Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where's Dave, Director of HSUS NRRO?

This is the second swift fox I live trapped and processed for release as an endangered species in South Dakota. My hand is covering her ( a three year old female in excellent condition) eyes to calm her down and to avoid having to chemically immobilize her.

Dave has been busy. Here in his own words is the latest information....

"Where is the World is......

I am sitting in a hotel in Casper, Wyoming heading for home and my daughters for the Christmas holiday. Last night was only the second night in eight days that I have slept on a bed. The week of trapping Swift Foxes found me bundled up every night in the storage area of the tack room in our equine rescue trailer. It was frigid the first two days with wind chills well below zero and my breath at night would coat my sleeping bag and the ceiling of the tack room with a thick coating of ice and frost. I LOVED IT and slept well until having to get up and load the truck in the darkness to prepare for running the line of live traps in Logan County, Kansas.

As I mentioned in a previous blog... I was assisting the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Wildlife Department with helping to reestablish the swift fox species which is considered endangered in South Dakota. The Lower Brule native nation and a Ted Turner Ranch project are the two efforts to help bring these smallest of the wild canids back to living the good life in South Dakota. In Kansas, this species in offered no protection and can be trapped or chased by greyhounds as many of the coyote hunters choose to do.

So I actually felt good trying to catch these critters before they pair up for spring, and to help them get some jewelry ( a microchip and a radio collar) to be safely transported to a vast area where they will be treated with the safety of endangered species status.

The Team, under the excellent guidance of a tribal biologist caught 39 foxes under a permit for 40. Half the foxes are already in South Dakota, and the rest are awaiting blood test results ( to ensure they are healthy and disease free) before they make the journey to the Lakota Nation lands where they will spend their Christmas in soft release acclimation pens. It is a great project that I was proud to have assisted in.

But I had to leave this wonderful event a few days early to make some historic and important meetings in Denver to help farm animals. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle and Farm Animals guru Paul Shapiro came out for meetings with the Colorado Governors Office, the CO Agricultural Commissioner (separate meetings) and others to help us promote more humane ways to house Colorado's beef calves, Layer Hens and Production Swine. We were treated to a partial victory already as the Colorado Pork Producers announced upon the day of our arrival that They are going to voluntarily ban hog gestation crates in Colorado within the next ten years. While the time frame is a few years longer than we would have liked... WE applaud the pork producers for the leadership and compassion to recognize that these inhumane cages where animals cannot even turn around need to be banned and changed to more natural group housing situations. The Veal Calf producers in CO have already committed to a FOUR year plan to eliminate veal confinement cages. The egg folks,however, have apparently decided not to follow the trend to allow layer hens the opportunity to stretch their wings, dust bath or perch and are instead just considering giving them a few more square inches inside a "battery cage" where they and their jail mates much spend their entire lives never feeling the softness of grass or the fun of throwing dust over their entire body. For full disclosure I must admit that I have ten laying hens living a free range lifestyle at my home outside of Billings, MT... and I can watch my feathered girls for a half hour as they pick, scratch, roll and jump around our yard. I simply cannot imagine them being forced to live an intensive confinement life in a area the size of about 2/3 the size of a sheet of typing paper. Please buy cage free or free range eggs and let the producers know that chickens and other farm animals destined for our human food chain at least deserve the right to as humane and natural of lifestyle as we can give them. Sadly the egg producers refusal is likey to consume lots of my time in 2008 as we may be forced to enter a ballot initiative to speak out for the chickens. We hope the hog and veal producers will voluntarily follow up on their good intent of banning intensive confinement by making their ban the legal law of Colorado. But again they get great kudos for moving their industry in the right direction.

I also had some side meetings with another state office on the Canned Hunting issue and then finished my amazing meeting day by meeting with the Prairie Dog Coalition administrator so we can plan some exciting events to celebrate prairie dogs in 2008.

A great week.... and now headed home to wife and daughters for the holidays. Those who remember my wonderful Lucy dog passing in September...will
be happy to hear that we have mourned and now celebrated her crossing the rainbow bridge.... and Lucy will be delighted to see that her beds and kennels will soon be filled with a crazy little puppy we are getting TOMORROW!. The little pup is a VERY distant relative of Lucy who was a German Wirehaired Pointer. This pup is a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon... very similar to German wirehairs but their heritage comes out of France. I love these breeds because they are hearty and love to be trained to help me with my unique wildlife rescue chores like finding vehicle injured wildlife or training squirrel and raccoons NOT to trust dogs. It will indeed be a special holiday period with a new canine daughter in the household. ( Her working name is "One Spot" but we are leaning towards Penny or Lexi as a final name.

So happiest of Holidays to each of you!!! Thanks as always for your artistic support to our mission." Dave
Dave Pauli
The HSUS Northern Rockies Animal Protection Team

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