Ballot box biology

Letters to the editor

Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2000

Ballot box biology first reared its ugly head in 1996 when anti-hunters and animal rights zealots prompted a ban on same-day airborne wolf hunting. They succeeded in distorting the issue so people thought they were voting to ban aerial wolf hunting, which already was illegal. The fine print of the initiative also made it virtually impossible for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to ever do any predator control.

ADF&G employees were told by their political bosses in Juneau to remain strictly neutral on the issue, that it was something for the voters to decide. When several dozen biologists signed a newspaper ad opposing the ballot measure, they were reprimanded even though the ad did not identify them as ADF&G employees. In 1998, it was wolf snaring. Again, ADF&G managers saw a serious threat to their ability to manage moose and caribou on a sustained yield basis. But once again their political bosses in Juneau silenced them. This year we have two ballot measures dealing with wildlife. So again we can expect the ADF&G to remain silent and neutral, right? WRONG! Commissioner Frank Rue and Deputy Commissioner Rob Bosworth are actively opposing the best interests of wildlife managers and our wildlife resources on both issues. To the point of appearing in television debates on the side of the anti-hunting, animal rights coalition. What happened to the department's neutrality policy?

It is clear there is a significant disconnect between Alaska's working wildlife managers and political appointees in Juneau.

I am confident the vast major of ADF&G employees will vote yes on proposition 1 in spite of their politically driven leadership.

Elaina Spraker


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