HomeScienceWildlifeHumane treatment of wildlife is an urgent necessity

Humane treatment of wildlife is an urgent necessity

By Julie Marshall

It was the perfect fall day to meander through Colorado’s highland roads and with a mountain lion in tow. Actually we had three cubs in a refrigerated trailer, soon to be released in unknown parts, orchestrated by an experienced ranger driving the car where I was a passenger in the front seat.

The talk included a lion’s ecological role and the ethics of rescuing cubs that left humans vulnerable. Our perfectly wild, hissing animals fit the description with two orphans and one who had a mother who was hit by a vehicle; after watching their tawny bottoms disappear into the woods, we called it a good day.

Nearly 15 years later, our wild animals in the West – including the very youngest – are instead being thoughtlessly killed in greater numbers and in disturbing ways, and in some cases this is called legal management. It has become an increasingly hostile environment for wildlife, and for the people who try to help them, to speak out.

Just weeks ago, 16 feral horses were illegally shot on public lands along the Colorado-Utah border in San Juan County, along with 36 feral horses (14 still missing) from the alpine herd in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in eastern Canada. Arizona. Bodies were found with gunshot wounds to the head and heart. Six gray wolves from the Wedge pack in northeast Washington were recently found dead from deliberate poisoning with a similar case in Oregon months ago, where eight wolves died.

None of these crimes have been solved. Advocacy groups, including my nonprofit, Animal Wellness Action in Washington, DC, with our Colorado branch, have joined to provide $35,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators of the illegal Arizona massacre. We can only hope that someone is brave enough to step forward.

Our public lands are protected for all of us to enjoy and we need these safe spaces now more than ever. This forest of horrors should prompt us to wonder why some criminals feel encouraged to show their hatred of animals by allowing carcasses to rot in plain sight? Along with: why are our professional managers killing the very youngest as an accepted go-to policy? US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services killed eight wolf cubs in their den without thinking about non-lethal measures. This made the news because this package happened to be part of an ongoing and multi-year high school study in Boise, Idaho. As one student so well put it, “It was so shocking to see federal agents being the ones who came into a puppy den to kill them.” The conservation organization’s response to the killing of defenseless pups was simply that “removing wolf pups” is legal by any means necessary.

Is it any wonder that around the same time, a woman in Montana proudly posted bloody photos on her Facebook page, saying she was “smoking a wolf puppy”? It turned out she had shot 6 month old Siberian Huskey. She admitted that she thought the dog was half-wolf. Anyway, she grinned at a dead pup.

This summer, wild horses were severely injured and killed in many states, including record numbers in Colorado, after being sprayed by helicopters during Bureau of Land Management legal raids. Another agency, the National Park Service, has long written biological papers against donkeys, but it’s new to find such emotional language that says, from the Death Valley website, “Invasive donkeys… are NOT native to North America. ..” This emphasis is intended to support programs and policies for eradication of burros. Is it any wonder that dozens of wild donkeys have been illegally shot recently in Western countries?

When it comes to prioritizing our public lands and who can use them, professionals need to be able to educate and engage the public without resorting to labeling animals not worthy of existence , which only promotes hatred and demonization of species. Non-lethal, humane management methods exist that must be prioritized in the interest of all of us.

One of the most compelling reasons to track down, arrest and charge those responsible for illegal acts is public safety. Science is unequivocal about the fact that people who intentionally use violence against animals are also dangerous to humans. Congress has a chance to address the link between animal cruelty and human violence by passing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, a bill based on the idea that we need our federal law enforcement apparatus to take animal cruelty seriously and deal with animal cruelty. as a serious crime that warrants serious investigation.

Along with safe communities and protecting children, protecting wildlife and all animals should be fundamental human Turn right. Regardless of where we stand in regards to politics or how we make a living, we can hopefully agree that open season on wolf cubs and killing entire families of wild creatures in their habitats is inhumane and frankly lazy management for a dominant species with self-proclaimed stewardship. Wildlife belongs to everyone; it is a human right to have a healthy and safe environment that protects all life in the landscape.

Julie Marshall is a former opinion editor of the Boulder Daily Camera. She is Colorado’s state director for Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy in Washington, DC. Her columns on Colorado mountain lions and bison of the West took first place in last year’s Colorado Press Association’s Better News Media Contest.

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