The animals had rights - the right of a man's protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man's indebtedness - and in recognition of these rights the Lakota never enslaved an animal, and spared all life that was not needed for food and clothing.
This concept of life and its relations with humanizing, and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all. Chief Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux.
This weekend there will be a wolf protest at the fairgrounds in Kalispell. The ad in the local trade paper called for all hunters to "Be there or don't complain!" Some around these parts are saying the number of elk, deer and other game is down, because of the wolf population. I especially like the line that says, "Participate at your own risk". I'm wondering if that is for the pro-wolf folks that might show up.
I am a pro-wolf folk. I am also a pro-hunting folk, (I bow hunted for a couple of seasons). I have read a lot of info on wolves in my life, and watched documentaries. I've even watched hunting/outdoors programs. I have visited the International Wolf Center in Ely, MN, a couple of times (I still do via the 'net). I believe we can learn from wolves, (as well as other animals and nature).
It's not as though a wolf can go to a supermarket and buy a favorite cut of meat. A hunter can, and most likely he or a member of his family does. A pack of wolves doesn't go for a trophy "rack", as some hunters do. A wolf kills what it needs to survive.
My dad told me a story about when he and my mom had a young family, and money and food were scarce. He said they were hungry. He said he went out into the woods to hunt for meat, so his young family could eat. He said he prayed that he would get a deer, and when he looked up there was a good sized deer within shooting distance. He said the deer saw him, and lowered its head as if to say I am yours to feed your family. The deer gave of itself, so my parents, their young family and my grandparents could eat.
Maybe the problem is not dwindling elk and deer populations. Or, a growing, thriving wolf population. Maybe its not even a growing hunting/human population. I don't know. There must be a way to have balance.
I don't mean for this post to become a pissing contest to prove which side is right. No one wins that way, we all just end up getting wet. I do believe in the rights of We the People. The whole life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness thing is me. I also believe the other living things on our planet have rights too. We aren't smarter than they are. We don't dominate them. Nor, do we own them.
Okay, I'm stepping down and putting my soap box away now. Have a good day.