Wyoming State Senators Use Unique Logic to Justify Capital Punishment

The Wyoming state senate today voted down a bill that would have ended capital punishment in that state. Some of the state senators voting against the repeal had some interesting arguments in favor of capital punishment,

Sen. Lynn Hutchings, R-Cheyenne, argued that without the death penalty, Jesus Christ would not have been able to die to absolve the sins of mankind, and therefore capital punishment should be maintained.

“The greatest man who ever lived died via the death penalty for you and me,” she said. “I’m grateful to him for our future hope because of this. Governments were instituted to execute justice. If it wasn’t for Jesus dying via the death penalty, we would all have no hope.”

PETA’s Anti-KFC Protest Draws More Customers

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Benjamin Goldsmith organized a protest against a KFC in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But along with 10 protesters, the activists attracted additional customers to the restaurant.

According to the Associated Press,

Jacqueline Newbold, a supervisor at KFC, said at an uncommon rush of customers required the store to call extra employees at work.

“We had a line going out the door and through the lobby,” Newbold said.

. . .

During the first four hours of business, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Monday, the store had 211 customers compared with 130 the Monday before, supervisor John Simmons said Tuesday.

KFC customer Rusty Smith summed up one view of the protest, telling the Associated Press,

I think there’s a place in this world for all God’s creations . . . right next to the mashed potatoes.

Protester Marcos Carillo chalked such attitudes down to ignorance,

People don’t understand.

No, as I’ve said before, people understand exactly what animal rights activists are demanding, which is why their views are so overwhelmingly rejected by the larger culture.


Protest draws extra customers. Associated Press, August 3, 2005.

Wyoming Wolf Plan Likely to Be Decided by Courts

The gray wolf is currently on the endangered species list, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service required Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to submit plans for managing the gray wolf in their states. The USFWS approved Idaho’s and Montana’s, but won’t allow those states to implement their programs until Wyoming submits a suitable plan. Wyoming is sticking to its guns and apparently the courts will end up deciding the matter.

The USFWS rejected Wyoming’s plan even though 10 of 11 wildlife biologists appointed by the federal government approved of the plan. In rejecting Wyoming’s plan, the USFWS said that it objected to the way Wyoming classified gray wolves both as trophy animals and as predators, although the federal government apparently approved of this designation when it was originally passed by Wyoming’s legislature; that Wyoming’s plan to maintain 15 wolf packs was too low, despite the fact that the USFWS expressed its approval in early; and that the minimum size for each wolf pack was not set at six.

In late February, Wyoming’s state House passed HB 111 which reaffirms the dual classification of wolves and sets Wyoming on a legal collision course with the USFWS.


Wyoming wolf plan points to court. Tom Morton, Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), February 21, 2004.

State may sue feds over wolves. Bill Luckett, Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), February 3, 2004.

Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition Closes in on Bringing Anti-Wolf Lawsuit

According to the Spokane Spokesman Review, the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition is nearing its fund raising goal of $150,000 for a planned lawsuit against state and federal officials over the reintroduction of gray wolves to Idaho.

Wolves had been eradicated in Idaho in the early 20th century, but were reintroduced in the state in 1995. Since then the wolves have thrived, leading environmentalists to hail the success of the reintroduction program, while farmers, hunters and others argue it has been an unmitigated disaster for Idaho wildlife.

In 2001, the state passed a resolution expressing its desire to have the wolves removed from Idaho “by any means necessary.”

Much of the debate turns on disputes over the number of wolves and their hunting habits. Federal and state officials estimate there are less than 300 wolves in Idaho. The Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition maintains there are between 800 and 1,000 wolves. Similarly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service argues that each wolf eats the equivalent of one elk per month, while the Anti-Wolf Coalition claims they eat closer to two elk per month and kill the equivalent of four additional elk.

The Coalition seeks two things — they want “the immediate removal of the Canadian gray wolf from Idaho” and they want compensation from federal, state, and environmental groups for the taking of wildlife by the wolves.

The gray wolf in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is currently on the endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made it clear that it will delist the gray wolf as soon as all three state provide plans for managing the wolf populations that can meet its approval. In January the USFWS approved both Idaho’s and Montana’s plan to use a combination of trapping and hunting to manage the wolf population, but so far has rejected Wyoming’s plan which would allow farmers and others to shoot wolves on sight in some circumstances.

Until Wyoming submits a plan that passes muster with the USFWS, however, neither Idaho nor Montana will be allowed to manage its wolf population.


Crowd favors getting rid of wolves – Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition says support growing. James Hagengruber, Spokane Spokesman-Review (Washington state), January 12, 2004.

Idaho coalition seeks to eliminate fast-breeding wolf. Valerie Richardson, THe Washington Times, October 19, 2003.

Idaho’s wolf plan approved by feds. James Hagengruber, Spokane Spokesman Review (Washington state), January 15, 2004.

Supporters Deliver Signatures for Bear Baiting Ban Initiative

On January 1, Citizens United Against Bear Baiting delivered more than the 33,500 signatures required to put a ban on bear baiting on the November 2004 Alaska ballot.

The proposed initiative would read,

“An act prohibiting the baiting or intentional feeding of bears.”

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Alaska:

Alaska Statutes Title 16 is amended to add a new Section 16.05.781, as follows:

16.05.781. Baiting or intentional feeding of bears prohibited.

(a) A person may not bait or intentionally feed a bear for the purpose of hunting, photographing, or viewing.

(b) Under this section, to “bait” or “intentionally feed” means to intentionally give, deposit, distribute, discard, scatter or otherwise expose any attractant or edible material in order to attract or entice a bear to enter into, or to remain in, a location or area.

(c) A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

Currently Alaska permits the baiting of black bears but not of brown bears. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game argues that baiting of black bears is a legitimate wildlife management tools, especially in area where it is otherwise difficult to hunt bears due to thick vegetation. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game about 500 of the 2,500 bears killed annually by hunters in Alaska are baited.

Arkansas, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming also allow bear baiting. Ballot initiatives have led to the banning of bear baiting in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state.

Opponents of bear baiting argue that it is unsportsmanlike, unsafe (since it might encourage bears to seek out food left behind by people), and inhumane. Proponents argue that baiting is a long standing tradition and is safer than other methods of hunting because hunters have a clear shot at the animals they are hunting.

Major national hunting and anti-hunting groups are likely to work to influence the outcome of the voting. The Humane Society of the United States’ Wayne Pacelle told the Anchorage Daily News,

We will certainly encourage our 13,000 Alaska members to become involved and vote yes on the initiative.

Pacelle added that HSUS would encourage “indigenous” fund raising to pass the initiative.

Meanwhile, Rob Sexton of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance told the Anchorage Daily News, “We’ll call on sportsmen everywhere to help support the vote-no effort” and added that the effort to fight the ballot initiative would likely cost several hundred thousands of dollars.

As far as the arguments go, I agree with the Sportsmen’s Alliance that whether or not bear baiting is allowed should depend on whether it is a sound wildlife management practice rather than on vague arguments about whether or not it is “unfair.” Craig Medred of the Anchorage Daily News did a nice job of pointing out the problems with the fairness argument in a column for that newspaper,

All of which brings us back to Alaska, where wildlife is nowhere near as bountiful as Outside, where fewer and fewer hunt for sport, and where the idea of fairness has been dragged a baffling distance from its origins and sensibilities.

Suddenly, people are arguing about what’s fair to individual wild animals — as if that somehow mattered.

Does someone out there truly believe a bear cares whether it gets shot at a bait station or splashing in a salmon stream or frolicking in a berry patch, or that a wolf cares that death comes in the form of a single bullet from a quiet marksman hidden 300 yards away or a hail of bullets from an airplane or the noose of a snare?

The means of death are irrelevant to these animals. They want only to survive, but they can’t.

Sooner or later, they’re destined to die, as are we, because the cycle of life is built on death. It’s inherently unfair and random. One calf gets picked to become a breeding bull and spend its life in pampered enjoyment. Another gets earmarked to be fattened up for shipment to the slaughterhouse.

That’s the way it has been since the days of the dinosaurs. The animals with fangs and claws and tools kill and consume the plant eaters.


Bear baiting ban signatures delivered. MARY PEMBERTON
Associated Press, January 9, 2004.

Bear baiting opponents deliver signatures aplenty. Joel Gay, Anchorage Daily News, January 9, 2004.

Who ever said hunting was supposed to be fair? Craig Medred, Anchorage Daily News, January 25, 2004.

PETA: Stop Cruel License Plates

Of all things PETA could choose to pick on, the group actually decided to go after Wyoming’s license plates of all things. That state’s license plate features a silhouetted image of a cowboy riding a bucking horse, which in PETA’s world means it is promoting cruelty to animals.

“We are hopeful that when you learn about the lives of animals used in rodeos, you will not wish to promote and glorify these inhumane events on state license plates,” PETA’s Kristie Sigmon wrote in a letter to Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer. “Treating ‘livestock’ like mechanical bulls makes Wyoming a laughing stock.”

Reality check here, folks — the only group that is a laughing stock because of this is PETA (and, by association, the rest of the animal rights movement.) Wyoming Republican Senator Craig Thomas told the Washington Times that PETA was “bucking up the wrong tree.”

It turns out the image of the cowboy on a bucking horse has a long tradition, going back to 1918 when it was worn as an insignia by soldiers from Wyoming who were serving in World War I.

Still, Sigmon insists that “Rodeo events are intentionally violent acts against animals for nothing more than cheap thrills,” but I think most Americans would agree with Thomas’ assessment of the flap — “One uould think an opganization like PETA, that at least figures to `e taken seriously, would have more impoptant things to focus itr attenthon on than maligning a tin license plate.”

Then again, maybe really they don’t.


PETA Assails Wyoming’s License Plate. Audrey Audson, Washington Times, May 25, 2000.