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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stop the Slaughter

STOP! JUST STOP!

http://www.clker.com/cliparts/b/a/b/0/1207156679935151925noxin_crosshairs.svg.med.pngI cannot bear to read about any more wild animals being slaughtered by disgusting 'hunters' with high-powered rifles, poison arrows, traps, snares or any other torture devices.

From the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Daily newspaper: "Witnesses say hunters in Grand Teton National Park drove a herd of elk from a no-hunt zone and toward an awaiting firing line Wednesday." One of my guides on a recent visit to Yellowstone National Park reported a similar scene occurring in that park in the recent past. This isn't hunting; it's slaughter.

In Salmon, Idaho, the annual wolf and coyote killing derby resulted this year in the deaths of 30 coyotes. The states of New Mexico and Nevada, and the province of Alberta, Canada, are among many locales where these disgusting kill fests are held. In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan in 2010, 71,000 coyotes were slaughtered.

In Africa, elephants and rhinoceros are being slaughtered for their tusks and horns at an alarming rate to satisfy the insatiable lust of the Chinese for ivory trinkets and rhino horn aphrodisiacs. The possibility of these magnificent species going extinct in our lifetime is very real.

In the US, the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service's agency is annually responsible for the slaughter of millions of animals at taxpayer expense. According to the Sacramento Bee, "Wildlife Services is a federal agency that operates in secrecy, using brutal traps, poison and aerial gunning to kill thousands of animals, with accidental victims that include federally protected species, family pets and injured people." The Washington Post reports that Wildlife Services killed 4 million animals in 2013. The total included 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks, 419 black bears and at least three eagles, golden and bald. And all of this murder on a mass scale is paid for in large part by you and me and other unwitting taxpayers.

What will it take before we rise up and demand an end to this ecological genocide? I do not believe that there were 4 million cases of 'problem' animals reported to Wildlife Services by our oh-so-important cattle ranchers. Do prairie dogs pose a significant threat to the holy cattle in this country? And what about eagles and nearly 1,000 red-tailed hawks?

And frankly, I don't care what 'threat' wildlife may present. Who are a small group of people to decide which animals live and which will be killed? Is the life of a cow more important than the life of a bear, a fox or an eagle?

It is time to reign in this renegade agency, or better yet, eliminate it. It is time for more states to ban forever 'coyote calling' (that is, coyote killing) contests, and all contests whose sole purpose is to kill large numbers of predators for fun or valuable prizes such as a case of cheap beer. It is time for the United States to join the growing list of countries that bans the import of ivory and rhinoceros horn. It is time to restore ethics to hunting. Anybody who hunts should be required to consume the animals killed. Hunting for 'fun' or 'sport' is a sick perversion and needs to be banned.

There are non-lethal means of protecting this country's sacred cows from the occasional predator. Some enlightened ranchers have learned to co-exist with wildlife, even with large predators. Until the slaughter of American wildlife stops or is greatly reduced, I will continue to boycott beef and wool products. I encourage others to do the same.