Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Idaho predator derby is repugnant

    Killing predators for entertainment may be a part of the custom and culture for some in the West, but I find it repugnant and morally indefensible. The government-sanctioned extermination of predators on public land does not represent my values.
    I’ve lived in the rural West my entire life—the last 30 years in Idaho. I am as much a Westerner as any rancher, farmer or hunter. In my Western culture, killing animals for entertainment is considered a sin. One hunts to provide food and animals of any kind are killed only when absolutely necessary. I am blessed to live where you can still experience wild animals and pray that my grandchildren, and theirs, will too.
    Idaho’s economy is increasingly dependent on recreation and tourism. Tourists come to Idaho to experience wild lands, rivers, and if they’re lucky, wild animals. Most tourists, I suspect, find the wanton killing of predators appalling. Our reputation as a tourist destination is tarnished by such activities. The predator derby is clearly harmful to the tourist economy of Idaho and a permit should be rejected by the BLM for this reason alone.
    Wildlife is in decline. For 150 years we have mined, grazed, farmed, dammed and developed every square mile of the West, degrading and fragmenting the habitat wildlife needs to survive. The decline of wildlife is not the fault of predators. It is our fault and killing predators will do nothing to ensure wild animals thrive. The science of ecology teaches us every piece of a natural system is important to the health of the whole. Our state should not be turned into a game farm where only elk and deer survive and predators and other animals we deem worthless are eliminated. Neither is it acceptable that the federal government supports such behavior.
Kelley Weston


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