Although it is the issues that will attract wildlife watchers to attend the Monday, April 13, DNR/Conservation Congress annual election and vote on governing our commons, it is the elections that hold the power.
The location in each county, questionnaires and information on how to run for election are here on the DNR website. All the meetings start at 7 p.m., but plan to arrive at 6:30 to register and be ready.
This political process that provides citizen input into natural resource decision-making has been hidden and obscured from the nonhunting public and has served only one segment of citizens since its inception 88 years ago: hunters. The hunting lobby effectively lobbied itself into becoming the sole advisory body on wildlife issues in the state. Hunters and their service agency, the DNR, have not encouraged the participation of the general public in this election for self-serving reasons: to perpetuate and expand their killing business.
The election is the first order of business Monday evening and the most important. All counties will have two hunters or trappers running for election, and in most counties, only them. Hunters know that if they continue to control this election, they control which questions that make it to the questionnaire for a vote. Hunters count the votes and design the structure to their advantage.
Each county in Wisconsin is allotted five delegates. The 900,000 citizens in Milwaukee county have five delegates, and the 41 lowest-population rural counties in the state, altogether comprising 900,000 citizens, are also allotted five delegates each, or 210 delegates of 360 total. Democracy is a fiction. This rural 16 percent of Wisconsin’s population controls this sole conservation advisory body to the Natural Resources Board and Legislature, thereby having great influence on the use of our billions of dollars worth of public lands. As they continue to expand their killing agenda, it will take decades to undo the damage. Scientists tell us we must reform now.
The questionnaire gets past the fish-killing questions on page 38, and moves on to proposals for killing sandhill cranes, white deer, otters and fishers; and expanded trapping and hounding. There is a question on studying sand fracking. This is followed by an advertisement of an event to lure children into hunting and trapping.
Run two humane candidates in your county and step up so that the 90 percent of citizens who do not kill are represented in protecting our wildlife and public lands for all of us. The past 88 years, layer upon layer of cruelty and killing have been accumulated in these elections with zero pushback. Nurturing and honoring our fellow mortals should have been created instead.
Scientists finally have proclaimed animal and human consciousness to be the same: “They are always aware of their own existence. They feel pain and other sensations. …They mourn their dead — they fear for their lives just as we do.”
Still we make them live in constant fear and allow them to be killed primarily for recreation. Who are we nonhunters, the majority, that we do not set limits to protect them? What have they done that they deserve such suffering and total disregard? They are killed by the millions annually here in Wisconsin.
With deregulation of hunting and trapping into a relatively free-for-all kill fest, the DNR has recruited 2,041 new trappers just in 2014 using $5 new trapper/hunter license incentives. They’re allowed to kill as much as can be trapped in six to seven months of unlimited traps on unlimited trap lines.
Market trapping in the 1850s was ended because it threatened to wipe out much more abundant wildlife than we have now. The Chinese and Russian markets have tripled their demand and U.S. export in the past five years. We are on a trajectory of irreparable loss and ecosystem collapse.
E.O. Wilson, one of our most famous biologists, interviewed by Josh Glancy for the Sunday Times, says that our treatment of other species is rapidly dooming us. “‘One culprit is religion, in whose “fever swamps” we have become mired, giving us an overinflated sense of entitlement,’ he argues. Another is that we are a ‘young and very dysfunctional species.’ He summarizes our dysfunction: ‘We have paleolithic emotions, we haven’t changed any of those … that’s what we call human nature. We have medieval institutions, and we have God-like power. That is a very dangerous mix … we need to ‘build a better ethic,’ one that recognizes the importance of other species.” (click here to view additional information by E.O. Wilson).
The Guardian last year reported on research by scientists at the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London that concluded: “The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis.”
“’If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,’ said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. ‘But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.’
‘We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,’ said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF.”
The article by Damian Carrington goes on to say that large declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 — the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680. So the starting point for this 52 percent loss was vast loss already.
E.O. Wilson warns that the stakes could not be higher. “Save the biosphere and you have the capacity to save the world. Don’t save the biosphere and we’re dooming ourselves.”
Start in Wisconsin Monday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m., this one night each year where you can learn about and stand up for a living world, election by election. It is urgent. Life on earth is in critical danger.
April 13 is the only night to attend, elect representation, and vote on the issues. A citizen can send comments on the DNR proposals, including the increase in night trapping and expansion of bear hounding, to Scott Loomans, Bureau of Wildlife Management, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, 53707, or to Scott at Scott.Loomans@Wisconsin.gov (postmarked no later than April 13). Comments do not count as a vote and do not cover the proposed sandhill crane or white deer hunt.
I also encourage citizens to write letters to the editor about this little-known election and vote to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posters to adapt to county locations and petitions to sign and network against killing bears, white deer, cranes, and trapping expansion can be found at www.wiwildlifeethic.org. Please like the new Wildlife Ethic facebook page