This week an assortment of anti-wolf politicians from both parties have made good on their promise to introduce legislation that would strip court ordered Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming. The goal of this legislation is to return wolves to the meat grinder and “management plans” of Wisconsin. Minnesota, Michigan, and Wyoming and to further weaken the embattled Endangered Species Act. Wisconsin’s “management” of wolves entails the legal use of dogs against wolves 24/7/365. Congress is apparently okay with that.
On top of the ESA gutting anti-wolf legislation the Wilderness Act gutting “Bipartisan Sportsman’s Act” has once again reared it’s ugly head. This bill again plans to open up millions of acres to killing, prevent any restrictions on lead ammunition, allow the import of killed polar bear trophies from Canada, along with is myriad of other anti-wildlife provisions intended on turning federal lands into giant killing fields and shooting ranges.
It’s no surprise that the anti-environment GOP led Congress is pushing to destroy the ESA and Wilderness Act but the most horrifying thing about this is how willing so many Democrats are to sign on to these destructive bills. Even though voters in Michigan were overwhelmingly in support of wolf protections and the Wisconsin DNR’s own survey showed major support here the politicians continue to listen to those that yell the loudest.
I am tired of trying to be diplomatic with these politicians and expecting them to listen to the majority and facts over big money killing groups and big ag interests. They DO NOT care what we think. I expect the GOPers to be tone deaf to anyone other than what their Koch/NRA fueled minions want but I am dumbfounded as to why Democrats are so willing and even eager to sell out our wildlife and wilderness protections. From now on I am going to call it like it is.
If you are a politician that supports returning “management” of wolves to states like Wisconsin then you must be in support of dog fighting. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin recently had her staff tell wildlife advocates that she is in support of “state management” of wolves. So I guess that means that if this is what she is for then she supports dog fighting. There is no other way around it. The same goes for every other state and federal politician that is in favor of allowing a state like Wisconsin to “manage” wolves. Wisconsin is the ONLY state in the country that allows packs of dogs to be used against wolves and Tammy Baldwin supports this kind of management. This isn’t a recent development. When Baldwin was running for the US Senate she made an effort to pander to the anti-wildlife and anti-wolf factions on her own campaign website.
2011: Tammy Worked Across Party Lines and Worked to Remove the Wisconsin Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List
Tammy supported the commonsense approach of removing the Wisconsin Gray Wolf from the Endangered Species List after population numbers exceeded both the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Plan and the federal recovery goal. This action opens the door to a new wolf hunt.
Then when she announced her support for the pandering and disgusting “Bipartisan Sportsman’s Act” last year she made sure to quote and list a myriad of trophy killing and anti-wolf groups that joined her in support of the bill. She proudly listed:
The bill has the support of the following: American Sportfishing Association, Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, B.A.S.S. LLC, Boone & Crockett, Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, Campfire Club of America, Catch-A-Dream Foundation, Center for Coastal Conservation, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Conservation Force, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League of America, Masters of Foxhounds Association, Mule Deer Foundation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Trappers Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Wildlife Federation, North American Bear Foundation, North American Grouse Partnership, Pheasants Forever, Pope and Young Club, Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The National Wildlife Federation, The Wilderness Society, Tread Lightly!, Trout Unlimited, United States Sportsmen’s Alliance, Whitetails Unlimited, Wild Sheep Foundation, Wildlife Forever, Wildlife Management Institute.
SCI? The same SCI that Bob Welch is the lobbyist for at the state level? United States Sportsmen’s Alliance? Also a group that Bob Welch lobbies for. She NEVER bothers to consult any pro-wildlife groups and only offers canned responses when questioned as to why. I made one last attempt to reach out to and reason with Senator Baldwin but no response has been forthcoming and I assume as usual she is only listening to the killing cartels. Here is the letter that I recently wrote:
Dear Senator Baldwin,
As a constituent and one that has voted for you several times as both a Representative and now as Senator I have to say that I am highly disappointed with your support of “state management” for gray wolves. The legislation that is being circulated by anti-wolf politicians not only strips wolves of their much needed protections, but it also undermines a fundamental right of American citizens. By supporting Wisconsin’s “management” of this species you are tacitly supporting legalized dog fighting as this is what the state’s “management” entails. You are also supporting a state that has made it their goal to push this species back to the brink by allowing only a token population to remain. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has made it very clear that this is their aim through comments in the media and by their reckless yearly killing quotas.
I also want to know how you can support legislation that continues to undermine the Endangered Species Act and precludes American citizens from exercising their rights to challenge a species delisting in the federal courts? This proposed legislation not only eviscerates the foundation of the Endangered Species Act, it also strips away a fundamental right of American citizens to allow for judicial review of our laws and agency rules, and spits in the face of the Separation of Powers. Would it have been acceptable to tack on a provision forbidding judicial review for other laws passed by our governing bodies? That is the slippery slope that support for this proposed legislation leads us down. Imagine if Congress under the control of Republicans along with a Republican president passed a law like the disgusting Defense of Marriage Act that included a disclaimer that prevented the law from being challenged in court. Just imagine how many Americans would feel about having their fundamental right to challenge a dubious law or agency rule stripped from them. The sentiment here is exactly the same and should not even be considered.
Each year since the 2011 delisting the Wisconsin DNR has allowed their kill quotas to be exceeded and refuses to count the vast numbers of illegally killed wolves toward that quota. The internet is awash with anti-wolf factions brazenly threatening poaching, torture, and a second eradication of wolves. To claim that wolves are not in need of federal protections is naïve at best and downright irresponsible at worst. Wisconsin is also the ONLY state in the country that allows dogs to be pitted against wolves. Under current “rules,” or lack thereof, the Wisconsin DNR allows packs of dogs to be used against wolves 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year under the guise of “training.” This activity has only been stopped “legally” following the court order reinstating federal protections to the wolves in the Great Lakes. How can a species not be considered “threatened” or “endangered” when they are subject to being harassed by packs of vicious dogs with no reprieve for 365 days a year? Wisconsin is also the only state that that reimburses the owner of dogs allegedly killed by wolves to the tune of $2500 each. How can anyone that proclaims to be a “progressive” support what is essentially state sanctioned dog fighting that pays the participant when their dog “loses?”
Contrary to what is being stated by various hunting groups and agriculture lobbying groups, Wisconsin does not have a “conservative” or “scientific” management plan for wolves in place. The Wisconsin DNR has made it very clear that they are refusing to listen to the non-hunting public despite their own surveys showing widespread support for maintaining the wolf population at their pre-2014 killing season levels. This would entail a number of approximately 650 wolves. The DNR appears not to be giving their own survey any credence nor does Congress seem to care about the threats that this species faces. The fear mongering being presented by hunting groups and agriculture special interests misrepresent if not flat out lie about the alleged “threat” that wolves present to their livestock. The vast majority of “depredations” reported by the Wisconsin DNR are for hound dogs used to go after bears, coyotes, bobcats, wolves themselves, and even turkeys. Yes, Wisconsin allows dogs to be used against turkeys. Livestock losses to wolves are miniscule at most and are known among wildlife advocates to be greatly exaggerated due to the generous payouts given by the Wisconsin DNR. It is a little known fact that Wisconsin farmers are given “depredation payments” for calves that turn up “missing” with zero evidence of wolf involvement. The same farmers are also get “depredation” payments from the Wisconsin DNR if they lose more than 2.3 percent of their calves regardless of cause. In other words if a farmer has over 2.3 percent of their calves die from disease they get a payout for each over that percentage as long as there has been one “confirmed” wolf depredation on that farm. Would it be too far out of line to suggest that agricultural special interests along with hound hunting interests strongly embellish the wolf “threat?” Those that yell the loudest are not always the majority and they certainly aren’t always right .
I challenge anyone that believes wolves are not in need of Federal protections to peruse the internet and find another species that has entire websites devoted to the poaching, torture, and eradication of them. You won’t find one. Other than the wolf cousin the coyote find another species that is vilified, threatened, and persecuted more than the gray wolf? Judge Howell made it very clear in her ruling that state “management” plans had major deficiencies that hindered the full recovery of gray wolf populations. No one expects wolf populations to return to pre-European colonization levels but what we do expect is a level of protection that prevents a return to the wolf eradication from a century ago. The 2011 delisting and current state “management” plans do nothing to ensure long term species survival and push for wolves to be brutally killed down to a token population that keeps them on the threshold of relisting. That is not “management” nor is it “science” as the anti-wolf special interest wants us to believe. The persecution of this animal is ingrained in the state “management” plans and is rooted in deep seeded hatred for a species that has become more myth than reality.
I implore you, Senator Baldwin, to look at sources other than what the Wisconsin DNR, agricultural special interests, and trophy hunting groups provide you. They have a vested interested in keeping wolves at token populations if not outright eradication. Wisconsin has almost 6 million citizens and the majority of those citizens that took the time to exercise their right to vote chose you to represent us in the Senate. The majority of our fellow citizens support a healthy and vibrant wolf population. Not a token number on the edge of eradication. Not a set in stone number to kill down to each year and certainly not a population that is allowed to have packs of dogs harass them 24/7/365 with the full support of the Wisconsin DNR. If you support “state management” you support these abhorrent activities along with a weakening of the Endangered Species Act and our fundamental right to challenge laws and agency rules in court. Our democracy should not be based on which special interests yell the loudest. Our democracy should be based on listing to the citizens that have spoken loud and clear on this issue time and time again. The majority support the gray wolf and we are disgusted at the current “management plans” in place that allow for wholesale killing and legalized dog fighting. As long as those types of activities remain in place it would be beyond reckless to return gray wolf “management” to states like Wisconsin.
I along with other wildlife advocates that voted for you have been highly disappointed to say the least at some of the positions that you have taken regarding wildlife. From your support for the Wilderness Act gutting “Bipartisan Sportsman Act” to your support for state “management” of wolves. We thought that we elected a Senator that would share our progressive ideals about wildlife and the environment. It seems that we may have been mistaken. No true progressive would support “management” of a species that entails legalized dog fighting, persecution, and taking away our fundamental rights for court challenges. I along with other wildlife advocates will base our support for you in any future election on whether or not you continue to support “state management” of wolves in Wisconsin’s current incarnation.
I hope you do further research into what Wisconsin views as “management” and why so many wildlife advocates are horrified at the prospect of legislative action returning it to the states. We will be watching.
p.s I look forward to your response and ask that a canned letter with Wisconsin DNR talking points not be sent as has been before. Thank you.
That letter was sent January 27th and has been apparently met with complete silence as I expected. Because of this I must come to the conclusion that Senator Baldwin and other politicians supporting “state management” of wolves are indeed also in support of dog fighting because that is what Wisconsin allows.
The time is now to take off the gloves and call out every single one of these pandering anti-wolf/wildlife politicians. If they support the wolf delisting bill they also support Wisconsin’s legalized dog fighting. It’s as simple as that. As the use of dogs against wolves is part of how Wisconsin “manages” wolves any politican that supports “state management” therefore supports legalized 24/7/365 dog fighting. Let’s start calling these people out. As long as they support “state management” of wolves this is what every wildlife advocate should be posting on social media:
Do this for every politician that supports “state management” of wolves that include Wisconsin. If they wont listen to us then we damn well need to make sure that everyone know that these people are perfectly acceptable with legalized dog fighting and that is exactly what Wisconsin’s “management” entails.
Time to take the gloves off and let these people know exactly what they are supporting. If they even care. Feel free to take what you will from my above letter to #TammyBaldwinsupportsdogfighting. The gloves are off and we need to stop these people from further destroying our wildlife and exploiting our wild lands.