Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Poll question is polarizing

Why have you offered a polarizing, misleading poll question on sheep depredations and what do you hope to accomplish with language like "exterminate" that will only fuel the ire of radicals in this controversy and not reflect the concerns of the rest of us?

I would not vote to "exterminate" wolves to solve the depredation problem even though our family has faced terrible mutilation and death among our sheep this spring. We have found confused and lost lambs curled up next to their dead mothers after wolf attacks and seen the tiniest lambs lying helplessly in the sagebrush, their backs broken by a wolf then left to die—all this verified by U.S. Wildlife Services.

Despite these heartbreaking deaths and despite the fact that the wolves are not killing for food but are attacking the sheep perilously close to homes, small farms and ranches and recreational areas populated this time of year with hikers, anglers, campers and boaters, I still would not "vote" to "exterminate" these animals.

"Exterminate" is a highly inflammatory word designed to shock and skew the answer, and it will.

How many of us would vote to "exterminate" wolves, or much else for that matter? And how many of us who will not vote now, would have voted if the issue was "to shoot offending wolves in compliance with the law?"

How does this poll help the community reconcile its differences and find a tenable solution to a tragic problem? Instead of providing a reasonable question that might have allowed us to gain insight into local perceptions, this survey language has only served to aggravate the controversy.

Please rethink the importance of words and the value of your "poll." Can it help us fairly reflect on difficult issues or simply promote anger and divisiveness?

Diane Josephy Peavey

Flat Top Sheep Co.


Editor's note: The Express stands by the phrasing of the poll question as neither polarizing nor misleading. The Webster's dictionary in our newsroom provides the following definition for the word "exterminate": To get rid of completely, usually by killing off.

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