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Smoke, Mirrors & Flim-Flam re: Wolves in Europe

By Jim Beers

I have just listened to a 1-minute news summary of a recent panel discussion in Germany by Dr. David Scallan the Secretary General of Face, i.e. the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation. The Panel included Torbjorn Larsson, The President of FACE, and Dr. Scallan, and the subject was “the latest Proposal” to “Downlist the Wolf” in the European Union under the Berne Convention.

As an American Wildlife Biologist with more than a casual familiarity with European governance, wildlife and the current flim-flam about predators (particularly wolves) and the plethora of “Hunting” organizations that enable anti- and non-hunting agendas by refusing to speak plainly and honesty about wolf impacts and negative effects of dense wolf populations on big game, small game, rural economies and rural communities. Such groups, researchers and bureaucrats in the USA paint themselves and are painted by the media as wise “moderates” sensitive to hunters as well as animal husbandry and animal rights advocates, parents, dog owners, (“real”) conservationists and “the ecosystem”; you know the “big picture”. They are the Climate Changers determined to quell sun flares, ocean currents; shift meat diets to insects, send farmers to the museum and eliminate energy availability, plus other disconcerting chaos in all corners of the globe.

In the USA there is a word for Republicans and Conservatives that, while continually harping about their traditional bona fides, vote and independently work with the opposing Democrat/Liberal/Green Party and their big picture agenda that others can neither understand nor support. Such Republicans are called “RINO’s” standing for “Republican In Name Only”. Allow me to take a moment of your time to explain why FACE, after only 57 seconds of this briefing (found at the end of this article) about a Panel Discussion, brings to mind a suggested new acronym for FACE, i.e. HINO’s for Hunters In Name Only.

  1. Scallon tells us that all they discussed and recommend is: 1, “Science- based”.

The numbers and distribution of wolves is not a “scientific” matter; it is a political matter. The Berne Convention, like its evil doppelganger The US Endangered Species Act and all the

UN/Convention regulations and elite efforts to eliminate trophy shipping, ivory management and use, whaling, shark management, etc.is like gun control in the US wherein when failing to legally take guns from American citizens, governments try to tax ammo at high rates and bureaucratize gun sales, etc. Like “science-based” proposals here are being falsely used to “save” this and that SPECIES: the EU, USA and a coterie of “Developed” Nations, i.e. rich nations, have cooperated with those opposed to any actual wildlife management and regulated use to go “Abracadabra” and warble about the “need” and their newfound “authority” to cram wolves (and grizzly bears, killer whales, elephants, etc., etc.) into every nook and cranny of the landscapes that will support them despite the future chaos they bring so that every known human right and opportunity available to rural people becomes a dispensation of all-powerful governments to gift to their cronies and associates. JB

  1. That “Wolves are “doing well”.

Of course they are doing well. They are wild Canids – think wolves, jackals, dingoes, coyotes, spaniels, rottweilers and pointers et al – that are found worldwide and under the right and common circumstances both interbreed and have viable offspring. Habituating and protected wolves are especially vulnerable to interbreeding and thus are often extirpating themselves and their gene pool. Especially where they have food and are not importuned by some shepherd or trapper and are otherwise left alone to habituate and get cozy with the elderly, children and others that want no part of them and their effects on human safety or on livestock, sheep flocks, pets, disease transmission and game animals. In addition to the wide berth given by the media to interbreeding wolves and the dangers to human safety with other Canids; if the EU is anything like the USA in these matters, I’ll bet those EU numbers of increase and distributions are below the actual numbers, e.g. “81%” in 10 years indicates more celibate wolves than here in the US and Canada as they return to areas, will full protection and abundant wild and domestic food sources, from which they were extirpated long ago by those living with them. JB

They want to “future-proof EU Law”.

Of course they do. Every governmental power since the earliest native tribe settled in East Africa or Mesopotamia wanted to make laws that were “future proof”. Laws that made them and their descendants and fellow travelers the elite class forever. That is what “future-proof” laws are all about. Laws and regulations should always be subject to testing, adjustment and repeal. This is especially true regarding political pandering in matters such as burgeoning wolf populations and densities resulting from more numerous urban voters manipulating the presence and management of rural topics like wildlife that harm the rural communities while not affecting urban voters other than emotional virtue signaling. JB 

The preceding 3 points appear to be nitpicking and had I not heard the following remarks, I would not have taken the time to comment on what I heard. When Dr. Scallan says:

4, “We willays have the same conservation requirements to maintain the status quo” he gives us a peek at what this hunter-oriented organization is about.

Like most of the USA “hunter-oriented” organizations they see their personal and professional future dependent on not really protecting sustainable wildlife management and use that benefits rural communities and residents. They see themselves as professional intermediaries between elite urban factions determined to make rural landscapes into farm- free, logging, grazing-free and hunting-free zones. These imaginary expanses will provide never-ending virtue-signaling for the masses’ guilt about modern societal turbulence while furthering agendas from animal rights to the economic takeover increasingly heard in the halls of the UN, the media hype about WEF intentions and reports like this 1-minute summary of a Panel Discussion in Germany. JB

5,    When he says, “80% of the rules now come from Brussels”

He is referring to the fact that the EU, thanks to the Berne Convention and the worldwide movement utilizing Treaties and Conventions (that central governments, the UN and elite benefactors draft, ratify and enact) to push all authority and jurisdiction over wildlife, agriculture, silviculture and rural residents ever upward in the ruling food chain. Such that we see here Central Government manifestoes wherein EU bureaucrats dictate what level (Annex 4 or 5) of wolf management or use an Italian shepherd or Finlander hunter is allowed to use to protect his sheep or to maintain moose*, caribou or deer populations.

*As an aside, over-protection on expanding wolf numbers 20-30 years ago in Minnesota extirpated the highly demanded and once-in-a-lifetime Permit hunting of moose in Minnesota where I am writing this. While there is still the occasional moose-sighting (we border Ontario, Canada); when the moose season was closed due to minimal moose numbers the contortions that the federal bureaucrats using the Endangered Species Act, the Minnesota bureaucrats that never met a federal program they didn’t love, the Minnesota University “scientists”, and the media (urban-oriented) reportage emanating from the Capital all displayed contortions that would qualify them for a circus act. They blamed everything from fleas and ticks to Climate Change and a paucity of government funding. JB

6, When he mentions, “Finland is one of the countries where wolf management is not working so well” he is telling us that in the EU there is only Annex 5 and Annex 4 options for member states to employ regarding wolves. Annex 4 is the somewhat more lax but still limited approach, and Annex 5 being the no management emphasizing conservation and protection.

When he mentions “one of the countries”; what other countries; how many such countries are there? If this is an example of how wildlife management of controversial species like wolves in Finland and elsewhere is being managed by EU bureaucrats 1,000 miles by air and 1,400 miles on the ground from where big game is being depleted and hunters desperately need more, not less, local Authority, Jurisdiction & Responsibility over their wolves and all the wolves’ impacts on hunting, families, rural communities, animal husbandry and farmers. This commonsense principle and approach are called Subsidiarity**. JB

**Subsidiarity is the principle of allowing the individual members of a large organization to make decisions on issues that affect them, rather than leaving those decisions to be made by the whole group.

  1. After listening to the foregoing topics, I heard Scallan deliver one of the biggest Flimflams ever. The scary thing is it probably works. It goes, “At the end of the day, it will always be up to the member countries to decide what to do”. JB

So, after telling us that:

  • Finland and an unidentified group of other EU countries are not satisfied with EU restrictions on wolf management and control,
  • EU wolf management, that is concocted by EU bureaucrats utilizing the Berne Convention (which they composed and shepherded it to adoption),
  • 80% of EU wolf regulations “come from Brussels”, g., over a thousand miles from Helsinki,
  • Current wolf regulations “will always have the same conservation requirements to maintain the status quo”,
  • EU Laws are “future-proof”,
  • Wolves are “doing well” and,
  • This is “all Science-Based”.

After all this … he tells us, not to worry because “At the end of the day, it will always be up to the member countries to decide what to do». JB

Not to worry this isn’t big and remote government at work, it is your country that decides “what to do”. If you believe that, I hope you’re not voting where I do because you are both gullible and woefully malinformed. Make no mistake: I have no animus toward FACE or Dr. Scallan. I do have animus toward the USA, EU and UN because they strip certain people (mostly rural) of their rights by their dishonest use of laws and regulations enacted in the last 50+ years to “save” species of wild plants and animals.

What, in my opinion, central governments (CG’s) in Developed Nations should do about wolves:

  • Establish primary authority over resident wildlife at the lowest possible political level excepting Treaty animals and animals in international waters like Pinnipeds and fish and migratory birds that are shared with neighbor states or demand cooperative management.
  • If and when any EU animals or plants are internationally classified as Endangered the CG should purchase or designate the minimum required number lands and locations to meet International or Treaty requirements and fund their management as required. State or Member Nation participation should be voluntary and negotiated as to federal funding and In the case of wolves, their eventual presence in a designated area should be maintained but loss of livestock and other damage from wolves should in or around the designated area be fairly paid for by the State or Member country with federally supported funds.
  • If the challenges to contain wolves prove too difficult, their presence should be Research on control methods could be federally funded if it takes into account various parts (urban/rural/rich/poor et al) of voting citizens.
  • State, Member Country, Federal lands they own, or control should be used for wolf
  • One, or two at the most such wolf zones would be maximum in THE EU and areas of dense wolf populations as are extant would already be available if Finland and the EU were to negotiate
  • All other wolf areas would be voluntarily offered or maintained by the Member country or State if the people wanted to tolerate wolves.
  • In the EU you might have a wolf zone in Finland or Sweden to meet the international requirements. While France might protect wolves and Germany might let them be shot or trapped on site.
  • The USA would simply point to Alaska and her wolves as a place where wolves have and will continue to thrive ‘til the cows come home.
  • Norway would quietly remain the bastion of wise wolf control, livestock activities and hunting for all to emulate.

The necessary changes above rely on voters electing politicians that will support this because it is good for wildlife & good for human society in so many ways. JB

Non-Government-Organizations like FACE could and should support the interests of their supporters AND who in turn should both be their advocate and keep a respectable distance (the opposite of what they do today in the EU, USA and the UN) and avoid morphing into evil doppelgangers; always a danger when working with bureaucrats, politicians, opposing NGOs, and media mavens. Our last 2 US Supreme Court Chief Justices are examples of what is called “Washington Fever”.

Jim Beers
5 February 2024

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million Dollars from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many (5+) decades.

You can watch the video on X.

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