For Immediate Release:
Photo Credit: Gordon Haber
Darien, Connecticut-This week, word got around that Defenders of Wildlife-together With Sierra Club, NRDC and several others-proposed a settlement agreement, negotiated with the Department of Interior. They claim 'anti-wolf sentiment' would grow if they held the line-denoting a political compromise. Yet if this settlement is approved by the Montana court, wolves will be "delisted"; Idaho and Montana will take the cue and kill. Friends of Animals stands in solidarity with the advocacy group WildEarth Guardians in opposing this settlement. We supported the August 2010 federal judge's ruling that put wolves in the Northern Rockies back on the Endangered Species List. We do NOT support the settlement that seeks to stay Judge Molloy's decision and paves the way for wolf delisting.
How could "anti-wolf sentiment" get any worse when Idaho's Gov. Butch Otter thinks "respect" and "hate" for wolves are equivalent? (Interviewed by The Idaho Statesman, Otter once boasted of planning to join a wolf trophy hunt, saying: "You can still hate them and respect their cunning and their place in nature.") For the 1500 wolves roaming Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, state control would be a death sentence. And if the court accepts the settlement, state wildlife agencies will replace federal protections as the dominant policy makers. Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral called the settlement "revolting," adding: "If that's a settlement, how bad could losing the lawsuit be? At least one could say they objected to the ruling and would get back to wrangling with Congress. They've thrown the wolves to Montana and Idaho." John Horning, Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians, said: "The multitude of species affected when bad legal precedent is set results in a loss for all of us. If wolves are sacrificed for politics, who's next? Grizzly bears? Polar bears? Prairie dogs?" About 250,000 wolves once presided over their lands in what are now the lower 48 states. But ranchers have reviled and tormented them, and hunters want to kill them-and their prey, including elk. By the 1970s, the population was devastated-down to several hundred. Today, after nearly four decades of inconsistent protection under the Endangered Species Act, some 5000 wolves survive in the lower 48 states. Friends of Animals will do what our supporters have come to expect: stand firm for wolves, and the biocommunities of Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies that have bounced back because of them. We support wolves roaming free from Alaska across the northern U.S. border to the southern border and beyond. And to our members and supporters who do NOT support the products of animal agribusiness, thank you for your big-picture awareness. You know that ranchers in Montana and Idaho already are allowed to shoot wolves that kill or "harass" their cattle, sheep or the other animals they breed for profit. Rather than pay to compensate and appease ranchers for losses by predation, you help us to erode the competition over land at its cause.