“Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification. ”
― Farley Mowat
My name is Barbara Joy.
I grew up in the wolf country of Wisconsin, we had horses and later some cattle and other livestock. My sister owned a 500 acre farm in Douglas County Wisconsin…the heart of wolf country. She ran cattle, sheep, goats, miniature horses…generally she had well over 100 head of livestock. She believed in ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. Wolves, coyote, bear and other predators roamed through her woods…in 18 years she never had an encounter with or lost livestock to wolves. She loved knowing the wolves were there, when I‘d visit we’d listen to their distant howling and she would look at me and say “you know Barb, when they are there, the coyotes and other predators don’t bother my heard”… she also practiced non-lethal methods before they became a topic of conversation and clearly they worked. Her son who now owns a farm 2 miles from his Mom’s old place is now seeing a huge increase in coyote over the past 3 years, but then Wisconsin has decided to kill their wolves…true wildlife management disrupted.
I read at Petersen’s Hunting.com, that elk and deer numbers in Arizona are the healthiest and largest numbers in decades…35,000 elk and hundreds of thousands of deer and some of the best hunting is here in Arizona…but then the Elk hunting and Deer hunting lobby groups would have you believe would have you believing that the 37 Mexican Grey wolves who are in Arizona are KILLING and harming ALL OF THEM. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways…simply because it does NOT MAKE SENSE.
You have the ranching lobby interests, saying that 37 wolves are the reason for the MAJORITY of the cattle and sheep killed in Arizona…37 wolves. There are a MILLION CATTLE in this state and I’m guessing the sheep numbers are pretty strong. These ranchers are often leasing thousands, if not tens of thousands of acres of PUBLIC INTEREST LAND…this is land set aside for the PUBLIC TO ENJOY and ranchers can lock in leases for something like $1.50 a head per month (that’s roughly $17/year) and run their livestock on this land… they dump their livestock on these thousands of acres and want ME to believe that their cattle/calf, sheep/lamb loss is from wolves? Practice true animal husbandry, practice non-lethal measures, bring your cows and sheep in during calving and lambing time, keep them close in. When a few hundred cattle are roaming thousands of acres, there are a heck of a lot of predators, one being man…
The concept of these little caged bus shacks for kids to set in waiting on a bus and stating they are their because these 37 wolves are going to attack and drag off their children just helps their kids to HATE WOLVES… and it borders on ridiculous.
I’ve heard testimony in Pinetop from one rancher who claimed wolves killed 200 of his cattle…not possible… I listened to the Senate hearing on these bills when one of the committee members came up with some ridiculous amount of cattle a wolf would kill in a week and CONSUME. A wolf can go a week or more at a time without eating and they certainly do NOT eat an 800 pound cow a day. I’ve heard a state Senator in another wolf state tell the press his CONSTITUENTS were worried the ‘damned wolves were going to come and grab their kids of the porches’…funny, the guy lives in PORTLAND…but these statements are brought about by the likes of the Koch brothers funded AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY who shows Wolves in Government Clothing (filmed for them by their employee David Spady) before hearings and says “THE WOLF IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYTHING”.
There is so much BAD information out there that it is costing our most cherished apex predator their lives, for no other reason, but man is playing God. We have special interest lobbies leading what the Federal government is doing and then controlling it totally at state levels. In Idaho, they are aerial killing wolves because the elk hunters demanded it…it is the same in Wyoming and Montana. Now Idaho ranchers want the ELK killed because they are destroying ‘their’ grazing lands…again, wolf ‘management’ gone wrong.
Our iconic Yellowstone wolves have been baited out of the park and since there is no longer a buffer zone, the ‘outfitters’ are setting up outside of the park and baiting the radio collared wolves out, so their clients can KILL THEM…the most famous of the Yellowstone wolves…06 was killed a year ago this way..Her pack has since disbanded and most have died. Over one HALF of the Yellowstone wolves have been killed by sick trophy hunters.
In Wisconsin the trap and snare lines were out before the official ‘hunt’…the dogs were allowed out February 2nd which led to blood baths….Minnesota, save for no dogs had the same brutal hunt. Michigan the special wolf hating interested wanted bloodletting in a big way…they killed only ‘23’ wolves. Mind you all these states FISH AND GAME called this slaughter, the suffering of the creatures ‘management’…the killing of an apex predator that is doing NOTHING WRONG, is NOT MANAGEMENT IT IS SLAUGHTER, it is EXTERMINATION.
Now enter Arizona…19 years and we have only 83 wolves in the wild between Arizona and New Mexico. We have LOST three of our breeding pairs and only have 3 left. There is little genetic diversity because of the political games played for additional releases that could give the needed diversity. Over 14 wolves have been killed in traps, that AZ F&G feel ‘are not dangers to the recovery of the wolf”.
Arizona & NM Have the last 83 MEXICAN GREYS in existence in the wild… 70% of those in captivity and awaiting release have gone beyond breeding age. This state already has the distinction of having fouled up true recovery by allowing special interests and politics to dictate the recovery or lack thereof. Of the Mexican Grey Wolf.
Perhaps it is now time to stop this madness and rather than pass flaw bills, bring a group of stakeholders together, along with Senators and Representatives and discuss how co-existence is going to work and it can.
OLIVER’s STATEMENT – (Oliver Starr is a wolf expert from California)
I am the grandson of a well-known Colorado cattleman. I studied canid ethology at the University of Colorado and have spent the last 30 years studying and raising wolves. I believe I know and understand these animals in a way that few others do. I also grew up with the culture of fear and hatred of wolves that permeates the ranching community.
In spite of this conflicted background I am opposed to the blanket delisting of gray wolves and strongly in favor of more comprehensive efforts to recover the Mexican gray wolf.
While there are some valid concerns about wolves, there is no question that wolves are more important to the health of ecosystems than cattle.
Wolves belong on the landscape while cattle are the damaging and invasive species that fouls the water, destroys the range and out-competes natural ungulate populations. Beyond this, much of the land where cattle are grazed belongs not to the ranchers but to we, the people.
Wolves have existed in a dynamic balance with their prey for millennia. They do not “decimate herds” as some hunters claim but regulate them in harmony with nature. Wolves manage themselves. They do not need to be “managed”
Some argue that states are better suited to managing their wolf populations, but we have seen how that has worked out for the wolf - and we’ve seen photos of the horrors visited upon wolves in every state where “management" rights have been returned.
THIS IS NOT MANAGEMENT. IT IS EXTERMINATION!
The Mexican gray wolf is a unique subspecies that requires ongoing federal protection, an expansion of the recovery, range and additional releases. Anything less will result in a second extinction at the hands of man. These animals are not an experiment! They are an essential component of an ecosystem that evolved before man had set foot in these lands.
Wolves are highly intelligent, social, mutually interdependent creatures. They work together to care for each other and they suffer anguish when they lose a member of their families. In the 30 years I’ve spent working with wolves I’ve found them to be more “humane” then the humans that glorify in snuffing them out.
It will only be through continued federal protection that the Mexican gray wolf can regain its foothold in suitable territory and exert its crucial role as our most important and iconic apex predator.
The history of hunting wolves in America is one of horrifying maltreatment. The fervor of torture inflicted by some hunters and farmers, the fever pitch of persecution, was like no other. The work was done obsessively, with enjoyment and glee; one farmer said it was "paying them off in full."
Wolves were things, laden with blame — to passionately, brutally, irrationally hate. The hate was so dark and deep, it raged far beyond depredation of animals or competition for game.
By the hundreds of thousands, wolves were slaughtered. Trapped, shot, dynamited, clubbed, scalped. Set on fire alive. Wolves were captured — genitals wired shut, muzzled, eyes pierced with branding irons — then released to starve. Jaws bound with rope, wolves were tied to horses and dismembered. Wolves caught in pits were made ready — jaws torn out, Achilles tendons cut — for dogs to rip them apart. Wolves were inoculated with mange, infecting them with disease.
Glass shards were put in bait. Poisons were used — arsenic, strychnine, cyanide. In the madness, millions of other animals were also poisoned.
This hatred is alive — in individuals, livestock owners, hunting and gun group members and public officials. It is most freely expressed online anonymously. The hatred is empowered by governments when it should be excluded.
Man - not the wolf - is the problem.
ARIZONA’S NATIVE SON
“We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them -- exploiting animals in the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.”
“We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves.”
― César Chávez