Chris Pousser, Freeimages.com
“(T)he wild creatures inhabiting our world are every bit as much the sentient beings we humans are.” ~ Richard Thiel, retired DNR wolf biologist, forward to “Wild Wolves We Have Known”.
Cathy Stepp, DNR secretary, who campaigned for Donald Trump, leads the DNR in an anti-science crusade, dumping science, along with life on earth, into the trash bin. In a January interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, she said she would be glad if the Trump administration “dials down ‘strangling’ federal requirements that have been imposed on the DNR.”
She has presided over scrubbing the DNR website of climate change science and has weakened regulations of concentrated animal farms polluting Wisconsin waters, hunting and trapping, and established a free-for-all for running packs of dogs on our wildlife.
The federal government is purging its website as well. A Humane Society Legislative Fund petition, “I Will Stand and Fight for Animals!,” says, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) abruptly purged its website of documents and records related to enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act, essentially covering for puppy mills, roadside zoos, and other animal abusers.”
The same petition reports that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives “voted to overturn a rule that prohibits killing wolf pups in their dens, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and other cruel forms of trophy hunting on Alaska’s national wildlife (so-called) refuges.”
This is Republican “conservation” — the “con” being the destruction and hatred of all that is natural and sacred.
The grand “con” is the exclusion of the 90 percent of the citizens who pay for public lands and have zero say in governing them or in any decisions about wildlife. That is and always has been the exclusive dictatorship of the hunters and trappers, who are 10 percent of the public. Funding the agency from killing licenses is the game and total control of wildlife and public lands by those who destroy life is the shame.
The absurdity that the DNR calls “science” includes just asking trappers how many animals they killed, how many they think are left to be killed, and what methods each used in trapping. This is absurdly bogus. Trappers have every incentive to overestimate the “stock” of animals left so that they can keep killing, and every incentive to under-report their kill, especially of endangered species, pets and birds. The DNR survey states that 8,000 trappers actively trapped — described as 40 percent of the 20,000 trappers trained by the state. Of those who responded, 7.1 percent reported that they used snares. Twelve percent reported that they caught an average of 2.5 dogs and “released” them. (One wonders how many half dogs were released.)
Trapping in 2015-16 was down from the year before, as seen on page 5 of the Wisconsin DNR Fur Trapper Survey. 341,757 animals were trapped and a quarter of trappers hunted the same animals and shot another 35,733 foxes, coyotes, and raccoons. The total 377,490 animals (reported anecdotally) equates to an average 47 animals killed by each trapper.
That’s Republican job creation, but it turns out that the trapper pays much more than he gains. The Wisconsin Fur Buyers Report states that the total pelt value for 2015-16 was estimated at a little over $1.25 million. 284,395 skins were reported sold by Wisconsin trappers, two-thirds to out-of-state buyers.
Multiply 47 animals killed by each trapper times $4.43, and each trapper took in an average of $208.21.
The DNR report, eager to tout the contribution to the economy of clearing the woods of life, says, “The average trapper incurred $318.50 of expenses on such things as traps, lures, gas, and a license.” That means that it cost each trapper over $100 more than each earned as revenue, plus spending a reported “5 million trap nights” or 625 trap hours per trapper.
None of this makes any sense. Little money, lots of time. Obscene suffering caused
Born Free, an organization fighting to end trapping, “has documented through a comprehensive review of scientific literature that trapped animals may suffer severe physical injury, psychological trauma, thirst, hypothermia, and predation. They may remain in traps for days or longer before dying or being killed — often by bludgeoning so as not to damage the animal’s valuable pelt.”
Michael Moore has offered up to 10 ways to fight back. Number one is essential. As regularly as you brush your teeth, “THE DAILY CALL: You must call Congress every day. Yes – YOU! 202-225-3121. It will take just TWO MINUTES! Make it part of your daily routine, one of those five things you do every morning without even thinking about it.”
Call to save our wolves. Call to end trapping. Call to end the hunting war on wildlife and war on other people. Call to demand action to curtail climate change and mass extinction. Call to save life on earth and our own species. Light the fuses now and keep them burning every day.
Please sign and network these two petitions:
Petition to stop the Air Force from dropping bombs on hundreds of whales and dolphins near the Hawaiian Islands.
Petition to ban trophy hunting of the last 700 grizzly bears in Yellowstone.
Originally published in the Madison CapTimes on February 26, 2017.