ranchers from wolf case unjust
Capital Press July 2, 2021
A California judge last week issued
one of the most disconcerting decisions involving wolves
that weíve seen.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of
Oakland, Calif., is hearing a case related to efforts by
environmentalists to put gray wolves back on the federal
endangered species list.
But hereís the clinker: White decided
to exclude from the case the people most directly impacted
by wolves ó ranchers.
Environmental groups are represented.
So are hunters, gun owners and the federal government. But
ranchers were blocked from taking part, other than being
allowed to file a friend of the court brief.
It should be noted that American
ranchers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in
livestock and spent almost as much money trying to keep
wolves away from their cattle and sheep.
The attacks have not been isolated.
Wherever there are wolves, there are wolf problems as packs
hunt down cattle and sheep and kill and injure guardian
Yet, according to the judge, the
National Rifle Association and Safari Club International
will be able to speak for ranchers.
We have nothing against the NRA or the
Safari Club; we just think itís a misguided decision. Itís
like asking a NASCAR driver to speak for a truck driver.
They kind of do similar things, if you donít think about it
Maybe the judge figured ranchers would
only add more of the same arguments to the case and that
having actual experience dealing with wolves is no big deal.
If so, he is wrong. Nothing can replace experience in a case
such as this.
In the meantime, ranchers will be
relegated to the peanut gallery as the judge ponders a case
that will have a direct and potentially detrimental impact
on their livelihoods.
What prompted this case was last
yearís decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
take the gray wolf off the list of animals protected by the
federal Endangered Species Act. The agency determined that
the population of gray wolves is growing everywhere. Across
the northern tier of the U.S. and in other states, wolves
have been flourishing.
What started with 96 wolves in Idaho
and Yellowstone National Park has grown into thousands of
The decision to take wolves off the
list of federally protected species and let states manage
them was warranted by almost any measure. Yet environmental
groups, which put their opinions over those of expert
wildlife managers employed by the federal and state
governments, maintain that the ďdefenselessĒ wolves must
continue to be protected.
At the same time, ranchers continue to
pay the price of having wolves around. And the judge in this
most important case wonít let them take part.
Thatís just one more reason it is
called a legal system and not a justice system.
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