Groups move to ban cyanide traps that kill predator animals

SOURCE:  The Washington Post

FILE – This March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho, Environmental groups have started a legal process to ban predator-killing cyanide traps used mostly in the U.S. West after one of the traps sickened a boy in Idaho and killed his dog. The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, Aug.10, 2017 to outlaw the spring-activated devices called M-44s. (Bannock County Sheriff’s Office via AP,File) (Associated Press)


BOISE, Idaho — Predator-killing cyanide traps such as one that sickened a boy in Idaho and killed his dog should be banned, environmental groups told the federal government Thursday.The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to outlaw the spring-activated devices called M-44s.

The traps look like water sprinkler heads embedded in the ground and spray cyanide when triggered by animals attracted by bait.

The groups said the federal agency should ban the traps that pose a threat to people and pets on public lands and kill non-targeted wildlife.

“This is a good time for the agency to take a serious look because people are really outraged about this,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the center.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Sen. Cardin Introduces Bill to Strip Wolf Protections, Undermine Endangered Species Act

Press Release from The Center for Biological Diversity
Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ co-founder/president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“We at Wild Horse Freedom Federation and at Straight from the Horses Heart cherish all that is wild, free and living life as God intended WITHOUT the destructive influences instituted by egotistical human beings.  Be it wild horses & burros or natural predators, Mother Nature has always been and could continue to be the best steward of wildlife without the interjection of man’s wants and whims.  Everything worked just fine until humans became involved in attempting to control and twist the environment to suit his/her narrow needs.

With that said, we will share, discuss and disseminate information on other wild species, besides our equines, that come under the threat of man’s eternal quest for physical gain while ignoring the roots of our spiritual tie to nature.  Predators are essential to the natural balance of nature and health of the environment so to remove them skews prey animal numbers and even affects botanical diversity and topographical structure. 

In essence, if it ain’t broke, don’t attempt to fix it.  Nature is best left alone to nature and our mission should be to preserve, observe and enjoy…an easy fix.  Perhaps, too easy” ~ R.T.


“Bill Would Also Halt Limits in Toxic Fishing Gear in Exchange for Near-meaningless Symbolic Legislation…”

WASHINGTON— Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) joined forces with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) to introduce legislation today that would end Endangered Species Act protections for thousands of wolves in the Great Lakes region and Wyoming and prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from ever addressing lead poisoning from fishing gear.

In exchange the legislation would reauthorize several conservation programs like the North America Wetlands Conservation Act — a procedural action by Congress that has no real-world impact on funding levels.

Barrasso, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“Killing wolves and poisoning lakes and rivers with lead pollution does not help wildlife, but will severely tarnish Senator Cardin’s conservation legacy,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Why a Democrat like Cardin would accept this terribly lopsided deal at the same time the Trump administration is attempting to destroy 40 years of environmental protections is simply stupefying.”

The “Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act,’’ or “HELP” Wildlife Act, contains multiple conservation programs, including the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program and the North America Wetlands Conservation Act. However, reauthorization has no bearing on whether Congress ultimately allocates funding to a program in a given year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, more than 260 major laws have had their authorizations expire and continue to receive funding. These programs constitute over half of the non-defense budget each year.

“This legislation won’t help conservation on the ground anywhere — not a single animal or plant will benefit from this horrible legislation,” said Hartl. “Sadly Cardin is trading killing thousands of wolves for a largely symbolic effort to help Chesapeake Bay. This is a disaster.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Western Governors’ Association Endorses Gutting Endangered Species Act

PR from the Center for Biological Diversity

“…“can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

WHITEFISH, Mont.— The Western Governors’ Association endorsed a policy resolution today that, if adopted into law, would substantially weaken the core of the Endangered Species Act.

Policy resolution 2017-11 recommends delaying lifesaving protections for at-risk wildlife and curtailing the ability of ordinary citizens to challenge agency decisions in court. The resolution would weaken critical habitat protections in areas needed for species recovery and tamper with the Act’s “best available science” mandate.

“All you varmints gonna DIE!”

This policy resolution was primarily driven by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, a Republican, who has spearheaded his “Species Conservation and Endangered Species Initiative” over the past two years to develop recommendations for changes to the Endangered Species Act. Last week Mead stated that the Act is “not good industry, it’s not good for business and, quite frankly, it’s not good for the species,” and that Wyoming “can’t be a zoo for endangered species.”

“The Western Governors’ Association resolution is another cynical attack on the Endangered Species Act that will be used by congressional Republicans to justify gutting this landmark conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Politicizing science, disrupting the citizen petition process and gutting critical habitat won’t help a single endangered species move an inch closer to recovery. These governors should be ashamed of themselves.”

In February more than 280 environmental, animal-protection, faith-based, outdoor-recreational and social-justice groups sent a letter to the National Governors Association urging the organization to oppose any upcoming legislative changes to the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the letter asks the national association not to support an ongoing effort led by the Western Governors’ Association to weaken the bedrock wildlife law.

On Tuesday California Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to the Western Governors’ Association opposing the resolution on the Endangered Species Act.

“Gov. Brown is absolutely correct that this resolution won’t help the recovery of endangered species at all,” said Hartl. “Republicans in Congress like Rob Bishop and John Barrasso aren’t interested in improving the Act — they want to see it disappear forever.”

In December Rep. Bishop (R-Utah) said “I would be happy to invalidate the Endangered Species Act” and wanted to pursue a repeal-and-replace strategy for legislation for the Act. Meanwhile Sen. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has sponsored or cosponsored eight bills attacking the Endangered Species Act since 2015 and voted against the Act nearly a dozen times since 2011.

“The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most successful conservation law and has prevented the extinction of 99 percent of the plants and animals under its protection,” said Hartl. “This resolution is completely out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans that want to strengthen the Act and recognize that it has saved bald eagles, gray whales, American alligators and other iconic wildlife from the brink of extinction.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2017/endangered-species-act-06-28-2017.php

The Media Adores Ranchers. Here’s Why They Shouldn’t. [Part I]

SOURCE:  The Daily Pitchfork

by Vickery Eckhoff

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The US livestock industry has enormous economic and political clout. But news reports consistently highlight a small segment of it — ranchers grazing livestock on federally-managed western grasslands — as news sources, granting them undue influence on policy issues in which they have a large economic stake.

This bias has occurred despite a decade’s worth of empirical evidence showing that public-lands ranchers — who rely on hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies but represent only 2.7 percent of the nation’s total livestock operators — fleece US taxpayers, public lands and protected species in order to graze livestock (mostly cattle) on the cheap.

The media bias seems endemic. Whether discussing wild horses, bison, predator species (wolves, coyote, cougars and bears), sage grouse or desert tortoises, livestock operators and lawmakers from western states are consistently allowed to present themselves in news reports as stewards of 230 million acres of grasslands, forest and wildlife habitat that nearly everyone agrees have been compromised.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE (HERE).