Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Alaska vs. Wolves

Alaska game officials on Tuesday approved the state's first program in more than 15 years to shoot wolves from aircraft. In perusing the coverage (thank you Google News) from the various outlets, a funny thing happens. The Alaska news outlets report a very different story than that portrayed by the establishment media outlets. Let's take a look.

In the Anchorage Daily News the story is reported as non-controversial, while the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is positively enthusiastic, with both papers pointing out that the local residents need at least 150 Moose to survive, while the burgeoning Wolf populations have made Moose and Caribou populations decline to the point where no more than 90 animals can be harvested any more. At the same time, the stories carried by Newsday and CNN are full of angst about the poor wolves, and the unnecessary meanness of the process of hunting Wolves from the air. They give short or no shrift to the fact that families are going hungry and that the people and government of Alaska find this to be a fair balancing of the equities in this situation.

In Alaska, the debate is over whether private or state employed hunters will cull the Wolves. In fact, if Governor Murkowski would allow state game control officials to do the shooting he would not have needed this (unanimous) ruling by the Alaska Board of Game. But Priscilla Feral, president of the Connecticut-based advocacy group Friends of Animals, has threatened a national boycott of Alaska tourism if this policy is implemented. I am sure that Priscilla has never dined on Moose or Caribou. I am also sure that the death of a Wolf is more important to her than the hunger of an Alaskan family. I'd bet that the only feral beast she's ever consumed is her husband (sorry, couldn't help mysef from using that pun, but she surely has an appropriate name for someone with her job description).

What is it about liberal do-gooders that they feel that they have the right to interfere in other people's business? And how much of it comes from their feeling that they have the power to interfere in the first place? These are the same people who go off to Africa on eco-tours to see the animals. They are not about to boycott Kenya over its bush meat economy. I have never heard them making a fuss over Central and South American's fondness for Monkey and Guinea Pig meat. In Alaska, where Wolves are not endangered and therefore are hunted and trapped for their pelts all the time, the death of 200 more is not very controversial. What is far more important is families that need to find Moose to survive. I have eaten Moose and Caribou and can assure those who haven't that Beef, Sheep, and Pork are far better tasting. No one is shooting these animals for fun. The cost of a tenderfoot hunt in Alaska combined with the latest prices for taxidermy make pleasure hunting for Alaska Moose pretty rare, and not much done in this particular area of the state anyway. We are talking about food for people who have no other choice. So why is Ms. Feral and her buddies so up in arms?

Because they think that they have an issue. Something that they can use to get the great unwashed (that's us) interested in the poor little Wolf cubs that will lose their mothers to the cruel, cruel airplane men. They have already lost the fight over the trappers, so they are going after the pilots who are being empowered to shoot a maximum of 200 Wolves in a very small area of a very big state.

"The Wild" is a very misleading term, since people live almost everywhere. Many of the residents of Alaska are refugees from Connecticut and other "civilized" places. That's part of the problem, of course, since the indigenous population is a protected victim class so beloved of the multi-culti liberals. But Viet Nam veterans who moved to Alaska to live free away from the America that spat on them after they returned from serving their country get no such regard, and they make up a substantial part of the population of this part of Alaska. The coming days will show whether this story has legs. But, with Newsday and CNN pumping the story already, it doesn't look good.