It has been quite a time lately, watching the LGBT community gain acceptance and power in its fight for equality. Their campaign has been emotion-filled, focused, tough, convicted and strategic.
What I love is their ability to convince an America far more conservative than we often realize by being honest, passionate and driven; something the conservation community sorely lacks. This is vital for throughout American history; we have watched our elected officials lag far behind the American public in their desire for change. If we lack spirit, so will they. In fact we have seen our meekness translate into the destruction of wolves.
Within the conservation community groups such as Defenders of Wildlife and NRDC have relied on consultants and the view that this issue is about people, not wolves. So, ranchers and others they believe can be persuaded through an open and respectful dialogue are winning. They are wrong--dead wrong!
The reason is they view wolves as a product, a non-human entity. What they miss, is that wolves are living, thriving and wondrous beings, the type of being that makes life special; inspiring our life, while pushing our perspective of what is possible. There was a time when our nation believed in freedom and liberty for all.
That notion never penetrated the livestock industry.
So far much of that sentiment in terms of civil rights has revolved around the human dimension. Our job is to expand that sense of civil rights to wolves. You see, when we deal with those who identify themselves as ranchers, we encounter a segment of our population that lives in a remote world, where change comes slowly. They see an America which they have been divorced from for most of their life.
America is a place where people of color are becoming the majority, where marijuana is becoming legal, and a place where gay marriage is recognized, woman are demanding equal pay and wolves are in the wild. These new realities are difficult for conservative minds to comprehend.
So their frustration and sense of losing control of the world which is moving seemingly at warp speed, has left them bitter and angry at liberals, Democrats and those they view as poison to their rural and stagnant way of life. To release their frustration on a world they cannot understand, wolves have become their target. Killing wolves is an exercise in curing their rage.
This is not about land, or grazing, it is about the anger of a group of people who do not connect with a changing world. In our nation’s history we have seen this many times. It began in the south with slavery. We watched the dehumanizing elements of segregation. We went to war over oil and power. Killing is in America’s DNA.
So here we are in 2014, wolves which we reintroduced at great expense are being slaughtered. It is revenge for those of us ranchers perceive as forcing change in their life-progressives who see animals as the beauty in life. They trap, shoot, bow hunt and destroy packs as a badge of honor; while disrupting their co-existence as packs, and forcing them to actually kill livestock to survive.
Elected officials, the Interior Department and those at the Forest Service treat ranchers as some kind of sacred trust. Politicians and Game and Fish departments treat them more like royalty.
Part of the reason is the tepid, let’s works together, approach that foundations and some conservation groups profess; while the ranching community makes threats, demands the end to wolves and ignores any agency that wants to enforce the law. They do so with bravado and with support.
The conservation community, at least that part which has milked wolf recovery, while contributing to their slaughter, will never change. It has been nothing short of a fundraising bonanza. They have fooled people who genuinely love wolves; but do not understand the rage of the ranching and livestock community, their desire not to share the public lands that are a birthright of all Americans, and steal these lands for their personal profit.
So it’s time for a new reality, time we unify and defy those in the conservation community that see wolves as profit rather than a living being.
We can retake the issue of wolves in the wild and challenge the notion that ranchers have a right to our public lands. They (ranchers) represent a cancer on the land, a cancer of the soul. They stand in the way of progress and meaningful wildlands in the West. They must be removed from our public lands.
My heart, your heart, is with the wolves; their value in the wild far outweighs the waste which is the livestock industry. We must be strong and better to be 10 driven people than 1000 that placate the destruction of our spirit. Let us join in unison, let us fight with pride, let us speak with conviction and never surrender our principles to those who seek profit before life.
Wolves are the heart of the wild. They deserve our fighting spirit, without it wilderness is simply land void of a heartbeat.
Bold Visions Conservation is banding together with other small protection groups across to fight for wolves and against ranching.
Bold Visions Conservation