Killer wolves could be saved by suit

Opinion Zone,Cheryl K. Chumley

Some people just have too much time on their hands. How else to explain a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for that latter’s plan to put to death two wolves that killed a calf?

Regarding the USFWS, it’s a plan even the Bible would approve: Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. If a wolf kills a calf, that wolf must die.

But such stark justice doesn’t sit well with CBD.

“Oregon is big enough for people and wolves,” said Greg Dyson, a member of one of the groups, the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, that’s joined the CBD in suing, in a written statement. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is acting too hastily in moving to kill these wolves before exhausting other management options. We were left with no choice to protect wolves in court.”

Here’s a choice: Let the two killer wolves be put to death. Why would the wolves be worthy of defense in court – but not the calf owner and his private property rights, as well as the rights of other cattle owners to safely raise their cattle in the future? And what about the calf that was killed – don’t CBD members want to protect little baby bovines from further wolf attacks? Or are wolves not only more important than cattle owners, but also more important than cows?

CBD has a curious defense to its lawsuit. The state is home to less than 25 wolves – split between two packs – and yet Congress is about to remove the animal’s Endangered Species Act protection, according to the group.

“Oregon’s struggling wolf population cannot sustain these killings,” said Noah Greenwald, the CBD’s endangered species program director, also in a written statement.

That’s it – that’s the whole reason.

The killer wolves should not be put to death because that would leave too few of them in the state. That fewer wolves might bring fewer calf killings was a train of thought that was largely ignored by CBD in its written release; perhaps the hope was nobody would raise that point during rebuttal. At the same time, CBD does mention these same wolves have not only killed a calf in the past week, but also another in February and six between May and June of 2010.

But wait – the story grows stranger still.

Almost as an afterthought, CBD includes in its statement this somewhat odd assertion: Domestic dogs kill more cattle than wolves – and it’s not really clear whether the group is advocating for the killing of more dogs, or simply offering a comparative analysis as a means of arguing that wolves don’t really kill that many cattle after all.

Either way, there must be something more important to do. There must be something more important to argue in court.

(Cheryl Chumley is online editor of Tea Party Review Magazine.)

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