The Deseret News June 30 editorial about lifting the ban on predator control fails to consider the facts. The so-called ban was not arbitrary. It was imposed by BLM officials because the program was illegal.
Appeals by the Humane Society of the United States and the Utah Wilderness Association documented the utter failure of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Animal Damage Control (ADC) to obey the law. Yet, even this ban allows for emergency killing of predators.Here in Utah, that emergency policy has been abused. ADC records show that every request for predator killing has been deemed an emergency since the ban went into effect in mid-April. Yet most sheep are off the BLM winter ranges by that time.
Unfortunately, the government-sponsored carnage against wildlife may have been even greater under the ban. Many of these so-called emergencies were not reported to the BLM by ADC.
The Deseret News is wrong. There is no good evidence to suggest that ADC predator-killing programs save livestock. In fact, the permittee-reported livestock losses on the Dixie National Forest declined when the killing program was temporarily halted under a recent lawsuit as compared to years when predator control was in effect.
There are options to this unsavory killing. Non-lethal techniques such as guard dogs should be emphasized. It must be recognized that grazing fees are lower on public lands, in part, because of additional expected predator losses. It is time ADC and BLM live up to the nation's laws.
Utah Wilderness Association