September 14, 2015
Cattle Producers pulls participation from Wolf Advisory Group
Organization notes group is ineffective at dealing with wolf issue
Due to the inept and pointless nature of the Washington State Wolf Advisory Group, the Cattle Producers of Washington issued a formal letter this week withdrawing their participation from the group saying, “no more.”
The grass-roots cattlemen’s group criticizes the WAG, noting that during the last three years it has been in existence, the advisory group has actually accelerated the seriousness of the wolf issue by blocking and deliberate action from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife(WDFW).
“The involvement of the WAG has consistently prevented any real action by WDFW, creating dire circumstances for the ranch families and communities that have been negatively impacted by the wolf’s presence,” said CPoW President Monte McPeak in the letter. “Continuing to participate in this advisory group would work in opposition to our organization’s purpose of ‘sustaining, improving and protecting Washington State’s cattle industry’. We say ‘no more’ to this kind of nonsensical, irresponsible approach.”
CPoW said that WAG meetings have usually consisted of theoretical discussions about wolves in Washington and while ignoring the data and management tools from other states. WDFW has also delayed deliberate action or failed to act as it waited for some kind of unattainable consensus from the WAG. In addition, when ranchers did have problems, lethal removal was not seriously discussed despite mounting evidence that the ranch operation was being affected to the point of crippling it.
“The majority of the WAG members always want ‘one more’ depredation before removing wolves,” the letter criticized. “The number of livestock attacked or killed by wolves, particularly in Eastern Washington, continues to rise every year with no abatement, but additional funds continue to be spent in an unconscionable way on the WAG” the letter noted. “In addition, while wolf advocates were incensed about the $76,000 spent to remove the Wedge wolf pack in 2012, they are perfectly willing to spend $850,000 on an environmental consultant if it means that lethal removal will consistently be off the table.”
The $850,000 that WDFW will pay their new consultant, Francine Madden, over the next two years was particularly offensive to CPoW who highlighted that Madden has closed two of the WAG meetings to the public in order to create a “secret and obscure” environment.
The group also emphasized that they will continue to work for sensible solutions to the wolf issues through channels they consider legitimate.
“CPoW has advocated, and will continue to advocate, for sensible solutions to the wolf issue that mitigate the damage to ranches, to communities and to local economies. We will not support those venues that belittle and diminish the impact to our ranch members,” President McPeak wrote. “We call on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to abolish the WAG and courageously take on real wolf management that results in fairness for those impacted by wolves. WDFW should not stand idle as livestock operations that are vital to rural communities perish under inadequate public policy.”
To read CPoW’s resignation letter, click here:CPoW resignation letter from WAG