Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts

Thursday, August 20, 2015


At this time of year we have every insect imaginable hanging out in our backyard.  You have to be very careful if you walk the trail around the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod because literally hundreds of wasps, honey bees and bumble bees call the JPW & GR a source of food.
One of hundreds of yellow-jackets calling our yard home right now. They are hungry for the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod.

Monarch butterflies are just interested in the Joe Pye Weed.

This little lady(bug) has been spending her day poking around the goldenrod.

I saw this frog and thought it was deformed but turns out it was crossing its legs like that on purpose.  Who knew they did that? I didn't.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Numerous times, while debating the wolf hunt with some Christians, I often hear how it is God that gave us dominion over animals and it is God that gave us the authority to kill them. Now, I've studied the Christian bible (cover to cover) more than once and I've not seen where in the scriptures God gives man the right to kill every animal on earth for their own selfish needs.

To examine the scriptures that are often cited as God giving man the authority to kill wolves I'll use my Concordia Self-Study Bible NIV 

Genesis 1:24 -29

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind."  And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move along the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

So, according to those that kill wolves, it is ok because God gave them the power to rule over air, land and sea creatures.  God says to "subdue" them. God also gave man the power to rule over plants, trees, etc… (another part of scripture often clung to by people who destroy our environment). God says "let them rule" he says "subdue" and he also points out what they are to "eat." 

Nowhere in Genesis, prior to the great flood, has God said to eat the animals. He does however say "I give every green plant for food".  

Nowhere in Genesis when referencing animals does God say rule or subdue means to kill.  In fact, not even in today's world do those words get defined as kill.

To subdue: to bring under control by force. To conquer or bring into subjection. To bring under (land) cultivation. To reduce the intensity or degree of: tone down. 

To rule: to control or direct; exercise dominating power, authority, or influence over; govern.  To be superior or preeminent, dominate by superiority; hold sway over.

and if your bible uses the word "dominion" instead of rule…

Dominion: rule, control. The power or right of governing or controlling.

So let's move into the scriptures that appear after the great flood.

It isn't until Genesis 9 that God references eating meat and not eating anything live which of course would mean it is ok to kill.

Genesis 9:3-4

"Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood in it.  And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting, I will surely demand an accounting for every animal."

Then God speaks of his covenant that is not only with man but with every living creature on the planet.

Genesis 9:9-11

"I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you - the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you - every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."

God has made it clear in that last passage that animals are equally as important to him as man is.  He not only makes the covenant with man but with every living creature on the planet.  So… as for wolves, where in Genesis does God say it is ok to kill animals just to kill? Where does God say it is ok to kill an animal for its skull or its pelt? God is very clear that animal is to be killed ONLY for its meat and wolf hunters don't kill wolves for their meat. 

Same can be said for creatures that have gone extinct.  How many creatures have gone extinct and the reason is "human caused?" Hundreds. 

Later, in Leviticus, scripture changes. God no longer states "everything that lives or moves will be food for you."

Leviticus 11:1-8

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Say to the Israelites: "Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud."

"There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split hoof, but you must not eat them.  The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean to you. The coney, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean to you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof, it is unclean for you.  And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.  You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you."

Leviticus 11:27

"Of all the animals that walk on all fours, those that walk on their paws are unclean for you; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening."

Leviticus 11:46-47

"These are the regulations conceding animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creatures that moves about on the ground.  You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten."

According to the dietary laws laid out in Leviticus man must not eat a wolf and the when God gave the authority to kill it was in reference to eating meat. 

So… you can sift through every scripture in the bible and you will not find one where God gives man the authority to kill wolves. Giving someone authority, power, the ability to rule, etc… does not give them the right to kill or torture.  I have authority over my children, I control the day to day schedule of my 8 year old, my husband and I hold dominion over our household, it DOES NOT MEAN we can bring harm to our kids. For those who use the scriptures to excuse their slaughtering wolves you are just bastardizing the book you claim is your guide to life and insulting the God you claim to follow.  The reality is you are just a coward with a perverted view of the world.  You most certainly are not a Christian. 

There is a saying that goes "with great power comes great responsibility" and that is the most important thing to remember when it comes to our wildlife and environment.

People twist the scriptures to abuse the gift their God has given them (power and superiority) and they use that gift instead for selfish purposes.  A wolf killer can rationalize their choice all they want but their  holy book isn't going to be there to back them up.  Instead, what they should be doing, since they believe they were created in God's image, is to act as God would. God saved his animals from the flood because he wants them to live.  If God had saved his animals just for human consumption or for a thrill kill he wouldn't have made dietary rules that forbade man from eating or touching some of the animals he saved.  Think about it! Abusing what your God created is all on you. 

Friday, September 27, 2013


This article represents a very weak attempt by the DNR to blame the wolf, once again, for the decline of moose in Minnesota.  Of course, they don't come right out and say it because then it wouldn't leave room for them to defend themselves from what is very obviously a bias but they suggest it and for those who don't know the facts, the bias is believable.

Pay close attention to some of the quotes from the article:

Minnesota’s dwindling moose herd has a year off from human hunters in 2013, but that doesn’t mean life for the big north woods critters is a walk in the park.
Moose are still being hit hard by disease, injury and parasites, and they are still prey for four-legged hunters that don’t need licenses.
Of 49 calves fitted with GPS-transmitting collars in May, just days after they were born, 11 died from complications immediately after the capture. Most of those were caused by the cows abandoning their calves, not from stress or harm. Four other calves slipped out of their collars, said Glen DelGiudice, lead moose researcher for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 
Of the remaining 34 calves being tracked in the study, 24 already have perished in less than four months, a 71 percent mortality rate that has researchers shaking their heads.
On average, in studies worldwide where predators are present, about 55 percent of calf moose die in their first full year.
“It varies a lot based on the predator-to-prey ratio … but we would hope to have about a 45 percent calf (survival) rate after one year,” DelGiudice told the News Tribune.
Predators have been the leading cause of death for moose calves. Bears killed 4 of the 24, most in the first few days after birth, and wolves have taken 16 calves. One calf drowned, two were abandoned later by their mother and one died from unknown causes.
“They are just very vulnerable the first few days and weeks. Since then, the mortality rate has been slowing … but we are still losing them,” DelGiudice said, noting there has been one calf killed by predators in September. “As they get bigger, their chances get better. But they still have all of winter to get through.” 
DelGiudice noted that Minnesota had a thriving moose population 10 to 15 years ago when the state’s moose range had roughly the same number of wolves. Wolves clearly aren’t the cause of the steep decline in moose population, he said. But they may now be helping to push the decline a little faster. 
“When we had 9,000 moose and the same number of wolves, the number they took was far less significant and likely not impacting the population,” DelGiudice said. “But with fewer than 3,000 moose now, and roughly the same number of wolves, that predator-to-prey ratio has changed. They (wolves) aren’t the driving factor, but they may be having an impact.” 
The state DNR and tribal resource agencies have, for the first time in decades, canceled this year’s moose hunt after aerial surveys showed moose numbers had plummeted 35 percent in just one year, with only 2,760 estimated this year, down from 4,230 in 2012. The Northeastern Minnesota population was more than 9,000 as recently as 2006.
Even if calves were surviving at a higher rate, researchers note, too many adult moose have been dying to sustain the population.
The Northeastern Minnesota crash mimics that of Northwestern Minnesota, which saw its moose population decline in the 1990s from about 4,000 animals to just a few dozen. Scientists studying the northwestern moose decline concluded that a warmer climate has compounded multiple other problems, such as disease, malnutrition and parasites.

Interesting how the DNR leaves out their own statistics on how many moose have been killed by hunters.

In 2012, State hunters harvested 46 moose in northeastern Minnesota (Figure 1). No season was held in northwestern Minnesota. Of the 1,460 parties that applied for this year’s moose hunt, 76 (5%) were drawn and purchased a license (Table 1). Additionally, 11 hunting parties which returned permits last year (2011) prior to the hunt, because of access restrictions caused by the Pagami Creek wildfire, were offered the opportunity to hunt the same zones (20, 24, 25, 62, and 64) in 2012 and all accepted. So a total of 87 licenses were purchased this year (Table 1). Table 1 also lists the number of permits offered by hunting zone, chance of being selected for a permit, and hunter success. The 1854 Treaty Authority issued 49 permits and band members killed 16 moose (11 bulls and 5 cows). The Fond du Lac band issued 64 moose permits (bulls only) of 72 available. The final harvest was 20 bulls (18 by hunters and 2 subsistence/ceremony animals). The Fond du Lac season closed on 31 December 2012. 

In 2011, State hunters harvested 53 moose in northeastern Minnesota. No season was held in northwestern Minnesota. Of the 1,963 parties that applied for this year’s moose hunt, 105 (5%) were drawn, and 103 purchased licenses (Table 1). Access to portions of hunting zones 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 61, 62, 63, 64, 77 and 80 were restricted beginning in September because of an ongoing wild fire (Pagami Creek fire) and hunters in these zones were offered the option of returning their license for a refund. Subsequently, 11 hunting parties returned their license. Table 1 also lists the number of permits offered by hunting zone, chance of being selected for a permit, and hunter success. The 1854 Treaty Authority issued 59 permits and band members killed 10 moose (10 bulls and 0 cows). The Fond du Lac band issued 67 permits and hunters harvested 18 moose. An additional 3 moose harvested by Tribal Conservation Officers for a total of 21 (16 bulls, 4 cows, 1 bull calf). The Fond du Lac season closed 12/31/2011. 

FOND DU LAC MEMBERS AND THE WOLF TAKE PRIORITY WHEN IT COMES TO HARVESTING MOOSE!!!  Fond du Lac band members are allowed to hunt moose according to treaty rights, something the DNR is now trying to prevent also. See the correlation between the wolf and Native Americans again?  Let's blame the wolf and tell the Fond du Lac members they cannot hunt moose anymore because the moose numbers are dwindling but let's not talk about all of the non-tribal members that were issued a hunting license all the way up until 2013 even though the DNR WAS FULLY AWARE THE MOOSE WAS MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARING.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to reconsider plans for an off-reservation moose hunt. 
The DNR's ability to stop the hunt is limited although Merchant says a lawsuit is an option.  The band's secretary-treasurer says moose meat is a staple for the diets of band members.
The DNR wants to violate treaty rights and blame the wolf for the loss of moose in Minnesota but never once acknowledges that not only did the DNR issue hunting permits so we (non-tribal members) could continue to hunt moose up until 2013 when the state was aware of their dwindling numbers but they also don't mention that non-tribal members were harvesting more moose than tribal members.  There is also no mention of how tribal members and the wolf rely on the moose for survival or how the DNR's own mismanagement of wildlife has caused this vast imbalance in our (Minnesota's) ecosystem. 900,000 deer and a now suspected 2300 wolves? Now that's an imbalance!

The DNR manages our wildlife purely for hunters and hunters alone.  Their concern for the moose now has to do with their inability go about issuing permits to hunters so instead of looking at the entire picture and trying to really figure out why the moose numbers are REALLY dropping, let's worry about wolves and tribal members.

Let me conclude with some REAL statistics:

Since 2002, Minnesota DNR specialists have put radio collars on 150 healthy adult moose; 119 subsequently died, most of them from unknown causes, according to wildlife officials. Car and train collisions accounted for 12 mortalities, while wolves were culpable in just 11 deaths.
Findings from Minnesota's Interagency Climate Adaptation Team show the state has experienced a 1.5- to 2-degree-Fahrenheit average surface temperature increase over the last 100 years, with the greatest rise in the northern reaches of the state, including primary moose habitat.
 Such changes are minimally felt by humans and other native mammals such as black bear, lynx and gray wolves, but scientists note that even minor temperature shifts can affect moose, which are adapted to live in the harshest cold and deepest snow.
The cause of our loss of moose is a mystery but to point to our wolf numbers as a cause of concern is irresponsible at best. Wolves will kill the sick and if our moose are sick then the wolves are doing what nature intended them to do.  It is the DNR's interference with nature that causes most of our wildlife imbalance to begin with.   As for how the DNR is approaching this issue...killing the wolf or violating treaty rights won't solve our moose problems and suggesting it will is ridiculous.  Next time, and there will be a next time, maybe the DNR should stop issuing hunting permits for an animal that is clearly struggling to survive.


Articles quoted in the above blog post:
DNR asks Fond du Lac to reconsider moose hunt

More bad news for Minnesota moose

DNR statistics on moose harvest

Sunday, November 4, 2012


photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Grizzly Bear: more mountain pine beetles = less whitebark pine trees = less whitebark pine seeds = starving grizzly bears 

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Polar Bear: melting sea ice = less access to seals = more energy spent hunting for food = less time for reproduction = less polar bears  

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of an Orangutan: drought = loss of habitat due to more wild fires = no food and no place to live

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Snow Leopard: warmer, wetter weather = loss of alpine habitat = loss of hunting grounds = desperation = exposure to humans & livestock = increased retaliatory killings of the snow leopard

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Gazelle: drought = expansion of desert land = loss of of trees and grass = less food = having to compete with livestock for food = loss of life for the gazelle.  

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Cheetah: loss of the gazelle = eating outside normal diet = getting less “healthy” protein = negative effect on sperm health = changing the ability to reproduce effectively = dwindling number of cheetahs

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Tiger: rising temperatures = melting sea ice = rising water levels = flooded lands = loss of habitat

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Shark: warmer waters = expanding food search area = becoming stressed = a refusal to mate = less sharks + more exposure to humans = more conflict = slaughtered sharks.

photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Sea Turtle: warmer weather = melting ice caps = rising sea level = erosion of nesting beaches & changes in sex ratios = less sea turtles

Photo source: CLICK HERE

Climate Change through the eyes of a Bird: warmer weather = change in migratory patterns = missing out on food sources & mates = unhealthy birds = less offspring. 

Add poaching and human caused habitat destruction and what do you get?


Now what does climate change look like through your eyes?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Why is it, if you are in the privacy of your own home and someone breaks in, you have the right to take a gun or knife and kill the intruder in order to protect yourself or your children but wolves (bears, coyotes, mountain lions, etc..) don't have that same right?  Remember, when we go into the forest, the ocean, the jungle, etc... we are going into the very little space our wildlife has left on this planet and when they attack they do so because it is their right to protect their home, their offspring and themselves.  Our ability to visit their habitat is a privilege and we are not entitled to that right.

This is what our sense of entitlement looks like and no matter how you rationalize it, it is WRONG!

WAKE UP MINNESOTANS!!  This is what will happen to our wolves on November 3rd if we don't do everything in our power to stop it.  (Unfortunately for many wolves this has already taken place in other parts of the country).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm writing this for one reason only.  How many people look at the International Wolf Center the way I did?  That is why I write.  If you are anything like I was you see the Intl. Wolf Center as a haven for wolves.  A place that educates the public on the factual data pertaining to the Canis lupus, a place that is run by people that care about and want to preserve our wolf population (their twitter page says they advance the survival of wolves).  Well... if you think like that I would say that you are wrong, just as wrong as I was.

This year our wolves were taken off the endangered species list.  As soon as I heard about it I sent a facebook message to the International Wolf Center asking how we could help them protect our wolves. They replied that they serve only to educate the public on wolves and were remaining neutral in the wolf hunt/trap debate.  It bothered me but I understood.  Later I was reading an article that had the founder of the Intl. Wolf Center, Dr. Mech, quoted saying the wolf hunt/trap was a testament to how well our wolf population is thriving.  Here are some quotes from Dr. Mech:

Many of the folks who see public wolf hunting as a positive development actually are pro-wolf.
Regulated hunting of wolves will not endanger the species again.
[a hunt] That isn't going to hurt the population, Mech said.  And it may reduce human-wolf conflicts by making the animals more wary of humans, he said.

You can see and hear Dr. David Mech talk about how the DNR's plan to trap and slaughter 400 wolves in Minnesota is the best management plan and he also says it is "conservative."


So much for remaining neutral right?

I also recently learned that in the winter 2010 publication by the International Wolf Center, Dr. Mech was actually quoted explaining how to carry out a wolf hunt on pregnant females and pups and when it is best to kill them for their pelt.  Sound neutral to you?

I figured the best I could do after learning about Dr. Mech's position on the wolf hunt/trap was to stop giving the Intl. Wolf Center my money but... after receiving what should be my last publication from the center I had to go a bit further, which is this blog post.

In the fall 2012 International Wolf Center Publication sent to members (which I just received in the mail) there is an article titled "Minnesota's First Ever Wolf Season."  In the article the author Dan Stark states the following:

After taking public comments, as required by law, the DNR will publish a final rule for the 2012 wolf seasons.  While decisions about whether to have a wolf season and when to start it have already been made through the lawmaking process, the DNR public-comment process is intended to seek input on the wolf season proposal.

Now... the above quote may not mean much to people outside of Minnesota but as someone who believed  the Intl. Wolf Center was neutral on the hunt/trap issue and as someone who supported them financially in the past, I am angry that not only have they not remained neutral and probably contributed to the push for hunt but they outright lie.  If the above quote isn't a lie and just a delay in the publication process then they have no business writing articles that are so grossly outdated.

Back in late spring/early summer the DNR accepted public comments on the wolf hunt/trap in Minnesota and out of the 7,000 + people who responded, 80% were against the hunt.  The quote by Dan Stark leads people to believe that the DNR would take the public comments into consideration when deciding to have the hunt/trap but in fact that isn't true.  The DNR knows the results and made no changes to their plan to allow 400 wolves to be trapped and slaughtered.  In fact, the Intl. Wolf Center feigns surprise at the backlash:

Nancy Gilbson, co-founder of the International Wolf Center in Ely, said the results clearly indicate the public is still divided on the question of a wolf hunt, even if the survey was hijacked by anti-hunting groups.  "It's a surprise to me," she said of the number who responded and the overwhelming anti-hunting sentiment they expressed.

No anti hunting groups hijacked the survey.  That is the excuse that came out of the pro killing camp when they saw that 80% were against the hunt/trap.  I took the survey and I'm not anti-hunting.  I made numerous calls to notify people of the survey and I spoke with several hunters that shared my view that the wolf hunt is a mistake and were eager to fill out the survey.

So before I take this post in a direction that will defeat the purpose I'll close with this.  Everyone I've ever spoken to about the International Wolf Center believes the center is all about preserving our wolf population.  Even I was shocked to learn that they didn't remain neutral and I kept searching to see if the quotes above were some kind of mistake.  So if your goal is just to keep a minimum number of wolves alive across the nation (numbers not based on a current, accurate count) then the Intl. Wolf Center deserves your dollars but if you want to see a CURRENT count of wolves, one that isn't based on scat, tracks and deer carcasses, and if you think our wolf numbers are too low and still deserve protection then give your time and money to an organization that actively works to stop hunting and trapping of wolves.

Organizations that are on the ground, working diligently to educate the public on what is really behind all these wolf hunts across the U.S. and why slaughtering wolves is a mistake:

Howling for Wolves
Howling for Wolves on Facebook
Howling for Wolves on Twitter

Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity on Facebook

INFORMATION ON WOLF ISSUES NATIONWIDE (be prepared to see some gruesome photos on this site)
Howling for Justice

Saturday, August 25, 2012


The turnout of wolf protectors at the state Capitol in Minnesota yesterday was awesome!  We rallied to stop the hunt/trap this fall for over 3 hours.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many like minded individuals and know that we were all there for a greater good which is to protect Minnesota's gray wolf population and put a stop to the hunting and trapping that will happen this November.  To top it off the rally went on during the special session being held by the legislature so they had to see all of us with our banners & signs protesting the hunt/trap as they walked into the Capitol buidling.  One legislator shouted out "I voted against it" which made us all feel good but unfortunately those who voted for it outnumbered those who voted against it.

Dr. Maureen Hackett, founder of Howling for Wolves, put together a great list of guest speakers which included Howard Goldman from the Humane Society, Ray Owen (Dakota) from Prairie Island Reservation, Mike Forcia from AIM (American Indian Movement) representing the Ojibwe tribe, and veterinarian & ecologist Dr. Michael Fox.  I videotaped their speeches in three parts (I had to cut it into three parts because I was afraid my camera didn't have enough memory but I promise I didn't leave any of the important parts out).   Please watch the videos!  They are informative and enlightening.  Photos from the rally are below the videos.  Please read the press release about the rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Maureen Hackett's opening speech:

Guest Speaker Howard Goldman from the Humane Society

Guest Speakers Michael Forshaw (Ojibwe), Ray Owen (Dakota), Dr. Michael Fox (veterinarian & ecologist)

A group of HFW volunteers having a friendly conversation with capitol security while looking at some photographs.

Various individuals against the wolf hunt.  Several Native American (American Indian) tribes were represented.

A gathering of "wolf protectors" < that is what I call all of them :)

My daughter and another individual on the Capitol steps protesting the wolf hunt/trap.

My little ones are the first to hold the banner for the day.

Protesters of the wolf hunt/trap gathering on the Capitol steps

 The legislators initially came up the front steps but they didn't even want to make eye contact with us so they tried to sneak in a side entrance but the wolf protectors weren't going to let them off so easy so we all perched ourselves near that entrance.

Early morning gathering of wolf protectors.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Howling for Wolves had a booth at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival - Pet Fest Weekend - on Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19 and the response about the Wolf Hunt is exactly what we all expected.  People do not want the wolf hunt/trap this November and they were very eager to sign the petition demanding that it be stopped.  Out of the hundreds of people that passed by the HFW booth I personally only came across 3 that were in support of the hunt/trap and their responses went exactly like this:

"The wolf is a son of bitch, they'll kill your animals for fun and won't even bother to eat their kill." (false - wolves have been known to get into a feeding frenzy where parts of a kill is wasted but that is very rare)

"I don't understand why you don't want the wolf hunted, their numbers are out of control and pretty soon they'll start attacking people." (false - our wolf population hasn't been counted since 2008.  At that time the numbers were a little over 2900 and the count was based on the discovery of scat, tracks, depredation and seeing wolves in the wild.  Why does the 2008 count not represent accurate numbers?  Imagine counting the poop of your dogs.  One dog can poop several times.  If my dog take a poop 6x's does that mean I have 6 dogs?  Tracks are also misleading because wolves can cover the same territory several times.  Seeing a wolf in the wild and identifying it as such is very difficult.  Most people confuse the coyote with the wolf.  Same goes for livestock depredation.  Wolves get the blame for livestock kill when in fact a coyote is responsible.  Now here we are in 2012 and with the loss of habitat, road kills, disease, poaching (one of which was recently prosecuted and written about in the Star Tribune) and controlled legal killings by certified trappers, farmers & ranchers - how many wolves actually exist in Minnesota today?  We aren't sure.)

"Trapping doesn't hurt a wolf.  Their foot goes numb in the trap and it is virtually painless so please stop telling people that trapping is inhumane." (false - an animal in a trap doesn't cry and bleed when no pain is present.  Wolves have been known to chew off their own foot to get free from a trap.  The man arguing that wolves feel nothing when trapped claimed the wolf chews its own foot only because there it has no sensation.  He said a wolf wouldn't chew off its foot if it had feeling.  For those of you who wonder if this is true... Aaron Ralston cut off his own arm to free himself when his arm was trapped by a boulder while out hiking.  He said he experienced excruciating pain while doing so.  A wolf and a man will remove a body part not because it doesn't hurt but because the desire to survive and be free is greater.)

For the record, does this look painless to you?

One person did ask me if Wolves were native to Wisconsin because they believed that any species that were introduced to an area shouldn't be protected because they are a non-native species.  

The reintroduction of a wolf is not an introduction.  Wolves existed across the United States and were driven to the brink of extinction.  Minnesota is the only one of the lower 48 states that retained their original wolf population, the other states like Wisconsin needed a reintroduction of the species, which has fought their way back to good numbers.  

I came across a couple of hunters that were against hunting the wolf.  They were big deer hunters but think hunting the wolf is very wrong and they were happy to sign the petition requesting it be stopped.  Although I'm not a hunter I could identify with those two men for several reasons.  I come from a long line of hunters.  My family loved to hunt deer, waterfowl and small game like rabbit (some still do).  One of my earliest memories is seeing deer strung up in the backyard on our family property in Bemidji Minnesota.  There wasn't any "sending" the deer off for processing back then, the women in the family took care of that.

Being against wolf hunting has nothing to do with being against hunting in general.  My grandfather taught his children and his children taught their children that trophy hunting, which is the real reason people hunt the wolf (and bear), is for cowards.  My grandfather killed a bear once in self defense and he made it clear that he never felt good about it.  He believed as does the rest of my family that if you can't utilize all of what you hunt then you have no business killing it and although many hunters see hunting as a sport, my grandfather didn't, he was a man who lived off the land and that didn't include killing animals for their skull and pelt.  Minnesota's wolf hunt is about money, pure and simple (isn't all destruction of biodiversity about money) and Howling for Wolves is working diligently to stop it.

One of Howling for Wolves volunteers educating visitors to the booth on why the 
wolf hunt isn't necessary.

Our mama wolf showing the littles ones that there is no such thing as the "big bad wolf."

Let's not go back to this Minnesota:

My daughter as a peasant girl working at the Renaissance (I just had to throw this one in because I think she's so darn cute in that peasant girl outfit).

Thursday, August 16, 2012


That is all I kept thinking about today.  We are running out of time to save our wolves.  The hunt begins in November and although it seems like a lifetime away it's really just around the corner.  The leaves are already beginning to change from a bright green to a dull yellow which means fall isn't far away.  Once the leaves begin to drop it won't be long and we'll be hearing about all the dead wolves being dragged into the DNR for inspection; not looking forward to the pictures that will emerge.  It is hard to comprehend how someone can save an animal from the brink of extinction and then shout "hey, they bounced back, now let's kill 'em."  It is insane. 

Well, we are doing our best to stop it.  As I told my daughters - if we sit and do nothing, the hunt/trap season is sure to happen, if we get up off our asses and try to make a difference then maybe the wolves will have a chance.  Here we are getting off the couch.  We spread ourselves out on Summit Avenue in front of the Govenor's mansion (since the Governor does have the power to stop this hunt/trap).  This fight isn't over - we'll be handing out information on the hunt and how you can help stop it at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival during Pet Fest weekend (August 18 & 19) so if you are in Minnesota make sure you drop by.
 (check out the press release about the protest at the Governors Mansion HERE)

My daughter Maya

Howling for Wolves founder Maureen is in the red jacket on left (awesome lady)

My daughter Yana

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Many of us grew up thinking of the wolf as a mythical creature lurking in the woods, ready to pounce on us without notice to consume our flesh.  Even as adults the mere mention of a wolf brings us back to that image of an innocent young girl dressed in a red cloak, fighting for her life.  Fairytales are fodder for the imagination.  They’ve been written throughout the ages to entertain children and adults alike, but their influence on the psyche can sometimes be anything but positive, and childhood stories about the big bad wolf are no exception.

Today the wolf is both loved and loathed.  In Minnesota and across the nation laws that once protected the gray wolf have been lifted and people are now lining up to decimate a creature whose very existence captures the essence of all that is beautiful in nature.  The wolf is one of the most misunderstood animals to inhabit the planet, and the desire to reduce their numbers in the wild stems from both fear and hatred. Such negative emotions have left no room for reason, and instead the public is being bombarded with misinformation that has no scientific basis.

The wolf is not a blood thirsty animal.  The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is a very social animal that lives within a pack composed mostly of family members.  The family lives, travels, and hunts together, and its members develop very close relationships with one another.  Their bond is so strong that wolves have even been known to sacrifice themselves to protect the family unit.  Gray wolves are shy and wary of humans so they tend to be elusive, but like all species they have an innate need to survive.  Wolves are carnivores that hunt both small and large game, and to do so they must cover a vast amount of territory on a daily basis.  On rare occasions their travels can lead them to farms where the lure of a good meal is just too difficult to pass up.  Fortunately livestock depredation is not a serious issue in Minnesota.  *In 2011, there were only 88 verified wolf livestock complaints in the entire state, and only about 80 out of 7,000 farms in Minnesota experienced wolf depredation of livestock.  What most people don’t know is that farmers are reimbursed full market value for their animals.  As well, there are many effective non-lethal methods to prevent such incursions, and owners of livestock and pets can now shoot wolves on sight that pose any threat.  Problem wolves are trapped by certified private predator controllers - 203 wolves were killed in 2011 and over 107 have been killed already this year.  
Our wolf numbers are not a cause for concern.  Most gray wolf packs number between four and nine.  In Minnesota it is estimated that we have about 3,000 wolves and 100 packs, most of which live in the northern part of the state.  *Since wolves are highly susceptible to starvation and disease, in addition to their ability to control their own numbers due to limited natural habitat, our wolf population has remained stable since 1998 - without the need for hunting and trapping.  

Without wolves, biodiversity is threatened.  Our wolves play a vital role in keeping the ecosystem in balance, and their presence helps maintain habitat for all wildlife in the forest.  *Wolves keep vegetation along rivers and streams healthy by controlling the movement of animals like deer and elk. Wolves are responsible for culling weakened individuals from prey species such as rabbit, beaver and muskrats, and help to maintain a healthy population of all animals. 

Minnesota is home to the only native wolf population in the lower 48 states.  In the 20th century wolves were the only mammals deliberately driven to the brink of extinction by humans. Today our attitude towards wildlife has changed; *outdoor enthusiasts outnumber hunters 4:1, so the existence of wolves and the possibility of seeing one in the wild is a significant draw for tourists.  We need to set an example and show the rest of the nation that as Minnesotans we respect and value our canine friends and they mean more to us than just a skull and pelt.  

Please join Howling for Wolves ( in their quest to stop wolf hunting and trapping this fall.  The law passed by the Minnesota Legislature to allow hunting/trapping is a “permissive” law that simply allows the DNR to have a hunt whenever they choose.  The DNR does not have to hold the hunt.  Contact the DNR and tell them you don’t want our wolves hunted or trapped: (651) 296-5484, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155-4040

~Michelle Valadez

Listen to Maureen Hacket (Founder of Howling for Wolves) discuss why the hunt/trap is a bad idea.  Click on this link and go to the middle line of the radio hour stream and you can listen to Maureen's interview:

*Minnesota Gray Wolves E-Book. St. Paul: Howling for Wolves, 2012. Howling for Wolves. 2012. Web. 10 Aug. 2012. .

Monday, April 23, 2012


Shimek (member of Ojibwe tribe) wants the five year moratorium on hunting back. He says in the American Indian creation story, the wolf is a brother so wolves and humans are spiritually bound. He said, It's our feeling that if we do everything we can to take care of the wolves, and the wolf does well, we will do well. He said through history when the wolf has not done well, neither have American Indians.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Documentary on the Indonesian rainforest, deforestation and orangutan extinction.It is a silent film (without narration, but with music) which addresses itself both to the Indonesians and the consumers of wood/paper/palm oil around the world.This important documentary was filmed in the fast disappearing Indonesian rainforest and is not narrated, however, its message is clear and frightening. The home of the Orangutan and many other wildlife species in Indonesia is being decimated at an alarming rate by consumer need and greed.The film features the widespread practice of 'slash and burn' to clear the lush rainforest to make way for extensive palm oil plantations which we, the consumer, support in our demand for our favourite foods, magazines, cosmetics, and, increasingly, biofuel. The practice has also seen Indonesia move into third place behind the US and China with regard to carbon emissions due to the uncovering of peat soil which has lain, undisturbed, below the tropical rainforest for centuries. The film exposes the illegal pet trade that thrives in Indonesia and the sick, despairing lives of those Orangutan who spend years, often all their lives, locked in small cages, suffering, alone.The story thread follows the fate of a female Orangutan who has been captured and brought in because her forest home has been decimated. She is one of the lucky ones -- most are slaughtered without mercy when caught. Her fate though, is not a happy one, as her trauma at the hands of man is too great. Your heart will break with resounding pity, but it is even more sobering to know that she is only one of hundreds every week who will suffer a similar fate.Make sure everyone you know watches this documentary. We owe it to our friends, the gentle Orangutan, we owe it to our planet, and we owe it to ourselves so that we can learn from it.

There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil: Palm oil: the hidden ingredient causing an ecological disaster

Less than 7% of total palm production is currently certified as sustainable. Furthermore manufacturers are proving reluctant to pay the premium associated with this product.

Manufacturers may claim to be using sustainable palm oil because they are members of, or supplied by members of, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. However, this in itself is no guarantee as members only need commit to "working towards" producing a sustainable product.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Congressman Kline, the republican that represents Minnesota's 2nd district, just sent out one of those impersonal form letters telling us all what great work he is doing. I always find these letters to be a bit comical considering I've written Mr. Kline on numerous issues and from what I've said you'd think his staff would be capable of figuring out who they should and shouldn't send their generic letters to.

The latest:

February 1, 2012

Dear Mrs. Valadez:

In his State of the Union address last week, the President called on Congress to advance initiatives to help increase America's energy independence and help the private sector create jobs.

I could not agree more.

That is why it was extremely disappointing when the President recently rejected the Keystone XL energy pipeline which would transport oil from Canada to Texas. Construction of the Keystone pipeline, which was recommended by the President's own Jobs Council, would create tens of thousands of jobs. The initiative would also further develop our vast energy resources and partner our country with North American allies to lessen our dependence on hostile regions of the world.

Gas prices in Minnesota have doubled since January 2009. Lisa, a constituent from Carver County, commutes about 50 miles round-trip each day to work. As gas prices hovered near $4 per gallon record highs last summer, she told me she felt like she was being "sucker punched with no means of self-defense" every time she pulled up to the pump.

Four years ago, I helped champion an all-of-the-above energy policy – a strategy that will help eliminate uncertainty, bring down prices, and position America for greater energy independence now and into the future. We advanced this cause last year when House Republicans launched the "American Energy Initiative," an ongoing effort to stop government policies that are driving up gas prices; expand American energy production to lower costs and create more jobs; and promote an "all of the above" strategy to increase all forms of American energy. Click here to read more.

To receive additional updates on legislative activity and my work in Congress, visit my website at As always, please feel free to contact me on any matter of concern to you.


Member of Congress

I should have pointed out in my response to his staff that I find it interesting that Mr. Klein didn't care about those rising gas prices when George Bush was president but instead I sent the following.

I respectfully request that Mr. Kline not misrepresent facts when sending out informational emails. Mr. Kline has assumed that the average citizen doesn't have the intelligence or inclination to do their own research on current issues.

The only thing the POTUS has done worth commending since he was elected is denying the permits necessary to build the Keystone Pipeline. Not only has such an undertaking not been proven to be environmentally safe but it does not create tens of thousands of jobs. This is clearly something Mr. Klein either hasn't educated himself on or continues to claim when he knows it to be false. TransCanada, the company requesting to build the pipeline, has already stated that little more than 6,000 jobs would be available on a given day and independent research say those numbers are inflated. Aside from the few thousand jobs that would be created, the jobs will be temporary construction, lasting two weeks to about two years. As for being independent of foreign oil. The oil is still foreign, having come from Canada, and aside from that fact, only 5% of the oil is going to remain in the U.S. with 95% being shipped out. The pipeline doesn't bring energy independence nor does it bring long term employment. What it does bring is the possibility of environmental destruction that we would not be able to overcome. So please, in the future, if you want to misrepresent the facts, send the information to someone who doesn't know better.


Clearly, Mr. Republican Kline and Mrs. Centrist Me do not see eye to eye on the issues. No harm no foul. It isn't as if I expect this man to change his view or his tactics because I write him opinionated letters about saving the environment and its inhabitants but at the very least I'd expect him to hire a group of people to review his mail and use their noggin when sending out information on all the "great work" he does. Can't my tax dollars at least go for that? or maybe I should just learn not to click on anything coming from his office.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


While doing some reading on capitalism recently I happened to come across another writing blog titled "Forbidden Heights." I don't know much about the author of this blog other than I think his name is Frank but I do know I enjoy the articles he has shared and I can identify with his purpose for writing. I think this article in particular is worth sharing:


(Click the Title to Read the Entire Article)

There are many other ways in which vampire capitalism can draw the lifeblood of the masses. It can take control of all resources or means of production in a particular channel and even create an entire industry - often at a cheap "introductory rate" - to attract people away from other competitors or less-offensive, community-oriented systems. The Monsanto Company, as an example, has been the subject of much controversy in the agricultural world. Over time, vampire capitalism can systematically strip away options making it exceedingly difficult for the individual to avoid participation in an enslaving paradigm. How many of us in the United States for example can simply forgo having a car, and all of the mandatory, associated costs including insurance, gas, maintenance, registration, etc, in order to carry on with daily life? Any person or entity trying to circumvent the channels of vampire capitalism through self-reliance or creativity is either cast out, crushed through economic, political or legal means, or simply bought out of the way. From local farmers to grocery stores to hardware stores to independent bookstores and movie theaters, many have gone out of business or have been bought out by the heavyweight competition in the industry. A drive today through any average American city or suburb will take us past a repeating, nondescript landscape filled with strip malls proudly beaming neon signs of chain restaurants, department stores and supermarkets, all owned by large corporations eager to maximize their profits. And while they may advertise a million products tailored to one's "unique lifestyle" and needs and tastes, it is not too difficult to be overshadowed by a feeling of sameness.

Thank you Frank at Forbidden Heights for allowing me to share a piece of your article on my blog.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I thought this video by EARTH JUSTICE was a great way of explaining FRACKING. If you are interested in what the debate is all about, please watch the short youtube clip.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Thanks to Maryam Henein, director of Vanishing of the Bees, for sharing the link to this video on twitter.