Wildlife management responds to political direction that, in turn, responds to public demand. The public and the politicians they influence cannot be expected to know, or care, about the complexities inherent to the natural world. Everything must be simplified before it can be explained to the public. Fish are in decline, cormorants eat fish, ergo, cormorants are responsible for the decline in fish. This scenario is, generally, refuted by the scientific evidence, and cormorant detractors, be they the general public or wildlife managers, can act as though this evidence does not exist (although strides are being made, especially in Canada).
(Painting by Barry Kent MacKay)
For the past 200 years there have been numerous studies of double-crested and other species of cormorants, both in North American and abroad, a large number of them designed to examine the “impact” cormorants have on various fish species. In response to FEIS, the American Ornithologists Union (AOU) struck a panel of ornithologists, not exclusive of wildlife management interests but decidedly academic, to review the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s management plan of 2003. They did a massive literature review and stated:
(Painting by Barry Kent MacKay)
1 Another alien fish species who had a profound effect on the Great Lakes is the sea lamprey. This eel-like fish entered the Great Lakes sometime around 1830, through canals that allowed it to move inland from the Atlantic Ocean, but is probably not native. It is a jawless, parasitic fish who attaches a sucker-like mouth to the sides of fish, draining them of bodily fluids, thus slowly killing them. It is believed to have taken a particular toll on the native lake trout.
The brown bear is almost always called the “grizzly” bear in both Canada and the United States, although one race, found on Kodiak and nearby islands in Alaska, often is popularly known as the “Kodiak bear.”
Question 1: 'What do you mean by saying fur is green?'
The answer begins, "We want people to know that fur is an excellent choice if you care about nature — because fur is a natural, renewable resource.”
Those animals who die in traps are not able to renew themselves, but the concept that furs are “renewable” comes from the idea that animals produce more young than are mathematically necessary to maintain their population. Therefore, the theory goes, as long as trapping stays within the “surplus” number it is “renewable.” That is, the population size will stay stable, with the individuals not trapped producing enough young to replace those who are.
Question 2: 'How can the use of animal (sic) to make a luxury product ever be ethical?'
In the first few sentences of the reply, the FCC evokes what is loosely referred to as “the Bambi Syndrome,” the idea, most certainly not entirely without merit, that many people base their views on fictional and emotionally appealing stories that imbue animals with absurdly anthropomorphic characteristics and badly misrepresent their lives. It states: “Most of us grew up with wonderful stories of Mama Bear and Baby Bear and we all love Bambi. But Nature is not Disneyland.” 6
Question 3: 'How can I be sure the Canadian fur industry practices humane standards?'
The question obviously has no real bearing on whether or not fur is “green,” but the fur industry knows that by far the greatest concern of potential buyers of furs is that they derive from animal abuse. It cannot avoid addressing the issue.
The answer to Question 3 begins, “Trapping in Canada is strictly regulated by the provincial and territorial wildlife departments.”
Question 4: 'Are those videos going around for real?'
The answer is: “Unfortunately there are many documented incidents of activists’ groups ‘staging’ horrible videos to fuel their fund-raising drives, and links to http://www.furcommission.com/news/newsC7.htm, a website devoted to exposing such chicanery.”