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December 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Restoring the voice of wolves in the wild

Posted by Letters editor

Most cattle die from health issues, not predation

Scott McCredie’s piece, “Restoring the voice of wilderness,” Opinion, Nov. 29, correctly noted that the loudest opponents of reintroducing wolves to this region are ranchers and hunters.

Ranchers often blame wolves for cattle loss. According to the Washington State Beef Industry website, in Washington in 2008 there were approximately 11,700 ranchers and cattlemen, and total cattle production at that time was 1,326,102,000 pounds or 1,032,100 head of cattle harvested. These numbers far outweigh 125 wolves.

Statistics from Defenders of Wildlife gathered in 2005 show the most common reason for cattle loss is health issues. Overall, wolves account for less than 1 percent of cattle loss.

Ranchers can and do graze cattle on federal land. How is it fair to condemn a wolf for hunting on non-private land? And how does allowing cattle to destroy topsoil align with the Bureau of Land Management’s mission to protect our federal rangelands?

I applaud McCredie for giving a voice to a majestic and often-misunderstood creature. I hope readers will educate themselves about this issue and remember the words of Gandhi:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

— Tracy Wallschlaeger, Seattle

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