In the midst of such political turmoil, it comes as no surprise that yet another controversial bill is steps away from being passed. On March 21, a U.S Senate party line vote to lift Obama’s ban on “predator control” in a wildlife refuge in Alaska occured. This means that hunters will be allowed to kill animals such as bears and wolves with no limitations or repercussions.
Not only are these animals necessary for our ecosystem’s balance, but certain hunting will be without regulations. This means that hunters can kill bears in hibernation if they so choose. The House has already voted to dismiss these restrictions originally placed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. President Trump is next up on the list of signers, who, to no one’s surprise, is very much expected to sign it.
Let me break down what all of this means. Essentially, the Obama-era regulations stated that there could be no hunting of predatory animals on the national preserve lands of Alaska, but with the repealing of this bill, hunters will be allowed to kill predators, such as bears and wolves. These are important animals in the ecosystem, and the state of Alaska can do nothing about it. Not only is this encouraging the practice of animal brutality, but it is totally undermining Alaska’s right as a state to manage their wildlife refuges.
I could not have agreed more when the government affair director at the Center for Biological Diversity, Brett Hartl says, “This isn’t hunting — it’s slaughter.” He continues, “Killing wolves and bears in this cruel, unsportsmanlike fashion is outrageous, especially in wildlife refuges that belong to all Americans.”
Some may look at the turning events of this situation and assume that it must have been a wanted repeal, but that is not the case. Many important and credible foundations oppose this ban. These include the Sierra Club, the Humane Society, and Alaska Wildlife Protection groups, to name a few.
This is not an example of Trump trying to discredit the Obama-era authority either, for this ban has been in place since 1994 for national preserve lands in Alaska. Clinton originally passed this bill in attempts to control our spiraling ecosystem. Congressman Don Young claims that it was an “illegal jurisdictional grab by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service” and that they are doing everything in their power to gain their control back.
I disagree with the notion that humans should have complete and utter control over the lives of animals. Humans need to step off their high horses and realize that we are not the only creatures on this earth. We need to respect those we cohabitate with them. These hunting regulations wrong because they thoroughly disrupt the predator-prey balance in the ecosystem in which bears and wolves are considered to be keystone species.
In addition, the killing methods are also considered to be brutally inhumane. The Humane Society stated, “These egregious practices include shooting or trapping wolves while at their dens with cubs, using airplanes to scout for grizzly bears to shoot, trapping bears with cruel steel jawed leghold traps and wire snares and luring grizzly bears with food to get a point blank kill.”
The question that I raise when faced with these statements is this: is what is the point? I do not understand the benefit of killing animals that are not posing any harm. With Congress clearly condoning the inhumane treatment of animals, how can we really expect them to treat us, the citizens of the United States, any differently? Their blatant disregard for animal life mirrors how high our comfort and safety is on their priority list. If we allow the horrid treatment of unsuspecting animals in our country, how can we validate our horror when we are treated with the same disregard and disrespect? If we look at this situation analytically, it is clear that we, the people, are nothing more than animals being hunted by those with more power and resources too.