"The Dogs of War," Alan Prendergast, May 9, 2013
Prairie dogs are amazing animals, especially if you've taken the time to study and understand their awesome and unique niche in the development of a healthy prairie ecosystem. But there's a bigger picture here: When do we decide to stop destroying what makes the West the best? Why do many of us call Denver home, are drawn to the mountains, the raw wild prairies? If you take it away little by little, you forget why you're here.
Let's remember a quote from the godfather of the National Park Service, John Muir: "These temple-destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people's cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man."
Unfortunately, as an animal-welfare and wildlife supporter, I had heard about the Stapleton plan for "eradication" of the prairie dogs a few months ago. As with other pro-animal supporters, I had tried to contact and reason with the staff at Stapleton. What a waste of time!
We had been informed that Stapleton's parent company was "very interested in environmental sustainability," so much so that — in fact — the company used such things as recycled paper and soy ink in their correspondence, etc. The truth of the matter was that they were much more interested in expanding the development with more conventional forms of development — i.e., gassing the original residents of the property.
I had suggested that they take cues from another park development along Sixth Avenue that incorporated the terrain as well as the existing prairie-dog colony into the park and trail system there. That was not the model the Stapleton development team had in mind. The development corporation has hired the same caliber of "design professionals" who create battery cages for hens, gestation crates for pigs and, decades ago, designed the gassing and other facilities at Auschwitz.
The closest that these clowns come to designing for wildlife is to clear another space on their fireplace mantle for another butchered deer-head trophy. It's really pathetic.
If prairie dogs can be eliminated from natural areas due to profit and greed or convenience, then there is little hope for mankind.
Take, for example, genetically modified food. BT corn has been shown to eliminate habitat for the monarch butterflies and to poison them; it's just viewed as part of the system or just too bad. Monsanto produces genetically modified food that has been shown to be a hazard to human health. Yet Monsanto says its only job is to make a profit (greed).
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Indeed, to make a profit, it becomes evident that even human life and value is in doubt!
Donald L. Ferry