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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Congress strips federal protection from gray wolves

"This final, pathetic stab at wolves exemplifies House Republicans' longstanding cruelty and contempt for our nation's wildlife."

Image Credit: Western Environmental Law Center

House Republicans voted to strip federal protection from gray wolves, a decision that is being called a stab at America’s wildlife and conservation of biodiversity. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is “arguably the most important law in the United States for conserving biodiversity” and protecting animals and plants.

“This final, pathetic stab at wolves exemplifies House Republicans’ longstanding cruelty and contempt for our nation’s wildlife,” Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity said.

The Manage Our Wolves Act (H.R. 6784) was introduced by introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), and had just four cosponsors, but managed to secure a vote in the House. A total of 196 representatives voted in favor of removing all gray wolves, but the Mexican gray wolves, from the federal list of endangered species in 48 states.

“The American people have demanded that the Fish and Wildlife Service make a decision based upon scientific evidence that is open to a public comment process,” Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said. “Instead, 196 members of Congress passed a bill to deny ESA protections to gray wolves based upon political motivations.”

Common Dreams reported that a “provision in the bill bars judicial review,” so if the act passes the Senate and is signed into law, courts cannot overturn it.

Hunters and ranchers have long asked Congress to ease restrictions on gray wolves for fear of their livestock, but the Endangered Species Act protected the animals from long being trapped, hunted, and poisoned toward extinction.

“These icons of the wild are still missing from…much of their still-suitable habitat, and have they been subjected to hostile killing practices in places such as Wyoming where they have already lost their Endangered Species Act status,” Marjorie Mulhall of Earthjustice said. “Gray wolves continue to need federal protections.”

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