If preventing the spread of Brucellosis by bison herds is the primary concern by Yellowstone officials, have they considered an inoculation program for all bison calves?
Dairy herds in the United States are required to be Certified Brucellosis-Free and are tested yearly. Infected cows are killed. Young dairy stocks are vaccinated to reduce the chance of transmission of the disease. Proof of vaccination is tattooed on the calf’s ear with the birth year.
Wild bison and elk in the Greater Yellowstone region are the last remaining reservoir for Brucellosis in the US; therefore, an aggressive vaccination program to target the young could be initiated and prevent the senseless slaughter and preserve two of the great indigenous wild species in America. Limiting factors could be cost, access to the young calves, and feasibility for long term success. Still, it’s something to think about.
Native Americans gather in protest
In anticipation of the yearly cull, Native American activists gathered in Montana's capital as early as last February to protest the deaths of hundreds of Yellowstone National Park bison to be killed this year to ease the worries of Montana ranchers about a cattle disease carried by park buffalo.
The demonstration marked a week of protests over federal-state management of Yellowstone bison that entails culling the herd each winter when some animals cross from the park into neighboring Montana in search of food, according to a report in Reuters.
"This is a new beginning to protect the bison and other wildlife in Indian country," Jimmy St. Goddard, a self-described spiritual leader of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana, said in a telephone interview from outside the Montana Capitol in Helena to Reuters.
As of February 2015, 300 bison had already been sent for slaughter. Rick Wallen, lead wildlife biologist for Yellowstone's bison program, said in a statement at the time that cutting bison numbers was required to accommodate concerns expressed by surrounding states and “that they really didn’t want wild bison outside the national park.”
Pros and Cons of Culling
National Geographic tackled the pros and cons of culling animals in a story in 2014. “What's driving these high-profile culling programs? Are they necessary? Can they be done ethically? And what's at the heart of the debate between their proponents and their detractors?”
They recognized that culling practices are driven by the loss of open spaces. Wild herds like the bison are confined to human configured boundaries, which they call “gigantic zoos.” Federal preserves like Yellowstone are, indeed spaces for animals, but also for spectators from all over the world who visit Yellowstone anticipating a glimpse at our nation’s indigenous buffalo.
Before the advent of modern civilization, nature was the culler of wildlife species, and still is to some extent. “If an animal becomes superabundant in a limited habitat, they're going to have either a die-off from starvation or some pathogen that will take advantage of their vulnerabilities. Then there's hunting by predators, including humans,” they wrote.
Animals can be brought back from the brink of extinction like the Canada geese and the white-tailed deer; but similar to humans, animals can become victims of their own success and become so abundant that they then become a threat to the survival of other species and to their own populations.
Still, can we say culling is a sign of the success of the conservation movement or political acquiescence to cattle ranchers?
Is there such a thing as an ethical kill?
A report from the United Kingdom mentioned in the National Geographic article decried the inhumane killing of badgers.
Animal ethicists consider the avoidance of suffering to be primary, rather than the avoidance of death. For example, killing an animal with a sharpshooter is better than torturing the animal in a “protracted and disruptive capture” causing unnecessary fear and pain. Contact should be minimal and humane.
Any culling or capture program should be with evidence-based rationale for removal, “not wishful thinking.” Any program should anticipate risks and make the goal disease reduction or achieve sustainable and monitored populations.
Putting the desires of ranchers aside, there are two distinct ethical philosophies: the people committed to wildlife conservation and animal rights advocates. Many times they are at loggerheads because animal rights’ groups believe every animal should have the right to live, and conservation practices, including culling, consider the preservation of ecosystems not only the individual animal.
There are no definitive conclusions in this report. Modern civilization has created artificial habitats, and they must be managed or lose biodiversity as well as wildlife populations.
For me, it’s not so important that we condemn culling or capture programs, but more important how the programs are planned and implemented. For bison, have all alternative avenues for controlling Brucellosis been explored like vaccinating calves? Are cattle ranchers more concerned with Brucellosis infection or bison grazing on cattle land—land that might be leased federal land in some cases. Is it possible an aggressive vaccination program might eventually eradicate Brucellosis?
There are no easy answers to any of these questions, and scientific and ethical inquiry are valued for oversight of disease reduction and preservation of wildlife populations.
They support public education as a prime directive, not allowing it to devolve into a voucher system eroding the right of all children to equal education access. Sen. Sanders wants free education from K-through four year college. Mrs. Clinton opposes vouchers, but has not committed to free four year college education. She and President Barack Obama joined Sen. Sanders in his call for free community college and an end to predatory student loan lending.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Keystone Oil Pipeline are not supported by either candidate or the Democratic Party voters at large because of the potential negative impacts on American workers and the environment. The consistent message is how the American worker will be adversely impacted.
Considered one the most important challenges of US democracy, campaign finance reform and repeal of Citizens United Supreme Court decision are the clarion calls from Sen. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton because it affects how legislators are elected and vote once in office, the efficacy of regulatory agencies in protecting Americans, and the influence of corporations and moneyed interests in government. The Democratic message is totally clear and united. The viability and longevity of democracy must depend on the people’s interests, not corporations.
As presidential elections near, many times one of the criticisms is the candidates in both parties are too much alike. Cynics decry that politicians are all alike and cannot be trusted. In 2016 if the trajectory of the Democrats and Republicans continue along the same lines as exhibited in the last few months—there are definitely going to be differences and a choice. But we are not there yet, and the nominees will not be chosen until next summer. Still, a pattern of distinct dissimilarities is emerging.
The Republicans have their work cut out because they have yet to declare a unified platform message to consolidate the variables of the GOP and preserve a palatable conservative platform all Republicans can rally for, and more importantly be proud to support. One of the problems is individual candidates are appealing to single-issue voters many times culture related, rather than a cohesive multi-faceted base—often reaching out to angry conservative voters who believe they have been cast aside by the liberal-leaning majority of Democrats and some Republicans. Anti-abortion and anti-birth control voters invariably want a candidate who is sympathetic, and they will vote on that issue alone. Attacks on The Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been the vehicle for special interest groups and Congressional Republicans to politicize health care for Americans together with trying to take the ACA hostage over birth control provisions. Internationally health care is provided free as a right in almost all First World democratic countries. This is one example of how the “Party of No” fails the Middle Class and appeals to a niche of fundamentalists with disregard for the majority.
In the last GOP debate on Tuesday Nov. 10, the Republican candidates were consistent in their proposals on one level: On economic policy they put forward a flat tax at varying percentages that most of us already know favors the wealthy. Simply stated 7, 10, or 15 percent flat tax of $36,000 per year income is more disastrous for a family than a family living on $50,000 or more a year. Progressive taxation allows for a range of deductions including child care credits, earned income tax credits, mortgage interest and other deductions that level the taxation field for lower income earners.
The three Republican front runners Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are against raising the minimum wage, which despite the machinations of the three has not been the economic apocalyptic occurrence they predict. On immigration reform, however, the candidates have failed to deliver a unified stance and remain splintered and chaotic. Gov. John Kasich and Jeb Bush favor comprehensive reform including path to citizenship. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has made immigrant deportation and building a bigger, better, “ beautiful” wall his brand—no matter what experts have to say about the efficacy of walls. Mr. Trump has waxed on about the Chinese Wall, but has carefully not mentioned the Berlin Wall that President Ronald Reagan and Republican icon was influential in bringing down.
The “Fight for 15,” $15 an hour for workers, is a unifying cry for Democrats, but not Republicans. "For many of us, these are workers who we see every day, yet they're invisible," said Harley Shaiken, a UC Berkeley labor expert. "What the Fight for 15 has done is give faces, names and personal stories that many, perhaps most, working Americans can identify with,” according to the LA Times.
The Democrats were “high fiving” on Tuesday as they watched the Republicans jockeying for disparate positions to appease tea party values, single-issue wedge voters, maintenance of corporate domination through low wages and control of Congress that relies on campaign donations and retention of Citizen United Supreme Court decision. All of which the Democrats en masse do not support.
Traditionally after a debate the media identifies who were the winners and losers that participated in the debate. After the Republican debates the losers were the Middle Class, poor, disabled and disenfranchised among us. Safety net programs would be delegated back to the states and probably eliminated meeting the same fate as Medicaid expansion, proliferation of low wage jobs would ensure Middle Class stagnation, education would devolve into a voucher system dismantling public education, women would become hostages of religious fundamentalists, health care for all could cease to exist, more cities would become ghost towns of their former selves, and the emergence of a society of the “haves” and “have-nots” would prevail. Corporations would flourish and every decision made in Washington and States’ governments would be at the altar of big business.
Democrats definitely have a not-so-secret weapon that becomes more powerful as November 2016 gets closer. They are united for the benefit of all Americans, not the moneyed few or those who continue to reject diversity and civil rights. Although Democrats might differ in approach, civility is ever present. And on the lighter foreign policy side—I trust our candidates know why the Egyptian pyramids were built!
Survival migration part two
A megacity is defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million people, and they are becoming the focal point to measure the impact of climate change and mass urbanization. The result is a growing population of vulnerable inhabitants whose only choice is migration out of the region to cities and/or countries where they hope they can at least feed their families. Many times, like the European migrations currently because of civil strife in home countries, receiving cities and countries are unprepared and strained to provide adequately for refugees resulting in inadequate housing, food, and health services.
Humanitarianism in itself is not enough if a country is ill-prepared. Environmental migration is very similar with some of the same pitfalls including skepticism and even resentful local populations who view the immigrants as “foreigners” who want to take their jobs and deplete resources. Even environmentally displaced persons within a country create distinctive stressors among disparate religious and cultural populations.
Dhaka, India is a victim of its own modernization complicated by rising sea levels creating a flood plain displacing millions of farmers in the surrounding area who were previously self-sufficient. It’s subsistent living that has served generations until now. Farmers were forced to migrate into the city of Dhaka creating an influx of migrants straining the resources and geography of the city creating an underclass of migrants.
Before mass urbanization, Dhaka was a city of canals and the city could “breathe” in and out the annual flood water that would naturally flow out away from the city. Growth and land fill, however, increased the land masses as the canals were filled in and building construction replaced the natural waterways that prevented flooding of the city and countryside.
In addition bordering India, Bangladesh is estimated to lose 11 per cent of land by 2050 from flooding, soil degradation, rising sea levels and desertification affecting 15 million people who have nowhere to go except India and Dhaka has already become a receiving city for environmental refugees from the country side.
India will be the natural choice for many climate migrants because it has already absorbed millions of Bangladeshi migrants — both legal and illegal — since Bangladesh first came into being in 1971. The 2001 Indian census indicates that of the five million documented migrants living in India at the time, around three million were Bangladeshi.
At present, migration from Bangladesh is the combined result of social, economic, political and environmental factors. Migration patterns will soon become unmanageable if existing practices for handling these migrants continue.
Environmental migration is becoming a salient consequence of climate change and unabated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and poor climate risk adaptation. The scientific consensus is that warming of the climate system is “unequivocal.” With an increase in global temperatures and climatic variability, there is a higher risk of an increase in migration inducing events, such as droughts, desertification, flooding, soil erosion, and transmission of airborne diseases, and other societal and ecological incidents.
Megacities are becoming focal points to study climate change, mass urbanization and the effects of growing vulnerability to environmental and social change as a product of environmental migration. The intersection of climate change and mass urbanization in Megacities hinders timely climate change adaptation impacting the cities directly, as well as the ability to embrace environmental and/or social refugees and displaced persons.
Europe is feeling the pressure now as fear grows that borders will be sealed to prevent migrants escaping civil strife from entering countries where resources are becoming scarce as well as intolerance by regional citizens. Sealing European borders, however, would have to be initiated en masse to prevent the funnel effect of refugees into only a few countries.
Environmental migration in the future will dwarf the civil strife migration patterns Europe is experiencing now. Estimates are conservative that 200 million people could be migrating by 2050 due to environmental conditions.
Some scientists believe the Earth will experience a series of “tipping points” that will be irreversible that require significant unpredictable human migration.
“Worst-case-scenarios” are for the most part inevitable if current economic, social and political stagnation patterns continue with climate change deniers inhibiting progress toward energy sustainability. Migration will no longer be a choice, rather a necessary survival option for individuals in an increasing number of vulnerable regions. Will the 200 million migrants by 2050 be the poor and disenfranchised, while corporate CEOs and the 1 percent escape?
“Hot Cities” television documentary focusing on at risk cities due to climate change and other factors, one of which is Dhaka, India.
Dust bowl migration
The Irish famine
The Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and Arkansas is another example of environmental migration. It was the result of drought and poorly managed and overused agricultural land. Drought first hit the region in 1930. By 1934, it had turned the Great Plains into a desert that came to be known as the Dust Bowl. In the 1930s, farmers from the Midwestern Dust Bowl states, especially Oklahoma and Arkansas, began to move to California; 250,000 arrived by 1940, including a third who moved into the San Joaquin Valley, which had a 1930 population of 540,000. During the 1930s, some 2.5 million people left the Plains states.
These two environmental migrations were different, but they are alike in that the émigrés were mainly the poor and subsistent farmers. Even so, they were not turned away by the receiving regions, and each migration convergence had a long lasting cultural, political and social impact on the regions in which they become citizens.
Supplementing food to the Irish during the famine was complicated by British politics at the time; therefore, refugees immigrated to receiving countries with resources to support the influx. Dust Bowl migrants, however, received a mixed welcome in California as jobs and a better life were not in abundance in the promised “land of milk and honey.” Still, rural, agricultural regions in California became home to those displaced by the Dust Bowl. In 1940, over 40 percent of those who moved to the San Joaquin Valley from the Dust Bowl were farm workers, according to the Census. However, many joined the military or found jobs in factories, so that only 25 percent of Midwestern migrants remained farm workers in 1950.
In the 21st century the world’s poor in densely populated areas are also the most at risk for environmental destruction and extreme weather events as a result of climate change, including coastlines and flood-lines. Climate change threatens areas already suffering from extreme poverty.
"The issue of equity is crucial. Climate affects us all, but does not affect us all equally," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegates at a climate conference in Indonesia, according to a World Vision report in 2012.
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking
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