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Take action for Alaska's wolves

To Concerned Citizens of the Four Corners Area:

Iam writingto draw attention to a situation in Alaska that should be of great concern to residents of Colorado andthe United States. Last year,with the encouragement ofGov. Frank Murkowski, the Alaska Legislature enacted a law that reinstated the practices of aircraft-assisted hunting of gray wolves. The purpose is to eliminate 80 to 100 percent of wolves and other predators, such as bears, from an enormous area of Alaska in order, ostensibly, to increase the number of moose for subsistence hunters.

Aircraft-assisted hunting comes in two varieties, aerial hunting and same-day land-and-shoot,both of which are incredibly barbaric and unethical. Alaskans have voted to ban land-and-shoot hunting twice in the past eight years (1996 and 2000). Aerial hunting has not been permitted in Alaska since 1972.

Aerial hunting involves tracking wolves in deep snow with aircraft and, if necessary, flushing the wolves into open areas where they can be shot from the air. Land-and-shoot involves tracking wolves by aircraft, chasing them tothe point of collapsein deep snow, and landing andshooting them as they lay exhausted.

Under the new predator-control program, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game grants licenses to pilots to conduct the wolf slaughter. All or nearly all wolvesin selected areas must die, so the hunters make no distinction as to age they pick off puppies as well asmature adults, including pregnant females. The incentive? The "fun" of the hunt (certainly this type of hunting could not be deemed challenging), and the $300 that a wolf peltin good condition may fetch in Anchorage. (Note that, according to the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, people are willing to pay $300 in Alaska just to view a wild-living wolf).

In November 2003, prior to commencement of the slaughter, the U.S.-based Friends of Animals petitioned unsuccessfully for a permanent restraining order to stop the wolf hunt. Protestersin Alaska andaround the world demonstrated and contacted Gov. Murkowski, pleading for cancellation of the predator-control program. Murkowski refused to budge. In December, the Alaska Board of Game opened up two enormous areas, totaling some 10,000 square miles, topredator control. Nearly 120 wolves have been killed to date. This area has recently been expanded to 20,000 square miles for next fall's and winter's killing.

Why should the fate of Alaska's wolves be of concern to us "outsiders?" Apart from the ethical issues associated with aerial-assisted killing, there are the facts that: within Alaska's boundaries lives the largest population of gray wolves (7,000 to 9,000) remaining in the United States; 60 percent of the land in Alaska is federal; and predator removal is by no means a proven means of increasing prey populations.

With respect to the latter, in 1997, the National Academy of Sciences completed a study ofAlaska's predator-control programs, which at the time did not include aircraft-assisted wolf hunting but did include other methods of wolfkilling, e.g., snaring. According to Defenders of Wildlife, the studyshowed that many of the biological relationships assumed in Alaska's predator-control programs are not well understood. Thestudy concluded that insufficient information exists tosay that such programs increase prey populations.

Tellingly,the Alaska Board of Gamehas recently made an upward revision inits moose countfor active predator-control areas and has decided to lifta statewide ban on the hunting of moose calves. Alaska's government has thereby undercut its own argument that wolves must be destroyed to protect moose from predation.

As a parent and concerned steward of the environment, I want to ensure that my children and generations after them may travel to Alaska toexperience wolves living in the wild. As a taxpayer, I want a say in how stateand federal officials manage federalland, and I do not believe thatsuch landshould be used, as in the case of Alaska, as a placefor theannihilationof wolves. Nor do I believe that any government should be permitted to use poor science and sham arguments to justify theeradication of wolves which, in terms of our wildlife reserves, are a national treasure.

I urge those of you who agree to take action. In December 2003, Friends of Animals launched a boycott of all Alaska tourism. The boycott will remain in effect untilGov. Murkowski halts the aerial and land-and-shoot wolfcontrol program. To pledge your participation or express your opposition, contact Gov. Frank Murkowski by mail at P.O. Box 110001, Juneau, AK, 99811; by fax at (907) 465-3532; or by phone (907) 465-3500.

Alternatively, you may sign a pro-boycott postcardpreprinted by Friends of Animals. These will be available atone of twostop-the-hunt "Howl-Ins" held in Durango on Friday, March 26, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the College Union Building lobby, and from 8-10 p.m. at the Diamond Circle Theatre.

For more information about Howl-Ins and Alaska's predator-control program,visit: www.friendsofanimals.org; www.savealaskawolves.org; or www.akwildlife.org

Lynne Bruzzese,


A little history of the W. regime

Dear Editors,

Today, as some people celebrate but most of us mourn the one-year anniversary of the day that America started a war for the first in its history, I would like to point out a few things. A few facts:

Number one: George W. Bush is wrong. Wrong about terrorism. Wrong about the war. Wrong about the economy. Wrong about America.

Instead of uniting this country after the horrors of 9-11, he has divided America right down the middle by sending our soldiers off to die in the senseless, shameless, winless war on the other side of the world against a primitive, defenseless nation that had no reason, or intention or even the means to attack us. Until now, that is.

Fact: They did not attack us. "We" attacked them. And when all is said and done, we will have lost the war.

The war that we started.

As for the economy, it is not getting better, as Mr. Bush claims, but rather worse. The national debt, now over $500 billion and growing every day, will be an enormous burden on many future generations of Americans. Unemployment is rising. Three million jobs have been lost. Construction costs have literally gone through the roof because we are sending all of our materials over to rebuild the country that we blew up. There are tax-cuts for the rich but not for the poor.

Health care has gone completely berserk.

There is no money for disabled veterans, or mental patients, or public schools.

And yet, now, Mr. Bush wants to go to the planet Mars!

Which, by the way, is named after the god of war.

As for terrorism, Mr. Bush has not put a stop to it but has rather encouraged it. Indeed, under his command, America has become the terrorist. The war-monger. The big bully of the world. And there is nothing that David likes more than kicking Goliath's butt.

So each and every day three more dead just this morning our troops in Iraq pay a terrible price for Mr. Bush's aggressive and arrogant ways.

Perhaps if Mr. Bush had sons in the military, sons in the 82nd Airborne or even sons he would not have been so quick to squeeze the trigger and send them off to war. But they are not his sons over there. They are someone else's sons. And daughters.

I have noticed that Mr. Bush will not allow the news media to film the flag-draped coffins of our dead soldiers being brought back from the Iraqi desert, but he will use images of flag-draped coffins being brought our of the 9-11 mass grave to further his political ambitions.

This is not surprising to me. Not surprising at all. For this is the man who responded to a reporter's question about what he would say to the Iraqis who are attacking our troops by blurting out "Bring it on!"

And now there are 567 dead sons and daughters. Brothers and sisters. Fathers and mothers. And counting.

It is time. It is time to tell Mr. Bush that he is wrong. Wrong about the world. Wrong about America. Wrong about death.

From the looks of it, Mr. Bush would do just about anything, for anyone or to anyone, to get re-elected. His worst fear is that the American people will see through his odd smile and blathering lies and pathetic propaganda and utter contempt for American values and freedoms that are so dear to true patriots. His ultimate nightmare is that we will rise up out of our lethargy and vote him out of office, instead of allowing him and his henchmen to wreak four more years of havoc on our beloved homeland.

There is a reason that Mr. Bush would rather focus on gay marriages and space missions to Mars. Because if he talked about the real problems in America, if he admitted to all the horrible failures of his administration, if he told us the truth about his motives for going to war, he would be defeated in the upcoming election by a tremendous margin.

Let's do it. Let's wake up. Let's see the truth. Let's tell the truth about Mr. Bush and his cronies. Come November, let us remove Mr. Bush form the White House and send him back to Waco.

Better yet, let's send him to Mars. No matter what is costs America. Or doesn't.

Curt Melliger,


In support of Bushonomics

Dear editors,

Kerry carps about the factory job losses due to Bush. That sound bit avoids a proper analysis of what the government policies cause what effects in employment. It fails to recognize that manufacturing jobs around the world have diminished about 10 percent in recent years due to increasing productivity. The U.S. started losing factory jobs back in the 1990s, nearly 2 million during Clinton's final 3 years, even as our economy boomed. And that we had the same unemployment percentage when Clinton started his second term that now is occurring under Bush.

Bush inherited an economy that was falling fast, due to reasons beyond his control. He managed to not only stop that but reverse it despite 9/11 and its devastating aftermath. But Kerry doesn't mention that, preferring to demonize his opponent based on a bogus claim that Bush prefers to outsource jobs to foreign countries, for reasons even he can't say and sound credible.

Outsourcing has been going on for decades. It works by pushing low-paying, low-skill jobs to countries that welcome them as an improvement over the even worse conditions they face. Higher-paying, higher-skills, higher-value jobs are added and retained in order to improve the performance of a company creating them. That raises the standard of living for all. Kerry is playing partisan politics, misstating our economy's condition and misleading the public by doing so. Kerry is smart enough to know better.

Kim Rogalin,





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