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Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Urge your legislators to back bills to ban Wiscon

I never thought that we could get lower than hounders in general. I was wrong. These coyote haters and their sick contests are the lowest of the low.” ~ Our Wildlife/Hound Free Public Lands

“Trucks pulled into the parking lot one after the other to unload the bodies of the animals. The contestants laughed and joked about their kills as they tossed dozens of bloody carcasses from the trucks and dragged them across the parking lot so they can be weighed. One participant remarked that the snow covering the ground made it easier to track and kill the coyotes, and another pointed out, to laughter, ‘This one here got gut shot.’” An HSUS undercover investigation of an Oregon killing contest shows the animals tossed around like trash.

A bill has been authored in Oregon to ban these contests, which have taken place under the radar around the country for decades, including Wisconsin. Vermont and California have already banned them.

Now bills are being introduced to stop this travesty in Wisconsin. Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, has proposed a bill, which has just been submitted for a Senate bill number (LRB 1453/1) to ban the contests, and Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, is writing a companion bill in the Assembly.

This is the time for citizens to step up, thank Risser and Taylor for their bills, and urge legislators to cosponsor the measures, pass the bills through committee, and then vote on the floor in their favor. So far, no Republican legislators have signed on to support Risser’s bill. Nine Democrats are co-sponsors.

Take a few minutes to contact the people listed in the action alert below.

Madison’s radio station WORT recently interviewed Camilla Fox of Project Coyote about the impacts that these killing contests have on the environment and on social, sensitive animals very much like our pet dogs. Join Project Coyote’s coalition to end these contests here.

Moondog Madness held their annual killing spree in Wisconsin over three recent weekends, and killed a record 155 coyotes. Citizens can scroll down on the group’s Facebook page to see the carnage, gloating, and total disrespect for the lives of our wildlife. Most are thrown in dumpsters or dumped on public lands. Killing contests expose the folly of the myth of “fair chase.” These events are not even monitored by the Department of Natural Resources.

Since the wolf-hating Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, chairs the state Senate’s “sporting heritage” (Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry) committee and Rep. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond, a bear hunter, chairs the Assembly’s comparable committee, it will take intensive public pressure to get them to hold hearings and a vote on the bills. Stafsholt’s biography states, “He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, member of the Farm Bureau … member of the Sportsman’s Alliance, member of the Wisconsin Chapter of Safari Club International, and was a longtime member of the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association.” Looking through the committee memberships, 80 percent of members have similar backgrounds and interests.

Yale Environment 360 published “Coyote Carnage: The Gruesome Truth about Wildlife Killing Contests” in May 2018. The article by Ted Williams describes a 2014 undercover report by Christopher Ketcham, who was told by contestant named Cal: “’Gut-shoot every goddamn last one of them wolves.’ Ketcham goes on to report that Cal recommended armor-piercing bullets, explaining that gut-shooting with these rounds, rather than aiming for the heart or lungs, has two advantages: First, they’ll pass right through instead of mushrooming; so the animal will suffer, running in panic for a mile or so before it bleeds out. Second, if you’re hunting illegally (as recommended by other contestants), game wardens won’t find a bullet.”

Some 400,000 to 500,000 coyotes are killed in the United States annually. About 80,000 are killed by Wildlife Services, the federal arm of the Department of Agriculture, at a taxpayer expense of $20 million, by shooting them from the air, poisoning, trapping, killing pups in dens. The government orchestrates it. This is not in response to coyote aggression, but to facilitate livestock grazing on our public lands.

Coyotes and foxes are seasonal consumers. In summer, their scat is similar to that of a bear — full of berries and fruits. In August, it is full of grasshoppers and insects. Year-round they specialize in mice control and small mammals. Rarely, they are opportunistic eaters of fawn, deer, feral cats and small farm-animal predators.

There is zero effort by the state Department of Natural Resources to educate hunters about the vital role of natural predators and all wildlife in protecting human health by weaving together healthy ecosystems. The DNR’s silence reinforces ignorance and cruelty. Responsible for orchestrating the annual carnage of thousands of bears, coyotes, foxes and bobcats, the DNR promotes irrational mismanagement and arbitrary quotas that are killing off important keystone species.

In December, as her very first act after taking office, New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard signed an executive order  banning wildlife killing contests for coyotes and other unprotected species on state trust lands, an area of 9.5 million acres of land in 32 of 33 counties in New Mexico.

Could Gov. Tony Evers do the same?

Nicole Rivard of Friends of Animals writes on All-Creatures.org: “Wildlife species should be revered not only because they are sentient beings but because the health of our ecosystems depend on them. I learned by reading Dan Flores’ book ‘Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History’ that coyotes and humans are among the few mammals in the world who have evolved fission-fusion societies, the ability to live singly or communally — one of the explanations for the success of us and them.

“Flores says that in more ways than you would imagine, ‘this story is about us. The coyote is a kind of special Darwinian mirror, reflecting back insights about ourselves as fellow mammals.’”

Right now they look better than we do.

Action Alert: What you can do to ban wildlife-killing contests:

Email this column and my recent column on the same topic to legislators along with your comments, urging them to cosponsor and support Sen. Risser’s and Rep. Taylor’s bills. Ask the aide to take your name and address and ask for a commitment and reply

Email and call the following:

Gov. Tony Evers: 608-266-1212 / EversInfo@wisconsin.gov

DNR Secretary Preston Cole: preston.cole@wisconsin.gov

Sen. Fred Risser: Sen.Risser@legis.wisconsin.gov, 608-266-1627 and thank him for his Senate bill.

Rep. Chris Taylor: Rep.Taylor@legis.wi.gov, 608-266-5342 and thank her for her Assembly companion bill.

Natural Resources Board: Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, 608-266-5660, Sen.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov to pressure Sen. Tom Tiffany to hold hearings and bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, 608-266-9171, Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov to urge Rep. Rob Stafsholt to support and bring this bill to hearings and a vote.

This column was originally posted in the Madison CapTimes on February 10, 2019.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Farm-produced meat comes with hefty side of slaughtered wildlife

“I know absolutely that the cover-up of the illegal killing of domestic pets, the illegal poisoning of wildlife, and the illegal use of 1080 and M-44s is still going on.” ~ Shaddox, former Wildlife Services employee, March 2016.

Eating farm animals comes along with a hefty side of tortured and slaughtered wildlife. Sliced buffalo, chopped cougar, minced wolf and creamed coyote pup are appetizers alongside every “cheap” hamburger or lamb chop.

Across the planet, wildlife and their habitat are being destroyed to graze livestock for meat production. The rain forests of the world, with all their diversity, have been razed to grow feed and graze cattle. Livestock comprise 60 percent of the world’s mammals, humans 36 percent, and only 4 percent are wild. Sixty percent of large wild mammals face extinction right now. Humans choosing to eat animals bears much of the blame.

In addition to destroying wildlife habitat to raise farm animals, humans are killing wildlife with the notion that wild animals are a significant threat to livestock.

Rachael Bael wrote a 2016 article for National Geographic featuring a picture of a trapper holding up a dead wolf he shot from a helicopter. She writes, “Wildlife Services is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it specializes in killing wild animals that threaten livestock — especially predators such as coyotes, wolves, and cougars.”

Bael was reporting on an investigation by reporter Christopher Ketcham published in Harper’s in March 2016: “The Rogue Agency: A USDA agency that tortures dogs and kills endangered species.” Ketchum describes the testing done on stray dogs taken to a garbage dump to test M-44. The M-44 is a spring-loaded sodium cyanide device that is planted in the ground to kill coyotes (or any animal that comes across it).

He sets the scene: The supervisor, Charles Brown, tells his employee, Shaddox, that they will be doing a test of M-44 poison — with dogs.

“A truck with shelter dogs of various breeds pulls up: The pound officer removed a small collie from the truck, and Brown took it by the neck. The animal, docile and quiet, stared at its captors.

“Brown brandished an M-44 cartridge. He forced the dog’s mouth open and, with his thumb, released the trigger on the device. It sprayed a white dust of cyanide into the collie’s mouth.

“The dog howled. It convulsed. It coughed blood. It screamed in pain. The animals in the truck heard its wailing. They beat against their cages and cried out.

“’All right,’ said Brown to his trappers. ‘See, this stuff may be out of date, but it still works.’ He opened a capsule of amyl nitrite under the collie’s nose. Amyl nitrite is an immediate antidote to cyanide poisoning.

“The collie heaved and wheezed. Brown then seized it and unleashed another M-44 dose. The dog screamed again. … Brown kicked the collie into the garbage pit.”

Shaddox, whose job is to trap and kill coyotes for ranchers, is quoted in the article as saying, “’He (Brown) and the other trappers thought it was funny…It’s convulsing and dying, and he’s laughing. And this is what he’s teaching his men. That was just a hell of a way to die. No sympathy, no feeling, no nothing. I’m no animal-rights guy. But heartless bastards is all they were. Right there, that’s the culture. And these are federal employees. This is what your government is doing to animals.

This is what your federal government is doing to animals here in Wisconsin, and predator-killing contests going on now and for years with no regulation by the state DNR are further decimating our wildlife.

Ketchum’s Harper’s article documents some of the known destruction of our country’s wildlife: “Since 2000, Wildlife Services operatives have killed at least 2 million native mammals and 15 million native birds. Many of these animals are iconic in the American West and beloved by the public. Several are listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 2014, Wildlife Services killed 322 wolves, 61,702 coyotes, 2,930 foxes, 580 black bears, 796 bobcats, five golden eagles, and three bald eagles. The agency also killed tens of thousands of beavers, squirrels, and prairie dogs. The goal of this slaughter, according to the agency’s literature, is to provide ‘federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts and create a balance that allows people and wildlife to coexist peacefully.’”

In the article, Carter Niemeyer, who worked for Wildlife Services for 25 years, describes the self-reporting of livestock deaths, lack of confirmation, and the methods used to kill natural beings who dare to eat:

“’By the time Niemeyer retired, in 2000, after twenty-five years at the agency, he had personally killed hundreds of coyotes and had overseen the deaths of thousands more. On some days, working in Montana, Niemeyer skinned ten coyotes an hour as helicopters hauled the heaped carcasses in from the backcountry. (The government sold the skins for revenue.) Wildlife Services gunned down coyotes from airplanes and helicopters. Its trappers used poison baits, cyanide traps, leghold traps, and neck snares. They hauled coyote pups from dens with lengths of barbed wire, strangled them, or clubbed them. Sometimes they set the animals on fire in the dens, or suffocated them with explosive cartridges of carbon monoxide. ‘We joked about using napalm,’ Niemeyer told me.

To be continued — no end in sight.

Action Alert:

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, has authored a bill to end wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin! Contact both your state senator  and representative and say, “Please sign on to LRB 1453/1″ (Contact your Republican representative to sponsor an Assembly companion bill). Also contact Sen. Risser at 608-266-1627 and Sen.Risser@legis.wisconsin.gov to support this effort. Make sure they take down your name and address.

Only public outrage will engage the attention of Gov. Evers to end predator-killing contests. If this is worth a few minutes of your time, contact him at EversInfo@wisconsin.gov and 608-267-2560. Here is the Humane Society’s tool kit for ending killing contests.

Sign a petition to end wildlife-killing contests here.

Ask your Congress representative to defund and terminate Wildlife Services. Scroll down to leave Sen. Tammy Baldwin a message here. Call Sen. Ron Johnson at 202-224-5323.

This article as originally published in the Madison CapTimes on January 27, 2019.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Reimagining hunters and trappers as humane educators

Black bear

NPS / Neal Herbert

Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” ~ Carl Sagan

It is demoralizing that we have to fight our own state government to save wildlife.

It is unethical that we have a Department of Natural Resources doling out hundreds of thousands of hunting and trapping licenses to kill the wildlife on our public lands, and not a single license is sold to protect even one animal.

As a citizen born in this state and paying property taxes, I have zero rights to protect even the wildlife that lives on my land. I should be able to tag as many animals as any trapper or hunter each year — to allow them to live.

Where are non-hunter rights?

A challenge to our new governor, Tony Evers, is to create a task force to address urgent reforms that are needed:

• Democratize the funding and for the first time ensure fair, proportionate non-hunter citizen representation in all aspects of DNR-related boards and staffing. One idea is to legalize marijuana and use the revenue from taxes and licensing — “getting high on wildlife” — to replace funding generated by the killing of wildlife. Fair funding would give us all a stake, engaging the public in re-wilding, planting trees and prairies, and nurturing wildlife through difficult winters and climate change.

• If the DNR is not to be reformed, create an alternative agency to represent the 90 percent of Wisconsin citizens who do not kill wildlife and who pay for our public lands and appreciate wildlife.

• Create an alternative fair and transparent election of a wildlife-watcher advisory board run tied to the annual Conservation Congress elections in every county. Candidates should have open campaigns that discuss policy.

• Encourage creative ideas from the 90 percent of the public — the non-hunters — who have been excluded since DNR inception.

• Create an educational task force to design a program for kindergarten through high school students to learn about climate destruction and mass extinction and their causes. This world belongs to the children. They deserve to understand these challenges and contribute their ingenuity and insights.

Some ideas for transforming the Department of Natural Resources’ agenda:

• Turn trappers and hunters into school educators. They can be paid to teach children to track, how to recognize where animals live, how they survive winter, what kind of habitat they need and how they tend their young.

(Trappers are making little money from the hundreds of thousands of animals they kill in traps. According to DNR statistics, 7,482 trappers killed 347,436 wild animals in traps in 2017-18 and sold them on average for less than $5 per dead animal. Trappers killed on average 46 animals each for $230, but claim they spend $297/annually. Trappers set the rules for how many animals they can kill and estimate how many are left. It is a closed, self-serving, inaccurate system.) We can be creative and put their skills to work helping children appreciate the animals trappers have tormented.

• By 2004, Scotland, England and Wales had banned fox hunting. Now an alternate chase, much more challenging, has been set to update the tradition — hound-hunting humans. Humans volunteer to run about a half-marathon, and meet the dogs before the chase, treating them with biscuits, giving them a scent to follow. “There’s no fox torn to shreds and the people who get caught just get licked by a group of dogs,” Queen guitarist Brian May is quoted as saying on BBC News. The hunters say it is working for them: “We (the hunting community) have to look at ways keep the sport up to date while maintaining the tradition.”

• End the use of lead shot and lead sinkers that are poisoning our wildlife.

• End wildlife-killing contests. Last week, New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard signed an executive order banning wildlife killing contests for coyotes and other unprotected species on state trust lands, 9.5 million acres, as one of her first acts since taking office in January. Could our governor ban the killing contests going on right now in Wisconsin?

• End wild and captive hounding and captive-hunting atrocities.

• Engage trappers to install PVC pipes through the bottom of beaver dams instead of dynamiting dams. Trout and beaver co-evolved over millions of years. If beaver dams create flooding or warming waters, pipe at the bottom of the dam does not attract beavers to repair, and allows water to flow through. Pipes are 95 percent satisfactory where used, and are a cheap, easily installed, long-term solution to any people problems with beavers. Beavers provide habitat for half the rare and endangered species on earth. They are eco-heroes and water-purifiers.

Gov. Evers has touted Wisconsin “values of kindness and respect, empathy and compassion, and integrity and civility.” He speaks of “turning the page on the tired politics of the past.” We, the majority, have suffered along with our wildlife. It is time this state evolves and leads on ending the war on the wildlife that bring health, beauty, innocence and balance to our world.

Action Alert:

Please contact Gov. Evers on this form to support these efforts for reform. He and his staff can also be reached at 608-267-6560 and emailed at EversInfo@wisconsin.gov. Please keep this contact information. One suggestion is to email him the links to my columns as they come out to start educating him about the plight of citizens who care about our wildlife and their suffering. They cannot speak for themselves. YOU are their voice. Please use your power often on their behalf.

At noon Monday, Jan. 14, Adrian Treves will be a guest on WORT’s  “A Public Affair” with host Patty Peltekos discussing gray wolves, the status of wolves on the Endangered Species Act and the Project Coyote Film “Killing Games: Wildlife in the Crosshairs.” #EndWildlifeKillingContests #WisconsinGrayWolf #DrAdrianTreves

Endangered Species petition site is here with 13 petitions to save elephants, oceans, turtles, polar bears and more.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on January 16, 2019.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Appointment of Preston Cole a wasted opportunity to revolutionize the DNR

I am out of patience with the idea that natural things must justify their existence in terms of the benefits they bring us.” ~ Ron Meador, “At the Vatican, a discussion of forces driving species to mass extinction”

There were high hopes in those of us fighting climate change and extinction when former Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers won the Democratic nomination for governor. Evers described his campaign as “compassionate.” We hoped for respect for all life.

This was a chance that we would begin the revolution we need to transform the Department of Natural Resources. Since its inception, the DNR has stacked the game, giving control of our lands and wildlife to those who do great harm and cause great suffering to wildlife. Follow the DNR’s money — primarily obtained from killing wildlife — to understand the power structure.

We who love our wildlife demand that, for the first time, we be allowed representation in the agency, instead of having zero say.

My hope for Tony Evers is that as an educator, he is educable.

The Vatican met in February 2017 and pronounced biodiversity and climate destruction co-equal as urgent threats to the survival of humans and all life on this planet.

Stanford’s renowned ecologist Paul Ehrlich spoke there: “The most recent Live Planet Index has estimated that wildlife abundance on the planet dropped by some 60 percent between 1970 and 2012.

“The richest biota the world has ever seen is disappearing in the blink of an eye from the perspective of geological time. And humanity is busily making it worse.”

The transition team and governor-elect could heed the urgency to change direction from real scientists at major universities warning us that the status quo cannot stand. The “Call of Life” documentary and the “extinction website” containing hundreds of scientific articles could have compelled Evers to find a revolutionary figure — a compassionate steward of wildlife — to transform the DNR into a first-time democracy in response to crisis.

Tony Evers cares about children. That means caring about and for a LIVING world — not sacrificing our wildlife to the usual patriarchal violence and torment that has been dominant for hundreds of years.

That violence has brought us to this:

• A recent biomass study of life on earth shows that 60 percent of mammals on earth are livestock, 36 percent are humans and only 4 percent of remaining biomass is wild mammals.

• 60 percent of large mammals, which are being trophy-killed, face extinction right now. Bears, wolves, bobcats, and cougars are at token numbers. People get used to less and less wildlife and the baseline for each generation is reset. So 900 wolves with 3.5 million livestock and 5.8 million people in Wisconsin is touted as enough. It is not.

Preston Cole, as a member and then chair of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, during the past decade has presided over massive cruelty and destruction of indigenous wildlife while prioritizing our state parks and public lands to serve hunters and trappers. He has been a willing part of a system biased toward hunter/farmer/developer control of our commons as a commodity for exploitation and private destruction in service to the few.

Like Big Tobacco and Big Oil, Big Hunting and the NRA craft their supposed science to serve their own agenda and maintain control.

Tony Evers’ appointment of Preston Cole is a wasted opportunity. If Gov. Evers takes time to understand this corrupt system, perhaps he can turn Cole upside down.

We can love our wildlife and change the world. We can help them recover from hundreds of years of assault and cruelty, and below is just a common-sense start:

• End trapping. End predator-killing contests. End persecution of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, bears and wolves. Wisconsin is plagued with lyme disease and chronic wasting disease because of killing off of predators. Natural predators balance and control mice and deer populations that are the main carriers of the lyme ticks. Trappers and hunters destroy that balance.

• 18,122 beavers were trapped in body-gripping traps in 2017-18, sold for an average $8.98 per skin. Beavers are the most life-giving water-keepers on earth — creating habitat for half the rare and endangered species we are destroying. Trappers dynamite beaver dams on 2,000 miles of river systems designated as stocked, farmed “trout streams.” Life needs beavers.

• End hounding. It is cruel and disruptive to all wildlife. Replace it with “humane hounding.” Britain has replaced the fox hunt, banned in 2004, with men on horseback and dogs chasing running humans. “There’s no fox torn to shreds and the people who get caught just get licked by a group of dogs.” This is brilliant.

• Raise the age to start killing from any toddler to 18 to give children a chance to develop a moral compass before making such peer pressure decisions. Children should not be indoctrinated into killing.

Gov. Evers has the chance to end great suffering and loss, but appointing Cole bodes more of the same tragedy. And we are way out of time.

Alert:

Please contact Gov. Evers at his transition team site and express concern for our wildlife and for reforming the DNR to be democratically funded rather than funded by hunting and gun fees. Let him know your experiences as a non-hunter at the so-called Conservation Congress annual election and vote. Support ending trapping and hounding and raising the age for hunting. You can contact them through their form here or eversinfo@wisconsin.gov and 608-267-2560.

This post was originally published in the The Madison CapTimes on January 6, 2019.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wisconsin predator-killing contests: Killing for the thrill of killing

“(H)unting is my passion, killing is my obsession. Those of us that hunt, enjoy the hunt, but at the end of the day it’s the kill we want. Don’t be just a hunter. Be a killer.” ~ Steven Davis, killing contest participant.

In the Dec. 12, 2018, article “A Death of Ethics: Is Hunting Destroying Itself?” lifelong hunter Todd Wilkinson calls out predator-killing contests and the methods of killing (any) that can be used on wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, raccoons, and even crows and mourning doves. Hunters treat predators as worthless vermin.

Predator-killing contests are held all over the country, including Wisconsin. The contests go on for days and hundreds of wildlife are killed to win prizes like guns and cash. Those who kill the most wildlife — the biggest, the fastest — win.

There are at least 13 known predator-killing contests in Wisconsin, according to Project Coyote, and another 10 contests to kill raccoons, crows and mourning doves or other species.

Project Coyote has created a documentary called “The Killing Games” to awaken the public to the urgent need to protect our vulnerable coyotes and predators. The trailer can be seen here.

Moondog Madness advertises itself as a major Wisconsin coyote-killing contest. Their third kill fest was hosted by Mojoz Saloon in Cambria in 2017. Dates in 2019 are hosted by Silent Outdoors in Sparta and Recobs in Prairie du Sac. The dates are Jan. 4-6 and 18-20, with Feb. 1-3 the final killing spree in Cambria.

Manipulating wildlife with distress calls of their babies exploits their natural love for their young and family, to draw them out for easy kills, often at night. Lights are used to blind and confuse the animals. This is not just condoned but enabled by the DNR and legislative policies that allow year-round persecution of coyotes using packs of dogs and semi-automatics, ATVs, snowmobiles, traps, snares. Anything goes.

Moondog Madness credits its sponsors for supporting its events — sponsors like “Made For Killing,” bragging they could not hold the events without them. The MFK site highlights the hunters who use MFK’s wildlife-calling products, like Brandon Helms of Texas, pictured holding up two dead bobcats. He writes that he started killing predators when he was 15: “There’s nothing like late nights and bright lights and the glow of eyes coming to a call.”

Daniel Wright of Wisconsin, on the MFK website, is pictured with 13 freshly killed Wisconsin coyotes hanging behind him. He writes, “Over the years, my true passion has become predator hunting … I can’t think of a better group of killers to be a part of. SOUND BETTER KILL MORE!!!”

Hunting has devolved into the worst imaginable animal cruelty. Wilkinson makes the point that if deer or elk were treated this way, perpetrators would likely be charged using animal-cruelty laws.

Trapping hundreds of thousands of wild animals is not gruesome enough for these wildlife haters — they want to experience a different adrenaline rush. Here is not an undercover video but a proud self-promotion by a hunter running over coyotes repeatedly with snowmobiles working in groups. Then he picks up a run-over coyote by the tail to swing him, bashing his head repeatedly against the snowmobile, then races off to run over other coyotes.

More depictions of running over coyotes and killing them is on the Instagram account chasing_fur

Argonne, in Forest County, situated at the edge of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin, advertised their killing contest to some controversy in 2016. A poster by Main Street Ed’s, host of the contest, read: “Come for the bloody carcasses, stay for dinner!”

The blog of Scott Slocum, who identifies himself as an independent scientific/political commentator, commented on the contest: “Wildlife live in reality, and in that reality, the wild families are being terrorized. For those who know them, they’re not ‘quarry,’ but mother, father, family member — ally in a wild struggle to survive. They’re tracked and run to exhaustion by hounds, mauled if caught, killed if necessary, or released to recover or die. If they’re spared, they’re chased another day. If they’re killed, they’re killed inhumanely; if they’re wounded and left to live or die, they’re wounded inhumanely. If they’re misidentified as ‘coyotes,’ they’re shot without caring that they’re wolves.”

The killing contests have expanded to add national killing contests in three regions of the United States.

Over 50 North American scientists and more than 30 animal protection groups participate in National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests, an effort by Project Coyote with the Humane Society of the United State.

Dave Parsons, a retired career wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member said: “These contests are symptomatic of a broader problem of misguided wildlife governance by state agencies that fails to recognize and value the crucial ecological roles of native predators.

California banned killing contests in 2014 and Vermont followed in 2018.

With all my fellow mortal animal being, I stand against these atrocities. But it is only you, Wisconsin citizens, who can end them.

Action Alert:

The Humane Society did an undercover study of a New Jersey killing contest, picturing men grinning in front of hanging dead foxes. The group is offering a toolkit for citizens to help.

HSUS petition to states to end killing contests is here.

Please contact the Tony Evers campaign to send them this column and request action to end killing contests, and request a humane appointment to secretary of the DNR: EversInfo@wisconsin.gov and 608-267-2560. 

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on December 16, 2016k

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wisconsin plagues accelerate as trappers and hunters destroy predators

COYOTE IN A TRAP

MK RAY

“(Dr. Valerius) Geist and Princeton University biologist Andrew Dobson theorize that killing off the wolf allowed CWD to take hold in the first place.” ~ Todd Wilkinson, “The Undeniable Value of Wolves, Bears, Lions and Coyotes in Battling Disease”

I traveled north to Waushara County for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner at an organic farm. Conversation fell to the deer nine-day hunt, CWD and wolves. An ex-hunter, now vegan, said, “When you go into the bars in central Wisconsin, it is all about wolves, wolves, wolves — despising them — and as for deer: ‘I am not risking CWD (chronic wasting disease) — I donate the deer to the pantries.'”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Republican legislative policies are making Wisconsin very sick. Chronic wasting disease now pervades 55 counties and has increased to 35 percent of adult bucks.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, during 2017, Wisconsin reported setting a new milestone with 4,299 cases of Lyme disease. Wisconsin is the fourth-worst state in the country for Lyme disease, and dogs are also victims.

Imbalance creates disease. Lacking natural predators, both chronic wasting and Lyme disease are spreading quickly in Wisconsin.

Intensive trapping of midrange predators like coyotes, foxes and bobcats has caused an explosion of mice. Deer are financial and political power for the DNR. Killing trophy bucks leaves the does to produce the next cannon fodder and keep the deer herd artificially high. Deer and mice are the main carriers of Lyme disease ticks. The “lowly” opossum is the keystone species in controlling ticks. Unlike mice and deer, opossums are fastidious groomers and vacuum up thousands of ticks each summer.

In a 2017 article, “The Undeniable Value of Wolves, Bears, Lions and Coyotes in Battling Disease,” Todd Wilkinson quotes Kevin Van Tighem, a hunter and former superintendent of Banff National Park in Alberta’s Canadian Rockies. “’I don’t know of a single credible biologist who would argue that wolves, along with other predators and scavengers, aren’t important tools in devising sound strategies for dealing with CWD.’ Van Tighem says it can be rationally argued that wolves provide the best line of defense since they are confronting infected animals.”

Wilkinson writes: “Van Tighem told me, just as a dozen other scientists and land managers who hunt have — that once CWD is confirmed in the places where they go afield, they will no longer eat game meat from that area and may stop hunting altogether.”

Bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes are absolutely necessary, in natural numbers, to control disease that can spread rapidly throughout wildlife populations, with some of them moving on to humans.

“Critics say the denial coming from Western states (and Wisconsin) about the beneficial role predators can play in slowing the advance of CWD is driven by a backward cultural mindset — reinforced by politicians who perpetuate it to get elected — that has little or no scientific basis. In the case of CWD, states that continue to adhere to anti-predator policies may, in fact, be making disease impacts worse.”

The article continues: “‘In Wisconsin, the state has spent millions of dollars depopulating areas of white-tail deer and enlisted hunters to remove animals in an effort to knock CWD back, all to no avail. CWD has spread from Wisconsin into both Minnesota and Michigan.”

Wilkinson quotes from a 2011 study that concludes: “‘Thus far, control strategies relying on hunting or culling by humans to lower deer numbers and subsequently CWD prevalence have not yielded demonstrable effects,’ they wrote, explaining that human hunters only remove sick deer randomly while predators actively seek out the infirmed.”

The DNR approximates (from trapper self-reporting) that 7,482 licensed trappers actively trapped and 3,765 trappers also hunted furbearers during the 2017-18 season.

Looking at what was reported, 327,650 Wisconsin wild animals suffered and died in traps in the seven-month trapping season, including 399 bobcats, 13,398 coyotes, 569 gray fox, 3,686 red fox, 1,510 otters, 223,936 muskrat, 54,664 raccoons, 18,122 beavers, and 15,112 possums. Additionally, 9,335 coyotes, 27 gray fox, 467 red fox, and 6,596 raccoons were hunted down.

4,500 bears were targeted using packs of dogs in 2018.

Fur prices were down in 2018, but coyotes “did extremely well,” bringing in $46 dead. The fur price site exclaims: “Guess we’ll all be trapping coyotes next year!”

Those are OUR coyotes, foxes, bobcats, possums, bears and wolves — and we need them!

Trap Free Montana offers additional reasons to end trapping:

• We have a right to safe use of public lands.

• Trapping commercializes wildlife, profiting a few by indiscriminately trapping the many.

• Trapping is one major cause of death to rare and threatened species we have the power to easily stop.

• Traps and snares are indiscriminate.

• Conibear are designed as quick kill traps, crushing the animal, such as a beaver, a dog, or a person’s limb.

• Most species trapped are not required to be reported.

• “Incidental” catches does not equate to acceptable and excusable.

• A vote for trap-free public lands is a vote for conservation.

Action Alert:

A resolution to end trapping on public lands in Wisconsin passed in Dane County at the annual Conservation Congress election and vote last April. I am going to defend it in the land use committee Saturday, Dec. 1. Please contact committee chair Tom Johnston: 859-285-8978 and co-chair Lars Loberg: 715-273-5072 to urge that they act to protect our wildlife and citizens by ending trapping on our public lands.

Please contact our senators and ask them to oppose any riders to delist wolves in the Great Lakes region. Scroll down to leave Sen. Tammy Baldwin a message here. Call Sen. Ron Johnson at 202-224-5323.

Please sign this petition to protect gray wolves.

Originally published in the Madison CapTimes on December 2, 2018

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Transforming the Department of Natural ‘Resources’ to the Department of Natural Respect

 

Our conference speakers aim to inspire new pathways for conservation that treat all individuals and species as equal and to reinvigorate our awe and wonder for all life, regardless of their conservation status.” — 2017 International Compassionate Conservation Conference

There is a dramatic and long-overdue change coming to the governance of wildlife. If Wisconsin citizens contact the Tony Evers campaign, we may just be able to get our first humane secretary of the DNR, someone who represents the nonhunting majority of Wisconsin citizens.

The emerging focus worldwide is on respecting the lives of individual animals and their safety and mobility. The new paradigm is one of peace and harmony, replacing the valuing of wildlife primarily for their death. Killing conserves nothing.

The Centre for Compassionate Conservation (CfCC) was initiated at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, in 2013.

International conservation researchers held a conference in 2017 to explore new ethical solutions for wildlife conservation around the globe.

“At a time when laws and policies towards biodiversity are being watered down, we need to prioritize finding ways to harmoniously coexist with the species we share the planet with,” said the director of the CfCC, associate professor Daniel Ramp.

“Current practices in food production incur a great cost to biodiversity but this need not be the case,” Finbarr Horgan, terrestrial ecologist at CfCC, said. He focuses on the devastating effects of pesticides on our food and wildlife.

Fred Pearce, UK-based science journalist and author of “The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature’s Salvation,” thinks outside of the box in celebrating nature’s wildness and capacity for change.

Arian Wallach, UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, who researches how apex predators like dingoes enable native and introduced species to coexist, spoke on the conservation of introduced species worldwide. “Incorporating a commitment to treating individual wildlife with compassion broadens the range of populations, species and ecosystems that we value,” she said. “Sentience, and the ethical response that this capacity demands, does not change when an organism is moved to a new region.”

Wisconsin has 5.8 million people and 3,350,000 cattle. The Republican-held Legislature is constantly trying to reinstate a trophy wolf kill of the estimated 900 rare wolves in Wisconsin. The population of wolves is leveling off and this year is estimated to be 2.2 percent lower than last year. The main causes of mortality are humans — road kill and illegal kills. Hatred of wolves has been fostered by Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Clear Lake, and others in the Republican-gerrymandered Legislature. They favor prioritizing our commons for trophy and recreational wildlife killing.

Scott Walter, DNR carnivore specialist, recently took comments on how we should treat cougars. The plan in place states: “Any cougar confirmed in the depredation of pets or livestock should be euthanized.”

“Cougar present near a school, daycare center, playground, populated urban area, or similar, and responders view the situation as a potential threat to human safety based upon the totality of the circumstances….” That presents the opportunity “to dispatch with a firearm, relocate, or euthanize.”

Cougar sightings in Wisconsin are very rare, but the Wisconsin DNR has a casual killing response to any natural predator. We may have a couple of these beautiful animals in the state, and they could not possibly know that all the cattle belong to farmers for profit, and all the deer belong to hunters for recreational killing.

Are humans the only species allowed to eat on planet earth? It is time that all of us share nature, willingly, with other species and their needs.

(T)he Mountain Lion Foundation believes the mountain lion population in the United States is unlikely to exceed 30,000. And, many of those lions depend upon severely fragmented and degraded habitat, are in severe danger of over-hunting and road kill, are imperiled by intolerance of their presence on the landscape, and are so few and unconnected they are on the edge of genetic viability. People are responsible for the death of more than 3,000 mountain lions in the U.S. each and every year.”

Contrast the DNR mindset with the educational approach that has been adopted effectively in Mumbai, India, urban population 22 million, one of the most densely populated cities on earth. From the article How City-dwelling Leopards Improve Human Health: “Leopards — about 40 of them — have been correlated with lower incidences of rabies, a disease that kills about 20,000 people in India every year.” The leopards roam the city nightly, emerging from neighboring Sanjay Gandhi National Park. They kill feral dogs carrying the disease.

National Public Radio’s Super Cats Nature Series, Episode 3, shows how compassionate leopard conservation scientists educated the Mumbai residents to use nonlethal methods to protect their farm animals, children and themselves, to live side by side with leopards in a dense city ecosystem.

Tony Evers ran a compassionate campaign. We need him to appoint a transformational secretary of the DNR to transition it to compassionate stewardship for the wildlife that weave the world together.

It is a spiritual mandate. Mass extinction and climate change threaten us all.

Action Alerts:

Please write Tony Evers asking that he appoint a secretary of the Department of Natural Resources that represents the 90 percent of Wisconsin citizens who are wildlife appreciators to transition the DNR to humane stewardship of our wildlife, ending the violence on our publicly purchased lands and waterways. Wisconsin is epidemic with Lyme disease and chronic wasting disease because of the destruction of natural predators and an artificially inflated population of deer. Ending trapping would benefit the ecosystem and citizen health of this state. Contact: Tony for Wisconsin, PO Box 1879, Madison, WI 53701. Email: info@tonyevers.com

On Nov. 16, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6784 — the Manage our Wolves Act. This bill would remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act and return wolves to states to hunt and trap in annual seasons. Urge Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to oppose this legislation in the Senate.

This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on November 18, 2018.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Uncategorized