Alaska editorial: Animal rights group just can't be satisfied

Posted: Monday, February 06, 2006

This editorial first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Some people just can't be satisfied. The group that brought the legal action that recently halted the state's wolf control program now complains that the state Board of Game's actions in response to the judge's ruling go too far.

Yet the game board had no choice but to work feverishly to address the issues raised by the judge in the suit successfully brought by Friends of Animals, a Connecticut-based organization leading the opposition to the state's wolf control program. Why did the board have no choice? Because this is the time of year when wolf control is conducted and the state has goals it needs to reach. Does Friends of Animals believe that state wildlife managers should respond to the judge's ruling in a leisurely fashion or perhaps not at all? Apparently so, judging by the comments of Friends of Animals' president, who called the state's effort to restart the program "scandalous." If the program's opponents truly believed the state's wildlife managers would sit idle, they miscalculated terribly.

Wolf control efforts need to continue unimpeded.

The attorney for Friends of Animals and the group's Alaska plaintiffs has, no surprise here, a different view.

"We contend there is no emergency ... that would justify adopting 77 pages of brand new regulations ...," he said in response to last week's decision by the game board to approve revisions to the program.

There most certainly was an emergency, however - and it was brought on by the lawsuit against the state's wolf abatement program. Without the program, moose populations in the five areas targeted for wolf reduction would suffer. And so would the people - hunters and subsistence users - who seek moose for their tables.

State managers were correct to act as fast as they did to respond to the judge's concerns. Friends of Animals has gone to court again, however, and will try to convince a judge this week to reject the latest changes. The state's managers may need to be quick on their feet again if wolf control is to succeed - as it must - and they deserve public support.

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