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October 29, 2006
The Cold War was a large part of my life. The Berlin Airlift, Korea, U-2, Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam were real experiences for me. When we “won” the Cold War I was elated not only for my country but really for the millions who would now have the opportunity to worship God, own property, and generally enjoy the fruits of freedom, liberty, and individual rights.

From the get-go I was intrigued about how Russia would turn over all that the government “owned” to people and equitably establish private property. While I didn’t know how it could be done I must express disappointment that it has not occurred and that the government seems to be moving to consolidate a dictatorial power once again over all resources and the right of citizens to own property. This is very disappointing. In short I am no fan of any Russian governments in my lifetime (I’m 65) or indeed in the lifetimes of my parents or grandparents or great grandparents going back to the middle of the 19th century.

The Russian people I have worked with, from the Russian American farmers of North Dakota to the marine mammal biologists of the Soviet Union that I hosted in my home when I lived on Long Island or the wildlife biologists of Russia that I worked with fighting the attempted European Union fur ban, were a joy to know. They all shared a wry sense of humor and looked into your eyes when they spoke to you. Smiles came easily to them in spite of the hardships dealt them by Russian governments. In short I love the people but distrust their governments to date. That is what makes this article so confounding to write.

How can a string of governments known for propaganda, the savage use of force, and for holding it’s own people (much less the rest of us) in contempt be envied? How can such governments create a model of truth and common sense that shames US treatment of the same topic? Before we find ourselves facing off again (a real possibility?) thereby making such statements semi-treasonous, it will be useful to take a look at what Russian governments do better than us and ask ourselves why?

The topic is wolves and the reaction of government to their presence:

- For 150 years under Czars, Commissars, and Bureaucrats in Russia wolves have been recognized as dangerous to human beings and harmful to human interests such as livestock, dogs, and wild game like caribou and sheep. Up to 35 years ago, a similar attitude was held in the US. - During the past century, large scale government wolf control efforts intermittently reinforced perpetual wolf control efforts by rural Russians to eradicate wolves in more populous western Russia and to reduce their numbers in Eastern Russia. For instance, helicopter gunship gunfire training under the Soviets was often combined with winter wolf control directed by knowledgeable biologists to “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak. From 1900 to the 1940’s US government efforts likewise reinforced state and private wolf control efforts in the American West to eradicate remaining wolves for the same reasons as in Russia; human safety and the protection of livestock, wildlife, dogs, and rural economies. Thirty-five years ago all that changed in the US. - For the past 150 years Russians were faced with far more wolves inhabiting far more land with fewer armed inhabitants per square mile than the US. While American property owners and rural residents of all stripes formed possees and freely used traps and poisons and high quality guns to eradicate wolves; Russian peasants did much of the control work while Russian scientists and naturalists researched and investigated wolves with a practical eye to minimizing their danger and harm. In short Russia amassed an enormous (compared to all other countries with wolves) body of naturalist and scientific information about wolves. Not the US or Canada or India or any of the other wolf host countries have anything like the body of wolf information lying dormant in Russian scientific reports, sporting journals, agriculture journals, newspapers, and other such sources.

Thirty-five years ago the US passed the Endangered Species Act. This created a wholly new dictatorial and anti-Constitutional concept regarding wildlife in the United States. By simply naming an animal (or plant) group as “Endangered” or “Threatened” the Federal government eliminated all Constitutional jurisdiction of State governments for such plant or animal. Additionally, the Federal government had but to assert that those woodlands or such and such grasslands or certain wetlands were “Critical Habitat” for a proclaimed species and without any payment, private property and the owner was encumbered from any use the Federal government did not approve. Public property was increasingly acquired and closed to any and all uses. Such proclamations often covered millions of acres destroying economies and communities and families in the process for dubious benefits since there was no “cost” to government. Like Robert Mugabe or Adolf Hitler, when government has unchecked power and can take property without cost for “high national purpose, there is no depth it cannot eventually plumb for its own benefit.

As this tyrannical power was exerted unchallenged by any court, Federal power was interpreted to permit the “reintroduction” of “Endangered” “Native” species into their “former” habitat. One of the first species to be so “reintroduced” was the wolf. Despite millions of wolves inhabiting much of the Northern Hemisphere (Russia, E. Europe, Siberia, central Asia, India, Canada, Alaska, etc.) in robust populations, the wolf was proclaimed “Endangered” and “reintroduced” by Federal fiat utilizing Billions in Federal dollars to date in the Great Lakes states, the Northern Rockies, the Southwest, and the Carolinas. Efforts are afoot to “reintroduce” wolves in New England and to encourage their spread into Midwest, Great Plains, West Coast, Southern, and Middle Atlantic States. State fish and wildlife agencies, state legislatures, and urban Americans are either AWOL or supporters of Federal hegemony in the confrontation between rural Americans, rural economic interests, hunters, dog owners, ranchers, farmers, and others fighting current and planned Federal wolf introduction and protection schemes. A similar approach is being enacted with grizzly bears and there is widespread planning going on for “reintroducing” buffalo herds. All of these will further endanger human lives and wreak widespread harm to rural economies, rural property, and rural residents.

When any of those fighting these Federal wolf programs speak out they are ignored or ridiculed or both. Why? Because the Federal government bureaucrats, University professors, and a bevy of Environmental/Animal Rights Non-Government Organization employees (“rescuers”, “protectors”, “defenders”, “welfare advocates”, etc.) dazzle the courts and media and schools and a portion of the American electorate by claiming to be “experts” utilizing “science”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let us compare just a few of the American artifices of the past thirty-five years that have justified wolf “reintroduction and protection” with the Russian’s cold, hard look at wolves for 150 years. - In the US we are told that “WOLVES DON’T ATTACK HUMANS”. While there are literally hundreds of accounts in American historical records of such attacks and only recently one Canadian was attacked and another killed by wolves, Russian records expose this misinformation immediately. Russian records show many hundreds if not thousands of attacks on individuals, groups, and even villages by wolves. Wintertime is the most frequent time but attacks, particularly on the young and the old can occur at any time. Records of livestock like reindeer being decimated are abundant. Attacks are frequent and common from the borders with Eastern Europe to the Pacific shores of Siberia. Attacks have been documented to increase during severe winters, during periods of peak wolf populations, and during periods when wolves become “habituated” and “bold” as when men are off fighting wars or weapons are in short supply and wolves enter parks and villages at will. - In the US we are told that “WOLVES DON’T SPREAD DISEASE”. It is true that there is little or no US information on this topic and veterinarians and professors will back this up immediately, but when asked “how do you know”? They can only shrug and say, “because we are veterinarians” or professors. While it was an agreed national US policy to eradicate wolves by whatever means necessary for a century, additional information about the soon-to-be-eradicated wolves regarding their disease characteristics must have been thought superfluous. Whatever the reason for this paucity of scientific information about wolves in the US we may once again look to the Russian records for reality. There is Russian research showing how wolves spread rabies to other wildlife, domestic animals, and people. Wolves spread brucellosis (undulant fever a disease often fatal to humans) among reindeer herds in Siberia. (Similar results with wolf vectors for brucellosis is more than likely for cattle, sheep, buffalo, and other stock as well as dogs.) Wolves spread anthrax outbreaks to people and other animals far beyond limits seen in areas without wolves. (Similarly, mad cow disease outbreaks, like anthrax, can be spread by work boots or infected clothing or even infected machinery but not by wolves transiting infected sites? The same vector pathology is likely with wolves transiting and contacting deer and elk infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, especially on wintering grounds but wolves “don’t spread disease” as “knowledgeable people know”.) There is also extensive Russian research on deadly intestinal disease spread by wolves to wildlife, stock, dogs, and people. In short, recent US “science” is merely propaganda meant to justify all the hidden agendas and power and money being generated by wolves that our forebears went to great effort to relieve us of for our own good. - In the US we are told that “WOLVES ARE GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT”. So here is “Godless Russia” clearly operating under the sound premise that “THE ENVIRONMENT” is for men and women and communities and wolves interfere with that, therefore wolves must be minimized constantly: while in the US we are clearing people off the land and locking up million of acres for wolves and grizzly bears? Why is Russia protecting people from wolves and the US protecting wolves from people? Why is there no research in Russia showing how wolves do anything good: while in the US all “science” paints wolves as equivalents to “water for residents of the Sahara” or “space heaters for Eskimos”, in other words supreme goods? If you say Russian views are “slanted” or “biased”: what does that make our assumptions? Governments are formed to protect PEOPLE: which government (Czar, Commissars, and Russian bureaucrats or US government of the past 35 years) is doing that? Which government is telling TRUTH and which is merely spouting propaganda?

(NOTE: A Maryland colleague who has lived in Russia and worked with Russian academicians and scientists for years has been laboring to distill much of this Russian wolf literature and research into a book for interested readers. Mr. Will Graves is additionally an experienced hunter and gun expert who has hunted in and traveled throughout Russia. His book should be required reading for anyone interested in wildlife, conservation, and liberty. All Americans should wish him well with this very important endeavor.)

Saying these things and asking these questions is painful for one who loves this country as much as I do. But, truly, doing so is necessary for the future of this great nation. This topic is not merely about the biology of wolves; it is about government run amok and what is to be done about it. It is not really about Russia per se, but about measuring how far our own country is faltering compared to a fixed star, in this case Russian policies towards wolves for 150 years and three contradictory systems of government. We need to be mindful of this as we consider American blindness to the truth and susceptibility to outrageous lies to advance hidden agendas being spread by government throughout society.

On the one hand we all applaud the breakup of the Soviet Union and anticipate good things for newly free Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Baltics, the “stans” (i.e. Kazhakstan, Uzbekistan, et al), Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, etc. because they can govern themselves as they see fit. Similarly we send troops to Bosnia and Kosovo and pressure Serbia to surrender control of Macedonia and Croatia and Montenegro for the same reasons. Paradoxically, at the very same time we are doing everything possible in this country to eradicate any Constitutional vestige of State jurisdictions (“United States”?) or local controls or traditional lifestyles (hunting, fishing, ranching, dog ownership, horse slaughter, cockfighting, etc.) by creating an all-powerful Federal government complete with a citizenry lacking individual rights and subservient to the will of powerful coalitions and emotional sentiments. Endangered Species, like Marine Mammals and Wilderness and Federal land control are every bit as much a threat to our liberties as are concerns about the War on Terror giving too much authority to Federal bureaucrats that no more intend to return those powers than any other powerful entities throughout history.

There is no current wolf research for the same reason there is no reliable marine mammal population monitoring. That reason is conflict with hidden agendas disguised as political correctness. Wolf programs are intended to do many things: eliminate big game hunting by eliminating annual harvestable surpluses of big game, discourage rural residence by making it dangerous to leave children or dogs unattended and making the elderly fearful, justify government growth that benefits bureaucrats and professors and NGO’s, justify eliminating ranches and farms, and justify more government land acquisition are but a few examples of such hidden agendas.

Similarly marine mammals have been totally protected and unmanaged almost exactly as long as the Endangered Species Act has existed. This is because The (US) Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed at almost the same time. Also at this time the US and the Environmental and Animal Rights International NGO’s bribed, cajoled, and ultimately pressured the International Whaling Commission to change itself from an organization representing whaling nations and the management of the whales of the world into an organization opposed to any whale management or whale use. Today we know there are millions of marine mammals (many weighing many tons) eating and multiplying throughout the oceans but when commercial fishery “overharvest” or “recovery” are discussed marine mammals are invisible. When seals clog streams to eat salmon returning to spawn, the problem is “the sport fishermen” or “dams” or “farmers” or “irrigation” or “power plants” or “hatchery fish”, or “commercial overfishing”; never are the two words “marine mammals” even mentioned much less their impacts quantified. Seals and sea lions eat commercial fish, lobsters, and bait fish. Whales and porpoises eat commercial fish, baitfish, and the plant life that supports all the fish of the sea. Sea otters eat abalone. None of these are harvested or allowed in commerce or even allowed to be used when they wash up dead on a beach! Yet their numbers and impacts go unmentioned as we call for “Marine Sanctuaries” and “Fishing Season Closures” and more “UN control of species and commerce” to “save the oceans”. This is nothing but another version of the hidden agendas, lies, and deceptions we see with wolves when we compare Russian Realities to American Artifice.

I have written this because I had dinner last night with three Russian ladies on board a ship riding out a very heavy storm with 18 to 20 foot waves about 60 miles off the Carolinas. One of the ladies was in her late 70’s and could not speak hardly any English. Another was her daughter in her 40’s and a friend in her mid 60’s, both of whom spoke excellent English. They asked what I did and we talked about wildlife and I told them about flying off the Pacific coast of Russia in a P-2 40 years ago looking for subs and finding lots of whales. I told them about the Russian Pinniped (marine mammal) expert from Magadan (a Russian city on the Pacific shore of Siberia) that I worked with in New York City years ago. I told them about my work trying to defeat the EU ban on furs and the Russian biologists that were trying to protect their European fur market as well. When I talked about wolves, the two older ladies really perked up. Evidently during WWII lots of Russian women and children were sent East of the Urals while the War raged on West of those mountains. The lady about my age said she was only a small child then but she remembered the terrible problems with wolves in two of those bad winters. Her mother often spoke of how the wolves just came and came all winter to the villages and how some children and many wolves were killed. The few guns (evidently mostly homemade and held by a few old men) were in constant use during the nights by watchmen and during the day by hunters. She mentioned remembering large fires burning near home entries to keep wolves away during the night. All three of the ladies were very grim about wolves and for my money it had nothing to do with myths (why would it? think about that) and everything to do with Reality.

If there is even the chance of one child dying or one tenth of anything like the winter nights those ladies described happening in this country: why oh why would we do it? Who will be responsible when this comes to pass? How will we ever reverse it? The Billions spent to date will pale before future control costs. How did our government ever come to this point? There are many very serious problems facing this country. This is really one that deserves attention for many reasons but to see this ignored in elections and in the media while it corrodes the very fiber of the country like unattended rust in the seams of a ship, portends disaster.

Jim Beers
29 October 2006
(40 Miles East of Miami) - If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

- This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at http://jimbeers.blogster.com (Jim Beers Common Sense)

- Jim Beers is available for consulting or to speak. Contact: jimbeers7@verizon.net

- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Centreville, Virginia with his wife of many decades.


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