The United States has long been at war with our native predators. Wolves, who play an extremely important role in ecosystems as apex predators, have long been the target of the federal government in order to protect the interests of government-subsidized cattle farmers. Coyotes, who are regarded as pests, are routinely killed by the government while non-lethal methods of managing their presence in residential communities are ignored. It is unfortunate that the typical “victories” for these animals involve celebrating slight recoveries from harmful legislation or massive population damage done by humans (such as the growing wolf population in Yellowstone National Park) or making laws out of what should be common sense.

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Last January, when the Humane Society of the United States commissioned a poll through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servies (FWS) on the subject of using methods such as leghold traps and snares to control populations of predators like wolves, black bears, and coyotes in Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, over half of Alaskans polled said they were opposed. In addition to that, voters were opposed to hunters entering dens in order to kill entire families of predators. Leghold traps and snares are both notoriously cruel methods of killing animals, both leaving the animal painfully trapped until the hunter returns to kill them or to starve to death.

The law, called Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, Public Participation, and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, went into effect in September 2016, protecting predators from these cruel methods. Unfortunately, some members of Congress are now determined to put an end to the laws via the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives Congress the power to review and potentially overrule any new federal regulation.

Congress’ repeal of the FWS’ laws would make it legal to leave animals to suffer in traps and would also make it legal to exterminate entire families of predators in their own homes, on land where they should be protected. Not only is this cruel, it is ecologically irresponsible due to the important role that predators play in balancing ecosystems. Animals in Alaska’s Wildlife Refuges are currently protected from predator control, except in the case of necessity, but should the regulation be repealed by Congress, these areas would once again be subject to Alaska’s previously slack rules regarding killing predators.

Tell Congress that we are not moving backward. Sign this petition to let them know that you oppose the repeal of the Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, Public Participation, and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.

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Lead image source: Troutnut/Shutterstock

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