This…is unbefuckinglievable. This is the sort of shit that would have been done 50 years ago. It’s also the sort of shit Canada isn’t supposed to be doing anymore. And yet, this is happening right now, and for the worst of all conceivable reasons:
Late last week, internal documents went public showing Canada is fretting over its sullied reputation for unfettered fossil fuel development, while resorting to poisoning wolves rather than fixing the problem. NWF released a paper today showing tar sands, oil and gas development in Canada is contributing to the decline in caribou herds. Rather than improve environmental practices to protect and restore caribou habitat, Canadian wildlife officials are poisoning wolves with strychnine-laced bait. The news comes as Alberta and Canadian officials scramble to address environmental monitoring failures that are wreaking havoc up north.
The highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal would move this Canadian dirty oil through the heartland of the U.S. to export, making the U.S. complicit in causing excruciating wildlife culling.
Strychnine progresses painfully from muscle spasms to convulsions to suffocation over a period of hours. The NWF paper says the poison will also put at risk animals like raptors, wolverines and cougars that eat the poisoned bait or scavenge on the carcasses of poisoned wildlife.
Great. So we’re now just poisoning all carnivores and scavengers indiscriminately. And this is for what? So that tar-sands development can go ahead unimpeded. And so a bunch of Harpo’s cronies down in Texas can get their damn dirty oil.
But what bugs me most is the stinking hypocrisy of it all. It’s not like the Harper Government™ seriously gives a rat’s ass for caribou. Unless, of course, that rat’s ass is loaded with nasty poison that does nasty things, and is actually banned in its liquid form for that very reason:
Strychnine is an extremely toxic alkoloid that results in muscular convulsions and eventually leads to death through asphyxia or exhaustion.
Strychnine was banned by the Canadian Federal Government in 1993 due to the devastating effects it had on non-target animals. Gophers were not the only animals to ingest the substance; birds, waterfowl, foxes, rabbits, and even dogs and cats suffered the horrible fate of being poisoned by Strychnine. Gophers that were killed by the poison were often consumed by predators such as raptors, coyotes, and foxes, poisoning them as well.
Of course, it’s easier in the short term to strychnine a bunch of critters (be it ground squirrels, wolves or what have you) than it is to develop long-term strategies for safe, successful coexistence. And those in charge of the tar sands aren’t thinking in the long term at all, except maybe how to maximize their profits until the dirty oil runs out, while maintaining that squeaky-clean image they don’t deserve. Meaning, the animals are the ones that will bear the brunt of their short-sightedness, and their selfishness.
We’re always blaming the wolf. It’s an easy scapegoat, thanks to its fearsome nature, which we like to forget is the genetic basis for every domestic dog that ever lived. So of course, to blame it for the decline of the caribou — a decline for which we humans are in fact the real culprit — is nothing new. We went through all this 50 years ago!
I can only imagine what Farley Mowat would say.