September 22, 2012

Here we go again. That’s the tragic conclusion to be drawn from the story of wolves under siege once more [“Once nearly extinct, wolves now fair game,” front page, Sept. 17].

This country’s war against wolves raged for centuries. Then, for a few short decades, foresighted people held out for the idea that these marvelous animals deserved a toehold in nature. Successful efforts “reintroduced” the wolf to portions of our wildlands and protected remaining animals in other places.

Unfortunately, that short-lived sentiment has been brushed aside by government officials. Hunters want trophies; trappers want pelts for the fur industry. And timid officials are yielding by allowing some of the most archaic killing methods: shooting on sight, hounding with packs of dogs and trapping.

Our laws, regulations and ethics should favor animals who struggle to survive and thrive. That’s a 21st-century view. Trophy-hunters, fur-trappers and their apologists should not be allowed to march us backward to the 19th century.

Wayne Pacelle, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States.