Excerpt from Andy Walgamott’s recent post, followed by a link to the entire article:
WDFW continues to maintain that laboratory testing shows the hoof ailment is very similar to a “contagious bacterial infection in sheep,” but freelance Seattle journalist Jon Gosch has received some media attention for his dogged investigation and questions about whether possibly herbicides used on industrial forests might play a role.
Blogged Scott Sandsberry at the Yakima Herald-Republic recently:
Civic leaders in southwest Washington communities, as well as several members of the WDFW’s citizen panel working on the issue, are demanding what Gosch and some of his supporters have been saying for months: that those crippled elk be separated and studied until wildlife biologists can actually figure out once and for all what’s behind the disease.
That seems like a no-brainer to me. (That — “a no-brainer” — is also precisely how a member of that working panel described it to Gosch.)
Seems like a good idea to me as well.
After my family’s unsuccessful hunting season this past fall I became curious about why there were so few elk in the woods of southwest Washington. The answer of course was the epidemic of hoof disease that is currently ravaging elk populations throughout the Pacific Northwest, and since then I have attended numerous meetings on the subject, written several articles, and probably parsed through more scientific papers than there are healthy elk left in Cowlitz County, where I was born.
Along the way I have learned a great deal about the dangers that herbicides and their adjuvants present to nearly every living organism, and like many hundreds of local citizens, I have come to believe that the forest chemicals routinely sprayed on industrial timber lands are at the root of “hoof rot.” The insights into true herbicide toxicity have been disturbing, but what has been especially maddening is that our Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) appears to be casting these concerns aside and discounting herbicides as a potential cause.