Sunday, September 18, 2016

Deadly consequences of WDFW’s policies regarding wolf packs

My View

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife authorized the slaughter of the entire Profanity Peak wolf pack in Ferry County.

The family of wolves were among those listed as endangered and included six adults and six wolf pups. This drastic measure is Fish and Wildlife’s solution to the alleged killings of rancher cows that were grazing on public land in Washington. 

It appears that Fish and Wildlife views cows as more valuable than endangered wolves, and that Fish and Wildlife serves more to support ranchers in protecting their assets grazing on taxpayers’ land. 

We know that wolves are extremely important to the ecosystem and the protection of our environment via their role in hunting less-healthy wild prey, and that wolves are vital to biodiversity, including proper grass and shrub growth, a fact not attributed to the role of cows grazing Washington’s public land.

Another important fact not often brought up is that humans do not — again, do not — require the consumption of cows to maintain optimal health. Decades ago, nutritional experts of the American Dietetic Association confirmed that people can be healthy on a vegetarian, or even a vegan, diet. 

To value cattle over the lives of a small family of endangered wolves begs numerous ethical and moral questions, especially in light of the public’s love and admiration of wolves and what they represent in nature. 

To randomly kill this family of wolves, with impunity, significantly tarnishes Fish and Wildlife’s public relations, especially since this is a pattern of behavior demonstrated over the past years that often generated heated debates in Olympia. 

Perhaps the most despicable aspect of these kills is that Fish and Wildlife tracks the family of wolves to aerial shoot them by following their GPS radio collars. Fish and Wildlife portrays an attitude as though wolves are “things” whose numbers have to be kept in check, ignoring that each wolf is an individual. He or she has a unique personality and vested interest in living his or her life, and has an active family and social life. 

Yes, wolves are wild beings, but like any canine, they have the intelligence, curiosity, playfulness and joy in living that the arrogant Fish and Wildlife Department repeatedly disregards.

We need new leadership and compassionate stewardship in the Department of Fish and Wildlife, with leaders who implement policies that protect wolves and look out for their interests and are not puppets for good ol’ boy ranchers.

— Linda E. Troup of Poulsbo retired from the U.S. Navy as department head of the Ambulatory Procedure Unit and senior nurse officer for maxillofacial surgery at Naval Medical Center — San Diego. She is a long-time animal welfare proponent and has written for San Diego Animal Advocates magazine.

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