NO HOME ON THE RANGE (CONT.)
I cannot recall when a single article of any nature has aroused and concerned me more than The Poisoning of the West (March 8 et seq.). You are to be commended for exposing in depth the poisoning program condoned by state and federal agencies.
Is it possible that we as a people are bordering on mass insanity? One gets the impression that our particular generation is possessed with a growing passion to eliminate everything from this earth that gets in our way. More and more people seem to care less and less about what this world is going to be like 100 years hence. Thank God there is hope yet as the result of national attention being focused on these occurrences by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and similar publications.
THE REV. LUTHER R. STOKES
First United Methodist Church
Never in my life have I read such a onesided and poisonous article as The Poisoning of the West by Jack Olsen. From Jackie Boy's first written word to his last, he set out to poison a lot of people's minds. With his poisonous ink and poisonous pen and a few thousand poisonous words Jackie Boy spread more poison over the entire world than livestock raisers have spread over the Western U.S. in the last 100 years.
Write to your heart's content, Poisonous Jack, because the strong men of the vast domestic livestock industry of this country are not going to give up their life's work to return the West to you, your kind or your wild animals! I would suggest that you, Jackie Boy, partake a little of your ink or just prick yourself with your pen.
March 29, 1971
One hour before this writing, my family and I returned home after seeing The Wild Country, a Walt Disney production. The scenery (southwest Wyoming) was breathtaking, and the good guys triumphed over the bad guys. In brief, the film gave us a feeling of pleasure and contentment. Now I find myself expressing to you my unhappiness, depression and disgust as I've just completed reading the second of the three-part series The Poisoning of the West by Jack Olsen. It is apparent that the sheepmen and the Government poisoners are blind to the damage and destruction to the biological scheme of our wilderness. By our, I mean the people of this country, particularly the children—my children.
How do I tell my children to believe in and have faith in their governmental agencies when flagrant and continuous violations of the law are committed by sheepmen who clearly "own" the Government. How do I explain how an arm of the Government (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)can ignore its own regulations, practice subterfuge and deception and play games with statistics in order to justify its sickening programs?
While the slaughter of wild game, the destruction of the ecological balance and the occasional loss of human life depress me, the unknown climax to such fun and games frightens me.
FRANCIS P. HILL
After reading your article on poisoning and the two rebuttals by Jack Berryman, chief of the Government's Wildlife Services, and Edwin Marsh, executive secretary of the National Wool Growers Association, I'd just like to know who's lying! According to Berryman, only the most humane toxicants with the least impact on the environment are used, and none of the poisons used moves through the food chain. This doesn't exactly fit your description of 1080—"difficult to imagine a more insidious homicidal poison"; "extremely hazardous to animals higher in the food chain"; "does not degrade easily."
Berryman claims, "We have not brought to the verge of extinction any target animals, let alone any of the others." In contrast to this, we are given quotes from men who actually live in the area (i.e., Glenn Sutton, Charles Orlosky and Paul Maxwell) expressing deep concern over the rapid disappearance of once abundant and relatively harmless animals.
As for Edwin Marsh, who obviously places the "survival" and profit of the wool industry over the ecological balance of nature, I say keep up the good work. If you don't think the present poisoning program is adequate, develop even more deadly toxicants, and eventually maybe you'll have a strain of coyote that is resistant to all poisons. Then it will be baa-baa wool industry.
Fort Dodge, Iowa
I have enjoyed SI for several years and am pleased with your stand on environmental pollution, especially Jack Olsen's article The Poisoning of the West. I have grown up as a part-time trapper in a livestock-oriented area of western Colorado. I am aware of ranchers scattering poisoned animal carcasses over their grazing areas, although these ranchers seem to prefer thallium, since the poison itself is not regurgitated and it kills the animal slowly, usually with most of the hair falling out before death. Amazingly, there are still a few coyotes left, but I think the major damage is being done to predatory bird populations. I realize many of the ranchers have predator problems, but there must be a better solution than using poisoned baits.
Another example of the power of livestock men in this area is reflected in the property taxes of my home county. Forty mils goes to the Predatory Animal Fund (sheep and goats). The water conservation districts, fire protection districts and junior college fund combined receive less than 40 mils. The school districts receive 43 to 73 mils.
I am not a conservationist nor am I too greatly concerned about the ecology problem, but your article on poisoning made me ill. How can a nation that has so much justify the killing of wild animals just to satisfy a specialty group like woolgrowers? I realize that wild animals do kill domestic livestock, but does that justify the use of a poison as potent as 1080, where only one ounce can kill 200 adult humans or 20,000 coyotes or dogs or 70,000 house cats? I would also like to ask the woolgrowers of the Western states what gives them the right to destroy animals of any kind on public lands?
ANDY S. WATSON
Buena Park, Calif.
To say the least, your article has left me with a deep feeling of revulsion toward yet another chapter in the book apparently entitled How To Destroy Yourself—and Look Stupid Doing It. Maybe a solution would be to handle the sheepherders like the cattlemen did in the old Western movies.
Some people may be described as "little old ladies in tennis shoes," but they may just be really concerned about our country.
WM. H. FRIDDLE JR.
I am ready, willing and able to stand up and be counted in favor of stockmen protecting their livelihood (their flocks and herds) by whatever means needed. Mr. Olsen is an able writer and researcher: the only trouble is he is just 100% wrong in defending the worthless, pesky, stinking coyote. As a sort of far-out comparison, let anyone drive across the Great Plains and observe some of the most fertile farmlands in the world. Not so long ago these lands were buffalo range. Untold wealth has been and is being produced here, supporting millions of people and businesses, industries, great institutions and universities, all founded and supported by agriculture. True, the bison are gone, forever exterminated by man, and many bleeding hearts are still moaning about that. Ecology hysteria is on the rise over common sense. I say: Up the wool-growing industry! Long may it prosper!
Once a railroad lawyer and a sheepman's lawyer were having a hot legal battle over the death of 300 sheep in a railway accident. As a clincher, the stockman's attorney quoted the Bible. Said he, citing chapter and verse, "It says right here, don't harm my sheep."
Walla Walla, Wash.
I was fascinated by the first part of Jack Olsen's article. Mr. Olsen has again proved himself to be one of the most distinguished writers on the American scene.
In refutation of Mr. Marsh of the National Wool Growers Association: It was estimated (by Gerald A. Cole, Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, December 1970) that the loss of livestock (including two horses) due to coyotes in Arizona during fiscal 1969 was about $42,225. At the same time, the reported pro-rated cost for killing 1,864 coyotes that year was $157,603. The Bulletin article also points out that 148 black-tailed jackrabbits consume the forage that would support one cow or five sheep. If we can assume, as Cole did, that five coyotes can kill 148 black-tailed jackrabbits per annum, the loss of 1,864 coyotes bagged during 1969 in Arizona was equivalent to a loss of range forage for 373 cattle or 1,864 sheep, worth about $53,000. Thus the net cost to the sheep industry and taxpayer for coyote control in Arizona during 1969 was approximately $168,378. Ironic!
ROBERT C. FRANCIS
Natural Resource Ecology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colo.
As a practicing doctor of veterinary medicine I am familiar with the toxicology of the poisons mentioned by Jack Olsen. To believe that anyone could indiscriminately spew this material onto any part of our land is absolutely appalling.
O.L. SMITH, D.V.M.
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
It is ironic that the same technology that gives us 1080 poison can also produce synthetic substitutes for wool. If these extermination practices are allowed to continue unchecked, will technology be able to produce synthetic coyotes or foxes or eagles—or sheepmen?
JOHN A. HUBICSAK
State College, Pa.
I went to college for three years to study wildlife and the management of various species of wildlife. In school I was led to believe that predator control went out around 1950. If, as Mr. Olsen claims, wildlife is still being decimated (managed) in this way, then students in this field are being duped as to the true facts and it's time for the young biologists to take over the responsibility of managing our wildlife and to get rid of the "old school" who are incompetent insofar as maintaining a public trust is concerned. Hopefully the present management is not as bad as Mr. Olsen would have us believe.
JACK M. BRIERLY
It is hard to articulate my profound and deepening feeling of despair that mankind is marching toward its own destruction. Since the opening up of the New World, man has had a bloodlust attitude toward animal life which continues to this day. Always it has been condoned on economic grounds, as is the program to exterminate predators today. If our economic system dictates that there is not enough of America for coyotes, wolves, raptors and black-footed ferrets, then I say there are too many Homo sapiens.
In our mad ripping apart of ecosystems, surely we shall eventually suffer as have so many other species; for much as we may think otherwise, we are entwined in the natural world and depend on it for survival. Please, let's stop our destructive tampering with death and instead get on with the very difficult job of making planet Earth a fit place for man and for beasts (of every kind).
God save us from ourselves!
I congratulate you, Mark Kram and Photographers James Drake, George Kalinsky, Neil Leifer, Herb Scharfman and Tony Triolo for the excellent job done covering the Fight of the Century (End of the Ali Legend, March 15). Kram's article is superb.
Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but Joe Frazier proved decisively who the real champ was.
It finally happened. The Louisville Lip has been beaten, and beaten bad. Of course, SI shows "the battered face of a winner," but not even you can take away the exuberant pride felt by the followers of Joe Frazier. Modesty, humbleness and sincerity are some of the ingredients of a true champion, and Joe Frazier has them all. Big-mouthing, loud talking and unjust criticism don't stand up in the ring.
Yes, Ali, you were right—no contest!
Big Rapids, Mich.
At last I've found an article on the fight that was fair. But your heading, End of the Ali Legend, is misleading; only the U.S. Supreme Court will end this man's career. Joe Frazier didn't do it.
On March 8 Joe Frazier proved to be a tough, relentless fighter. Moreover, by defeating Ali, he proved to be an iconoclast. He destroyed the image of a superhero. He crushed an idol. He toppled an icon.
Yet Frazier should not rest on his newly fattened bankbook. Ali may be vanquished and silenced now, but he'll rise again after the eight (month) count. In the inevitable rematch the icon shall break the iconoclast.
As one of those millions that he moved deeply, let me say that Ali is hardly as near his own end as Mark Kram would have it. Ali is still the great artist and man we knew he was all along. He is still a symbol that boxing will not, and certainly should not, forget. Like Arnold Palmer in golf, Ali has made an otherwise mediocre sport into something majestic and exciting. Joe Frazier and Jack Nicklaus are champions, but Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer are kings, and nothing will ever change that.
KRIS D. ESSLINGER
Palo Alto, Calif.
BARK OR BITE?
Your writer, Robert H. Boyle, has captured the true nature of Robert Abady ("Nobody Touches Me with Impunity," March 15) and has accurately portrayed the personality hiding behind his bravado. It should be obvious to your readers that the true reason for Mr. Abady's lack of success in gaining admission to the Bouvier des Flandres Club of America lies not in the fear of his wiping the floor but in the club's good judgment in not allowing ourselves to be placed in the possible position of giving approval for his unconventional actions. He has applied for membership on more than one occasion and has never been accepted.
Lest the public be confused, the bouvier is a working dog. He is a superlative guard dog, but he is also an ideal pet for children. He is used for all kinds of herding and for draft chores. He is not basically an attack dog but is possessive about his family and its interests.
Mr. Abady may be considered by some as an expert on condition and nutrition, but his explanation for lack of good health in dogs does his "expertise" little good. He is the first dog breeder I have heard of to ever have a 60% loss of newborn puppies. We rarely lose any, and we do not employ any supplements. A good veterinarian is worth far more than some wild-eyed theory from a former spoiled brat.
ARTHUR M. PEDERSEN, M.D.
Bouvier des Flandres Club of America
Council Bluffs, Iowa
I am disappointed in Robert H. Boyle's presentation of the bouviers des Flandres. As one of Robert Abady's first trainers and his assistant, I know the breed better than most. I feel that the article misleads the public as to the breed's capability as a family pet, friendly neighbor and family protector. It gives the unknowing reader the impression that the bouvier is a vicious, bloodthirsty breed rather than a protective and loving animal.
JOHN F. O'BRIEN
Before your article our bouvier was being invited to neighborhood birthday parties. Parents are now warning their children to stay away. This article has done nothing to advance the breeding of these wonderful dogs.
Mr. Boyle should be commended for one of the best articles you have ever done. Could you tell me where I could get literature on this dog and where I could get one for a reasonable price?
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.