We accept that predation in nature is real. It can be difficult to watch. However, the ongoing (and increasing) slaughter of wolves by various state and federal agencies is simply wrong. The agencies are serving hunters (5.5% of the U.S. population) and animal agriculture that grazes livestock on public land. The agencies promote the status quo human ecology, our behavior.
Hunters do not replace natural selection pressures. Ecologically and genetically, not all wolves are created equal. Aside from the tragic physical and psychological terror these agencies, ranchers, and hunters promote, the genetic composition and behavior of surviving wolf populations will be altered. Our duty is to bear witness to these acts, the photos, and news stories about the indiscriminate slaughter of wolves that seem to never end. Though it may feel futile at times, do not turn away. We must oppose however and whenever we can the archaic human ecology that turns ecosystems into cattle pastures and vast landscapes of monoculture GMO corn and soy.
A few weeks ago, I attended a public informational presentation on the state of wolves, mostly those in the northwest U.S. and Washington State in particular. There were agency speakers representing a wide variety of experience with wolf reintroduction (wolves returned to Washington without human reintroduction) and being the go-between livestock interests, hunters, and wolves. Though there were some shouts “what about hunters” from the back of the room, the audience of at least a few hundred people was docile. The speakers were not challenged. One U.S Fish and Wildlife speaker spoke to the resiliency of wolves under heavy hunting pressures and implied we didn’t have to worry—something to the effect that they just spring back. No mention of genetics, behavior, or the methods of killing. Suffering is not a consideration.
While I sensed that one of the speakers who had retired from his job was not entirely happy with grazing on public lands (just my impression, not his statements), there seemed to be little concern about what will happen both ecologically and politically (policy) in Washington when wolf numbers reach stated management goals. There was no mention of ending private ranching that usurps the ecosystems of public lands for any state. Hunters were appeased, though.
In a handout, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) included this part of their management plan guidelines: “If any ungulate population falls 25 percent below its population objective for two consecutive years, and/or if hunter harvest decreases by 25 percent below the 10-year average harvest rate for two consecutive years, WDFW may consider reducing wolf abundance in affected areas, where applicable with federal law.” There have been over 1,000 wolves killed in the U.S. in the past five months, several in Washington. I suggest you visit the blog Howling for Justice for updates https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/.
I witnessed this process play out in Alaska decades ago. Get ready for wolf hunting seasons that look more like deer hunting every year. One thing is certain, wildlife management agencies are stuck in a human ecology that is no longer adaptive to ecosystems. In the midst of losing the war to stop biodiversity loss, we will see sincere efforts to return an unnaturally low number of wolves to ecosystems whose genetic selection is always being hunted. The minority hunter and rancher interests rule ecosystems. That will not change until we do.
The most powerful tool and comprehensive approach to reform we have is the vegan new human ecology. Those who self-identify as environmentalists must understand that this war on wolves will not be won otherwise.