By April 14, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

Unethical Oil: Why Is Canada Killing Wolves and Muzzling Scientists To Protect Tar Sands Interests? (Video)

Carol Linnitt
Desmog Blog

In the latest and perhaps most astonishing display of the tar sands industry’s attacks on science and our democracy, the government of Alberta has made plans to initiate a large-scale wolf slaughter to provide cover for the destruction wrought by the industrialization of the boreal forest ecosystem.

In the coming years, an anticipated 6,000 wolves will be gunned down from helicopters above, or killed by poison strychnine bait planted deep in the forest. Biologists and other experts say the cull is misguided, and that their studies have been ignored or suppressed. Worse, they warn that although the government is framing the wolf cull as a temporary measure, it has no foreseeable end.

The Alberta government has already initiated the wolf cull in regions of Alberta heavily affected by industrial development. In the Little Smoky region, an area heavily affected by the forestry, oil and gas industries and just a few hundred kilometeres away from the tar sands region, a broad wolf cull has already begun, claiming the lives of more than 500 wolves.

Recently the Alberta government proposed a plan to open this brutal form of ‘wildlife management’ to other regions, suggesting an extensive and costly cull in place of more responsible industrial development.

This is clear evidence of the fact that Alberta’s tar sands oil is unquestionably conflict oil, despite the propaganda spouted by the “ethical oil” deception campaign. Aside from its disruptive affects on wildlife, tar sands oil is dirty, carbon intensive and energy inefficient from cradle to grave.

And that’s without mentioning the role the tar sands boom has played in Canada’s slide from climate leader to key villain on the international stage. Beyond its environmental consequences, tar sands extraction has negatively affected local tourism and recreation-based economies, impacted public health and torn at the rich fabric of cultural diversity and pride among Albertans and all Canadians.

Behind the Harper administration’s unbounded drive to drown Canada’s reputation in tar sands oil pollution lies the political corruption characteristic of the classic petro-state. Free speech is being oppressed, while respected members of the scientific community claim they are being muzzled, ignored and intimidated.
Conservation and environmental groups are being falsely attacked as ‘radical ideologues’ and ‘saboteurs’. Neighbors are pitted against each other while important decisions about the future prosperity of all Canadians are rigged to favor the interests of multinational oil companies and foreign investors.
The wolf cull is ostensibly designed to protect northern Alberta’s woodland caribou, a species that in recent years has become critically threatened. But scientists have ridiculed the plan, saying this sort of ‘wildlife management’ turns the wolf into an innocent scapegoat, while the real culprit – the province’s aggressive timber, oil and gas development – is spared any real scrutiny or accountability.
According to this strategy, caribou and wolf alike fall prey to another kind of predator: multinational corporations.
The National Wildlife Federation launched a campaign against the wolf cull last week, noting that the Keystone XL pipeline, if eventually built, “would amount to an American seal of approval for the strychnine-poisoning of Alberta’s wolves.
At the risk of potentially permanent impacts on important Alberta wildlife species, extractive industries are spearheading an unscientific effort to further tamper with nature, targeting Alberta’s wolves for declining woodland caribou health. In reality, scientists have demonstrated that habitat destruction and industrialization are the real threats to the caribou and the entire ecosystem. This classic case of misguided ‘wildlife management’ is meant to obscure irresponsible industrial development, not to protect iconic Canadian wild species.
Stop Unethical Oil in its Tracks. Sign DeSmogBlog’s email petition calling on Environment Canada to reject this anti-science attack on wolves. Let’s hold industry accountable for damaging the boreal forest ecosystem, not scapegoat innocent wolves.
Sadly, Alberta’s history of covering over regrettable and irresponsible wildlife management runs about as far back as its history of industrial development – a correlation all too evident in the recent caribou recovery charade.
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