Occupy Montana: Howling in the name of wolves

by Adam

Mickey Z.

truth spreads in pasture

we have more to fear from the

shepherd than the wolf

Mickey Z.

The first “dogs,” of course, were domesticated wolves but the chasm between man’s best friend and its much-maligned ancestor remains perilously wide. This reality not only goes a long way in illustrating the irrationality that permeates modern human culture, it also provides us with a golden opportunity to step up and defend some of our co-inhabitants…right now.

According to Madison.com, Wisconsin is home to “some 800 gray wolves” and thus, the US Fish and Wildlife Service should “remove the gray wolf from the (federal endangered species) list in and around Wisconsin so wildlife officials … can better protect farm livestock and pets.”

To help prove (sic) their specious point, the editors go on to explain how “47 farms in Wisconsin lost at least 75 valuable livestock animals to wolf attacks last year, and additional farm animals were injured” despite the act that wolf territory has shrunk “due to housing development.”

We’ll occupy Montana in a few moments but first…let’s explore this snapshot of life in 2011:

A wolf—its habitat stolen by the “development” of Homo sapiens—creeps onto a farm where it kills and eats a calf to survive. Human beings are united in outrage and filled with sudden and unexpected concern for the welfare of, ahem, “valuable” livestock—demanding the “pest” is promptly de-listed so it can be hunted down and killed.

We can’t let one of those beasts slaughter one of our beasts, can we? Nope…that’s our job. Only we get to kill the wolves and get to kill the livestock and get to kill all the land it takes to make this carnage happen.

Which now brings us to Montana (and Idaho and Wyoming) where the gray wolf was surreptitiously de-listed and is now the focus of a massive three-state hunter orgy. This calls for another snapshot:

March 2009: Making good on his campaign promise, President Obama changes the status of gray wolves from “endangered” to essentially “target practice.” The slaughter commences immediately. (Perhaps we’re just supposed to hope the hunters miss?)

August 2010: Montana federal district judge, Donald Molloy, restores Endangered Species Act protection to the wolves.

April 2011: As described by Lee Hall, “Mike Simpson, a Republican representative from Idaho, and Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, conspired to overturn the court’s decisions by way of a rider on a federal budget bill to remove the judicial shield from the wolves in most of the northern Rockies. Congress approved the budget, rider and all.”

Both of the above snapshots reveal that the reasoning for such assaults is the same tortured logic of profit-above-all; the same mentality that has brought the planet to the brink. “Money and convenience are some of the reasons to hunt wolves, which implies conflict of interest, especially when no scientific protocols were followed,” explains Montana’s wolf biologist Jay S. Mallonee.

“Wolf-hunts,” writes George Wuerthner in Counterpunch, “as Montana Fish and Game Commission Chairman Bob Ream noted at a public hearing, are in part to relieve hunters’ frustrations.” The hunts, he adds, are “predicated upon morally corrupt and inaccurate assumptions about wolf behavior and impacts that is not supported by recent scientific research.”

Furthermore, as Wuerthner details, “most hunting occurs on larger blocks of public lands and most wolves as well as other predators killed by hunters have no relationship to the animals that may be killing livestock on private ranches or taking someone’s pet poodle from the back yard. A number of studies of various predators from cougars to bears show no relationship between hunter kills and a significant reduction in the actual animals considered to be problematic.”

Like so much of contemporary culture, hunting myths are inherently flawed yet remarkably durable but as is the case with all myths, they must be challenged and ultimately smashed. This is where the increasingly familiar tactic of “occupation” just might come in handy.

“We’re demanding an immediate end to state-sponsored wolf slaughter and, until it ends, we’ve called for a complete boycott of the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming,” says Friends of Animals’ (FoA) president Priscilla Feral. The growing boycott includes Yellowstone National Park, which spans all three states.

To accomplish this goal, FoA is bringing the fight directly to Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer’s doorstep with a “Howl-In” on Friday, October 14, 2011 at the Montana State Capital Building (address and details below).

FoA’s call:

“Your attendance is very important. Please bring colorful posters, spirited banners, placards and noisemakers to the rally. We’re targeting Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Senator John Tester, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar—all of whom contributed to the persecution of gray wolves in Montana and beyond. Posters should emphasize the economic boycott of WY, ID, and MT. Because the media will attend, it’s important to present creative posters that are large and legible.”

FoA concludes with this crucial pledge: “We won’t stop until gray wolves are given federal protection.”

It seems the “we won’t stop” vibe is rapidly spreading from sea to shining sea thus, those in Montana—both residents and wolf-friendly guests—might want to join up with Occupy Montana. In fact, an Occupy Montana Awareness Gathering has been scheduled just one week after the Howl-In commences.

Whether it’s protecting wolves or standing up for economic equality, activism always works best when holistic justice is the goal. Occupy everywhere…

Howl-In details:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Starting @ 12 Noon

Montana State Capital Building

1301 E. 6th Ave.

Helena, Montana 59620-0801

Those unable to attend can contact Montana’s governor to explain why they are participating in the boycott:

Governor Brian D. Schweitzer

406-444-3111 (office)


Friends of Animals contacts:

Edita Birnkrant: Edita@FriendsofAnimals.org or 212-247-8120

Dustin Rhodes: Dustin@FriendsofAnimals.org or 202-986-1693

Connect with kindred spirits:

Occupy Montana meeting

Friday, October 21 @ 5:00pm

F.O.E. (Fraternal Order of Eagles)

526 Laurie Lane

Billings, MT

Facebook page


Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.