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Senator Doug Whitsett

Oregon State Capitol
900 Court Street NE, S-302
Salem, Oregon 97310

Senator Whitsett Says Wolf Plan Ignores Rural  Interests

2/21/05 Salem ĖSenator Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) issued the following statement on Monday regarding Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commissionís adoption of the state wolf plan:

"Last week the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a framework for the introduction and protection of the gray wolf in Oregon. This document is innocently referred to as the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, but I prefer to call a spade a spade. This so-called management plan is actually an engraved invitation for a vicious predator to enter the state and attack our deer, elk and livestock populations. There is simply no other result that rational persons can expect from this faulty policy decision. The potential pitfalls are numerous.

"First, like much of the public policy of this state, the decision completely ignores the concerns of the rural individuals who confront the issue on a daily basis. We live in a representative republic where policy makers are sworn to make common sense policy choices and to protect minority interests. The decision to introduce and protect the wolf is irrational at best and completely ignores the rural minority of this state.

"Second, I am extremely skeptical about the ability of Oregonís Department of Fish and Wildlife to control the wolf population and protect our livestock and other wildlife. The federal government with nearly unlimited resources has utterly failed to control the wolf population in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The supposedly "experimental" wolves introduced in Idaho now exceed 800 known wolves with many more certainly unknown. This failure has resulted in devastation for deer, elk and other wildlife in Idaho. To expect anything different in Oregon is not realistic.

"Finally, the protection in the plan that allows cattlemen to eliminate a wolf that has attacked their herd is totally illusory. For starters, it is not at all clear that the federal protections would even allow such action. In addition, wolves hunt at night and prefer to hunt in remote areas. No rancher can monitor his herd 24/7 and more importantly, he should not have to. This wolf plan guarantees devastation for Oregon ranchers similar to what has been experienced in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Of course none of this is news to the proponents of Wolf introduction. They are fully aware of the consequences of this plan for ranchers and they welcome the result.

"I am currently engaged in discussions about the potential for introducing some meaningful legislation that may offer some greater protection from these predators. While the hope of getting such legislation through the Senate is slight, I do not believe that you sent me to Salem to do what I thought was easy. Iíve said from the beginning that my primary goal is to speak for the rural interests of Oregon. Fighting for meaningful and sensible protections from the gray wolf is at the top of that list."

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