May 10 Isthmus story, Is Hunting Really a Conservation Tool?, quotes Treves: “The more data collected, the less solid is that assumption.” He felt an obligation to speak out.

The Isthmus article quotes Treves: “On the contrary, killing increases poaching…. I realized I wasn’t really serving the public. I was serving special interests and the government.”

The scientists expect blowback since the study debunks a major fallacy used by state agencies to support hunting. The scientists say: “When the government kills a protected species, the perceived value of each individual of that species may decline; so liberalizing wolf culling may have sent a negative message about the value of wolves or acceptability of poaching. Our results suggest that granting management flexibility for endangered species to address illegal behavior may instead promote such behavior.”

Saving endangered species requires understanding the relationship between political policies and illegal killing. The governments of Scandinavian countries, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Western states have promoted this “safety valve” of killing as fact, under the guise of promoting tolerance, with absolutely no evidence. The same argument is being used to delist the 700 grizzly bears barely maintaining their population in Yellowstone National Park. This bogus argument has been used in courts and never substantiated.

The Treves/Chapron study continues: “For example, studies in Wisconsin that measured intention to poach wolves found those intentions rose in parallel with liberalized culling and those intentions did not decline after a period with liberalized culling. … Liberalizing wolf culling may have sent a negative message about the value of wolves or that poaching prohibitions would not be enforced.” When it allows hunting, the DNR signals that it does not value wolves and will not pursue or prosecute wolf poaching.

Chaperon created a short cartoon video explaining their research.

We need to do a lot more investigation into the suspect ways that state agencies can fudge numbers and manipulate data to support killing more and more wildlife as their populations continue to plummet. Grizzly Times has done excellent research on how state agencies manipulate population data and actively defy science, acting against the health of ecosystems, showing no respect for wildlife or nonhunting citizens.

On their page “The Problem of State Wildlife Management,” Grizzly Times echoes the main motivation of this column, so I quote it liberally as reaffirmation of what we citizens must change:

“The long-term protection of our wildlife — including large carnivores — depends on reforming the institutions of state wildlife management. … Hunting wildlife lies at the core of the ethos of state wildlife management. … Management of wildlife by state agencies is almost wholly for the benefit of hunters and fishers.

“Hunters are a shrinking minority, not the majority of those who care about wildlife and places like Yellowstone. As the Tribes in the Northern Rockies are fond of saying, state wildlife management agencies represent a last bastion of the ethos of Manifest Destiny, which led to genocide and the destruction of ecosystems during the 1800s and early 1900s.

“The primary and often stated goal of state management is to produce a ‘harvestable surplus’ of hooved animals such as deer and elk for hunters to kill. The primary ethos is one of domination, utilization, and objectification. Goals and problems are defined so that the solution is to kill something. There is little or no room for valuation of animals or consideration of welfare and rights. Predators such as grizzly bears (and wolves) are considered to be competitors for opportunities to kill elk, deer, and other herbivores. There is essentially little to no consideration given to other values, and virtually no credence is given to research showing the ecosystem benefits of healthy populations of large carnivores.

“By design and by function, state wildlife management excludes people who care primarily about the welfare of grizzly bears (and wolves) and value them because they like to see bears (and wolves) in the wild.…

“Key elements in state wildlife management reform include: 1. reforming finances 2. better representation of diverse values among commissioners 3. changing the culture within the academic institutions that train wildlife managers.

“This will only happen if a new constituency gets engaged.”

Tag — you’re it.

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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized


Madravenspeak Column: Wisconsin Fur Farm Exposed: A Caged Window On Cruelty as Fashion – Cruelty Pr



Madravenspeak Column: Wisconsin Fur Farm Exposed: A Caged Window On Cruelty as Fashion – Cruelty Pr

Madravenspeak Column: Wisconsin Fur Farm Exposed: A Caged Window On Cruelty as Fashion – Cruelty Pr




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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized



Extremely Endangered Red Wolf

“Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of the unit – the cosmos?” – John Muir, “A Thousand-mile Walk to the Gulf”

Weep for Wisconsin. It has a Department of Natural Resources stuck in the Stone Age. The DNR exists as an aggressive commercial killing business with deer and natural predators as the main commodities.

The DNR, stuck in farming-for-killing mode, is massively recruiting more killers, with old white guys teaching children animal cruelty. It is well-documented that children who learn to abuse animals are more likely to engage in domestic violence, war, or serial killing. It is unsurprising that Wisconsin spawned serial killers Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer, who rendered people like hunters chop up wildlife. Recently a video surfaced showing a Wisconsin teen, having shot a pregnant doe, riding on top of her as she was crying in terror and pain struggling to get away, dying. The teen posted, “Found out that the deer I shot yesterday was really two of them, LOL.”

Hunters came out for damage control, denouncing this as “not hunting.” What distinguished this incident is that it was filmed. State-approved trapping, bludgeoning wildlife unable to defend themselves, blasting deer’s legs off, leaving wild animals to bleed out, torturing wolves and bears with packs of dogs, chasing animals to exhaustion to shoot them out of trees, killing for skins and profit, for recreation and gory pictures ― all of this is state-promoted animal cruelty. It is adult manipulation of children who have a right to peaceful relationship with other beings.

Wolves and wildlife pose negligible threat to us, yet the state continues promoting killing wolves and cougars and coyotes and any wildlife hunters want. This is no longer a matter of survival. It is primarily recreation.

Killing, like any fevered acquisition, has become consumer delirium. Bigger, different, exotic, more, and never enough. Natural predators are unwelcome competition: Anything the wolf eats, the hunter does not get to kill.

We have known for nearly a century the delicate balance of interdependency in natural wild systems, and the vital importance of natural predators. Ken Burns’ documentary on the national parks highlighted the distinguished career of Adolph Murie, who served the national parks service from 1934 to 1966. IN 1937 Murie wrote “Ecology of the Coyote in Yellowstone,” which argued against the policies of predator eradication. Murie’s studies were groundbreaking and not welcome 80 years ago. Although his studies have stood the test of time, coyote eradication is still being implemented today in Wisconsin, where wolves are despised and bears are killed by the thousands annually.

The parks service assigned Murie to study the relationship of wolves with Dall sheep in the area of Mount McKinley, now renamed Denali. According to the Burns documentary, Murie walked 1,600 miles in the park and collected thousands of samples of wolf scat to analyze what wolves eat. He found a wolf den and watched it for 195 hours, once continuously for 33 hours, whatever the weather. He adopted a wolf pup and named him Wag. Murie knew wolves better than anyone.

His studies in 1939-1941 culminated in his classic book, “The Wolves of Mount McKinley,” which laid out the land as a set of relationships, all connected. He revealed that wolves, like coyotes, eat a lot of mice, and that wolves strengthen sheep, deer, and elk herds by culling the weak and the diseased. Murie stood against the campaign of poisoning and shooting coyotes, wolves and bears even then. He was instrumental in saving wolves in their last refuge in Alaska, where hunters and the state wanted them completely eradicated.

Whereas natural predators are a positive force in the balance of nature and keeping diseases curtailed, hunters are causing evolutionary damage with trophy hunting. By choosing the biggest and best rams, they obviously remove those rams from the gene pool. “Ironically, hunting based on minimum size criteria — such as horn size — selects against the trait most desired by hunters: the size of the trophy,” said David Coltman, professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta. He and his colleagues analyzed data covering 39 years in which Dall sheep were intensively trophy-hunted for 23 of those years.

A recent article by Jennifer Pascoe further quotes Coltman: “It’s not just the size of your horns, but also how old you are. For a ram to become highly successful and socially dominant, he’s not just large-horned. He’s also experienced.” However, writes Pascoe, rams are often shot prior to reaching that age of experience. “What we see is a decline in horn size over time,” said Coltman. The average size of a set of horns at Ram Mountain has declined more than 20 percent over 43 years. Part of the problem is many more licences are issued to trophy hunters than there are available legal rams.

Coltman concludes, “We have to be more evolutionarily enlightened about how we manage and conserve animal populations.”

Is it possible we are not the center of life? Or wise enough to manage it? Let’s actively honor all that Muir called “sermons in stone, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful with humanity.”

This is a call for reform and revolution ― before it is too late.

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Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Uncategorized