Why is it people in Alaska seem to be getting so upset about Friends of Animals
going ape over plans for killing wolves in the McGrath area?
The shocking thing would be if the Connecticut-based animal-rights organization
wasn't making a fuss. From the standpoint of Friends, any sort of wolf control
in Alaska is an irresistible target, and not just because it involves killing
Consider for a moment the goal of the McGrath wolf kill. The goal is to allow
more moose to survive the fangs of predators over the winter. This could, in
turn, mean a few more moose for McGrath hunters to kill and eat next fall.
But for humans -- as opposed to wolves -- to kill and eat moose is wrong, according
"Friends of Animals is against the use of animals for human consumption,'' the
organization openly proclaims on its Web site.
"Hunting,'' the Web site adds, "is cruel. It is deceitful. It is socially unjustifiable.
It is ecologically disruptive. Friends of Animals opposes hunting in all its
Or at least the organization opposes "human'' hunting in all its forms.
If Friends really opposed hunting in all its forms, it would be lobbying the
state to exterminate all the wolves to keep them from hunting. But friends is,
of course, opposed to killing even one wolf. While the organization doesn't think
humans should eat any meat at all, it is apparently fine if wolves kill and eat
every critter they can.
Reading the Friends Web site, however, it is hard to tell if this is because
the organization likes wolves or if it is simply because the organization is
as opposed to people killing wolves as it is opposed to people killing moose
or cattle or chickens or fish.
Friends detests all killing of animals by humans. It believes our species should
limit its diet to fruits, nuts, tubers, grains and vegetables.
"Millions of Americans are vegetarian or vegan,'' Friends proclaims. "This major
shift toward a vegetarian diet is because people have discovered the cruelties
inherent in meat production and the link between meat consumption and many forms
of human disease.''
Or so the organization claims. As with many of these fringe interest groups,
facts often come second to agenda. And Friends is very much out there on the
"There is no such thing as 'humane' meat-based agriculture,'' Friends says. "Whether
animals are factory farmed or raised 'free-ranged' for slaughter, the life of
the farm animal is hell from the moment of birth to the moment of slaughter.''
Hell, do you hear them? Hell!
Apparently, even if a heifer is turned out to frolic in a pasture for its entire
life only to be struck down by a bolt of lightning that kills it instantly, as
painless a death as is possible, its life will have been, well, hell.
The Friends Web site even leaves one wondering if it's OK to eat road kill. Anchorage
charities regularly make use of road kill. This is considered the best use of
the several hundred moose hit by cars in the Anchorage area every winter because,
heaven knows, we wouldn't want hunters cropping the local moose population.
Friends, however, wouldn't seem to draw much of a distinction between hunters
shooting the moose and charities eating their carcasses after the animals are
killed in auto collisions -- "it being,'' in the words of the Friends Web site, "morally
wrong to eat meat.''
Given this, it shouldn't come as any surprise at all that in the effort to stop
a wolf-kill designed to grow more moose for McGrath residents to eat, Friends
would go to court, send its voodoo scientist out to lobby and threaten an Alaska
The only surprise is that anyone in Alaska would take any of this seriously.
Friends of Animals, with its 200,000 members, barely qualifies as chump change
on the national political stage. If you actually believe its membership claim
-- and there's really no reason to believe this claim is any more valid than
some of its other claims -- Friends has half the membership of the Young American
Bowling Alliance, a children's group.
Friends is nothing but a little voice squeaking in a big, noisy crowd of environmental
groups calling for boycotts. Let's see who or what is on the boycott list at
* Adidas, for using kangaroo leather in some of its shoes.
* Air France, Continental, Delta and a bunch of other airlines, for flying monkeys.
* Kentucky Fried Chicken, for cruelty to chickens.
* American Home Products, maker of Chapstick and a bunch of other goods, for
testing products on horses.
* Budweiser, for holding killer whales captive at the SeaWorld marine park.
* Colgate-Palmolive, for animal testing.
* Gap, which includes Old Navy and Banana Republic, for supporting clear-cutting
of old-growth forest in Mendocino County, Calif.
And this is only part of a list that goes on and on and on. I won't even get
into the boycotts being staged ("attempted" would be a better word) for social
or political reasons. There are dozens of those too.
Some of them actually make sense. The world is full of people being politically
oppressed. There are millions of workers around the globe being economically
abused. There are even populations of endangered animals truly threatened with
extinction in Africa and Asia.
And Friends of Animals is really going to get people worked up about a handful
of wolves in a state where there are thousands -- in a state where wolves don't
even face a threat of becoming threatened?
The threat of a boycott in these circumstances is enough to make one laugh.
Which is exactly how the state ought to respond to threats from Friends. Give
them a shrug and a laugh and suggest to Friends mouthpiece Priscilla Feral that
she go back to harassing the Greenwich Audubon Society for its decision to allow
archers to kill some of the whitetail deer devouring the vegetation in that organizations'
Connecticut wildlife sanctuary.
Or better yet, maybe Alaska could offer Feral a few wolves to take home to Connecticut
to solve that deer problem. Alaska wolves would certainly be happier feasting
on easy-to-kill East Coast deer than dangerous-to-attack, hard-to-kill Alaska
moose, and someone who likes wolves as much as Feral must certainly want some
in her own back yard.
Daily News Outdoor editor Craig Medred can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org