Back in December, when a federal judge ruled against wolf hunting and restored the gray wolf's place on federal protection lists, myself and others were completely ecstatic. There is NO good reason to hunt wolves, and there's absolutely no reason to push that back to the brink of extinction. Fast forward to today - here I am at home reading the Lacrosse Tribune when I noticed a small article at the bottom corner of the front page. It seems one of Wisconsin's loony tea party members, Rep. Reid Ribble, has decided that one of his first pushes of this new congress is to keep wolves off protection lists. Yup, because with all the challenges currently facing our nation, allowing the destruction of wolves is really high up on the priority list for republicans. Not that that's surprising, as the tea party is very good at evading real issues in favor of frivolous and arbitrary issues that should be left alone.
According to Ribble, "I am pursuing a bipartisan legislative fix that will allow the Great Lakes states to continue the effective work they are doing in managing wolf populations without tying the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Service or undermining the Endangered Species Act." Sure, he doesn't want to undermine the Endangered Species Act by undermining all the work it has done to keep our wildlife safe. Just another baseless attack on government under the guise of "oh no, scary big government."
According to Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group dedicated to protecting the environment, there are roughly 3,500 gray wolves in the Great Lakes area. That number may seem high, but all things considered, it's still relatively small. Wolves are incredibly important animals to Wisconsin's ecosystem, and all ecosystems. They keep other animal populations in check, and messing with their packs has severe impacts on other wildlife. There's a system and food chain for a reason. One kink in that chain and it affects everything else around it. We can't allow the GOP to screw with it. And before everyone jumps on me about how they attack cows and other farm animals, please read this study and this National Geographic article that has concluded reducing wolf numbers will actually increase wolf attacks on livestock. So no more can that be an excuse to punish wild animals for doing wild animal activities.
But I think it's important that we look at the real push behind this steady stream of anti-wolf legislation. Does anyone really think Republicans care about the outdoors or keeping our environment safe or anything scientific? Does Reid Ribble really care about not undermining the Endangered Species Act? Hell no. If they did, they wouldn't have Ted Cruz on a space and science committee. So who stands to benefit most of these bills? Why, the GOP's NRA overlords of course! The NRA is almost always behind pro-hunt, anti-environmental bills introduced by Republicans in congress. For example, this past November, voters in Maine had an initiative on their ballot on humane bear hunting. Voting in favor of this initiative would have banned hunting practices like trapping bears in inhumane traps and shooting them point blank between the eyes. Because as everyone knows, that's the proper way to hunt right? I'll let you, the reader, google more on that because honestly, I can't bring myself to see pictures of it. It makes me want to vomit. Guess who had lies to spread about why this shouldn't be ended? Yup. You guessed it. The lovely NRA. Almost anywhere there's an anti-humane hunting law, or any law pertaining to animal protection, it's safe to assume the trail leading to those spending the big bucks to defeat it is almost always the NRA's doorstep. Oh, and for the record, Rep. Ribble received a nice big $4,000 contribution from the NRA during his 2012 run for congress, and $2,000 during last year's cycle.. Hmm! Makes you wonder, huh?
Too bad there isn't a law that keeps Republicans from having any say on anything related to the environment and protecting our natural resources. And even more I wish we could have a law that bans NRA money from influencing those people who have a say on our environment., but I can dream, right?
Please click here to support the Defenders of Wildlife's work in keeping gray wolves safe from people like Reid Ribble and the GOP.
And click here to email Ribble and tell him to stop hurting Wisconsin's gray wolves. Don't be dissuaded by his "I can't reply to non-constituents" message. He'll still receive what you have to say.