Don’t Forget the Wildlife

Posted by Dana Campbell, ALDF's Chief Contract Attorney on April 28, 2008

A Sierra Club representative contacted me on Earth Day last week about possibly working on a future project together with ALDF, and it reminded me that our work overlaps in many ways–that protection of the environment is good for the animals, and vice versa.

I’m lucky enough to live in upstate New York, a place where deer, rabbits, and squirrels cross through my yard, and I have even seen the neighborhood’s elusive fox emerge from the nearby woods to trot up my street. Recently I discovered that if I take a certain road to the store, I might see a flock of 8 magnificent wild turkeys who must reside in a forest that borders a field where they rather recklessly hang out endlessly in full view from the road, if they are not in fact IN the road.

Seeing wildlife out in the open has absolutely thrilled me in an indescribable way ever since I was a child, and it still does. In those moments I truly feel like nature has chosen me to have a glimpse of a special, beautiful secret, and I hold my breath and watch as long as I can, until the animal returns to its normal place hidden out of view of humans (except for the turkeys).

All of which is a long way of saying, don’t forget the wildlife. I know that with all the work we do at ALDF on companion animal cases and farm animal issues, it’s easy to forget about the wildlife–who are usually exempt from most animal protection laws, hunted when out in the open, and whose habitat around the world is diminishing daily.

I’m teaching my 6-year-old son to appreciate these specially revealed moments in nature, to respect all animals, and to do what we can to ensure their habitat is preserved before it’s all gone. He thinks the deer are "awesome" and can identify as many bird species as I’ve been able to teach him (note to self: bone up on learning more bird species). Despite his mother’s extreme phobia about snakes, my son has embraced them. Literally. So we do what we can to remember the wildlife, and their environment, and hope others will too.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Forget the Wildlife

  1. Susan Bennett says:

    Thank you for posting this article. It is encouraging the protection of our wildlife is becoming a national concern and we are moving forward. On March 3, 2009, President Obama signed the Lands Managment Act adding two million acres of new wilderness across the nation and “returning it to it’s rightful owners.” I have been working diligently since January of this year to oppose the culling of an estimated 400 deer in Shawnee Mission Park, a metro park located in Lenexa, Kansas.

    It began because of malicious false allegations the deer were a risk for Lyme’s disease, and a few caused a great deal of damage with their spurious and false statements. I obtained records from the CDC validating there have been only 4 cases of Lyme’s reported since 2007, and when compared with 2500 cases in CT, it does not warrant the culling of 400 deer confined in a 1260 acre public metro park.

    The second part of the opposition is the dispute if deer are to be culled, how it will be carried out. The bow hunter’s organization has a large membership and they enjoy this cruel and primitive method. The deer are only wounded, and suffer for hours, days and sometimes weeks. I started a petition and they started a counter-petition. It has been well publicized, and on tv news as well as the newspaper. There is no scientific data to substantiate the basis for culling a single deer, nor has it been well managed.

    Republican Anthony Brown initiated House Bills 2342 and 2362, the first to allow an immediate bow hunt to cull the deer, and the latter to make it a bi-annual event forever.

    Your website is an excellent source of helpful information. I found federal law regarding this issue through links on your site, and valuable legal research from the University of Michigan School of Law. I will continue to search for accurate, scientific research articles and work to disprove the malicious false statements and allegations made about the deer population in the park.

    I hope you will continue to feature wildlife here inasmuch as their future and ours depends very much on the legislation pending. We can only hope to protect our national treasures for the generations to come.

  2. Recently in the news: Two police officers in OH shoot a perfectly healthy raccoon and leave it suffering, writhing in pain in a dumpster, ignoring a citizens pleas….3 teenagers beat on an opossum at a Texas camp, and her babies as they climb out of her pouch, in front of other children. They leave her still alive in a trash can with her dead babies…. In OH a woman bashes on a fawn’s head with her shovel… What if these were domestic animals?
    When will animal cruelty laws start applying to urban wild animals? It’s one thing to be allowed to legally kill them – it’s another to cause suffering to them.
    “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
    – Mohandas Gandhi
    I am pretty sure he meant ALL animals.

    Katherine McGill
    SunChaser Wildlife, Inc.

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