Calling Wildlife 'Livestock' Doesn't Mean it Should
to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / January 2, 2004
In "Who's the enemy -- wolves or us?" (Dec. 24), Bill Sherwonit criticized John
Manly, spokesman for Gov. Murkowski, for saying: "In Alaska, moose and caribou
are our livestock. ... We are just trying to protect our livestock like any
other state." Mr. Sherwonit said this is a "foolish utterance" and that "to
link wildlife with domestic animals as Manly does is both arrogant and ridiculous."
It is clear to me that Mr. Manly was making an analogy by calling wildlife "livestock" and
meant that some Alaskans rely on wild game as people elsewhere rely on livestock.
No reasonable person would believe that Mr. Manly's statement endorses the domestication
of moose or caribou. He was simply endorsing wildlife management, in this case
Mr. Sherwonit misrepresented the intended meaning by inferring that Mr. Manly
used the term "livestock" literally. Aldo Leopold, perhaps the most respected
American conservationist, also used agricultural analogies for wildlife: "This
is game management -- the art of producing crops of wild animals for recreational
use," and "The experience of managing land for wildlife crops has the same value
as any other form of farming; it is a reminder of the man-earth relation."
Leopold was not necessarily in favor of predator control, but he realized that
managed wildlife populations can be likened to farmed crops.
I suggest that Mr. Sherwonit apologize to Mr. Manly for misrepresenting his statements.
Matthew A. Cronin / Anchorage
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