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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Lawmakers push irrational cruelty to wolves

 

This is the stuffed bear in Sen. Tom Tiffany’s office in Madison. PHOTOGRAPH COURTSEY OF RANDY O’CONNELL

Professionals built the Titanic, amateurs the Ark” — Frank Pepper

Wisconsin urgently needs a wildlife ark created by citizens — a Wildlife Cooperative, replacing the Department of Climate Change Denial and Wildlife Destruction. The “experts” are stuck in a predator-killing rut despite abundant science documenting the health benefits of wolves to complex, intact ecosystems.

When I was elected Dane County delegate to the Conservation Congress 1999-2002, DuWayne Johnsrud was chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. He called sandhill cranes “ribeyes in the sky,” roasted mourning doves in his office, and had a bear skin thrown over his office couch.

Toxic manhood still rules in deadly entitlement. Sen. Tom Tiffany, chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, has his mean-spirited ego on display in the large taxidermy black bear in his office.

I attended the first of two Tiffany/Rep. Adam Jarchow wolf-hate conferences up north. Instead of educating and calming irrational hatred, they rallied blood lust against an endangered species. They irresponsibly chose Ted Lyons, author of ‘True Wolf,” as keynote speaker. (Adrian Wydevan, 13 years a Department of Natural Resources wolf biologist, described that book as anti-wolf and full of misinformation.)

Sen. Terry Moulton filled the room with his interpretation of God. He said, “I believe that God gave man dominion over the animals.” Evidently dominion means destruction because man has destroyed two-thirds of wildlife across the planet in just 50 years. It is a fact inspiring Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist E.O. Wilson to urge humanity to give half the Earth back to the other 99.9999 percent of species, in the interest of human survival.

With the wolf hunt on hold following a federal appeals court ruling last summer, Kathleen Raddatz, Waukesha citizen, testified at the Senate hearing on SB 602, (the “Let them poach wolves with impunity” bill): “Wolves just want to survive. You go out and kill 50-pound pups, go into the living rooms of wolves with walkie-talkies, high-tech weapons and into their dens with dogs, and slap a label ‘sport’ on it. In sport, both teams know the rules, are equally equipped, and nobody comes out dead.”

Mary Jo Waters testified, “When you say you want the wolves delisted, you mean killed. Wisconsin is a big game farm.”

Christina Ciano, a self-described “everyday citizen,” said, “Hunting is not conservation. The motivation against apex predators is that they interfere with trophy hunters killing elk and deer.”

She repeated several times for emphasis: “When the needs of wildlife are pitted against human needs, humans always win.”

Evidently facts mean nothing to Republicans. Wolves kill few cattle. The Department of Agriculture has documented that wolves may be responsible for two-tenths of 1 percent of unintended deaths before the slaughterhouse.

Wolves are blamed for killing deer.

Facts:

• The buck kill was up 28 percent where wolves live in northern Wisconsin in 2016.

• The DNR states that 25 percent of 2-year old-bucks are sick with chronic wasting disease, and it continues to spread.

• There is no CWD where wolves live.

The DNR and Legislature have manifested their irrational cruelty to wolves. They ignored the mandatory five-year hunting moratorium after delisting, required in their own management plan. They promoted the obscenity of dogs fighting wolves, shooting trapped wolves, and torturing wolves — all glorified on the Wisconsin Wolf Hunt facebook page.

Wisconsin legislators and the DNR do not have the respect for science, nature, wildlife and democracy essential to govern wolves or wildlife in general.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, weighed in on the fearmongering of these hearings: “Proponents of wolf delisting often try to attach a social benefit to their wish to kill wolves for sport — claiming that trophy hunting, trapping, and government or private lethal control actions are needed to curb attacks on cattle and other farm animals. However, a growing number of scientific reports are punching a hole in those claims — and showing that killing wolves can even make problems worse.”

Studies by Adrian Treves of the Carnivore Coexistence Project, UW-Madison, conclude: “Wildlife management guided by the ‘best scientific and commercial data available’ would suggest suspending the standard method of trapping wolves in favor of non-lethal methods (livestock guarding dogs or fladry) that have been proven effective in preventing livestock losses in Michigan and elsewhere.”

An elderly gentleman testified praising the character of wolves: “Wolves are honorable animals. They anally mate for life and will starve themselves to feed their young.”

Honor is sadly lacking in the Legislature and halls of human arrogance.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on January 28, 2018.

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Action Alert:

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has sponsored legislation to end protection for the last 100 Mexican wolves living in the wild. This further threatens the Endangered Species Act at a time of mass extinction. Sign and network a petition for Mexican wolves here.

Call your state legislators to oppose AB 712 and SB 602. They are being fast-tracked. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wisconsin Legislature proves its incompetence on wolves

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The Wisconsin legislators who sponsored this bill have embarrassed the citizens of Wisconsin to the world.” ~ Bob Boucher, citizen who testified against bill

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, chair of the state Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage, held a hearing Jan. 10 on AB712, a bill sponsored by Rep. Adam Jarchow in the state Assembly, which has a companion bill sponsored by Tom Tiffany in the state Senate (SB602). The text says: “This bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from enforcing a federal or state law that relates to the management of the wolf population in this state or that prohibits the killing of wolf in this state.” It also prohibits the expenditure of funds to enforce protection of wolves, undermining the Endangered Species Act, while retaining payments for livestock damage and bear hounders’ dogs injured by wolves.

Many believe the purpose of this bill is to force the hand of the federal government to delist Wisconsin’s gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List so the state can OK the resumption of wolf hunting, which has been blocked by the federal government since 2014. The law would be moot if wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List, but kick in again if the wolves were re-listed, even if there was just one wolf left in Wisconsin.

The hearing was well attended. The bear hunters, bow hunters, NRA, and Conservation Congress each sent representatives supporting AB712, including Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance lobbyist Bob Welch.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, which represents 205 hunting, trapping and hounding groups, strongly supports federal delisting, but questioned whether this bill would expose them to the public as willing to do anything to kill wolves. Their focus was on rallying hunters and trappers to call Paul Ryan and push him to forward delisting our wolves.

One citizen speaking against the bills said, “I am against Senator Tiffany in general. Every time you speak about ‘management’ you mean ‘kill.’ Table the bill.”

There were equally as many attending who sought to educate the committee that wolf populations are self-limiting and there is no “need” to hunt wolves. There is no CWD where wolves live.

Many who testified were simmering with outrage.

Bob Boucher (UW-Madison, MS in water resource management) has had a hunting and fishing license in Wisconsin for 50 years: “This bill proves to the entire world that the Wisconsin Legislature is populated with individuals who have violated their oath of office, the code of ethics for government service and the public trust. It also shows the world that the Legislature is populated with unprincipled law breakers who encourage poaching in direct defiance of upholding the laws of this country and the Endangered Species Act. Wolves play a critical role in maintaining biological land health. As a keystone species, wolves create a trophic cascade that supports healthy forests in Wisconsin.”

The state Department of Natural Resources claims that there are over 900 wolves in the state now, a miraculous four-year recovery after 1,100 were killed in three years of hunts. (It took 38 years of protection to get to 850 wolves prior to the hunts that began in 2012.)

Other bill opponents pointed out that the much-referenced “goal” of 350 wolves in the Wisconsin wolf management plan was never a “goal” but a minimum number of wolves for the state — and that it was a number picked out of the rifle butts of hunters and trappers with zero scientific backing. It was floated in 1999, and is outdated by 20 years. Management plans are supposed to reflect new science and be updated every five years.

AB712 even prohibits law enforcement and wardens from communicating incidents of poaching to USFWS federal law enforcement. It would enable free-for-all poaching, poisoning, trapping and killing — and not only of wolves. Those who poach wolves will likely poach other species.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney who represents Midwest Environmental Advocates, spoke against the bills. She testified: “AB712 takes us back 100 years to a time when fear and ignorance determined our approach to wildlife.” She predicted it would “open a Pandora’s box of widespread poaching, public safety concerns, and costly litigation.”

The bills’ authors want wolves back under state control to enable annual killing sprees. It is just a matter of how to get there. One argument that might be persuasive to wolf-haters is Sinykin’s legal assessment that this bill will actually delay delisting by the federal government: “It will cost untold dollars in litigation that will go on for years,” she said.

Mary Anderson of Spooner raises horses in wolf country. She sees wolves, but has had no problem. She called it a foolish bill with no sense.

The Wolf Patrol weighed in against this bill and the “bully tactics of a small minority that has failed to get its way through legitimate means.”

Stephen Anderson of Hartford said, “This is one step short of returning to bounty years. … Illegal killing is the second highest cause of wolf deaths.” He added that the question should be whether to kill wolves at all.

Wisconsin’s Indian tribes, who have important cultural attachment to the wolves as their brothers, were not consulted in the development of the bill. Law enforcement was not consulted either.

One citizen joked: “How do we know if there are any wolves in Wisconsin? Wait to see if three little pigs are threatened with home eviction? Or ask a little girl in a red cape (if she has encountered the ‘big bad wolf’)?”

AB712 proves that returning the stewardship of wolves to the state of Wisconsin would be irresponsible, since the wolf-haters in the state Legislature and beyond appear to be in power and looking for a way to destroy the wolf population. This bill also demonstrates that our wildlife, even the most endangered, which weave the world together and protect our health, are not granted the appropriate respect and treatment they deserve as a public trust.

ACTION ALERTS: A hearing on the Senate version of this wolf poaching bill (SB602) will be Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. Also SB633, dropping the requirement for proof of rabies certification on hounding dogs! Please network widely, contact senators, and attend!

Citizens can fight for our wolves and healthy forests in Wisconsin. Flood the phone lines of the following against delisting Great Lakes and Wyoming wolves:

Paul Ryan: +1 (202) 225-0600 / email form here

Federal authors of legislation to remove Great Lakes and Wyoming wolves from the Endangered Species List:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin: +1 (202)224-5653 / scroll down here

Sen. Ron Johnson: +1 (202)224-5323 / scroll down here

This column was originally publised in the Madison CapTimes on January 14, 2018

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Pushing babes to violence to bolster flagging hunter numbers

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“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression….The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy.” ~ Stephen Hawkings speaking at London’s Science Museum

Stephen Hawkings explains, “It (aggression) may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”

It is illegal to have sex with a child less than 16 years old. By law, they are protected because they are morally too immature to engage in sex or bring life into the world. Similarly, a child does not understand death or who animals are and should be encouraged to develop a conscience, not “mentored” to destroy life.

There is no way to disguise it — killing is violence. Aggression is a human failing. Encouraging children to kill as they develop is an immersion technique that is formative. Brainwashing involves breaking down the identity of a person to replace it with ideology. A child has no firm identity established yet, and can be indoctrinated into a culture of violence when hunting is started in the vulnerable first stages of life.

Numbing a child to the suffering of the other beings on this planet is no longer acceptable. We are leaving them a world bereft of life.

Wisconsin Assembly Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, a wildlife-killing advocate, introduced a bill in the Legislature to allow children of any age to carry a weapon and kill wildlife. The bill passed and was signed by Gov. Walker.

Interest in hunting is flagging, and this appears to be one of a number of efforts to shore it up. Women and children are now prominently featured in weapons-industry ads.

According to the 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey, over 11 million hunters spent $25.6 billion destroying the life of our commons. Over 86 million wildlife watchers spent three times as much, $75.9 billion. Nonhunters, who comprise 96.5 percent of the citizens of this country, also pay for that proportion of our public lands.

The difference between the two groups is that the majority of us do no deliberate harm to the commons, while hunters leave lead shot across the landscape that poisons water birds, eagles, and wildlife that ingest it; drive ATVs; run packs of dogs on wildlife, terrorizing them and us for months; bait and kill the wildlife that watchers travel to experience alive.

Hunters are only 3.54 percent of this country’s population and yet have a stranglehold on government agencies that should serve us all. While hunter numbers have declined 16 percent in the past five years, wildlife watchers have increased 20 percent.

Two-thirds of wildlife has been destroyed in just 50 years, and we are at a tipping point of ecosystem collapse. Biologists say 50 percent of all species will likely face human-caused extinction by the end of this century.

It is baffling how maiming and killing wildlife gets a pass when it comes to animal abuse. That can be attributed to the same patriarchal control that traditionally has held sway and excluded nonhunters from participating in the management of public lands, waterways and wildlife.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources has essentially cut the nonhunting public out of the annual election of delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the sole advisory group to the state Legislature on the governing of nature and wildlife. Although all citizens should be represented, 95 percent of the delegates are hunters, hounders and trappers, who are elected by the 5,000 hunters who attend the election annually. The annual event is cleverly obscured, not named an election, and the DNR is complicit in keeping it secretive and privatized to its hunter clientele.

Tweaking the DNR is not the solution. It’s time to jump the curb and create something totally new. We don’t need better sameness, we need a paradigm shift — a system that includes all of us creating life-giving support for nature and wildlife to protect and nurture what is left.

We are out of the cave, and we need to be done with the industrial revolution and its dirty fuels, done with animal agriculture and its destruction of life on earth, and done with destroying wildlife for fun and trophy heads on walls.

When I hear Bill McKibben say, “No more pipelines, no more fracking, no more drilling — NONE OF IT!” I say: “No more trapping, no more hounding, no more hunting, no more taxidermy, no more heads on walls — NONE OF IT!”

Actions: Wildlife lovers can help create a Wisconsin bear sanctuary and education center 35 miles north of Madison. The Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic website has more information on how to help.

Please support these Center for Biological Diversity petitions to save life on earth:

Say no to traps on federal public lands.

• Trump has launched 47 attacks against the Endangered Species Act. Please take the pledge to support it.

• Take the pledge against Trump’s border wall, which would further endanger species.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on November 19, 2017

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Lab-grown and plant-based meat will change everything for animals

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Take me to the slaughterhouse … I’ll wait there with the lamb.” ~ Leonard Cohen

Richard Branson has made a revolutionary prediction: “I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone.”

In Jeremy Rifkin’s 1992 book, “Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture,” he wrote, “There are currently 1.28 billion cattle populating the earth. They take up nearly 24 percent of the land mass of the planet and consume enough grain to feed hundreds of millions of people. Their combined weight exceeds that of the human population on earth.

“Above all, ‘Beyond Beef’ adds up the cost of all this. It depicts a world in which the poorer peoples of the planet have been starved to  the beef addiction of a handful of wealthy nations. In Europe, the United States, and Japan, this addiction has resulted in millions of deaths from heart attack, cancer, and diabetes — the diseases of affluence. The book also describes the grim ecological effects of the cattle culture: rain forests burned, fertile plains turned into desert, and climate threatened by global warming.”

“Meat is the new tobacco,” according to a chart on Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine website.

Now nearly a third of the world’s land mass is used for slaughterhouse production.

Other grim statistics: Two-thirds of wildlife on the planet have ben destroyed in 50 years. Millions of acres of American public lands and rainforest across the world continue to be grazed cheaply for private profit of livestock ranchers. Taxpayer dollars subsidize federal wildlife “services” that kill millions of indigenous cougars, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, lynx, buffalo, grizzly and black bears, foxes, wild horses and wild burros, beavers, and even groundhogs — many of these species reduced to 1 to 5 percent of their former numbers and ranges.

“13 billion hectares (32.1 billion acres) of forest are destroyed for use as croplands or pastures each year. According to the WorldWatch Institute, 51 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Those emissions, and the harm associated with them, would be eliminated by choosing lab-grown meats rather than killing animals for food,” Karla Landt reported in September in Futurism.

In 2017, more than 150 billion animals are killed annually by the meat, dairy, egg and fish industries. Billions of wild animals are killed to facilitate it. One can get a real scope of the slaughter at this website, which has a count of how many of each species are being killed as you open and scroll down the page.

We are decades late, given the predictions of Winston Churchill in 1931 that by the 1980s, lab-grown meat would replace raising livestock on farms altogether. He wrote: “Nor need the pleasures of the table be banished. That gloomy Utopia of tabloid meals need never be invaded. The new foods will from the outset be practically indistinguishable from the natural products, and any changes will be so gradual as to escape observation.” A Fortune article in April 2017 describes some of the innovations.

To satisfy beef cravings, Impossible Foods has developed a plant-based burger that looks, tastes and behaves uncannily like one made from the real McCoy. Its secret is heme, an iron-rich molecule that gives meat its meaty taste.

Memphis Meats is commercializing what it says is the “world’s first chicken produced without the animal.” The company grows meat in tanks by feeding living animal cells oxygen, sugar and other nutrients. The process uses about 1 percent of the land and 10 percent of the water needed for conventional animal agriculture.

Leonardo di Caprio, Bill Gates, Cargill, and Kimbal Musk (younger brother of Elon Musk of Tesla) join Richard Branson as heavy investors in removing animals from our food system in the next couple of decades. “They recognize that our diets are unsustainable, and that changes are coming whether we like it or not, so might as well get on board sooner than later,” Michael Pellman Rowland writes in Forbes.

Tyson has invested in Beyond Meat, which can be found at Whole Foods in the meat section in Madison. Tyson and Cargill investments show that large companies recognize the inevitability of the end of animal agriculture.

This changes everything in our relationship to animals. Trapping for skins and hunting for heads on walls will no longer be the camouflaged killer’s pride, but seen for what it really is — needless and horrifying animal cruelty.

Natural predators will no longer be demonized and persecuted for trophy or to enable a holocaust of “farm” animals.

Branson says: “One day we will look back and think how archaic our grandparents were in killing animals for food.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on November 5, 2017

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Center for Biological Diversity petitions:

Kick Cruel Traps off our Federal Lands

Tell McDonald’s: Billions of Burgers Are Bad for Our Future

Bring back Grizzly Bears to California’s Sierra Nevadas

Stop Congress from Opening the Arctic Refuge to Drilling

Also, please take the opportunity to donate to create a Sacred Bear Education Center for organizing to help our wildlife, right here in Wisconsin, 35 miles from Madison. More information: Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2018 in Had cdx, Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Plaintiff Coyote: Group helps communities put rights of nature into law

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The only thing that environmental laws regulate are environmentalists.” ~ Thomas Linzey, 2014 Earth at Risk conference

Thomas Linzey co-founded the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund in the early 1990s to help communities seeking environmental justice as they fought against factory hog farms, fracking, and pipelines moving into Pennsylvania.

At the 2014 Earth at Risk conference, Linzey laid out how he and his team of lawyers wasted 10 years thinking that American environmental regulations were the best in the world and just needed more lawyers to enforce them.

As he worked to help communities — free of charge — he found that the laws related to pipelines, huge hog farms and fracking had been written by the very groups he was fighting. High-paid lawyers for the 20,000-hog farm and the pipeline thanked him for finding flaws that allowed them to bill more hours and write more ironclad laws.

“The environmental regulation machine is about permitting what would otherwise be illegal,” says Linzey. Filling wetlands, manure pools, nicitinoids, poisons and sewage applied to food crops, massive killing of animals using packs of dogs, lead shot poisoning wildlife, and steel jaw traps — all these atrocities are put into law by the few to benefit themselves.

After 10 years of working within the legal system, the group was stopping nothing. In fact, Linzey describes 40 years of the environmental movement made stagnant, unable to bring proportionate action to the crises we face. Environmentalists and animal activists are banging their heads against laws that were crafted to exclude them from any power.

Activists have bought in to pressure politics, hoping some legislator or famous person or group will descend to help us. It does not work.

Linzey says we have to force change: “The problem is our own governments. The problem is our own state. The problem is the apparatus of law that has been put into place. You actually have to break it.

“We think everything has to be rooted out. Something has to be built anew.”

As people in Pennsylvania faced unbearable conditions, Linzey educated them that the Constitution of the United States is based on English common law, which is not democratic at all. It was designed to impose colonial control on the many by the few.

“The United States Constitution is one of the least democratic governing documents on the planet…. It gives rights of property and commerce above the rights of people, communities and nature. Nature is not mentioned. People are only mentioned as bonded labor.”

He found it very difficult to get it through people’s heads that until they forced change in the structure of law, they would never make progress to protect themselves or their land, air, water or wildlife.

The state of Pennsylvania illuminated the problem by sending in the attorney general to a little township as a show of force against the community. The women of the citizen group escorted that attorney general from the room and said, “We have passed a law and we do not need your help.” Next, the state sued, and 48 hours later, the township passed a law prohibiting the attorney general from intervening. It was all caught by photographers and the press and circulated widely, exposing the state acting against citizens’ best interest.

CELDF was able to force change with rural conservative Pennsylvania people only when they had been given no quarter and had enough.

Now, the law firm has helped over 100 communities draft the rights of nature into law.

Today, farm animals, wildlife, public and private lands are all property. Under current law, that gives owners the right to destroy them. Linzey says, “A property-based system is why everything is going to hell in the first place. Ecosystems have to have rights … a big part of the transition that has to take place is to shift them from being property to being rights-bearing.”

CELDF has worked with Ecuador and Nepal to draft constitutions acknowledging nature rights. Bolivia expanded rights with the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and All Beings.

“Article 3: Every being has:

“(a) The right to exist;

“(b) The right to habitat or a place to be;

“(c) The right to participate in accordance with its nature in the ever-renewing processes of Mother Earth

“Article 4:

“Every animal has the right to live free from torture, cruel treatment or punishment by human beings.”

It is not just the humans within the community that must have rights — the rivers, the streams, forests, oceans Was , farm animals, pets, the bears and the wolves and the deer have rights too. They have been abused and slaughtered for centuries. They cannot do this for themselves.

Linzey gave a final outraged call to arms: “People say, ‘We just want a voice — a seat at the table…. We OWN THE F—— TABLE — It’s our table. We decide who gets served. It is about making the rules, writing the script. Coming to grips with a system that is not democratic.” *

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ALERT: The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is sponsoring its First U.S. Rights of Nature Symposium Friday, Oct. 27, in New Orleans, Louisiana, at Tulane University. The all-day program will be livestreamed and is free0 to attend. I hope all of you who care about wildlife and this fragile planet will attend or listen to the livestream to learn how to break the deadlock that has excluded us from protecting our beautiful wildlife and this fragile earth.

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Please help create the Wisconsin Sacred Bear Sanctuary and Education Center. More information: Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic

* This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on October 22, 2017.

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: DNR-NRA psychopathy is destroying web of life

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It has been said that testosterone is the most dangerous drug in the world.” ~ caller on the Thom Hartmann show

I was awakened Saturday morning, Sept. 30, at 6:45 a.m., by a barrage of gunfire around my rural property north of Portage. I counted 120 shots fired close by over the next two hours — half of them semi-automatic. It was the same on Sunday morning, and Monday. My wild friends who live in my woods are surrounded and killed, lured to food plots off my land. I am not safe to walk out my door.

The semi-automatic guns that were used in the Las Vegas massacre are also used in killing hundreds of thousands of innocent wildlife in Wisconsin every year. This gets little press and less compassion.

Until we have the moral substance to stop the state from encouraging everyone from children to adults to kill baby bears and other animals, the killing of wildlife that enriches the weapons industry, National Rifle Association, and state natural resources departments will continue

Four years ago, the Wisconsin DNR and Natural Resources Board banned me, evidently forever, from speaking at their monthly board meetings. They want no nuisance voice opposing their killing agenda.

The Minnesota DNR apparently has the same obsession with squelching compassion for wildlife.

State natural resources agencies, and the hunters and trappers that control them, will go to great lengths to maintain the power to destroy our public lands and kill defenseless wildlife. Will the public stand up when only 10 percent of wildlife is left? When?

Lynn Rogers, now in his late 70s, spent the past 50 years studying black bears. He opened the North American Bear Education Center in Ely, Minnesota, over a decade ago to celebrate the sweet magnificence of living bears. Rogers’ scientific advocacy has hunters and their hunter-run DNR in Minnesota all in a tizzy because they want to continue recreational bear kills. The DNR proposed a ban on bear feeding (which ultimately was not enacted) — and it just so happens that Rogers feeds bears and takes groups out all summer to meet them and learn how nonthreatening and peaceful they are.

The Timberjay newspaper, serving part of northern Minnesota, documented the DNR’s assault on March 19, 2015:

“The agency (DNR) is in the midst of an expensive and ongoing legal battle with Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers, and it just so happens that Rogers is funding his Wildlife Research Institute and his legal fight primarily through bear study courses. Rogers can just about guarantee close-up bear experiences to course participants because he feeds bears on the institute’s grounds. A ban on bear feeding would pretty much shut down Rogers’ operations, something the DNR has sought for years.

“There’s no question that there’s bad blood between top agency officials and Rogers. The agency has worked overtime to damage Rogers’ reputation, and it’s even stood in the way of the North American Bear Center, whose board Rogers chairs, as it has attempted to obtain new bears for its exhibit.”

The article continues: “The government shouldn’t be permitted to shut down what is, in effect, a small business, simply because they don’t like the guy who runs it, or disagree with his message.

“As a local business, Rogers’ Wildlife Research Institute has used the growing public interest in ecotourism to attract hundreds of visitors to the area each year, most for stays of several days.

“It’s the same interest that draws thousands of visitors each year to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary, another facility in our region that feeds bears, much to the delight of the public.”

Rogers has found that sharing food with bears reduces bear/people conflicts: “One thing we are learning is that habituation and food-conditioning are not what make nuisance bears. Hunger does,” he wrote on Facebook in 2012. What a novel idea! Humans are not the only species on planet earth that should be able to eat.

Rogers forged respectful relationships with research bears that he radio-collared with kindness, not anesthesia. Then the DNR cut Rogers’ permits to radio-collar bears from an unlimited number to 15, then to 12, and then 10 — ending his ability to monitor family lineage and histories.

Rogers’ nightly report from the center Jan. 1, 2016, lays out more of the sabotage:

“As the record shows, Commissioner Tom Landwehr decided to pull my permit in early 2011 when he became angry about letters requesting protection for radio-collared bears. His staff told him the DNR had no cause to pull my permit. The commissioner then spent over $500,000 of taxpayer money to create a ‘cause.’ “

Lynn Rogers documented the 2012 hunting season: “That’s the year the DNR gave him (a hunter guide) a key to a gate a mile from my research center. The key gave him access to my property boundaries. He had his hunters surround the property, and the killing began. …. The community didn’t feel so kindly. The gated road had been their safe place during bear-hunting season. It was where they could hike, walk their dogs, and enjoy the bug-free out-of-doors without fear of being shot.”

Tensions escalated between the DNR, hunters and the bear center radio-collared bears.

In September 2013, hunters homed in on the research bears around the center, killing Dot, wounding Aster, and killing June — a 10-year-old bear who was dear to Rogers and the center’s staff and the mother to two young cubs named Ember and Cole. Rogers wrote in his nightly report: “June is irreplaceable in our lifetimes.”

The wildlife of the planet is irreplaceable. The DNRs, NRA, and politics of destruction are manmade and replaceable. Get involved now.

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A Wisconsin Film Premiere: “Gray Area: Wolves of the Southwest” screens at the Barrymore Oct. 18 during Wolf Week.

Urgent Wildlife Alert: Please demand that The SHARE Act, H.R. 3668, be withdrawn permanently. It would prematurely strip protection from wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region and allow the slaughter of denning bears and wolves in Alaska’s national parks. It would promote polar bear trophy hunting. And it would eliminate the ability of the EPA and Interior Department to get toxic lead out of ammunition and fishing tackle. The bill contains giveaways to the NRA, including repealing regulations on silencers and armor-piercing bullets, as well as provisions that would harm wildlife, the environment and public safety. Please call your legislators and sign this petition.

Senators’ numbers: Tammy Baldwin +1 (202) 224-5653; Ron Johnson +1 (202) 224-5323

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Bear lovers can help create a Wisconsin bear sanctuary and education center located 35 miles north of Madison on my property by going to the Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic website home page, where there is more information on how to help.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on October 8, 2017

 

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Bear biologist makes a devil’s bargain

Research bears Faith and Hope

Part I of II

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” ~ Baba Dioum

Over the seven years of writing the Madravenspeak column, and 18 years since being elected to the so-called Conservation Congress, I have watched in despair as more and more hunters and trappers are recruited and trained, military-style, to wage war on the dwindling wildlife in Wisconsin. When ego is tied to killing wildlife, it is a tough nut to crack. DNR policies are emptying our woods and making them violent.

As one reader wrote in, “We need a Citizen DNR to monitor all the abuse going on.

The DNR and hunters further degraded themselves in 2003 and 2006 by pushing legalization of fenced enclosures where captive baby bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and rabbits have packs of dogs loosed on them 16 hours a day every day of their lives until killed by the dogs. This is family entertainment — dogs attacking helpless trapped wildlife, “training” to kill indigenous wildlife. There is no oversight and few of the supposedly required quarterly reports from the owners of these enclosures are filed.

Our wildlife are chased, tortured and killed out of sight.

Back in 2000, Tom Solin, lead special investigator for the DNR, invited me to be on the Captive Bear and Cougar committee to improve conditions for wildlife in this state. He told me that coyotes should never be included in captive hounding enclosures, as they cannot escape the fence or hide from the dogs. He told me they are torn apart on the ground. The improvements we made were gutted as soon as he retired.

Two bears can be put into a cement-floored 400-square-foot dog pen all their lives in Wisconsin (and many are). I met Jeff Traska while on the committee. He was a former bear hunter who had adopted a bear and pioneered the first open-top enclosure in Wisconsin, starting with one acre and a pond, now expanded to four bears in six or seven acres of woods. Traska describes himself as a “reformed sport hunter” who realized he was fascinated with bears. Part of his mission is “dispelling the myths and misconceptions that have led to the widespread, unnecessary persecution of bears.”

I asked Traska why the change of heart from bear killer to bear lover, and he said, “I realized I did not learn anything about bears after they were dead in the back of my truck.

Lynn Rogers, the famed bear biologist who has studied black bears longer than any person on earth, has made extraordinary compromises to try to help black bears. He wanted to be the Jane Goodall of bear research, observing them in their natural environments, and learning from them who they actually are. What he found astounded him. He found peaceful creatures, bluff-charging to try to get away from humans who have done them so much harm. He forged a fierce love of and close relationship with wild bears.

In 1968, Rogers, as a graduate student, started the first study of black bears in Minnesota. He wrote: “It was sponsored mainly by the Minneapolis Big Game Club and eventually by the NRA, the Wildlife Management Institute, the Boone and Crockett Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and various sportsmen’s organizations.”

Rogers describes the situation for bears when he started his study: “Bear numbers were low. They had been bountied for years. When the bounty finally was lifted in 1965, bear status became the same as rats. They were varmints to be killed at any time, in any manner, by any person 52 weeks per year (like coyotes are killed here now). The common practice was for residents to gut-shoot them so they would die away from residences, sometimes months later, without the need to bury the carcasses.”

Even as he was learning the peaceful, intelligent character of bears, Lynn worked with hunters to “elevate” the status of bears to trophy so that seasons would be established and rules set, rules that required powerful-enough weapons to kill rather than just wound. Lynn claims that he respected hunters and they respected his research.

It was a devil’s bargain that would come back to haunt him later as some of his favorite research bears, bears he and his students cherished, were targeted and killed by hunters with DNR approval.

Being killed for trophy taxidermy is still a death sentence. Now trophy-hunting bears is big business. In Wisconsin more black bears are killed annually than anywhere on earth. Some 60 to 70 percent of the males killed 2004-2014 were cubs 1-2 years old. That data correlate to a bear population crash, according to the top biologist in Minnesota.

Part II of this column, to be published Oct. 8, will explore how that cooperation with the DNR and hunters would change, from the hunter side, as the agency and hunters resented the growing knowledge of citizens learning the true nature of bears and falling in love with them.

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Action Alerts:

Bear lovers can help create a Wisconsin bear sanctuary and education center on my property, 35 miles north of Madison. Several posts added to the Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic website over the past couple of months provide further information regarding plans for the bear sanctuary and education center, along with information on how you can help this project become a reality.

Please sign the petition to End Lion Farming in South Africa raising 8,000 lions for people to kill in fenced enclosures).

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on September 24, 2017.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Uncategorized