The old tales of wolves and farms – whether they’re wearing sheep’s clothes or boys are crying after them – are often meant as cautionary tales for children. But in areas like Saskatchewan, where agricultural growth has limited the available green space for the essential predators, the conflict can be very real.
Unfortunately, the Saskatchewan government is taking an ineffective, cruel, and ultimately lazy approach to preventing this conflict from occurring.
Following the killing of 100 wolves as part of a systemic cull last year, the Minister of Environment announced another cull would begin this year.
“This program is another tool to help control the wolf population,” he said.
Of course, this plan makes a lot of assumptions – such as the wolf population requiring lethal control from humans, and that the population is directly responsible for livestock losses, both of which are based in speculation, rather than science.
Beyond the scientific reasoning – that wolves are an apex predator whose population is controlled by available resources, rather than artificial predation by humans – there is also the ethical argument: should we be killing wolves? How are we impacting the family structures of wolf packs? How much pain and suffering is caused for the sake of an easy answer?
These questions become paramount when other, significantly more effective solutions, are also available.
Livestock Guardian Dogs are not a new concept, and as explained by Alberta rancher Louise Liebenberg, they can be significantly more effective than any predator control – to the tune of 5 per cent or less loss of livestock.
Tell Saskatchewan Minister of Environment Herb Cox that a cull isn’t a solution – it’s a reaction, and an ineffective one at that. Putting incentives behind Livestock Guardian Dogs, environmental design, and other non-lethal, solution-oriented strategies is the only way to keep both farmers and our wild neighbours safe. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your MLA if you live in Saskatchewan (find your MLA here).
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