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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Cry Wolf

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

    Once again, Wyoming livestock producers are the victims of a politically based decision from a federal district judge who seems to have made a decision and then wrote a 40-page ruling to back it up. In doing so, he had total disregard for, and in a sense stomped on, the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
    It’s not that we all had that much faith in the ESA to begin with, but Wyoming, Montana and Idaho had given one last shot at making it work. It was a combined effort by government, both state and federal, livestock and wildlife organizations and a lot of the public. Left alone, that effort most likely would have worked. Now we’re looking at around two or more years before we know anything for sure. What was already a messy situation has become worse.
    One of the judge’s main reasons for relisting the wolves was the claim that wolf recovery standards haven’t yet been met. He specifically mentioned, “The federal government had not met its standards for wolf recovery, including interbreeding of wolves among the states to ensure healthy genetics.” So now we have to be worried about their personal moments and make sure the wolves are “roaming enough.”
    As I understand it, the wolves first brought into Yellowstone all came from the same area, so genetics were not a problem then. The ruling stated that in order to grant the preliminary injunction the judge had to find the plaintiffs (the bad guys) had shown delisting has and will continue to result in “irreparable injury” to the wolf population. The judge went on to say such harm had been proven because the wolf control problems in the three states were “more than likely to eliminate any chance for genetic exchange to occur” among wolf populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area, central Idaho and northwestern Montana. Now we all know that wolves don’t roam much, right? They have only been found north of Denver, Utah and now in northwestern Oregon after originating from Yellowstone. There has been only one study so far on the genetic exchange of wolves and that’s not much to go on, especially on an issue of this magnitude. That argument only adds to the political intent of the ruling. Remember, a blindfolded lady with both scales level defines justice. I don’t feel that justice is working with a level set of scales on this issue.
    What about the irreparable injury to the livestock producers and our wildlife? This is our America, too. Wyoming and the other two states involved worked with everyone to ensure as level of a playing field as possible. Everyone took a hit and everyone had something to gain. Under Wyoming’s plan, the wolf would have survived and it would have roamed and mixed up its genetics to its heart’s delight.
    Why do issues get so polarized that they’re never changed until they fall off the table as being so one-sided? The Endangered Species Act just hit the floor.


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