Murkowski flying straight in response to threats on wolf control program

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

It's good to hear Gov. Frank Murkowski again stating his support for the aerial wolf control program that is sorely needed near McGrath. The governor said last week that the state will not give in to a threatened boycott of the state's important tourism industry by the Outside group Friends of Animals.

The governor said that ''we are not deviating from that.''

That's a sentiment that must be kept up and carried by others if the boycott materializes and it's a safe bet it will. Friends of Animals, from which Alaskans hear little or nothing unless wolves are involved, organized a boycott a decade ago that led Gov. Walter Hickel to suspend the state's wolf control plans.

Outsiders too often view Alaska as the place in which to make up for failures in the Lower 48. Alaska, to them, is a conscience-cleanser. The needs of the state's residents in the present case, the people of McGrath become subordinate to the desire to feel better.

Wolves are not endangered nor threatened in Alaska. Yes, they are fine animals to look at and have pelts that make wonderfully warm hats and that provide ruffs and trim for parkas and coats. But to many people, wolves are a pest, killing off moose in numbers that prevent an adequate harvest of meat for human consumption.

Friends of Animals, on its Web site, urges people to contact the governor and tell him they will stay away from Alaska until the wolf control program is canceled.

Alaskans should contact the governor, too, though with a different message: Don't listen to Outsiders who flit into the state's business and have only their own interests at heart.

Write the governor at this address: P.O. Box 110001, Juneau, AK 99811, call his office at 465-3500 or fax his office at 465-3532.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Dec. 12

The animal rights group Friends of Animals is threatening Alaska with a national tourism boycott if the aerial wolf control program goes ahead.

Such a boycott might occur and could be expensive for Alaska's tourism industry, but the irony is that the people it would hurt most here would be those most likely to support or sympathize with their cause.

Visitors who come here to hunt and fish would almost certainly come anyway and could even be encouraged by publicity about wolves, moose, caribou and small airplanes but those most likely to stay away are the eco-tourists.

An animal-rights led boycott would keep business away from those who guide kayak trips and offer whale watching, bear watching, bird watching and the rest. Not all eco-tourism operators sympathize with the animal-rights groups, of course, but the ''non-consumptive'' visitors that are the core of their market are the ones most likely to heed the call to stay away.

Don't expect Friends of Animals to cancel their boycott in deference to their human friends; that's not the way they do things.

The Voice of the Times

Dec. 11

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