Defenders of Wildlife = Defenders of Livestock? Why Do They Support Killing Wolves in Washington?

Defenders of Wildlife = Defenders of Livestock? Why Do They Support Killing Wolves in Washington?
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Our jaws dropped when we read Jamie Rappaport Clark’s blog post on Huffington Post titled “Defenders of Wildlife: Protecting and Recovering Wolves.” Ms. Rappaport is the president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.

Defenders of Wildlife did not perform their due diligence as an environmental group when it came to protecting the family of 11 wolves known as the Profanity Peak Pack in NE Washington state. They let a repeat offender rancher get away with putting his cattle on pristine, rugged public land right on top of a wolf den, which provoked predation and led to the state authorizing all wolves in the pack be killed. Two wolves were gunned down by helicopters on August 5, four more were killed by August 26, and the remaining are slated for death. This is happening in a state that has barely 90 wolves.

What does “authorized killing” really mean?

It’s also interesting that in her essay Ms. Rappaport used the phrase “authorized removal” to refer to the killing of the wolves (please also see Note 1 below). “Authorized removal” is a phrase used to sanitize what they sanctioned, namely, the outright killing of the wolves. It completely ignores the fact that wolves are highly emotional and sentient beings who care about what happens to themselves and to their family and friends (for example, please view “The Imperiled American Wolf”). We wonder if she would use this dismissive phrase, one that objectifies wolves, to refer to the killing of dogs.

The reality of what Defenders of Wildlife is ignoring by talking about how they had no choice but to accept the wolves’ death is plainly stated in the recent Seattle Times cover story, “Profanity Peak wolf pack in state’s gun sights after rancher turns out cattle on den.”

And, the bigger picture of how these crimes against endangered wildlife, our shared public lands, and the public purse are detailed in Brooks’ Fahy’s op-ed in the Seattle Times, “More wolves killed because of the sacred cow at the public trough.”

Defenders of Wildlife is not securing a brighter future for wolves as it claims. It is ensuring the killing can continue.

Stop the killing now

Please ask every organization you can think of to post a formal statement against the killing ― or as the Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO calls the “authorized removal” ― of wolves. The killing is going to happen with or without the blessings of national wildlife or humane organizations, so there’s nothing to lose by their saying something like, “Stop the killing now.”

Note 1:

For Immediate Release

August 23, 2016 3:45 p.m.

Joint Conservation Wolf Advisory Group Statement

By Wolf Haven International, the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, and Conservation Northwest

The authorized removal of wolves in the Profanity Peak wolf pack in northeast Washington is deeply regrettable. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is however following the protocol developed by the Washington State’s Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) - a diverse group of stakeholders. The WAG and WDFW have committed to evaluate how the protocol worked on the ground this season in order to improve it for next year. In addition, we intend to conduct a thorough and open-minded assessment of the issues raised for all stakeholders involved. (The italics are our emphasis because an improvement could simply mean killing fewer wolves.)

We remain steadfast that our important goals remain the long-term recovery and public acceptance of wolves in our state alongside thriving rural communities. In the meantime, we ask our community and the citizens of Washington State and beyond to engage in respectful and civil dialogue as we work through these challenging events. We believe that ultimately we can create conditions where everyone’s values are respected and the needs of wildlife, wildlife advocates, and rural communities are met.

Note 2:

A few people asked one of us (MB) the following question: If the wolves were going to be killed even without Defenders of Wildlife’s blessing, why did they support it? In another essay called “Defenders of Wildlife and Other Conservation Organizations Support Killing Wolves: Livestock Win” we read, “Among the conservation groups approving the protocol was Defenders of Wildlife. ‘We have met and significantly exceeded that threshold,’ said Shawn Cantrell, northwest director of Defenders of Wildlife. ‘This is for us very sad and disappointing because we really hate to see any cows or any animals killed, [but] we do support the department moving forward at this time,’ he said.”

This essay was written with Brooks Fahy, a wildlife filmmaker and executive director of the national wildlife advocacy organization Predator Defense.

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