A Shaft of Light -- A Must-Read Book
(Note from RF: The topic of wolves and disease will get us the status and standing we need to go to court. This was a milestone day for our movement.)
August 15, 2005
By Jim Beers JimBeers7@earthlink.net
Comment on this article: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Please share this with your friends, and keep an eye out for this much-needed book, this shaft of light."
One of the great aspects of being a soldier or sailor; hunter, fisherman, or trapper; rancher or farmer is your frequent presence at those mystical moments -- when night begins to turn into day. Whether it is a deer hunter leaning back against a tree, just before the deer start moving around; a sentry or lookout, who yearns for the dawn; a duck hunter placing that last decoy, before the magical half hour before sunrise; or a rancher, avoiding potholes and rabbits, as he heads for a far pasture. The opportunity to witness the first rays of the approaching sun is something few people ever enjoy, much less see.
Sometimes it is shafts of red or yellow, sometimes it is a burst of pink or blue, and sometimes, it is a barely noticeable gray, that only grows in intensity without color. Funny though, while the latter sunrises lack the beauty and awe of the more colorful sunrises, all sunrises evoke thought and questions about reality. What will today be like? What was the day like where the sun is coming from? How is my life going? What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What should I try harder to do? What should I stop doing? Who should I try harder to be nice to? What should I do about (fill in the blank)? All of this begins with that first shaft of light.
I beheld such a first shaft of light yesterday. No it wasn't a sunrise -- in the real sense.
It was a shaft of light of hope after 35 years of futility in the night of governmental excesses, growing from environmental and animal rights laws of the past 35 years.
I had lunch with a man whose intensity, skill, and experience are focused like a laser on informing the American public about Russia's history with wolves.
From the time of our Civil War, when Russia was under the Czar, through the Soviet period, and down to the present, Russian scientists, writers, historians, hunters, and agriculturalists have been documenting an abundance of wolf experiences, studies, programs, and statistics in writing.
Wolves have been, and remain, abundant in Asia. During recent history, the majority of those wolves have existed under Russian jurisdiction, and within Russian society.
This man is writing a book based on translations from these extensive writings, and his experiences in Eurasia. He is fluent in Russian, and he has a lifetime interest in predators and diseases. He grew up in Wisconsin and Texas. He worked on cattle disease eradication in Mexico, and his understanding of wild animals and disease was as thorough as anyone I have ever met. He is under none of the modern delusions about animals, or rural living around the world.
This combination of a realistic outlook and understanding, based on years of travel throughout the world, is being brought to bear on the writing of a book that will document what, in the United States today, may not be spoken, written, or investigated. That is to say, an examination of the known and historical factors present when wolves and men live in close proximity.
Why is this a shaft of light? Because I spent years, and lots of money trying, twice, to get books about such politically "incorrect" biology published (to no avail), and he has found a publisher that will consider such a book.
Like me, he was told that no one would ever touch such a book, and that, in his case, any mention of wolf control, wolves killing people, wolves spreading disease, or wolves viewed in any context other than benign and positive, no matter in what context, would "ever" be published.
This refusal of publishers, academics, or the media to allow any mention of things they disapprove of is, truly, the shame of our time. The fact that a publisher has been found is very heartening.
Then, there is the astounding (to me) range and abundance of Russian literature on the subject. One hundred and fifty years of wolf observations, programs, failures, and successes -- with no hidden agendas other than protecting society -- is a truly staggering treasure-trove of facts in the midst of the hidden agendas, propaganda, government force, and information restriction existing throughout the U.S. for the past 35 years.
The contradiction of Russian information being an antidote to American environmental propaganda, disinformation, and information suppression still causes me to smile, and shake my head, while the shaft of light broadens in my mind.
The literature, papers, and articles he is translating reflect the necessary Russian thoroughness and programs over the years, as domestic animals and wildlife and rural Russians were forced to confront wolves. There is documentation of wild and domestic animals impacted by wolves, and the loss of human lives throughout the period. There are the concerns of a broad range of Russian writers about wolves being a catalyst and vector in the outbreak, and spread of a wide range of bio-organisms of concern to us all. There are studies and investigations about how wolves carry parasites that affect humans and livestock. These parasites can weaken humans and livestock, and lead to debilitating diseases. For the past 150 years, Russia has had no other agenda regarding wolves except a realistic response to these very real challenges of living with wolves.
None of these aspects of wolves may be even mentioned in the U.S.
None of these aspects of wolves -- such as their role in spreading rabies, or being potential vectors of BSE, (Mad Cow Disease), in cattle, or Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk -- seem to hold any interest for universities, state wildlife agencies, or Veterinarians in the U.S. They are all-too-acutely-aware of the politically "correct" aspects of wolves that generate grants, funding, and fame, in order to avoid public attacks, job loss, career stagnation, or being barred from publication.
There is no open discussion, no research, and no reporting or concern in our newspapers, electronic media, or anywhere throughout the federal government about these very real aspects of living with wolves.
Yes, a sunrise is starting to take shape. The light of 150 documented years of human history, intertwined with wolves should be of interest and benefit to everyone. The information speaks for itself, and causes the reader to ask, "Why?"
Why wasn't this taken into account, and the public informed, as forced wolf introductions and federal protection were proposed and accomplished?
Why can environmental laws be used to declare an animal, so widely abundant and so hazardous in so many ways, sacrosanct?
Why isn't the role of wolves being examined, as national fear of disease outbreaks, parasites, and vectors that may spread BSE, brucellosis, or foot and mouth disease in livestock becomes more prevalent, both nationally and internationally?
Why aren't there reliable studies ongoing about wolf impacts on big game as the wolves spread, or on the wolf's potential to spread diseases, like Chronic Wasting Disease or rabies in wild animals?
Why is the potential role of wolves in spreading rabies, or even undulant fever in humans, ignored?
What is the impact of wolves on domestic dogs, whether watchdogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, or pets?
Why is there no recognition (much less identification of factors) that danger to humans from wolves goes up dramatically under certain conditions?
Why is the entire history of wolf attacks on humans so studiously avoided, and even denied?
How can governments, such as Czars, Soviets, and today's democratic socialists, that have ruled Russia for the past 150 years, maintain a perspective that their role is to protect humans, their property, and agriculture from wolves, while our United States government has evolved to an opposite perspective of protecting wolves from agriculture and humans?
The mere asking of these questions leads inexorably to the false assumptions, and the undemocratic government actions and information-suppression that underpin so much of the environmental legislation and programs that have "evolved" over the past 35 years.
Like the inevitable increase in daylight as the sun begins to rise, increasing the visibility of our surroundings is the first step in having a successful day.
I believe this pending book is something all Americans will hail after reading it.
The author is someone to whom we all owe a great debt of gratitude, for his work and persistence in coming this far with this "all uphill" project.
I believe the impact will eventually (in hindsight, someday) be understood to have begun something far beyond the subject of wolves, or even the recent evolution of a wide range of federal environmental legislation.
If it shows us the perverse effects of propaganda, information control, and how an open market of ideas and the free discussion of facts can once again overcome darkness and intimidation masquerading as "political correctness", the name of Mr. Will Graves and his book about wolves in Russia will be remembered, and mentioned far beyond our lifetimes.
Good Luck, Mr. Graves.
Please share this with your friends,
and keep an eye out for this much-needed book, this shaft of light.
Jim Beers is a retired Refuge Manager, Special Agent, & Wildlife Biologist U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Copyright 2005, Freedom.org.