To the Editor:
Humans are transforming Earth's natural landscapes so dramatically that a million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. That is the conclusion of a new 132-country study of the decline in biodiversity across the globe. Most of the loss is unintentional, collateral damage of
agriculture, industry and population growth. In Kristi Noem's South Dakota, the destruction of native species is planned, written into law, and funded by taxpayers.
Slaughter is a key feature of Gov. Noem's so-called "Second Century Initiative." Certainly we need to restore wildlife habitat, diminished at an alarming rate over the past decade by urban sprawl and by planting corn and beans from ditch to ditch. But for Noem, natural habitat is not for our state's native wildlife. It is for pheasants, an imported Chinese bird.
Noem's program uses taxpayer dollars to buy traps and to teach kids to trap and kill native animals like raccoons, possums, skunks, badgers and foxes - to build the pheasant population. Why? So that exclusive "hunting preserves" like the one that enriched the Noem family can lure out-of-staters to shoot pen-raised pheasants during an extended season for
which South Dakota hunters need not apply.
What is purely evil about Noem's program is her glee in teaching children that the "family outdoor experience" means trapping and killing fellow creatures, cutting off their tails for a $10 taxpayer-funded bounty, and tossing the body away. In the first month of Noem's program, 10,000 native animals have been destroyed.
Who is the real predator?