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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Trump and Republicans work to gut the Endangered Species Act

This picture of a Sierra Nevada red fox was the first confirmed detection in Yosemite in nearly a century

PHOTO BY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

“(T)hese bills go right at the key decision junctures in the act that protect species.” ~ Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity

The Trump administration, of course, values money and political power above the intrinsic value of the dwindling natural world. This is not a new concept, but this regime is the most extreme ever. Since inception, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state agencies that manage our public lands, waters, and wildlife have been funded primarily on fees collected for killing wildlife and weapon and ammunition taxes.

Now the Trump administration has ordered our federal agencies to consider economic concerns over protecting endangered species.

Republican legislator Don Young and the Congressional Western Caucus (representing hunter, trapper and rancher abuse of public land and wildlife) have proposed a nine-bill package to “modernize” the ESA. Read that for what it is: to weaken and eliminate its power to protect vulnerable species. Young claims: “The Endangered Species Act has been weaponized and misused by environmental groups for too long.” (Men seem to think of saving as “weaponized” and killing as “conservation.”

Two-thirds of Earth’s wildlife has been destroyed, across species, in just 50 years. Extinction is accelerating with climate change. The Endangered Species Act needs to be strengthened, not eviscerated.

Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an interview on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!” July 25: “(T)he Trump administration’s proposal to gut the Endangered Species Act is the most comprehensive, devastating attempt to destroy this law we’ve seen in this entire time. And this is after Reagan and after the Bushes.”

In Wisconsin, Sen. Tom Tiffany, chair of the senate Natural Resources Committee, is a bear-hunting wolf hater. The chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is similarly disposed, as Suckling points out: “Meanwhile, in the Senate, Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, also introduced a draft bill to amend the act.” This is Barrasso speaking at a hearing last week.

Over 60 Republican bills have been launched in the past two years to weaken or demolish the Endangered Species Act. The Committee for Biological Diversity has sued the Trump administration 81 times and won most. So Republicans are stacking the Supreme Court and courts across the country with right-wing judges to serve their agenda of disdain for government agencies, regulations, and protections. An independent judiciary has been our only safeguard, and it is being destroyed.

If Republican plans go into effect, according to Suckling they will:

• Destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with drilling.

• Strip protections entirely from about 60 percent of the threatened species now almost as protected as endangered species. “Under the Trump proposal, they would get no protection at all. You could continue to kill them, you could continue to destroy their habitat, as if they were simply not protected.

• “The Trump administration now wants to say, when deciding whether a species is endangered — a scientific question — you’re going to have to take into account economic impacts. Well, economic activity — mining, logging, grazing — is the cause of endangerment. And this is the Endangered Species Act, not the Endangered Mining Industry Act. So it really turns the priority of this very successful law entirely upside down.”

• Barrasso wants to delegate endangered species decisions to the states and proposes “voluntary” programs replace mandatory protection of habitat and endangered species. That assumes that states have the money and the desire to protect wildlife.

• Right-wing groups, particularly from the Western states (where much logging, mining, grazing, oil drilling, and coal mining occurs on public lands) are co-conspirators with Trump, the real estate developer, to exploit what is left.

Suckling explained that the Endangered Species Act has improved the conditions and survival of 85 percent of the 1,600 species on the domestic list. He mentions how the bald eagle recovered from a few hundred to 8,000, then was delisted; the grizzly bear, wolverine, green sea turtles, Atlantic sturgeon, Florida manatees have been helped somewhat. It is FEDERAL protection that has helped.

Suckling said the barrage of bills to gut the Endangered Species Act is devastating and targeted. “And they know what they’re doing.” They seek to:

• Make it harder to put an endangered species on the list at all.

• Allow habitat set up to protect species to be destroyed.

• “They want to change the people who create recovery plans for the species, the blueprint of what actions are needed, so that the states and industry groups dominate those plans.

• Eliminate recognition that global warming and greenhouse gases are factors driving species to extinction.

• Create loopholes for grazing “rights,” and for oil, mining, and logging companies to implement destructive plans that are driving species to extinction.

This calls for a citizen outpouring of support for the ESA, directed to federal legislators.

Urgent Actions:

Find your senators and representatives here. Call and email them to vote against Barrasso’s nine bills to gut the Endangered Species Act and vote against all 60 pending bills to weaken or “modernize” it. Strengthen it at this critical time of climate change.

This is the Center for Biological Diversity Action page of links. Click on wildlife. Please bookmark it and help stand up for our voiceless wildlife. I know they would do it for you.

Petitions:

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/protect-the-endangered

https://www.change.org/p/protect-the-endangered-species-act

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-congress-to-protect-the-endangered-species-act

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/263/711/826/defend-endangered-species-dont-defang-the-esa/ 

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on July 29, 2018.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: The Republican plan to doom wild red wolves, possibly forever


“Their only native home is the United States. FWS is passing a death sentence on an animal as American as the bald eagle.” ~ Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona, ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, in The Washington Post.

One of the rarest mammals on earth, the red wolf, is likely headed for extinction in the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a rule that would dramatically curtail the 30-year-old program to reintroduce the critically endangered red wolf in North Carolina by allowing the wolves to be killed if they wander off federal property.

North Carolina officials and many landowners in the area have vehemently opposed the wolf’s reintroduction there. They won’t be kind to wandering wolves.

In a June 27 Washington Post article, reporter Darryl Fears wrote: “U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials who presented the proposal in a news conference said the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, which supports about a dozen of the 35 red wolves that roam a five-county area in eastern North Carolina, would be the only place where they would be safe.”

“Like all wolves, red wolves are predators of mostly small game, and they naturally stray from boundaries drawn by humans,” the article states.

Hunter claims of deer losses to red wolves proved bogus and a new study shows, according to Ron Sutherland, a conservation scientist for the Wildlands Network quoted in the Post story: “Ironically, despite all of the hatred spewed at the wolves, [Fish and Wildlife] indicates that only seven confirmed cases of livestock depredation, all small animals like chickens and goats, have occurred since 1987.”

The U.S. wildlife agency says it intends to manage a small pool of 10 to 15 wolves at the refuge to maintain their gene pool while they search for a safer place on our millions of acres of published land for them to survive. However, most of our public land is hunted, trapped and defiled with lead shot.

This dramatic failure of the Endangered Species Act is only one of 90 Republican attacks on the Endangered Species Act.

Ramona Magee is a staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center who successfully filed for an injunction to stop issuing licenses to landowners to kill red wolves two years ago.

“We’re very disappointed in this plan,” McGee is quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “It’s a plan that effectively dooms the red wolf in the wild. It’s not enough to sustain a population, and if they wander off that [refuge] they can be shot and killed the moment they cross that boundary.”

“We’re very frustrated that the agency has continued to ignore the will of the American people on the red wolf issue. In 2016 conservation groups worked together to deliver a petition with half a million names calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do more to save the red wolf,” Sutherland told the Post.

“The decision to maintain such a small population of wild red wolves means that the vast majority of the 200 captive wolves held in zoos across the nation will never live outside a cage,” the Post story says. Sutherland is quoted as saying, “‘This is heartbreaking for us.’”

Wolves have been shot, run over, trapped and removed by federal officials for behaving like wolves and roaming to find new territory. They have mated with coyotes to try to survive.

On June 27, Perrin de Jong, staff attorney for Center for Biological Diversity wrote: “The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered species and can now only be found in the wild in North Carolina.…The (U.S. Fish and Wildlife) Service already turned its back on wild red wolf recovery when it stopped supporting introductions of captive-bred wolves to the wild. Now the agency wants to drive the last nail into the coffin for these magnificent animals.”

He added that it is a political maneuver because coyote hunters find the wolf inconvenient to their other killing. Red wolf kills would not even have to be reported unless they are wearing a radio collar (which can easily be buried).

The center reports that the wolves have strong support in some quarters: “More than 98 percent of comments submitted by North Carolinians and 68.4 percent of comments from residents in the current five-county recovery area supported robust protection and recovery of red wolves in the wild.”

Katmai National Park in Alaska has a website about the wolf wars: “The wolf’s greatest downfall has been the fact that it relies on the same food sources as modern humans,” it reads. “North America was once home to as many as 57 million hoofed animals — bison, antelope, deer, elk, and bighorn sheep — today less than 8% of that number exist, mostly composed of deer. As European settlers moved through the continent, the American grasslands were extirpated of big game and replaced by sprawling farmlands.” And livestock.

Given the extreme loss of their natural prey, in an attempt to survive wolves that encounter livestock kill surprisingly few. Of course wolves do not know livestock is “owned” by humans only for their consumption. Farmers dominate the livestock landscape and hunters take wolves’ natural prey. Are humans the only species allowed to eat on this planet?

The Wolf Wars website continues: “Like the wolf, the coyote is being killed in masse because of a misapplication of ethics upon wild animals.”

Humans created the imbalances that are devastating our wild creatures.

“The widespread view of the wolf as an evil, revolting creature has resulted in the destruction of thousands of wolves and often brutal torture of the animal. The luckier recipients of man’s wrath were poisoned or shot. Others were burned alive or scalped; some had their mouths wired shut or their eyes scorched by branding irons, then were released back into the woods to slowly starve to death,” the Katmia National Park website reads. 

“The Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t just neglecting its duties, it’s actively undermining its own role as the protector of our nation’s endangered species,” Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, of Arizona, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, told the Washington Post reporter, in reference to the red wolf proposal.

Actions:

URGENT action is required.

1. Red wolves: Go to this website. Put into the search box “North Carolina red wolves” and Endangered and Threatened Species: Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina should top the list. You will see a lot of deceptive blather and the green Comment Now tab in the top right hand corner. Comment period ends July 30.

2. Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves: Alaska, proposed rule, which would eliminate these current prohibitions: “Taking any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears” Go to this website. It should take you directly to the Comment Now tab. Comment period ends July 23.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on July 15, 2018.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Federal judge slams USDA’s wildlife-killing agency

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Center for Biological Diversity

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Beef, it’s what’s for dinner. With a large side of wildlife slaughter.” ~ Madravenspeak column, “Federal Wildlife Services Program Serves Up Poison”

“Jane Goodall gave the documentary about (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s) Wildlife Services, “EXPOSED,” rave reviews and wants millions to see it,” according to the website Predator Defense. “(W)histle-blowers go on the record showing Wildlife Services for what it really is — an unaccountable, out-of-control, wildlife killing machine that acts at the bidding of corporate agriculture and the hunting lobby, all with taxpayer dollars.” It’s on YouTube here.

“The U.S. government is using your tax money to wage a war against wild animals so that ranchers raising livestock for meat can keep getting richer,” according to Sarah Schweig, writing on the website The Dodo.

In 1895, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services was initiated to promote beef production and control natural predators and rodents. It responds to requests from individual ranchers, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and state agencies governing wildlife management. It has since expanded its agenda to serve hunters and trappers.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, this secretive agency killed over 32 million of our native wildlife since 1996, and “it often doesn’t even attempt to use nonlethal methods before shooting coyotes and wolves from airplanes, or laying out traps and exploding poison caps indiscriminately — including in public areas — without any rules. Stories about Wildlife Services consistently emerge describing an agency that commits extreme cruelty against animals, leaving them to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes, and brutalizing domestic dogs.”

On June 22, a federal judge found the Wildlife Service had acted capriciously. The Center Biological Diversity’s June 25 press release says: “In a powerful rebuke, a federal judge has ruled that a U.S. agency that kills thousands of animals a year in Idaho failed to adequately analyze the environmental risks of shooting, trapping and poisoning native wildlife like mountain lions, coyotes and foxes.”

The court found that Wildlife Services “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner deciding not to prepare an EIS (environmental impact study).”

Wildlife Services killed over 3,860 coyotes in Idaho in 2016.

While Wildlife Services is hired to kill natural predators and ravens to “save” sage grouse in Idaho, Idaho hunters are still killing sage grouse.

An account by Sarah Schweig for The Dodo in 2017, documented that: “despite persistent outrage from the public, the U.S. government (Wildlife Services) killed 2.7 million wild animals in 2016, 3.2 million wild animals in 2015 and 2.7 million wild animals in 2014.”

According to the Wildlife Services has long been secretive for a reason: Its actions are incredibly, unacceptably and illegally brutal and inhumane to animals, from familiar wildlife to endangered species — and even people’s pets.

This agency has been killing as many as 3 million native animals every year — including coyotes, bears, beavers, wolves, otters, foxes, prairie dogs, mountain lions, birds and other animals — without any oversight, accountability or requirements to disclose its activities to the public. The agency contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican Gray wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs, and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900s, and continues to impede their recovery today.”

In Wisconsin in 2017, Wildlife Services reported killing 28,710 wildlife, including unintentional killing in foothold traps, river/ otters, muskrats, great blue herons, turtles, geese, ducks, white-tailed deer. Intentionally, the agency killed red-winged blackbirds, woodchucks, 1,811 beavers in body-gripping traps, 27 beavers in neck snares, 5 black bears, 7 coyotes in neck snares, intentionally shot 29 mute swans, 4 striped skunks, 105 rock pigeons, 38 killdeers, 1 great blue heron, 426 ring-billed gulls, 142 herring gulls, 26 mallards, 35 wild white-tailed deer, 10 sandhill cranes, 346 double-crested cormorants (they eat some fish), 3 Harrier hawks, and 6 red-tailed hawks. They intentionally killed a snowy owl!

“The irony is state governments and the federal government are spending millions of dollars to preserve species and then (you have) Wildlife Services out here killing the same animals,” said Michael Mares, president of the American Society of Mammalogists in an interview with the Sacramento Bee. “It boggles the mind.”

One of the most complete investigations into Wildlife Services and its killing of rare and endangered beloved animals like Golden Eagles and super rare wolverines was done by Tom Knudsen of the Sacramento Bee in 2012. His reporting included the information that Wildlife Services killed over 1,100 dogs between 2000 and 2012. On average, eight dogs a month have been killed by mistake by Wildlife Services since 2000. The trappers are taught to bury endangered species and dogs and discard collars without reporting. Knudsen’s work is worth reading. Then contact your federal legislators to end this outdated, cruel, and destructive killing agency.

This is wanton killing that ignores a mass extinction that threatens all of us. Speak up.

TAKE ACTION:

See the trailer here for Project Coyote’s award-winning documentary, “Killing Games.”

The best thing citizens can do is call and email your federal legislators to end Wildlife Services funding once and for all. Find your legislators here.

Petitions you can sign to end Wildlife Services, assault weapons killing 10 wolves in Denali at once, trapping and livestock grazing on public lands, and against the Sportsmen’s Act which will gut the Wilderness Act of 1964:

https://yubanet.com/usa/assault-rifle-slaughter-of-denali-wolves/

https://endthewaronwildlife.org

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/put-an-end-to-the-usda

End trapping in Wilderness and other Public Lands

End livestock Grazing in Wilderness

Sportman’s Act would Gut the Wilderness Act

Stop Cruel “Hunting” Practices on Natural Preserves in Alaska

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This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on July 1, 2018.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Tribes fight trophy hunters to protect sacred grizzlies

Those that massacred our people … they wiped out the buffalo, the grizzlies and the wolves — and today that mindset is still there, that ‘disease of the mind’” ~ Chief Arvol Looking Horse, GOAL Tribal Coalition to Protect the Grizzly

The delisting of the grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park plays out a tragedy that the Indian tribes know well. David E. Stannard argues in his new book, “American Holocaust,” that the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.

Today we have the ongoing massacre of animals in slaughterhouses and the hunting and trapping of the last of Earth’s wildlife.

The agencies charged with protecting our so-called commons, like those supposedly protecting water, air, land and democracy, have long been turned upside down to do the opposite. It is all about money and entrenched power and take.

Citizens have never been able to trust state and federal wildlife management agencies, which are funded largely by licenses and fees related to killing wildlife. Citizen activists for wildlife have been pushing against the existing killing businesses for decades, but now the crisis is mass extinction. The 4 percent of mammals left on Earth that are wild need our protection.

The Grizzly Times, in its “The Government Art of Spin” section, reports: “The public has been swamped with misinformation about the growth of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population during the last decade… Bottom line: The population has not increased since around 2002 and has probably declined since 2007, which benchmarks the end of the interval during which we lost most of the cone-producing white-bark pine trees in the Yellowstone ecosystem…. grizzly bear conflicts with hunters and livestock producers over meat have surged dramatically since loss of white-bark pine, which is consistent with a turn by many bears to eating more meat in compensation for loss of pine seeds…and cutthroat trout.”

The Times charts a dramatic increase of hunter-caused mortality (poaching): “Note that the increase in hunter-caused mortalities has occurred despite substantial declines in numbers of hunters afield. This belies claims by agency spokespeople that hunters are ‘behaving better’ than in the past.”

According to a National Parks Conservation Association press release fighting to protect the bears, “Visitors to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks — many of whom travel to the national parks to see wildlife including grizzly bears — generated more than $1 billion ($1,089,000,000) in economic spending in 2017 and supported 16,040 jobs, based on a new economic reporter released this week by the Department of Interior.”

In 2016, Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President Tom Poor called for a congressional investigation into the conduct of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its effort to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from  Endangered Species protection. It was revealed that USFWS contracted with a former Halliburton executive heading a multinational oil and gas services group for peer review of its delisting rule. Also, the article in Native News Online reports: “Central to Poor Bear’s original complaint are ties between a USFWS grizzly delisting official and trophy hunting juggernaut, Safari Club International.

Native Americans care about the great bear. In 2016, they issued a document of intertribal solidarity, only the third of its kind in 150 years. The Grizzly Treaty has been signed by more than 270 tribes, as well as numerous traditional societies and leaders (representing over 700 tribal nations).

The tribes asked for:

• Consultation with all impacted tribes: A conclusion supported by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

• Science: “We have serious concerns about the science being presented, and worry that ultimately this process will result in ostensibly zoo populations in two national parks, Yellowstone and Glacier.’”

• Moratorium on killing grizzly bears just delisted.

• Reintroduction, not trophy killing. “There are Tribal Nations with biologically suitable habitat in the grizzly’s historic range who propose having this sacred being reintroduced to their sovereign lands. Instead of trophy hunting them, transplant the hunting quota from Greater Yellowstone and from the Crown of the Continent, to these tribal lands. This reintroduction can provide for economic and vocational opportunity where it is most desperately needed — on our reservations — where unemployment can run from 70 to 90%.”

This includes ecotourism benefits to the tribes and all citizens of this country.

“We now face unprecedented times, the likes of which we have not encountered in our lifetimes, but that our ancestors confronted and left us with the examples to follow. This treaty between our nations is not just about the preservation of this sacred being, the grizzly bear, or the protection of one river, this is a struggle for the very spirit of the land — a struggle for the soul of all we have ever been — or will ever become. Within this struggle to protect the grizzly, and thus the land the grizzly, in turn, protects with the water, we find many of our struggles…” ~ Chief Stanley Grier, Chief of the Piikani, Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy

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Actions:

Montana decided in February against opening a trophy hunt, and Idaho, home to the smallest number of grizzlies, this month approved a fall hunt of a single male bear. A Wyoming wildlife commission voted unanimously May 30 to approve the state’s first grizzly bear hunt in more than 40 years, to kill as many as 22 bears just one year after Yellowstone-area grizzlies were removed from the Endangered Species List.

Call the president. Comments: 202-456-1111; Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Petitions to sign and network:

www.change.org/p/secretary-ryan-zinke-save-the-yellowstone-grizzly-stop-the-delisting-stop-the-trophy-hunt?signed=true

www.change.org/p/stop-the-trophy-hunt-of-wyoming-grizzly-bears

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-trump-and-zinke

https://act.nrdc.org/letter/grizzlies-180404

You Tube Videos (click here)

Links to share

National Parks Association Save the Yellowstone Grizzy Campaign, click here

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on June 17, 2018.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Earth’s mammals: 96% humans and livestock, just 4% wild

Of the mammals alive on Earth today, the study revealed that just 4 percent are wild animals…a whopping 60 percent are livestock kept by humans.” ~ One Green

A summary of a new study, recently published in The Guardian, is titled, “Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study.”

The study finds that humans — Earth’s 7.6 billion people are just 0.01 percent of Earth’s biomass — have since emerging on Earth wiped out 83 percent of wild animals and 50 percent of wild plants. Humans have destroyed 80 percent of marine mammals and 15 percent of fish.

Livestock are now 60 percent of mammal life on the planet, humans are 36 percent, and wild mammals are just 4 percent.

Seventy percent of birds now on Earth are farmed poultry. Just 30 percent are wild birds.

That imbalance and monoculture extends to the destruction of Amazon rain forests for soy, grain and livestock feed. According to World Wildlife Fund, 17 percent of the Amazon, the world’s largest rain forest, has been destroyed in just 50 years. “18.7 million acres of forests are lost annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute,” the report states. Rain forests in Sumatra and Borneo are 85 percent gone due to palm oil plantations. “It is estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.”

The Guardian article continues: “Just one-sixth of wild mammals, from mice to elephants, remain, surprising even the scientists. In the oceans, three centuries of whaling left just a fifth of marine mammals in the oceans.”

Bones of the domestic chicken (once a wild bird) litter the planet and scientists say: “Over the past 70 years, the bird has become a global staple, and could be the key fossil evidence for human-influenced epoch.” The chicken was first domesticated 7,000 to 10,000 years ago by taking the Red Jungle Fowl, Gallus gallus, from Southeast Asia. Poor flyers, they were easy to catch.

By the 1950s, birds that had been used primarily for eggs had been pumped full of antibiotics and Vitamin D so they did not need sunlight and open air — to shorten 18 weeks to six weeks to go to the slaughterhouse. Seventy-five percent of chickens come from factory farms. It is predicted that, by weight, by 2020 chickens will overtake the most-eaten animal on the planet: pigs.

Intensive bird production fouls the environment and birds suffer greatly for pillows, coats and feather quilts.

Over 7 million pounds of waste are created by animal agriculture every minute. Watch Trader Joe’s egg production exposed on this YouTube.

Almost 60 billion chicken are hung, their throats cut, and bled out every year. On May 30, 2018, Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now!” aired a segment on the May 29 Direct Action Everywhere march by hundreds of people to a Sunrise Farms chicken factory farm in Petaluma, California, which provides supposedly cage-free eggs (not) to Amazon and Whole Foods. Police arrested 39 for trespassing.

Goodman talks with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald about how animal activists have been treated as “a fringe boutique group” but how closely their activism is related to the health of people, animals and planet. They discuss the political power of Big Ag and the horrific living stadards, lying producers, and lack of protection for farm animals and consumers.

Winston Churchill, who predicted humans would stop eating animals by the 1980s, said of the pig: “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” (Generous of them, considering.)

Readers can find out more about the treatment of birds at United Poultry Concerns, whose motto is “Promoting the Compassionate and Respectful Treatment of Domestic Fowl.”

Professor Ron Milo at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led the study of Earth’s biomass, is quoted in The Guardian article as saying, “But our impact on the natural world remains immense, particularly in what we choose to eat: ‘Our dietary choices have a vast effect on the habitats of animals, plants and other organisms.

‘I would hope people would take this [work] as part of their world view of how they consume… it helps me think, do I want to choose beef or poultry or use tofu instead?’”

Milo takes the usual meat-eater approach that the only alternative to eating carcasses is tofu. The public has been duped by Big Ag into unhealthy, meat-centered consumption that involves animal suffering.

Now it is known that processed meats (yes, like the brats at Brat Fest) contain carcinogens and double the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes as well as being linked to earlier death.

Humans exploit the vulnerable. Our lack of compassion is likely our fatal flaw as a species experiment on Earth. Climate change is accelerating and we are slow to act to save the biosphere. It is co-annihilation.

Let’s create a world without factory farming. Let’s create a world where the government protects the 4 percent of wild mammals Earth has left.

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Actions:

One Green Planet offers daily recipes and animal stories when people sign up for its mailing list. An amazing variety of recipes are on its website.

Montana in February decided against opening a trophy hunt, and Idaho, home to the smallest number of grizzlies, this month approved a fall hunt of a single male bear. A Wyoming wildlife commission voted unanimously May 30 to approve the state’s first grizzly bear hunt in more than 40 years, to kill as many as 22 bears just one year after Yellowstone-area grizzlies were removed from the endangered species list.  

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on June 3, 2018.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Francisco Santiago-Avila’s mission to acknowledge moral standing for nonhuman animals

My training in philosophy had taught me to be distrustful of claims of human exceptionalism, yet these claims are implicit everywhere in wildlife management and conservation.” ~ Francisco Santiago-Avila, Ph.D. candidate, UW-Madison Nelson Institute

I attended the Nelson Institute Earth Day primarily to hear Fran Santiago-Avila’s talk. His biography caught my attention:

“As part of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab, Fran’s research has revolved around the integration and application of environmental and animal ethics to coexistence with wildlife, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal methods to prevent conflicts with large carnivores (the gray wolf, in particular). His main objective is to reform human-wildlife interactions by embedding in them the acknowledgment of moral standing for individual nonhuman animals.

I met with Francisco at Café Zuma on Atwood Avenue to understand more of his background and efforts.

He told me, “I see the urgency of getting the acknowledgement of the social, psychological and biological entitlements of non-human animals into policy.

He noted that hidden values, not science or ethics, is guiding wildlife, wolf and natural carnivore management. There is a “crass lack of concern for individuals.” He stressed expanding moral community beyond white men as an ongoing challenge, with backlash. He added, pertaining to hunting, “The only thing they have going for them is nobody is looking.”

His Earth Day topic was “Killing wolves to prevent predation on livestock may protect one farm but harm neighbors.” Carnivore Coexistence Lab research established that killing wolves is no more effective than non-lethal methods in minimizing the risk of future predation on domestic animals: “Ethical 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.”

State agencies traffic in massive random assaults, killing quotas, and hunting and trapping “seasons” on entire species, ignoring the familial bonds and friendships, grief suffered in death, packs and responsibilities of individuals within animal communities, which are now increasingly understood as similar to our own values.

In follow-up emails, I asked Francisco, “How did you evolve to your mission of acknowledging moral rights for individual animals — unlike so many of your colleagues?”

He responded:

“I believe this determination was partly a result of the path I took to arrive at the field of conservation. I have always been interested in making the world more ethical and just. Prior to beginning graduate studies in the field, this drive directed me to political theory and public policy (focusing on environmental management). During this time, I was able to familiarize myself with political and ethical philosophy, including theories of human nature, moral consideration and other moral and political theories, such as theories of equality and justice. My focus at the time was in improving environmental management through sustainable use as a way (to) tackle human inequality and injustice and nature conservation simultaneously.

“In the meantime, through my studies in environmental policy, I started getting interested in the conflict surrounding wolf policy in the western U.S. and how polarizing it has been. I think every animal advocate has a particular species or individual that leads them down that path. For me, it was the gray wolf. Through my research on wolf policy, I started reading up on their ethology (such a wonderful science!) and was amazed at how much overlap there is between wolf and human way of life, capabilities and interests. They are not qualitatively different. Individuals of both species want autonomy, resources, a family, freedom from unnecessary harm and to live their lives as they see fit.

“This shook my ethical sensibilities in a way that nothing else had. If we share these capabilities (which later I would realize are pervasive throughout the animal kingdom), why are their interests dismissed wolf policy? Why do we consider others as worthy of moral standing and entitlements? Is it their human shape (do mannequins have moral standing?) or is it their internal capabilities? Why do humans feel entitled to harm these nonhuman animals regardless of the triviality of their interests? Why does the ‘Golden Rule’ (treat others as you would like to be treated in a similar situation) not apply to wolves? My training in philosophy had taught me to be distrustful of claims of human exceptionalism, yet these claims are implicit everywhere in wildlife management and conservation. Nonhuman animals’ legitimate entitlements are being either relatively or absolutely dismissed. These are some of the most vulnerable beings in the world (to top it off, they are voiceless as well), so it seemed to me like a massive social justice (not ‘environmental’, albeit intimately tied) issue that needs to be dealt with explicitly. The type of harmful and deadly practices wildlife, and especially large social species, is subjected to seem ethically inappropriate when we become aware of the brittleness of the scientific and ethical arguments backing them up.”

He summed it up: “Wildlife management should be about protecting animals from unnecessary harm. That’s where ethics come in.

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Actions

Petition to keep snowmobiles and motorized vehicles out of Tahoe National Forest, to protect imperiled wolverines and Pacific martens.

Petition to ban live animal exports long distances from the European Union to other countries. These exports result in extreme exhaustion, dehydration, trampling, cruelty and ultimate slaughter.

Gaza, the Broken-Hearted, a talk by Chris Hedges on YouTube.

We must end all genocides, including the genocide of other species. Only your voice can force change.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on May 20, 2018.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Absent from Wisconsin’s only nature election: Key environmental nonprofits

Bobcats

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

We…discovered that no one really cares about the mass extinction of species, which was a bit of a disappointment for me.” ~ Chris Darwin, great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin

If you wonder why you have never seen a bobcat in Wisconsin, you can look directly at Wisconsin’s DNR and Legislature and their policies, including hiding for decades the annual April election for the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. The DNR and WCC have become even more irrelevant and killing-obsessed during our current mass extinction crisis. Trappers and their supporters dominate this sham election.

Take a look at where the wildlife goes, in Bing images here

You can also look at public apathy concerning the plight of wildlife mass murdered for fun by the small percentage of people who are entitled to kill daily for many months of the year.

And you can place that within the destruction of two-thirds of wildlife across the planet in the last 50 years. Each animal was an individual life that revealed the richness of biodiversity of planet earth, just like your beloved cat or dog.

One night a year where citizens could make a difference, and the vast majority of people who show up are trappers. Four to one across the state, those attending voted to expand trapping in former wildlife refuges, set traps within 15 foot of a beaver lodge, and trap raccoons out of season. You can see the statewide results here. Trappers are 0.003 percent of Wisconsin citizens, yet supporters of trapping comprise four out of five who attend, vote, and elect representatives to the WCC. A mere 0.001 percent of Wisconsin citizens attend.

Even in Dane County, activist trappers and hunters again won the two seats available to the WCC in the April 9 election.

Since I returned to Wisconsin in 1993, every governor, Republican or Democrat, has appointed a secretary of the DNR who was friendly to hunters.

I attended my first DNR “spring hearings” and WCC election, out of curiosity alone, in 1997. The room at the Alliant Energy Center held about 120 men, many in camouflage. I noticed that all the proposed policy changes increased killing of wildlife and none proposed conserving wildlife or the environment. When the DNR got to the question: “Do you want to end the limit of 75 traps set on trap lines, and promote unlimited traps?” I raised my hand and said, “Really? You are still using medieval traps on our wildlife in 1997?” A grizzled man sitting in the front of the room yelled back at me, “Git the anti outta here!”

“Anti?” So caring about humane treatment of our wildlife in politically “progressive” Dane County had become “anti?” What was this?

I have never missed an election and vote since that night. Politics are where decisions are made.

The next day, never having been an activist before, I called the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and the Nature Conservancy. Why weren’t they at the election? I thought that they were protecting wildlife. I asked them two questions: “What is your organization’s stand on trapping? On hunting?”

Audubon told me they pick their battles. Apparently so does the Sierra Club, and encouraging their members to run as humane candidates for the WCC isn’t on their agenda.

Should electing delegates protective of ducks, pheasants, sandhill cranes, crows, and mourning doves be one of Audubon’s battles? Audubon’s 20,459 Wisconsin members could have voted against the use of neonicotinoids on crops that poison birds. Their membership is three times the statewide attendance at the election this year. They, alone, could elect humane delegates.

The Nature “Conservancy” with its 20,000 members allows hunting and trapping on 98 percent of their purchased lands. Would their votes in the WCC elections hurt or help wildlife?

The League of Conservation Voters’ lobby days prominently feature trappers displaying furs. The first year I attended, the LCV promoted a Hunters’ Bill of Rights and a banquet of edible native wildlife. How would their members vote at the WCC elections?

There are many other groups that, if they participated, could democratize the WCC hearing’s agenda and election: UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, Midwest Environmental Advocates, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, Natural Resources Foundation, WISPIRG, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, and Sustain Dane. Like the Aldo Leopold Foundation, most environmental organizations almost surgically exclude wildlife — and focus on land, air and water.

Although these organizations do good work on the environment, saving habitat that will be used for killing is destroying our wildlife. Will they wait to include wildlife, holistically, until only 10 percent of earth’s wildlife survive in a total ecosystem collapse?

Membership money talks and many of these older organizations kowtow to heavy hunter membership.

Viewing the Nelson Institute speakers for Earth Day, Monday, April 23, it is stunning. There is zero mention of mass extinction in the entire line-up.

Searching far down the list, I found several speakers who interested me:

• My favorite is Francisco Santiago Avila of the Carnivore Co-Existence Lab: “His main objective is to reform human-wildlife interactions by embedding in them the acknowledgment of moral standing for individual nonhuman animals.”

• Another is Marcy West, executive director of Kickapoo Valley Reserve in southwest Wisconsin, which is a publicly protected 8,600-acre reserve that attracts low-impact recreation enthusiasts.

Charles Darwin said, “I feel no remorse for having committed any great sin, but I have often, and often regretted that I haven’t done more direct good for our fellow creatures.”

Actions:

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

Take a stand against trapping on national wildlife refuges.

Vote:

Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned?

Should bobcats be kept on the endangered species list in Indiana?

Should the clothing industry be fur-free?

Should we give up half of the earth to wildlife?

Column originally published in the Madison CapTimes on April 22, 2018.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Uncategorized