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Wisconsin Ag Groups Push Congress to Delist Wolves
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/26/2015

A group of Wisconsin farm and wildlife organizations have formed a coalition to call on Congress to delist gray wolves from federal protections that they claim are not necessary. In a letter to Rep. Reid Ribble, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the groups said they would like to see Congressional action to federally reinstate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 order to remove the gray wolf in Wisconsin from the federal Endangered Species List. The agency's order was overturned last month by a district judge at the urging of animal rights groups.

"Our farmers are extremely concerned about the effects that wolves are having on cattle in our state," the letter said. "This decision means that the state-approved gray wolf hunt has been suspended and we are left with no mechanism to keep the Wisconsin wolf population in check."

On December 21, Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the USFWS should not have removed federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin and eight other Great Lakes states, which led to several wolf hunting seasons in many of those states. He then immediately placed the animal under protections first established in the late-1970s.

Last week's letter went on to say that Wisconsin's most recent management plan has been conservative, science-based and designed to maintain the prescribed wolf population while managing it to minimize conflicts with Wisconsin farmers and others.

"Without Congressional action, we fear that Wisconsin farmers will experience increased cattle losses to wolves, which are already significant, and the State of Wisconsin will lack the means to control the gray wolf population.

The letter was drafted by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, and co-signed by the Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Farmers Organization, Wisconsin Pork Association, Wisconsin Farmers Union, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, North Central Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, Wisconsin Association of Professional Ag Consultant, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Federation, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin FORCE.

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