July 5, 2007 | By:

#12 Around the Campfire; “Wolves Will Eat Your Babies!”

We have seen a rising tide of hysteria in the last few years over the recovery of gray wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and over the Mexican wolf (lobo) in Arizona and New Mexico. Wolf-haters are using any argument, plausible or not, to demand the second extinction of wolves in the wild.

The most terrifying arguments against wolves and other carnivores is that they will eat children. Cynical wolf-haters in Catron County, New Mexico, are currently waving this faux bloody-diaper to demand the removal of all lobos because their mere presence is causing psychological trauma to local children. I’ll explore this 2007 antiwolf campaign in a forthcoming Around the Campfire. In this issue, however, I want to put the danger from wolves into perspective.

Typical of the modern Little-Red-Ridinghood fear is a column by Stanford economist and always-pissed-off “free-market” ideologue Thomas Sowell. Ten years ago, he wrote, “Even when children are killed by wolves or other animals on that list [the Endangered Species list], the main concern of the environmental fascists is to prevent ‘hysteria.’” [1] One would assume that in order to be published in reputable newspapers, Sowell has files stuffed with hair-raising, documented reports on lethal attacks by endangered species (flocks of marbled murrelets attacking Oregon schoolchildren at recess?), but typical of those fanning such “hysteria,” he does not see fit to give a single example of children being harmed, much less killed, by listed critters. Nor do the newspapers running his column seem to worry about facts any more than do supermarket-checkout-stand tabloids.

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