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Opinion
Text: The editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

12/1/2011

Who We Are Fighting

Recently a Colorado resident wrote an opinion piece for his local newspaper lamenting the loss of Colorado's "great western outdoor culture," and warned the public about the infiltration of that state's wildlife agency by "agenda-driven environmentalists, masquerading as biologists."

Inspiration for this familiar rant was news of the arrest of three Boulder, Colorado men for felony animal abuse after they killed a trash can raiding raccoon. Claiming that this action was his "breaking point," and that raccoons are not even on the endangered species list, the opinionist went on to complain that Colorado was "feeding our precious resources [deer] to predators, [mountain lions] so the 'bunny-huggers' can feel good about themselves," and questioned the recent banning of electronic calls while hunting lions. As far as he is concerned, the unique cultures of ranching and hunting (or at least his idealized version of those activities), are "under siege by urbanite transplants and academics, clueless as to our western heritage."

He ended his public tirade claiming that "man is the ultimate steward of this planet," deplored the fact that abortions are legal in this country but "killing a garbage dependant raccoon" was not, and called for freeing the animal's accused killers.

Basically this guy is fed up and not going to take it anymore. Unfortunately for him, his sense of moral right and wrong is as far from reality as his sense of what America really stands for.

Boulder authorities didn't arrest those guys for killing a raccoon. They arrested them because these three fine examples of Western manhood beat the poor animal to death with baseball bats and a machete. This wasn't a clean, painless kill, it was a sick, twisted act of mayhem which showed no regard for life--animal or human. In fact, actions such as theirs are often viewed by experts as the first signs of potential serial killers.

As to the question of who has the right to determine the management of Colorado's wildlife resources, this isn't the 1800s. It isn't even the 1900s and despite what this character believes, ranching is no longer king in Colorado. The state has grown up! 4/5ths of Colorado's economy now comes from service industry jobs--jobs held by the so-called "urbanite transplants and academics" he derides.

What's more, 35 percent of Colorado is made up of Federally owned lands which belong to all Americans--not just the ranchers who use it to graze their cattle on the taxpayer's dime, or hunters who only view its wildlife inhabitants through the off-colored lens of something to kill for recreational fun.

Please keep in mind that the Mountain Lion Foundation has nothing against ranchers per say. Many of our most ardent supporters are part of the agricultural community. The same goes for hunters. The Foundation is not opposed to hunting--just trophy hunters. Hunters who want to kill mountain lions, not to put food on the table, but to display their prowess. However, MLF is also opposed to opinionated yahoos like this Colorado guy; people who have no tolerance for alternate lifestyles, viewpoints or opinions. Unfortunately people such as that also control most of the state game agencies. That is who MLF is fighting. The rear guard of an entrenched special interest group that doesn't want to accept that we are now in the 21st century and that America's wildlife belongs to all of us.

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