Republican Congress Passes Bill To Send Alaskan Ecosystems Careening Out Of Control
Up until now, the policy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been to allow hunting of predators such as bears and wolves in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges only when the hunting has been demonstrated to be “based on sound science and in response to a conservation concern”.
That sounds like an obvious approach to managing hunting in wildlife refuges. The whole point of wildlife refuges, after all, is that they provide refuge for wildlife. So, if there’s any hunting to be done in national wildlife refuges, it ought to happen with the scientifically-backed rationale of preserving ecological stability.
Unfortunately, the National Rifle Association doesn’t see it that way. The NRA has long opposed scientific standards for sustainable hunting practices of predators in national wildlife refuges, because when an ecological system is working, it doesn’t depend on human hunters coming in and shooting off their guns. The NRA is propped up by gun merchants, and a sustainable, scientifically-established policy on hunting isn’t good for their bottom line.
So, the National Rifle Association has been sending lobbyists to Washington D.C., telling Republican members of Congress that they need to vote for, H.J. Res. 69, a piece of legislation designed to tilt the ecological systems of the national wildlife refuges in Alaska out of balance.
The rationale for human hunting in national wildlife refuges is that the lack of natural predators enables herbivore populations to expand out of control, resulting in the destruction of habitat. People with guns must come in and hunt, the NRA says, in order to preserve the ecological order.
This argument makes no sense in Alaska, however, because Alaska still has many of its predators remaining in nature. Idiots with guns didn’t kill all the predators in Alaska in the way that they did in the rest of the country. So, with natural predation healthy, there’s no ecological excuse for hunting in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.
H.J. Res. 69 is designed to create an ecological problem so that human hunters will be required to come in with their guns and shoot a lot of animals. What’s especially convenient for the NRA is the tool that H.J. Res. 69 uses to create ecological disorder: Even more hunting with guns.
What H.J. Res. 69 does is to eliminate the protections against extreme forms of hunting of wolves, bears, and other predators in Alaska’s wildlife refuges. H.J. Res. 69 allows for hunters to shoot bear cubs, for example, or to corner packs of wolves in their dens, or to shoot at predators from airplanes.
With the bears and wolves gone from Alaska’s national wildlife refuges, caribou and moose populations will skyrocket, and then more hunters with guns will have to be called in to solve the “problem” of herbivores destroying natural habitat.
It’s all very convenient, and very profitable, for the gun and ammunition merchants who run the NRA. For the ecological health of national wildlife refuges, however, it will be a disaster.
So, you know what the Republicans in Congress did, of course. They voted to pass H.J. Res. 69, and let the bullet casings fall where they may.