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September 25, 2011


Keep in mind that groups like Oregon Wild make their money from scaring people with no clue about the facts and that could be wolf numbers or the danger to a three-towed squirrel which necessitates nobody plowing a field even though many two-toed squirrels exist. (that was an example not a fact).

This article on the wolf numbers is probably more accurate on their population but they are good predators and tracking their populations is not easy except by their kills. http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2011/09/states_largest_wolf_pack_on_mo.html

The thing is people who have no responsibility for livestock have no clue what it means to have one killed by a predator. Wolves in particular kill viciously. They aren't like a coyote where they have to kill fast. A wolf just has to hamstring and then can let the animal die slowly while they eat it.

When I am in Yellowstone or anywhere wolves live, I love to see them and hear them especially but I don't hero worship them and they are not necessary to keep the environment in check. They themselves have to be checked by something or they starve to death. In human territory, they are a danger to any livestock and potentially could be someday to humans as why anybody thinks they'd have a moral reason to not kill vulnerable humans is beyond me. They are animals who need to kill to live.

I resent any boycott talk, and it's particularly easy for you to talk down the Cattlemen groups where you don't want anybody to eat meat, and you don't have the responsibility they do. Incidentally although we raise cattle and sheep, we don't belong to that organization or any other such. I just see it as a very unfair and naive perspective for you to take. You have the same view on the cougar, probably the grizzly (who I have been told are also in the NE corner of Oregon now with their numbers rising). It always irks me and I keep thinking I won't bother to reply because I know we are so far apart on this that we simply cannot communicate, but I can't seem to resist giving it another try. Not to convince you because that's impossible given your view of animals, but maybe to help someone else understand that predators are just that-- predators. They are not saintly, not totally innocent, and can bring violence on other animals who didn't do anything bad to deserve it. IF everybody became a vegetarian, we'd find the same problem with providing the food, with the issue of crops that we do when it's all about meat. Balance is the ticket and being fair. Also not believing everything we read.

Rain, I agree that facts are key to understanding wolves. Values are important also -- our general attitude toward nature, the environment, how humans relate to other forms of life.

My wife has testified at the legislature along with ranchers and representatives of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association. They have a very simplistic, unscientific, and outmoded set of values in the sense I just mentioned.

"The only good wolf is a dead wolf." That's a typical statement. This is extremely rigid, unhelpful, and unproductive. When the OCA takes the following position, I'll feel a lot better about the organization:

"We support the reintroduction of wolves to Oregon. We want to see wolf packs once again become part of Oregon's ecosystem. We will work with ODFW and environmental groups to strike a balance between our need to raise cattle, and the need to allow the wolf population to grow to a sustainable level."

This is a balanced attitude. So I bet the OCA wouldn't agree with it They want every wolf in Oregon run out of the state or killed. Yet ranchers already can be compensated for wolf kills. So like I said, the issue can't be money. It is values.

The OCA seems to believe that humans have a moral right, even an obligation, to be "top dog" in nature. Lars Larson expresses this right-wing attitude often on his radio show. "Humans can do whatever they want, because we are the highest form of creation."

Well, that's ridiculous. Also, dangerous. It's the same attitude that denies global warming is happening, that evolution is true, and that the big bang brought the universe into being.

We need enlightened, scientific, fact-based wolf policy, not "shoot them on sight" absurdities.

Well your viewpoint and your wife's is obviously going not to be mine as I relate more the problem of the rancher and have less concern with the wolf or grizzly, both of whom some want in my backyard. There is a reason they weren't still here but as more and more people become citified or live on what can only be called large lots in the country, the sympathy with the rural lifestyle disappears. Someday all livestock will be raised only in feedlots with a lot of antibiotics to insure they don't die of diseases in such close and inhumane quarters.

I have no doubt at all that if the wolves come back to my part of Oregon, they will kill my cows. What would stop them? That doesn't leave me much sympathy for your viewpoint. You might have the greater numbers though as more people are removed from the consequences of nature.

Right now you can easily go where wolves live but that's not enough for you and others like you. You want them in your backyard. Unfortunately that means they will also be in mine and doing the damage to mine while not to yours-- unless they get real hungry and then their prey changes.

I won't post again on this topic as it is a waste of my time and yours to read it. We will never agree because we come from two different sets of responsibility and for how we see nature. I would only add that if the only ranchers you heard from said shoot them all on sight, you and your wife don't know very many ranchers. Ranchers come in as many types as city dwellers. They just have a different set of responsibilities.

Rain, I hope you'll keep expressing your views on wolves, cougars, grizzlies, and anything else. It doesn't matter if we don't agree. What's important is the discussion, the sharing of views. Almost certainly other people will read our comment conversations and they might learn something from our exchanges.

Learning is a continuous process. Remaining open to other people's views is essential. My wife and I have done a lot of research on how top predators affect ecosystems. We've gone to a presentation at the Salem library by an OSU researcher who studied the effects of reintroducing cougars to an ecosystem (the benefits were considerable).

But people can be presented with the same facts, and come to different conclusions, because they have different values/belief systems. I think this issue basically revolves around differing perspectives on how people relate to nature. My wife and I feel that humans are a part of nature, not the Lords of Nature.

This is where we part company with ranchers and others who feel that they have a right to raise cattle, no matter the effect on the environment or on ecosystems. Some ranchers, thankfully, have a more enlightened, scientific attitude. Hopefully this will spread among the ranching community.

You know responsible ranchers raise first grass and then livestock. It's how it has to be. The irresponsible ones are not in the business for long.

On the wolves, you can learn a lot from a book but it's different when it's life and death and impacts animals you love. I don't think most people who are not agrarians understand that. It's not about money although if money isn't a factor, the rancher doesn't do it for long.

When I am in Yellowstone I am thrilled by seeing and hearing the wolves and spend the time there to get that experience. You can get the same experience in many wilderness areas in Idaho and now NE Oregon. But the cost of your experience is high for some other living beings which I know isn't something that those who want the wolves throughout the country feel has value. Everything in nature must be in balance and wolves are no exception.

If you have followed the experiences of the wolf packs in Yellowstone, you know they kill off each other. Packs that were growing in numbers in the Lamar Valley today have nearly been eliminated from a combination of disease and other wolves attacking and killing them. One is down to one animal or so the experts believe and I think I got a photograph of it last fall. It's just not an idyllic, or maybe make that Edenic situation where it comes to balancing predators.

It is rather interesting to follow what is happening right now as grizzlies grow in numbers throughout western states and their encounters with humans increase. Having liked to spend time in grizzly country, it doesn't surprise me, and I am always carrying bear spray whenever I am out on a trail; but I think it is a lot of people that somehow don't get it what the word predator means. Why humans figure we are immune to being prey is kind of amazing (and being eaten while still alive is not exactly a merciful end even if it is final). I think that comes from being so far removed from natural consequences.

On not commenting more on it, I just feel it goes in a circle. You and I (and those who think like each of us think) say the same thing and have many times ;)

I'd like to say that as a meat-eater and big supporter of local ranchers and farmers, I condemn, in no uncertain terms, the gleeful attitude displayed towards killing wolves in Oregon. It's important that organizations like the OCA know that they are angering many of their supporters by taking such a stance.

Is a boycott the right approach? I don't think so. By boycotting our fellow Oregonians, we're hurting our state. I think it's more productive to say "Hey, I buy only Oregon beef and I don't like what you're saying about wolves. If you continue to advocate the killing of wolves, I will be less supportive of legislation and other measures supporting you."

Dairy comes from cattle also, boycott beef and dairy! Then maybe the OCA will get the message to learn alternative methods to avoid livestock deprivation. "Lords of Nature" is an excellent documentary demonstrating these methods.

I think trying to look like you are playing along works for a while until you are stupid enough to be downright gleeful on your Facebook page about the kill order. Duh. Dumb move. But, thanks for showing your true hand OCA. If you go out to that Facebook page, you will be able to see all kinds of interesting information, including "How the west was won" and should be currently maintained by Oregon Ranchers. And how we should spend our tax money as seen by the OCA. Something is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Oregon Beef....which I will not be buying anymore. I will make sure all of my friends and family know that too. Oregon had a chance to set the tone on Wolf Recovery and Management, and they blew it.

I wanted to update my last comment and say in the past few days I have been back to that page, and that there are some of the ranchers who seem willing to at least talk about some of the issues. If we can have more open dialogs about wolf issues we may be able to get to a better place for all the parties involved.

Perception sure is a powerful thing. How easy for you to say negative things about the rancher when you do not live or walk in their shoes. My perception of you from what i have read is you are a person with very narrow view of the world. If it doesn't fit into your box then its wrong. Get off your egotistical soap box.

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