Close confining of wild animals; a source of human disease?

Close confining of wild animals; a source of human disease?

Disease continues lethal spread in wildlife

Monday my plastic gets “Declined” in the nationwide VISA meltdown; Tuesday, column day, at 6 a.m., electricity and furnace are off, and outside it is minus 30 and feels like minus 48 with the wind chill: couldn’t go to the den and start typing, even with gloves on. But events like this do get a man looking back.

Monday my plastic gets “Declined” in the nationwide VISA meltdown; Tuesday, column day, at 6 a.m., electricity and furnace are off, and outside it is minus 30 and feels like minus 48 with the wind chill: couldn’t go to the den and start typing, even with gloves on. But events like this do get a man looking back.

When I was a small boy, the gas well in Brooks quit during a prolonged deep freeze. Fortunately, not trusting the new-fangled, my canny and frugal father converted to gas in such a way that furnace reconversion back to coal was easy, and the last load of coal was still in the bin. Our warm house was a popular place, until they finally thawed the wells and got gas flowing again.

Aside from worrying how future Albertans will survive when the oil and gas run out, my own memories put into a perspective I’m not sure I understand the unusual spate of nostalgic, or Alberta-angst-ridden, even angry, letters calls and emails I am receiving from readers lately. I suspect the current “bitumen bubble” (I prefer “bust”) and yet another downturn for one-trick pony, company town Alberta, has much to do with it.

Several correspondents look back to the thirties and living off the land from habitats that no longer exist in an Alberta that was a nicer, kinder place; one of these is from a woman whose late husband’s family drilled the first oil well in Turner Valley. Did any of us alive when the Leduc and Redwater gushers blew in, contemplate how greatly they would change Alberta? Some correspondents ruefully concede that, as individuals, we have more money, but we are quickly becoming poorer in the things that really matter: our land and landscapes, our renewable resources, our forests, fish and wildlife.

Calgarian, Darrel Rowledge, highly informed advocate for public wildlife and opponent of game ranching, has phoned and emailed about the documentary film, “No Accident,” he has been working on for some time. Basically, the film documents scientific discoveries showing that an alarming number of serious human diseases have their origin in the domestication of animals, or, as I prefer to put it, the close confining of wild creatures that habitually run free into ghettoes of infection.

Chronic Wasting Disease, the scientifically-predicted inevitable result of legalizing game ranching, continues its always-lethal spread through Alberta’s deer and elk herds. Rowledge, “No Accident,” and more and more scientists are suggesting the “jump” of CWD from infected wild animals is just an inevitable matter of time.

Many readers are angry with yet another unscientific Alberta intervention into the ecosystem: innocuously called the woodland caribou management strategy, but actually an unholy war Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development is waging against wolves, supposedly to protect the woodland caribou which have already fundamentally been wiped out by oil, gas and forestry fragmentation of their habitat.

Gwen Arterberry emails from Edmonton to point out that helicopter and ground poison wars are a very expensive waste of money, and totally ineffective in that the wolves will quickly “breed up” any losses; the way to go is to fill in the cut lines, pipeline rights of way, etc., that expose prey wildlife to the wolves.

Yes, in many places in Alberta “thar be” many wolves. Another reader sends a chilling picture of 25 marching along, single-file, said to have been taken near Manning.

Disease continues lethal spator-prey relationships, and predator control methods, and is outraged, even rants somewhat, about Alberta’s war on wildlife, particularly the incidental poison and snare kill of innocent, non-target species.

Dwight says several poison methods are humane, selective and safe compared with the strychnine ground baits spread around the Town Creek Natural Area, south of Winfield and allegedly picked up on weekends, so as not to kill hiker’s Fidos. These small baits can easily be dispersed by ravens, magpies, etc., can be buried by other creatures, and are non-specific, killing a wide variety of non-target species; he wonders by what authority they were spread.

Rodtka says that Environment and Sustainable Resource Development does not officially support the wolf bounty being paid to trappers by some fish and game associations, and wonders why they do not stop it, because too many non target species, mostly deer, are being killed in the snares.

Why aren’t Albertans raising hell with government to put an end to, or change so much that is changing Alberta for the worse? Vivian Pharis, doyenne of the Alberta Wilderness Association, thinks it must have something to do with “the changing Albertan,” who does not have the values Albertans once held, or doesn’t realize the consequences of what is going on.

A fortunate few changing Albertans, when the bitumen bubble busts and the money stops, will be able to retreat back to where their roots are and to an environment that will at least sustain them, because it has not been destroyed for big bucks.

Bob Scammell is an award-winning columnist who lives in Red Deer. He can be reached at bscam@telusplanet.net.

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Most Read