The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Why should farmer pay for wolf damage?


To the Editor:

I find it interesting that the state government spent in excess of $200,000 to protect a farmer’s cattle from wolves. According to a January 2014 Associated Press news article, said it made the estimate based on documents it reviewed. Much of the expense was in administrative time and field work, besides about $38,000 in cash for cattle-loss claims by Ontonagon County farmer John Koski and other assistance.

Brian Roell of the Department of Natural Resources said “Koski has taken few, if any, steps to deal with losses to wolves, despite the government aid.” He also claims that “...He has done nothing to help himself.” It appears that he said this without consideration for the expense to Koski.

He was there long before the wolves showed up and is expected to help pay for problems he didn’t cause. It costs a lot of money to repair fences, clear pastureland and change animal husbandry practices as Roell suggests. He speaks from the perspective of a wildlife biologist, not an agricultural agent, and is substituting his judgement for that of an experienced livestock producer.

And why should Koski be expected to pay for protecting his animals from wolves? That is an attempt to reverse the burden of responsibility. Livestock depredations are an expected consequence of an ill-conceived and surreptitious conspiracy by several government agencies, including the DNR, to bring wolves to the Upper Peninsula — animals the DNR has no intention of managing properly. The assistance to Koski is an admission of responsibility.

We had a cold beginning to winter. In cold winters, an ice bridge forms across the Straits of Mackinac after the close of the shipping season. Since most of the support for wolves in Michigan comes from downstate, it would be poetic justice if wolves cross this ice bridge and colonize the Lower Peninsula in significant numbers. Our brethren to the south can share in the exquisite joys of hearing them howl, having their deer herds decimated, their livestock and pets attacked and killed and experience all of the other problems we have with this iconic symbol of the wilderness. Nothing focuses the mind like having your ox gored.

Ultimately, it is the taxpayers who end up paying for the folly of our so-called “public servants.”

John Hongisto



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