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In defense of the wolves: Part 2

by FREDERICK K. BARDELLI/Guest Opinion
| April 25, 2022 10:35 AM

The endless, senseless and unconscionable slaughter of wolves, that will continue to redden the winter’s snow, is symbolic of “the culture of death” (the label Pope John Paul II gave to America, because of its deplorable disregard for the sanctity of all life) — and further brutalizes and dehumanizes the entire nation; which is struggling for its own survival, after the traitorous, Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the nation’s Capitol, and four disastrous nightmare-years of Trump — who is also responsible for removing, in October of 2020, all gray wolves, in the lower 48 states, from 45 years of protection under the Endangered Species Act (thirteen other species also lost their protection, during Trump’s reign of terror) — resulting in the opening of hundreds of thousands of acres of National Forests, and other public lands, to exploitation by timber, oil, fracking and mining interests — and the further destruction of priceless forests and wildlands, that are our shield against global warming; and, with them, more critical loss of wildlife habitat and biological diversity.

Without protection under the Endangered Species Act, all wolves face the death sentence. Putting wolves back on the Endangered Species List, and keeping them away from the barbarity of Idaho’s so-called “management” of wolves — and that of every other state — is the only way to save them. (In September 2020, Common Dreams reported that “a record-breaking 570 wolves, including dozens of pups, were brutally killed in Idaho over a recent one year period.”)

The 25 Yellowstone Park wolves that were recently killed outside the park, put to everlasting shame their sadistic killers, who apparently have never suffered, or endured any kind of hardship, in their entire lives; or they might have developed the character and compassion to empathize and sympathize with these beautiful wolves, who have to endure so much suffering and hardship to survive the winter, with their packs — while constantly being harassed by hunters and threatened by torturous traps and snares, and all the deadly weapons, and ever-present machines of their tormentors — who will never understand, that “It is man’s sympathy with all creatures that first makes him truly a man.”

The voice of beautiful Marilyn Monroe still cries out from her great performance in “The Misfits,” as she angrily denounces two men for terrorizing and killing beautiful, wild mustangs — “You’re only happy when you see something die! Why don’t you kill yourself?!” she screamed — her words resounding, to this very day, as a powerful condemnation of those responsible for the killing of the Yellowstone Park wolves — and of Governor Little and his legislature; the Idaho Department of Fish and Game; the Idaho Fish and Game Commission; and the ignominious Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, composed of dishonorable representatives of humanity (who have requested $392,000 from the legislature’s budget fund (giving it a total of more than $1 million), for the sole purpose of disgracefully slaughtering wolves); and of Justin Webb, founder of the despicable Foundation for Wildlife Management (who is responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of wolves, for which his absurd “Foundation,” shamelessly and hideously, pays as much as $1,000 for each dead wolf); and of all the hunters and trappers who are killing wolves; and of all those who abuse, neglect, terrorize, torture, and cause the suffering and death of any animal or creature, wild or domestic (including animals used for medical testing and experimentation) — regardless of whether or not it is a long-standing “heritage” (to cruelly trap and kill animals,) and “That’s a big deal in Idaho,” as Don Ebert, a member of the Fish and Game Commission, unconscionably, mercilessly, and shamelessly remarked, in a statement backing the expansion of otter trapping in Idaho.

And what would Marilyn Monroe have said to Tracey Stone-Manning, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, who plans to drive 19,000 wild mustangs forever from their native grazing lands in the West, by Sept. 30, 2022 — in violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act — which threatens all mustangs, everywhere, with extinction; in order to satisfy, once again, the ranchers (who desire to eliminate all mustangs from western public-range lands, solely for the selfish benefit of the ranchers themselves, and their millions of cattle and sheep).

This cruel, so called “round-up” is done by very low-flying helicopters, that atrociously terrorize these beautiful, wild horses, running them to exhaustion, and causing severe injuries and numerous deaths — as a result of their panic-stricken flight to escape from these diabolical monsters (of the 1,048 mustangs rounded up, by Jan. 26, 11 have already died, including a colt, forced to run on a broken leg).

Marilyn would also have had plenty to say to these ruthless, barbaric helicopter pilots (but who has the courage and integrity to carry forward her voice of protest today)? Art galleries across the country contain many wonderful paintings and sculptures of wolves, by renowned wildlife artists, who, like many cultured and conscientious people, admire their magnificent beauty and majesty; their great courage, marvelous endurance and strength; their capacity to endure great amounts of pain and suffering; their admirable care for their young, and their willingness to strive for the good of the pack; their great character, remarkable intelligence and expression of emotion; and their faithfulness to their mates.

These great works of art in paint and bronze, however, can never capture the real beauty, majesty and character of wolves in the wild. There is nothing comparable to being in the presence of beautiful, majestic, noble wolves — one of “God’s most lovely creatures,” that, unlike humankind, ennoble the whole world.

The American Indians expressed great reverence and admiration for wolves; and often spiritually identified themselves with particular outstanding traits they admired, that gave them inspiration.

As a society, we ourselves could learn much from wolves, but, instead, we shamelessly slaughter them — with no remorse. (A civilized, humane, magnanimous people ought to detest such barbarity, and brutal, inhuman cruelty.) In the enlightening words of Mahatma Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.”

When the carcasses of Governor Little and his henchmen legislators; and those of Director Celia Gould, and all past Directors, and past and present members of the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board; and past and present members of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission; and Director Ed Schriever, and all past Directors of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and their members, past and present; and those of Justin Webb, and his Foundation for Wildlife Management members, past and present; and all past and present wolf hunters and trappers in Idaho and across the country (and those of Bureau of Land Management Director, Tracy Stone-Manning, and all past Directors; and all those who have unconscionably abused, harmed, neglected, tortured and killed innocent animals, or any other creatures) are rotting in oblivion, in the same sacred Mother Earth, with all their innocent victims that they spent their sordid lives brutally abusing, and mercilessly torturing and slaughtering — somewhere, magnificent wolves (who live with a courage, majesty, nobility, honor, and innocence, that their tormentors will never know or possess — and that will never die) will still be howling their mournful messages — which only the conscientious, compassionate, kindhearted, sympathetic, and merciful will ever care enough to try to understand.

“Animals suffer as much as we do… until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.” — Albert Schweitzer

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we error, and error greatly. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” — Henry Beston

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Frederick K. Bardelli is an Osburn resident.

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