Wolves or Sheep

Since posting this blog entry this morning, I’ve rewritten the post, after learning that the United States provides less than 1 percent of all wool. America’s sheep industry is huge, but it’s almost entirely devoted to meat production. The corrected blog entry is below, ending with a link to the original post.

It’s been decades since wolf hunting was legal in the United States. But now a hunt is underway in Idaho, with another hunt starting September 15 in Wyoming.

This CNN story offers the best mainstream coverage I’ve seen, even if it’s weighted toward the ranchers’ point of view. But I’ve yet to see any media coverage of the hunt that offers solid analysis of what’s going on.

My take on matters is this: you can either have a large and prosperous sheep industry, or you can have thriving wolf populations. Pick one.

I think the time has come to ask whether the environmental damage tied to sheep production is unacceptably high. Huge swaths of the American west could revert to habitat for diverse wildlife populations, with wolves as the top predator, if only there was the political will to put conservation ahead of the sheep industry.

It’s really America’s lamb and mutton eaters, rather than the few thousand jokers applying for wolf hunting permits, who control the destiny of the wolf. Admittedly, it’s going to be a tough slog to educate consumers about why their food choices is so important. But if we truly want a resurgence of wolves and associated wildlife in rural Western states, an ongoing consumer education effort regarding the environmental cost of sheep production is exactly what’s needed. Link.

The original blog entry read:

It’s been decades since wolf hunting was legal in the United States. But now a hunt is underway in Idaho, with another hunt starting September 15 in Wyoming.

This CNN story offers the best mainstream coverage I’ve seen, even if it’s weighted toward the ranchers’ point of view. But I’ve yet to see any media coverage of the hunt that offers solid analysis of what’s going on.

My take on matters is this: you can either have a large and prosperous wool and sheep industry, or you can have thriving wolf populations. Pick one.

I think the time has come to ask whether the environmental damage tied to wool production is unacceptably high. Huge swaths of the American west could revert to habitat for diverse wildlife populations, with wolves as the top predator, if only there was the political will to put conservation ahead of the sheep industry.

It’s really America’s clothing shoppers, rather than the few thousand jokers applying for wolf hunting permits, who control the destiny of the wolf. Admittedly, it’s going to be a tough slog to educate consumers about why their choice of clothing fibers is so important. But if we truly want a resurgence of wolves and associated wildlife in rural Western states, an ongoing consumer education effort regarding the environmental cost of wool is exactly what’s needed. Link.

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