Opinion Editorial by Carole P. Ryan Ph.D., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

I oppose the restoration of cruel “so-called” hunting practices on Public Wildlife Refuges in Alaska (H.J. Res. 69 & S.J. 18)

I strongly oppose the recent voting actions by five of our Wisconsin United States Representatives, who swiftly and quietly, voted in favor of H.J. Resolution 69, authored by Alaska’s Rep. Don Young (R). The intent of Resolution 69, is to rollback a federal rule that was crafted to stop some of the most appalling “so-called” hunting practices imaginable on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres in the state of Alaska. The Wisconsin Representatives who voted to remove critical rules protecting wildlife from cruel hunting practices on Alaskan Public Lands were Duffy, Gallagher,Grothman, Kind, and Sensenbrenner. Representatives Moore and Pocan opposed! Sadly, the US House of Representatives’ Republican majority vote passed this resolution, 225 to 193.

The Humane Society of the United States video from Alaskans who are urging you to fight against S.J. RES.18 is at the bottom of this blog. Please follow instructions on how to take action to stop this resolution.

HJ 69 intends to use authority under the Congressional Review Act to repeal a Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule that prohibits certain hunting and killing methods in national preserves in Alaska. This rule prohibits particular unsportsmanlike, irresponsible practices authorized by the Alaska Board of Game for stalking and hunting down native wildlife on the state’s national wildlife refuges. Reportedly, these practices, often used but rarely publicly acknowledged, have included the shooting of swimming caribou from motorboats, using airplanes to scout then land and shoot grizzly bears, luring grizzlies with rotting meat and pet food, killing wolf, black bear, and coyote mothers and their dependent pups and cubs in their dens, and the trapping of grizzly and black bears with steel-jawed leg-hold traps and wire snares! This reprehensible resolution was strongly supported by The National Rifle Association (NRA) and Safari Club International (SCI). Supporters of this Resolution want us to believe that their motivation is rooted in the elimination of federal overreach/regulations and a return of public lands and wildlife management to state control. Opponents such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and millions of environmentalists and wildlife advocates, argue that these really are bloodthirsty practices that have no place in a “Humane Nation” such as the United States of America. Especially as many believe that a nation’s soul and compassion is often measured, in part, by how it treats its animals.

“It’s legislation at its most callous and inhumane,…” ~HSUS

I agree with the advocates that caution voters to remember that these are Public Lands! And, Public Lands are supported by our collective tax dollars! And then there is tourism! The majority of Alaskan tourist dollars are not generated by killing animals but by viewing and experiencing the beauty and grandeur of Alaska firsthand; lands, water, air, and wildlife, unspoiled by the intrusion of horrible acts! Alaskan Visitor Studies report that total direct visitor spending increased from 2.29 billion in 2011-12 to 2.56 billion in 2014-15. I don’t think that it is too far fetched to speculate that Alaskan Tourism might “nosedive” in the form of decreased tourists and tourism dollars if this absurd effort to brutally kill wildlife in the name of “the unregulated hunt” is finalized!

…killing wolf, black bear, and coyote mothers and their dependent pups and cubs in their dens, …

The U.S. Senate will eventually vote on this resolution (S.J. Res. 18). I strongly urge all voters to contact Senators Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (R) to oppose this terrible resolution. Only 50 senate votes will be required to pass it. Then it will proceed to President Trump for his signature. I side with wildlife advocates. I do not support turning our public lands into “killing fields” nor do I expect The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (a professional wildlife management agency) to run refuges like “game farms”. We must honor limits in the conduct of wildlife policy in the United States of America (Pacelle, HSUS)! 

Carole P. Ryan Ph.D.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

About Carole P. Ryan Ph.D. 

I am a lifelong Wisconsin resident, parent of two, and grandmother of nine. I am a retired educator/teacher. I love all things wild, especially wolves, and I have great respect for our shared environment. I believe that we all are the guardians and stewards of nature!

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The Humane Society of the United States brings you this video from Alaskans who are urging you to fight against S.J. RES.18. If passed, this resolution would overturn protections for wildlife in National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, allowing — among other despicable cruelties — the killing of wolf pups and bear cubs in and around their dens. It’s legislation at its most callous and inhumane, and it’s a test of what could happen on wildlife refuges nationwide. We’re expecting the vote any weekday now, so please call your U.S. Senators (find them at http://www.humanesociety.org/leglookup) and urge a NO vote on S.J. RES.18!

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Featured image of Grizzly bear sow and cub by John E Marriott