Thursday, September 4, 2014

Animal Cruelties

This is just some of the havoc blinkered "rewilding" advocates have unleashed on the rural West, through wolf reintroductions and other initiatives aimed at rebuilding populations of large predators in modern landscapes that simply can't sustain them. These efforts are ushering-in a new round of human-animal conflict that isn't good for people or for "protected" animals. 

Here you have a sheep rancher who's been trying to keep the wolves at bay, literally, by working within the system, who can't count on the system's help when federal wolf packs begin decimating his herd. Adding insult to injury, you also have a typically-fanatical wolf advocate, in blame-the-victim fashion, callously arguing that the rancher (who has been denied access to wolf tracking data kept by the state) ought to have known better than to put his animals in harm's way. Finally, lastly, you have government predator controllers, with a clear justification for taking action against the rampaging pack, who are cowed into submission, and call off the hunt, as soon as the howling of the lunatic fringe is heard. 

Thus you have, in microcosm, a story repeated too often since Washington began forcing wolves down the West's throat, with the heartfelt support of east coast editorial writers, non-Western politicians and animal worshipers of various stripes -- none of which have to deal directly with the consequences when these feel-good science fair projects go awry.             

We need less romanticism and more realism in how these efforts are pursued, since it's impossible to recreate conditions in the "New West" that perfectly mimic those in the "Old West," except perhaps on a relatively modest scale in very remote locales. Pushing things too far is itself a form of animal cruelty, since it's the "protected" species that arguably suffer most when these rewilding experiments run amok.

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