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Wisconsin’s wolf hunt threatens to grow only more repulsive

Two of the most troubling aspects of this year’s hunt was a lack of transparency as to the quota on how many wolves could be killed and a lack of public input on the hunt’s “emergency rules.”

Wisconsin wildlife officials opened an abbreviated wolf season from Feb. 22-28, 2021, complying with a court order stemming from the Trump administration’s removal of gray wolves from the endangered species list.
Wisconsin wildlife officials opened an abbreviated wolf season from Feb. 22-28, 2021, complying with a court order stemming from the Trump administration’s removal of gray wolves from the endangered species list.
AP Photos

Thank you for running David McGrath’s highly sensible op-ed on Wisconsin wolf hunting. Most people don’t realize Farley Mowatt’s memoir “Never Cry Wolf” is partly a work of fiction, but it is still an accurate representation of wolf management in the United States and Canada, the latter of which continues to poison wolves.

Not content to be outdone by Canada, our wolf slaughter in Wisconsin “harvested” — the term wildlife management agencies use to refer to the killing of sentient beings for “sport” — 216 wolves at last count. That is 20% of the population and 97 over the official quota, a number Keith Warnke of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources calls “a little bit over.” In Wisconsin, 97 represents 24 to 48 packs, or families, of wolves.

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Two of the most troubling aspects of this rushed hunt during breeding season are a lack of transparency on the establishment of the quota and a lack of public input on the hunt’s “emergency rules.” These rules violated Act 169, a state law governing the annual wolf hunt, in that they allowed both meat for baiting and night-hunting.

Nevertheless, WDNR insists these “emergency rules” are legal because “the Act [169] does not prohibit them.”

Trophy-killing lobbies are running roughshod over our wildlife, natural resources and the rights of “non-consumptive users” (the term we came up with for people who enjoy wildlife without killing it) to enjoy our public lands. They also have disproportionate power over our WNDR, Natural Resources Board and legislators.

Until Act 169 is repealed, there will be a wolf cull annually. And by the looks of these emergency rules, the killing methods and aggressive quotas are going to be ever more repulsive.

Laura Menefee, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Wolf hunt isn’t sport

It is painful to read that so many people were so eager to kill wolves for sport in Wisconsin. What human psychological pathology causes one to feel pleasure from the act of killing an innocent animal that is not edible, causes them no harm and benefits the ecosystem in which it lives?

The definition of sport is a physical competition among equals. How can hunting be considered “sport” when the hunter has a big gun and the animal has only its wits? It isn’t a sport when the animal has no chance — it is murder.

Wolves are the direct ancestors of dogs. They were tamed, in part, to help with hunting. They were further refined over time into the myriad of dog breeds that we enjoy today as working companions and pets. Would you shoot Lassie for fun?

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

Forget biofuels, focus on green energy

Gov. J.B. Pritzker was right to stop subsidizing ethanol and carbon-intensive biofuels in his latest state budget proposal. According to the New York Environmental Justice Alliance, biofuels derived from soybeans and corn can be up to 50% more carbon-intensive than ultra-low-sulfur-diesel.

Additionally, many biofuels from factory farms are transported in diesel trucks and pipelines that reinforce the fossil fuel infrastructure that’s putting us on the verge of climate collapse.

Instead, we must focus on programs and subsidies that make it possible for low income Illinoisans to retrofit their homes with solar panels. We should permit communities to convert food scraps into renewable energy, and we should provide micro-grids of renewable energy to communities that have born the brunt of environmental racism and pollution.

I hope that Mayor Lori Lightfoot will take a page from Pritzker’s playbook and stop metal scrap plants, such as General Iron, from relocating to poor communities of color. The warehouse industry is booming as well, even as the Southwest Side and Southeast Side experience record asthma rates.

Now is the time to support equitable and healthy communities in Illinois and Chicago with a green revival.

Jackson Potter, Brighton Park