Are you familiar with the brewing feud between actress Ashley Judd and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin? If not, the basic premise of the feud is explained in the following abbreviated article from www.foxnews.com.
“Actress Ashley Judd and Governor Sarah Palin are going at it tooth and nail over Alaska’s wolf hunting laws.
Judd taped a web video for the Defenders of Wildlife foundation that blasts the state’s predator control program, which Palin supports.
“It’s time to stop Sarah Palin and stop this senseless savagery,” Judd says, describing the shooting of wolves from airplanes. “Palin is … casting aside science and championing the slaughter of wildlife.”
The video then directs viewers to the website www.eyeonpalin.org and asks for donations.
Palin responded to the ad with a statement from her office.
“The ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska’s wildlife management programs,” she said. “Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. Our predator control programs are scientific and successful at protecting vulnerable wildlife.”
Defenders of Wildlife countered, saying “hundreds of wildlife scientists have repeatedly condemned her program and she has not once provided any evidence to refute their charges that what she is doing is unscientific.”
It is not the first time the group has raised money using Sarah Palin as their foil. Last fall, when Palin was John McCain’s vice presidential running mate, the group raised $1 million with ads denouncing Palin and her state’s predator control program.
“It is reprehensible and hypocritical that the Defenders of Wildlife would use Alaska and my administration as a fundraising tool to deceive Americans into parting with their hard-earned money,” Palin said.
In Alaska, private citizens are permitted to shoot wolves from the air or conduct land-and-shoot hunting of wolves in rural areas.”
The purpose of this post is to address Judd’s supposition that the environment is harmed when animals are killed and that it is cruel or inhumane. Before you read any further though, be sure to watch Judd’s video here.
God created earth and called it good. Sadly, the world is fallen as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve, but God’s creation is still a marvelous thing to behold. I believe firmly in being a faithful steward of the environment, using and managing it in a manner that is pleasing to God, and I believe in encouraging others to do the same. I believe that, as a Christian, if I am to be like Christ then I must place value on the things He values and I must love the things He loves. I believe God loves His creation…so I love it…all of it. So, do I agree Ashley Judd is correct in asserting that Palin is perpetrating “inhumane” and “senseless” acts by placing a bounty on wolves? No I don’t, and my reasons for believing that are partially practical, but at the root of things my disagreement with Judd is based on my love for God and His creation not my lack of love for it.
The reasons for hunting predators are quite simple; among other things, they prey on other animals, and if there are too many predators they kill too many of their prey. The effects of this are too few prey, in turn leading to famine and disease among the predators. By controlling the predators to prey ratio you can help avoid the negative effects of self-correction in nature. Simply enough, is it not?
Why is there a bounty on the Alaskan wolves? It’s quite elementary. There are too many wolves! Many Alaskans depend on game to feed themselves and control food costs for their family, and a large portion of the Alaskan economy depends on tourism and out of state game hunters that come to Alaska because of its abundant wildlife.
In a statement released by her office, Palin says in response to Judd and the Defenders of Wildlife Foundation…“The ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska’s wildlife management programs. Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. Our predator control programs are scientific and successful at protecting vulnerable wildlife. These audacious fundraising attempts misrepresent what goes on in Alaska, and I encourage people to learn the facts about Alaska’s positive record of managing wildlife for abundance.”
That’s a pretty straightforward explanation. As I mentioned earlier, nature regulates itself ideally, but there are occasions when man’s intervention is necessary for both maintaining the health of nature and avoiding the negative effects of self-correction. Sometimes, constructive intervention requires performing distasteful jobs like killing wolves, and, yes, I would find the job distasteful. Clearly Alaska is currently in a situation calling for human intervention in the wolf population. The economic woes throughout our entire nation only increase the importance of wild game as food and work for Alaskans.
(This next paragraph is non-essential to this post and slightly repetitious, so if time is short please skip it)
In parts of Texas the reverse of what is happening in Alaska is taking place. There are places where predators have been hunted too much, leading too an overpopulation of Deer. Deer rely (unknowingly, of course) on their natural predators to cull out the sick and weak, thus preventing wide spread disease among the deer population. Predators also prevent famine among the deer by keeping their population level at a healthy number. It’s interesting to note that East Texas deer are bigger and healthier than West Texas deer. Why? Because in West Texas deer natural predators have been over hunted, reducing their numbers too much, so the sick and weak deer are not being culled as they should be, and food is scarcer for the deer. In contrast, the healthier East Texas deer are not dying miserably of disease, and they stand a better chance of eluding their predators. That in turn weeds out the less hardy of their predators, leading to hardier predators and less deer, then hardier deer and fewer predators, and the cycle keeps repeating.
(End of non-essential paragraph)
In the video, Judd says: “Palin even proposed a $150 bounty for the severed foreleg of each killed wolf.” After thinking about this, Judd’s apparent assumption that this is some sadistically motivated act of barbarism seems to be the least reasonable of Judd’s assumptions, and it seems that perhaps she is purposely distorting reality and common sense.
The severed foreleg is not to satisfy some sadistic desire to mutilate animals; it is proof that a person actually killed the wolf they claimed to have killed. The bounty is not on the severed foreleg, it is on the wolf from which the foreleg came. Once the severed foreleg is presented as evidence that the wolf was killed by the person that claimed to kill it, I imagine the foreleg will be disposed of. It’s not inhumane or barbaric; it’s common sense. Ashley Judd is being blinded by the sort of radical animal rights and environmental ideology that actually does more harm to animals and the environment than good.
For the reasons listed above I strongly feel that Ashley Judd is very wrong in her assessment of Palin’s actions and would strongly urge her to reconsider her statements and beliefs.
In closing, I would like to stress that I do have appreciation for Judd’s efforts as a whole and appreciation for many of the efforts of the Defenders of Wildlife Foundation. I disagree with them on a significant number of issues, but I appreciate their passion. I just wish they would devote all their efforts to real environmental problems, and this certainly isn’t one. I also wish that more people with a proper Christian perspective on God’s creation would be more vocal in promoting their views.
God bless and veritas supra omnis!
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