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.
• 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.
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.