Bloody Budget Bill….

September 12, 2014

This was posted in the aftermath of the disastrous sellout of wolves by the US Senate and President Obama in 2011.


April 23, 2011

A dead on opinion piece from the Christian Science Monitor. It explains how Congress played “let’s make a deal” with wolves lives in a BUDGET BILL.  This was especially egregious because Democrats led the charge, betraying wolves and their base.


True cost of budget deal will be paid in blood – of gray wolves

By David N. Cassuto APRIL 19, 2011

Many words have been spent on the budget compromise struck between Republicans and Democrats in the 11th hour a couple weeks ago, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. In the days since, details of this budget agreement have slowly emerged, but few actually know what it fully entails – and what it really means for Americans. Perhaps this is because Congress and the president appear to have had a similarly limited understanding of the nature and scope of the cuts they agreed upon.

Nevertheless, President Obama and members of Congress did know that they agreed on a few things having nothing whatsoever to do with the budget, budget cuts, or with federal spending at all. One of the most unfortunate of these “budget” agreement riders is the decision to strip the gray wolf of the protections of the Endangered Species Act. In the 37-year history of the Act, no species has ever been delisted for purely political reasons. Prior to last week, science guided such decisions. Now, science will be subordinated to political instrumentalism, setting a dangerous precedent for the future.

A political, rather than scientific, agenda

The gray wolf was reintroduced into the Northern Rocky Mountains in 1995. Today, there are approximately 1,700 wolves in Idaho, Wyoming, andMontana – a significant resurgence, albeit a relatively small number of wolves for 328,417 square miles of territory. Nevertheless, those three states have campaigned tirelessly to delist the wolf in order to legalize wolf hunts and thereby cut back their allegedly unmanageable populations. Under such pressure, the Bush and Obama administrations agreed to delist the wolf, but the plan did not survive legal challenge.

The court found the delisting agenda to be based on political rather than scientific reasons, an approach that did not withstand scrutiny under the plain language of the Endangered Species Act. Still, the anti-wolf contingent (including the governors and congressional delegations from all three states) persisted, arguing that the wolves needed culling because they were killing livestock and decimating the elk population. The diminishing number of elk, the argument goes, interferes with the rights of hunters.

Hunters complain that the wolves – who hunt for survival using only their bodies – impede the hunters’ ability to hunt for fun with high-powered rifles. It bears noting that before wolves were extirpated from the region, they coexisted with humans with little incident. Those humans also hunted elk, but did so with bows, arrows, and spears. Despite the challenges posed by wolves, fewer elk, and low-tech gear, they managed to find enough game to survive.

It seems reasonable to assume that today’s hunters, whose survival depends more on supermarkets than elk, and who enjoy competitive advantages and a far larger elk population, could do likewise.

Benefits of wolves outweigh ranchers’ concerns

The ranchers’ argument against wolves also withers under serious scrutiny. While it is true that wolves take a certain amount of livestock, it is also true that ranchers annually lose more cattle to lightning strikes, dog attacks, and noxious weeds than they do to wolves. The leading causes of livestock deaths are not wolves or other predators but bad weather, disease, and birthing complications. Even so, there are nonprofit groups with compensation programs in place to partially compensate ranchers who do suffer losses from wolf predation.

The benefits of having wolves in these ecosystems – even for ranchers – far outweigh livestock losses. Since wolves have been reintroduced to the region, the deer and elk populations have been brought under control, which has enabled nearly wiped out native tree and plant species to grow back. Concern for the ranchers might be better expressed by maintaining the health of the ecosystem – of which wolves are a vital part – and the range, thus protecting the ranchers, the ranch land, and the rest of the regional environment. Many ranchers are already making efforts in these directions.

Why are wolves part of a budget deal?

But perhaps more important than the weakness of the arguments for delisting the wolf is the fact that there is no good reason for this discussion to have taken place during these budget negotiations. The issue at hand was (or was supposed to be) the federal budget. There are legitimate policy differences about the ways, means, and even the need to bring federal revenues in line with spending, but this important national conversation has nothing to do with wolves.

Yet in defiance of logic and sound wildlife management, the two sides negotiated an agreement under which endangered wolves will die, and the deficit will remain. As the rest of the particulars of the deal come to light, one thing will remain clear: The true cost of this agreement has nothing to do with money. It will be paid in blood.

David N. Cassuto is the Class of 1946 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Environmental Law at Williams College and professor of Environmental Law at Pace Law School. He is the founder and chief contributor to the Animal Blawg, a blog on animal law and policy.

Photo: Courtesy of All About Wolves

Posted in: Wolf Wars

Tags: wolves sold out, playing politics with wolves, bloody budget bill, infamous 81, US Senate betrays wolves, tampering with the ESA, David N. Cassuto, Christian Science Monitor

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20 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It seems to me that honest politicians cannot exist. At some point in their career, they are going to have to lie or omit the truth in order to hold-on-to their positions. They don’t care about the ordinary people and much less about wildlife. They all have blood on their hands, even those that don’t vote.

    What is our world becoming… ?


  2. But perhaps more important than the weakness of the arguments for delisting the wolf is the fact that there is no good reason for this discussion to have taken place during these budget negotiations. The issue at hand was (or was supposed to be) the federal budget. There are legitimate policy differences about the ways, means, and even the need to bring federal revenues in line with spending, but this important national conversation has nothing to do with wolves.

    This is what bothered me the most too. I’ve never felt the same about the Democrats since.


  3. We need to vote them ALL out of office before something will change.


  4. Just curious why my posts now need moderation?


    • Hmmmmmn not sure why that’s happening Sue, must be a glitch? I’ll check into it.



  5. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  6. Jon Tester, a democrat from Montana who is not running for another term this year is the one who slid that rider into that budget deal and what’s more,, after it was done ,he was quoted as saying something along the lines of ” It will be nice to go to Idaho and kill some wolves. And these are the type of people we put the security of our nation in their hands. The United States is one whacked out, deplorable country.


    • Most of America is still good…good hearts, good to animals. It’s this government that is the worm in the apple. I do hope that once we get this low life out of our white house..and hopefully get rid of those that side with him (fewer by the day I’ve noticed) that maybe then the wolves might stand a chance. Maybe there will be somebody on the ballot that will put life before political gains. I just hope the wolf (and America) survives the rest of Obama’s term.


    • Good riddance!


      • I’d love to have the pleasure of seeing Jon Tester and others resign or lose in disgrace, but this will have to do I guess. Again, good riddance to bad rubbish!


  7. It’s so disturbing and disgusting that all of this nation’s policy-makers would select to slaughter the most vital species in all of America’s ecosystems, the wolf. How do we educate politicos that all native species of animals are the strands in the web of all life?

    If all native species are the strands in the web of all life on Earth, then, the wolf, alone, is the glue that binds the entire web, altogether, preventing the disintegration of the entire web of all life on Earth.


  8. I am soooo disgusted with all of this political bullshit! Why are we not voting these loosers out?! because the majority of Americans are just like them> they are too busy with their own agenda to care about the Earth, or these creatures> NO connection to the Earth Mother …no connection to yourself…or anything else! the wolves will soon be gone as will the elephants and the others to the Great Spirit.
    what are we going to give our grandchildren?


  9. I sometimes worry that all our grandchildren will want is a new car and the latest gizmo from Apple.


  10. Disgusting, reprehensible. No wonder we all feel like don Quixote.
    The sad part is I knew it before I read it…it is so abhorrent.
    Thx ernie


  11. I agree, captiana311. Whacked out is absolutely right. Scary to know what is leading our countries, isn’t it. It’s the same in Canada. And Jon Tester has done his dirty work, so now he can leave very satisfied with himself and go murder a few wolves. I was happy when Obama was elected, thinking he was more likely to be a support for our animals, but it didn’t take long to see that was not going to happen. The thing is, what is left to choose from?


  12. A song dedicated to the memory of this horrible act of treason and why we need to keep fighting. Wisconsin is a State of hate and fear. I am hoping that will start to change in a few months. We can’t lose hope.


  13. And Obama promised to let sound science be his guide during his administration–what a joke, albeit a cruel one on wolves. We all knew what this despicable rider would mean for wolves, as well as other endangered and threatened species. Too bad that Obama and Congress could not see beyond their own selfish agendas. Their erosion of the ESA via the rider was completely unprecedented, and will have very damaging repurcussions for years to come.


  14. I remember that budget bill; it was what got me involved with the Wolf Wars in the first place. It made me worried that politics was trumpting over science and that this would harm the conservation of gray wolves and all other endangered/threatened species (such as the Preble’s Jumping-mouse; I truly thought that this rodent would be the next victim of political meddling).

    Is there anything that we can do to get this overturned, or at least get the “no judicial review” part overturned so that the delisting of the Rocky Mountain wolf population can be challanged?


  15. I’m not sure as to the question “if republicans were in office would this of happen” I believe the wolves and wildlife are in for major trouble if you let NRA Repubs have a majority in senate…It seems to me Testors only one vote ..give that seat up its not that important…Testors a traitor to the party anyways a closet Repub everyone knows it…Repubs are who took the vote from the people in MI on the wolf hunt….it seems we are once divided on political lines again…Repubs aren’t any good for us here


    • rajaju…It won’t matter if Republicans take the Senate, nothing will get done in the next two years because Obama will veto every bill they pass, unless of course it has anything to do with saving our wildlife, like wolves, grizzlies, wild horses, bison, etc. Obama has been awful on wildlife issues, just as bad as Republicans. Who expected him to delist wolves mere months after he took office? Did you? Tester is a DINO, we all know that but Tester couldn’t have done this without the rest of the Senators in 2011. The ENTIRE Democrat Senate voted to delist wolves except for Leahy, Wyden and Levin. That is unbelievable and they need to be voted out, period. If they’re going to call themselves Democrats they need to act like Democrats.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


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