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article imageOp-Ed: Graphic viral images of dying wolves spur debate Special

By Justin King     Oct 9, 2013 in Environment
Images of dead, dying, and injured wolves circulating on Facebook have caused an outcry of opposition and an increase in the number of those visibly opposing wolf hunting and trapping.
In perhaps the most bizarre twist, these images were not originally circulated by activists in hopes of showing an apparent brutality of trapping, but by hunters showing off their trophies. In what may prove a game-changer in the debate over the future of America’s wolves, the images have been seized upon by wolf advocates.
This is not the first time an image of legal wolf hunting has caused an outcry. In 2012, a Missoula-based anti-trapping group reportedly received an email threatening the lives of their children after posting an image of a dying wolf caught in a foot trap along with forestry employee Josh Brandsford. The graphic image is available here. Discretion is advised.
The images circulating on Facebook have been linked below. A description has been provided for each image. The images are linked rather than posted directly due to their graphic in nature. Discretion is advised.
A deceased blood-stained wolf with its leg caught in a trap along with the slogan “Trapping is awesome!”
A man with his face covered posing with approximately 30 dead wolves. The caption reads “A single days work. :)”
An image showing the entry wound at the top of wolf’s skull.
A photo of a live howling wolf with its foot caught in a trap. A text bubble has been added which shows the wolf asking to be killed.
Question and Answer with a wolf advocate:
How long have you been an activist?
I have been a boots on the ground Animal and environmental activists since 1975.
Are you opposed to hunting in general?
No. Ethical hunting to put food on the table for the family done in a humane way for the animal is acceptable in most cultures.
What was your reaction when you first saw the images?
Horror. Intense grief. Betrayal. How could these atrocities to one of America’s most majestic and valued and loved, highly intelligent and social beings, the wolf , be allowed to happen on American soil? The wolf that we believed was under Federal Endangered Species protection.
You are aware that many anti-wolf hunting and trapping advocates have received death threats against themselves and their families for voicing their opposition to this. Does this worry you?
Yes, we are aware. But the wolves are being massacred at an alarming rate. And we have to put our fears aside and protect them.
How many sites and pages are you aware of that post images like this?
At least 20. Images that haunt me and make anyone cry.
Can you describe which of these images you see as the worst?
The Image of a young Grey Wolf from Wolf Butchering; her foot completely twisted and mangled in a cruel leg hold trap, bleeding about her face from being beaten badly, her golden eyes staring out at you pleading and hopeless.
What benefit can you see coming from the images getting in a wide internet circulation as they have?
In many National polls, over and over it is proven that 3/4s of the American people want Wolves protected. Once the majority of Americans become aware of the massacre and torture being inflicted upon our treasured wolves, they will be outraged and put a stop to this national disgrace!
Peter Sal Domseen is seventy-five years old, and has been active in local and environmental politics since 1975.
UPDATE: A debate has now began over whether some of the animals in the images are wolves or coyotes. The images were all sourced back to wolf hunting or trapping sites, and the same techniques are used to kill both types of animals.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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