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Finally, the wolves won. Then Alaska's Board of Game changed the rules.

February 01, 2006 | Wolves

On the 17th of January, Alaska's Superior Court declared that the aerial wolf control scheme, in which people in aircraft chase wolves to exhaustion and then shoot them, is invalid. The airborne hunting permits, issued to boost moose populations for human hunters, flew in the face of the Board of Game's own regulations. Since 2003, 445 wolves have been gunned down using those permits that were wrongly issued. The state wants to wipe out 400 more wolves under the scheme this season, but the permits were recalled. So Alaska's Board of Game called an emergency meeting -- as though its lack of competence in adhering to its own rules is properly called an emergency.

Sunday, the 29th of January, the Board just flat-out repealed requirements for public notice and input regarding wolf and bear control. It also repealed all requirements and limitations that apply generally to wolf control -- the very bases for the Court's initial January ruling that existing wolf control plans are invalid! For the first time in history, Alaska's officials are allowing the sale of bear hides and skulls. The Board of Game decided to apply this rule in a part of northeastern Alaska, and the interior areas where aerial wolf hunting has been allowed. Bruce Bartley, a Fish and Game spokesperson, said that when Alaska gained statehood, many residents thought federal laws had targeted wolves and bears too ruthlessly, and the new state "wanted to treat them as animals worthy of respect in their own right." As Bartley told the Anchorage Daily News: Things are different now. Animals aren't worthy of respect these days in Alaska. Their fate lies with a capricious Game Board, or game-playing board. When caught in their games, they try, like peeved children, to change the rules. Friends of Animals' goal is to stop the entire scheme. Last Friday -- ten days after the wolves prevailed in Court -- we returned, seeking a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the Game Board's "emergency" circumvention. Yesterday, the judge turned down our Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order against the emergency regulations adopted by the Board last week. So predator control can go forth, under the new regulations we've just challenged. We're now considering our legal options. Please consider making a donation to our efforts on behalf of Alaska's wolves.


You need to remember where that word "game" in this context came from. In the England where the definition you cite came from all animals "ferae naturale" belonged to the crown. They were legally hunted exclusively for sport. By law there could be no subsistance hunting in common law England because commoners taking game was considered stealing from the crown. That situation is only partially analagous to modern Alaska. The government still retains the power to regulate and control the game populations but not for the benefit of the crown, for the benefit of the people - all the people. This includes the hunters, the photographers, the birders, the fishermen - everyone. You may enjoy creating the fantasy of hunters walking around the woods spouting nonsense like Ted Nugent but I can assure you that those are a very small minority. There's a similar fantasy that the outdoor community spouts about animal rights groups being a bunch of nut cases. Most are ethical nice people who enjoy the outdoors, enjoy the challange of hunting, and enjoy the meat. [Blog editors' note: This begs the question by assuming "enjoying the meat" is ethical, even as it suggests that the flesh of other animals is indeed consumed in Alaska for pleasure.]

Blog editor - my, aren't you disingenuous. I, (as does every animal) eat because I must. Do you only eat things that taste bad? What animal chooses to eat things that don't satisfy (please). Enjoying what one eats is entirely ethical - and mostly practical. Few of us eat things (with the exception of medicine) that we do not enjoy the taste of. Sating my hunger is indeed pleasurable, as is the varied tastes of the animals that I consume, the salad ingredients and veggies (much of which I grow myself), the potato/rice/pasta, the wine or water, etc. Many "domestic" meat eaters do not like the taste of any wild "game". That's their problem. I don't like the taste of some species I've tried myself. And I don't particularly care for the high fat/greasy content of most "domestic" meats. I do enjoy growing/harvesting/processing my own food - animal or vegetable. I do indeed enjoy the consumption of animal flesh, well prepared, as well as the satisfaction of the harvest, careful retrieval of the meat (often miles with a back-pack) and home processing- all done by myself. Be it noted I do not hunt and kill animals that I I find less than tasty (pleasurable!) So mark me down for consuming animals for pleasure, if you wish. By what right do you impose your dubious "ethics" on me? I have no doubt this will not be posted,.

Thank you for writing, Larry. Note that there is nothing disingenuous in the commitment to avoid taking life away from a conscious being for amusement or pleasure. You must know that we humans are not obligate carnivores. You too have the potential to derive great pleasure from a vegetarian diet -- as so many members of our species have done throughout the ages. No doubt your vegetable garden is wonderful. Lee Hall, Friends of Animals.

Larry, Where as your syntax has simply failed you, your logic is killing you -- along with other sentient beings that you choose to kill and eat. It "does not follow" that because something has never happened before, that it cannot happen now or in the future. Humans can make new choices -- the three miilion year history you cite is proof of that (or did you forget about it?). The parts of your argument concerning applying the same standards to all animals falls under the fallacy of generalization. Your spiel about "sportsmen" as saviors of the planet (the environment) is one more fallacy -- a false dilemma -- if we did not have hunters, nothing else could be done to save the planet -- not that it has ever been proven that hunters are saving the planet, and not contributing significantly to its destruction. You calculate the odds against veganism as "8 billion to a few thousand". I don't know where you got those numbers, but I'll take them -- lacking an easy victory or even facing unavoidable defeat has never been an excuse not to do the right thing. Vegans are in it for the long haul -- you are in it apparently just for "lunch". I can only accept your comments as you have stated them as from someone "out to lunch". Bob Orabona Friends of Animals

It would be as reprehensible to chase and "cull" quarterhorses from the air as it is to chase canines(alaska's wild dogs i.e. "wolves"). The person who sponsored the enabling legislation (from another state originally), such as it is, is republican and raises quarterhorses. He cried in the alaskan legislative hall in front of the cameras (for the three people actually watching) the other day over the loss of one of his horses. How hypocritical. Those who love these wild canines as much as he loves his horses are sickened by the alaskan gross legislation allowing this daily gross, uncivilized behavior of men. Women aren't doing this. It's uncivil, unnecessary, uncultured, and actually stupidly cruel. Of course, I'm against the chasing, harassing of Alaska's beautiful wild canines. The wild canines (indistinguishable from any other domestic canine "scientifically" i.e. "dogs") could also be fed from the air. They could also be domesticated just as horses are but the cruelty of republican men would have (slightly) less joyful expression of their otherwise dull dreams of shooting up alaska. Alaska is a stupid red state anyway. I know. I live here. I am an ethnic alaskan as well for what that authenticates about my "views". Of course, stupid stereotypes rule in Alaska since actual education is forbidden except for republican red-faced children. Feel free to boycott stupidity. That would be very wise. Visit Canada where education is valued, stupidity is NOT highly valued as a societal norm in Canada while stupidity is carefully cultivated and enforced in alaska I believe. In Canada civility is available, and wild canines are a respected life form.

I do agree- we are not obligate carnivores - but I chose to be so. My primary motivation is food on the table. That I enjoy the hunting for it is a fact, of which I am not apologetic for, but it IS secondary. As to my garden- well- I really ought to invest in an 8' high fence, as the moose get more of it than I do. :) They raise hell with my strawberries too. [Blog editors' note: Imagine what the moose say about hell-raising. One should give moose, bears, wolves and more a lot of credit for eking out a livng in Alaska -- given the landscape, climate, natural predators, and behavior of some homo sapiens.]

there is no good reason to kill animals! hopefully one day there will be no more cruelty towards animals.

You cannot choose to be an obligate carnivore. It is because humans can choose not to be carnivores that we know that they are not obligate carnivores. Friends of Animals takes the moral position that it is not acceptable to kill sentient beings to maintain a particular diet, lifestyle or culture. Bob Orabona Friends of Animals

Oh my...I can't believe this. What an outrage! Funny bone politics at its best. I've been a friend of wolves since reading Jim Brandenburg's amazing article and photographs on wolves years ago in National Geographic. I obvisously have not been paying attention for some time, thinking the re introduction of wolves in Mont, Idaho and Wash was taking us in the right step. Does anyone have some actual names of peole who run the Game Board in Alaska? Anyone have the minutes from their "emergency meeting", more specifically taped minutes? And does anyone have any insight into the flawed data they are using? While legal avenues will be the the most effective and Friends of Animals has my support; down right, good old accountability is sometimes a nice avenue to take as well. Damon

Well now, I am always surprised when I read or hear about people who don't live here, but are so concerned about our animals! Don't you have animals where you live? We have an over abundance of wolves, who kill our elk, and moose, and all other animals, and they do need to be thinned out. I'm not saying from an airplane, but we need our food animals. Many people who live here, and further up north have nothing else to eat. These people were here long before the white man showed up, and this is thier land. Unless you've been here, and seen first hand what is really going on (you can't believe every thing you read) then you probably don't really know. I can't believe the things tourists tell me they have heard. Sometimes I just Laugh... As for the wolves, you can howl your head off, and frankly we'd rather you'd be anywhere, but Alaska!!! You don't live here, so mind your own business. P.S. I was born here, so I belong here!