Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wolves up in committee: 2012 Oregon Legislature

View full size
Wolf pup from northeast Oregon's Wenaha pack that was born in spring 2011. 
Published: Tuesday, February 07, 2012,
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would offer a tax credit to ranchers who lose livestock to wolves
Lawmakers are set to take a second look today at a bill that would offer a tax credit to ranchers who lose livestock to wolves.

The House's agriculture committee held a public hearing on House Bill 4005 last week, this time around they'll do a work session -- usually the last step before a committee sends a bill the full floor.

This is one of two bills this session that deal with the always-heated topic of wolf attacks on livestock -- and related compensation. The second bill, House Bill 4158 would allow ranchers to kill wolves if they prey on livestock. That bill is up for its first hearing and work session on Thursday.

The issue of wolves and livestock is a perennial topic in Oregon. Ranchers are seeking to protect valuable livestock while others work to protect an animal that was once considered endangered in this state -- and still is in others.

The Bend Bulletin offers a nice summary of the tension, including this background: "Wiped from Oregon by state-sponsored hunts that ended in the 1940s, wolves are re-emerging after being reintroduced in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s. In 2008, state wildlife managers confirmed the first pack in Oregon's northeast corner. There are now four packs, and two lone wolves were tracked in Central Oregon in the past year."