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Farmers, lawmakers react to Appeals Court wolf ruling

Photos by Paul and Judy Canik of Butternut, WI of sheep killed by wolves on their farm.

Farmers and lawmakers say the Federal Appeals Court was wrong to keep wolves on the endangered species list.  The decision handed down Monday means nothing changes, and people cannot interfere with wolves attacking livestock and pets.

Wisconsin Farm Bureau President Jim Holte tells Brownfield they have people working at the federal level to continue fighting for a legislative solution to remove wolves from endangered status.  “It is frustrating that people continue to want to cause farmers to have to deal with the overpopulation of wolves, and don’t seem to care or understand how farmers have to adapt with their livestock being depredated.”

Wisconsin State Senator Tom Tiffany says efforts to fight the wolf problem have stalled in Washington.  “Hopefully, this will turn that around and there will be a greater sense of urgency for Congress to get the wolf delisting done with no judicial reviews so that courts like the one that ruled today are not able to do their mischief that they are once again doing for those of us in the Great Lakes States.”

Wisconsin Farmers Union board member and cow-calf operator Mark Liebaert from Douglas County, Wisconsin near Superior says all 15 families attending a recent Farmers Union meeting have lost cows and calves to wolves, and many feel the government will never solve the wolf problem.  “(Wisconsin Senators) Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, they promised us.  They promised us this would be done by now. They promised it was actually I think last January it was going to be over, and here we sit.”  Liebaert says it’s hard to get farmers to keep writing and calling elected officials when they see little hope for help.

Senator Ron Johnson says the courts are packed with judicial activists and that this ruling was expected.  He has introduced legislation to remove wolves from the endangered species list.  Senator Tammy Baldwin says she also supports legislation delisting wolves and says the court ruled against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not considering wolf recovery levels in other places like the Dakotas and in New England.

Groups including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Public Lands Council have all expressed dissatisfaction with the court ruling.

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