The so-called war on wolves is far from over. Recently, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill to stop the federal protection of wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Success for this legislation will be – as is easy to imagine – tragic for the wolf population in those areas –and it could also inspire other states to follow suit and introduce similar laws. Overall, it is a terrible move against one of the most important endangered species in America.
Wolves are already being killed for no real reason all across their territory in the United States. The ostensible causes for these killings are various – hunters believe wolves kill off too many game animals, not leaving enough for them during their own cruel pastimes and cattle ranchers complain about wolves attacking their livestock, which graze on public land (very much inside the borders of wolf territory). The reality of the situation is, wolves do not do any real harm – except for diminishing profit for ranchers or interfering in what the hunters call their “entertainment” or “sport.” In fact, the benefits of having wolves far outweigh those of killing them. Wolves are a keystone species and help to balance their ecosystem. We need only look to Yellowstone Park to see how the reintroduction of wolves helped to completely transform the local habitat for the better.
Federal judges already overturned several decisions about removing Endangered Species Act protection from wolves, but the new bill presents the risk of those court orders being reversed. The language in the bill clearly “prevents further judicial review” – which also undermines the fundamental right of the citizens to challenge questionable or simply illegal government’s actions. The bill could also mean the very, very real possibility of allowing unbelievably cruel and obsolete hunting methods such as steel-jaw leghold traps.
The good new is, we are not completely powerless – click here to sign a petition urging Congress to vote no on H.R. 424 and S. 164 and let science and law govern wolf recovery, not politics!
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