For Immediate Release: July 8, 2022
Contact: Jocelyn Leroux, Western Watersheds Project, 406-960-4164, firstname.lastname@example.org
SEATTLE, Wash.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission today voted to forgo a rule to manage wolf-livestock conflict in Washington state, in favor of a status-quo that favors wolf-killing in response to livestock losses. The vote comes after two years of debate, research, and preparation of a rule. Commissioners voted in a 5-4 vote to approve “Alternative 4,” which means a continuation of current management.
Several commissioners expressed that while they would not have voted for the Department’s “preferred alternative,” they were also not in favor of continuing current management. Instead, they expressed that they did not believe the rule in front of them was strong enough, and that Washington had an opportunity to be a leader in wolf-livestock conflict management.
“It’s disappointing that years of inquiry did not yield a stronger rule for governing wolf-livestock conflict,” said Jocelyn Leroux, the Washington and Montana Director for Western Watersheds Project. “Rules are not meant to be punitive, but instead should ensure consistent and transparent management that can outlast the whims of any one staff person or Director.”
Commissioners in favor of a stronger rule noted that while Washington is in fact doing better than its neighboring states of Idaho and Montana, it is a poor comparison considering the recent anti-wolf legislation to come out of these states. They noted that Washington can and should be a leader and that a strong, consistent, and transparent rule can ensure that both livestock and wolf deaths can decline.
“We hope that the Department and the Fish and Wildlife Commission will redouble its efforts to create a strong rule to minimize the killing of wolves,” said Leroux.