One of the weirder aspects of Governor Sarah Palin's persona that has emerged in the last week and a half is her avid love of shooting animals from planes. I guess this is big sport up in Alaska. I don't oppose hunting per se
— as a meat eater, I have respect for anyone who has distanced themselves from the lethal process whereby animals are turned into food. But flying overhead as an animal flees in terror over a white canvas of snow doesn't seem very "sporting."
Salon reports that in 2007 the Governor went so far as to offer a bounty for every hacked off wolf paw a hunter turns in to the state government. Alas, one of those party-pooper activist judges ruled she didn't have the authority to offer such rewards and put the kibosh on the program. Nonetheless, her office still encourages the "culling" of wolves with the aid of Cessnas and high-powered rifles. Why? Because, she claims, the wolves are killing the caribou that subsistence hunters and Native Americans rely on for food. How thoughtful and compassionate of her to consider the needs of indigenous peoples. Except that this claim is not based in science:
Last year, 172 scientists signed a letter to Palin, expressing concern about the lack of science behind the state's wolf-killing operation. According to the scientists, state officials set population objectives for moose and caribou based on "unattainable, unsustainable historically high populations." As a result, the "inadequately designed predator control programs" threatened the long-term health of both the ungulate and wolf populations. The scientists concluded with a plea to Palin to consider the conservation of wolves and bears "on an equal basis with the goal of producing more ungulates for hunters."
Apparently Palin wasn't fazed. Earlier this year she introduced state legislation that would further divorce the predator-control program from science. The legislation would transfer authority over the program from the state Department of Fish and Game to Alaska's Board of Game, whose members are appointed by, well, Palin. Even some hunters were astounded by her power play.
The legislation would give Palin's board "more leeway without any scientific input to do whatever the hell they basically wanted," Mark Richards, co-chair of Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, wrote in an e-mail. The legislation is currently stalled in the Alaska state Senate.
Not that I'd expect a person who ascribes to creationism and doubts human agency in global warming to give a crap about science. I swear, she's like Dubya in high heels. And wielding a weapon.