When a Moose Dies

By Anne Mueller, WildWatch.org

There is so much to comment on in the casually written article titled, “Meat from Moose Will Feed Needy Families Throughout Hudson Valley.”

A photo of the moose struck by a vehicle in the town of Cortlandt oN Saturday. State officails said useable meat from the young male moose has been donated to a Hunters Helping the Hungry program in Dutchess county. Photo Credit: New York State Police.

How innocuous it appears to be, yet how nefarious is the truth of his death.

The big question we have for wildlife managers is: How did this moose get so far south in NYS before being “noticed.”

Years ago, when I first began my research into wildlife management agencies, I visited BOW’s center in Delmar, NY. It was circa 1993. There, I found out about a new program: a researcher was investigating whether moose should “reintroduced” into NYS. My name was new to the Bureau of Wildlife (BOW), so they had no problem providing me with paper reports (electronics were not used much at that time). What is BOW? You’ve never heard of it? BOW operates within the DEC, and its their special bureau that uniquely serves a privately owned businesses, collectively considered the firearms industry. BOW is often conflated with the larger DEC, which allows it appear to be a legitimate government agency that serves the general public. In fact BOW is merely cloaked by the DEC which allows money to be siphoned from the general fund for what is essentially a private enterprise.
After meeting the principal investigator of the moose project and asking my dry academic questions, he handed me a report and told me I could keep it. What I discovered was totally shocking. These agents for hunters were not only looking into driving moose populations up in NYS, they were actually planning how many human fatalities could occur before the “public” (hunters) would start to demand the hunting of moose: their true goal.

We all know that deer-car collisions are devastating to the poor animal who is hit, but they are also bad for the vehicle and the driver. Yet, even large deer weigh no more than about 150 lbs., and females are usually only 75-100 lbs. Now, compare the weight of a deer to that of a moose: The average weight of a moose is 1000 pounds for males, though it can be as high as 1,400 pounds and 800 pounds for females. In the case of a moose-car collision, the concern is no longer a dented vehicle and minor injuries to the human, it is without doubt a fatality in a regular car! That’s why it was shocking and almost unbelievable that they did not find the person who hit the moose.

Checking up on the status of this project over the years, I learned that it was eventually scrapped, the decision was made to allow the population to grow on its own rather than doing a direct “reintroduction.”

I have used quotes around “reintroduction,” because true conservation does not consider an introduction of a new species to an environment to be ethical or in the best interest of the environment or the preservation of native species. So “reintroduction” is the key word. As in the case of the trumpeter swan, the shenanigans to come up with a pre-existing history are quite extensive and stretched, if not outright fabricated.

Not to disillusion anyone, but if you know the machinations of BOW, you know that BOW partners with hunting groups, individual land owners, and “conservation” orgs that work with hunters.

When I say that BOW is a private enterprise that works for the firearms industry rather than the general public as the other divisions of the DEC do, I mean this:

BOW gets money from its portion of the federal excise tax collected on firearms and ammunition. The money ends up in the Federal Conservation Fund and is allocated to the state depending on the number of hunting licenses they sell relative to their population. BOW then uses that money to generate more money from firearms and ammunition by creating ever more hunting opportunity.

Compare that circular set-up to the excise tax collected on alcohol or tobacco. That tax is put into the general fund and may be used for the public good: education, healthcare, etc.

Unlike BOW, the other divisions of the DEC (by the way, this is true for other states’ environmental departments as well) actually serve the general public.

A question that C.A.S.H. is looking into is exactly how much general funding is going to BOW for their overhead and self-serving projects either directly or through the DEC.

The next point is the use of moose flesh.

Apparently, this agency thinks that the public is placated when they hear that animals are consumed. Culls are often justified by saying that the animals’ bodies will be used for human consumption. What they don’t tell the public is that the meat is not inspected, except by the hunter, is not tested for toxins or lead, and could be unfit for human or even animal consumption.

Years ago, following a deer cull upstate, a prison was offered the flesh. The USDA made an exception to their policy of not inspecting wild animal flesh because of the many unknowns of where and what the animals had eaten, their physical condition before and after death, the lack of refrigeration, etc. When they inspected, they found the flesh to be unfit for human consumption. The DEC then tried to pawn it off on the Bear Mountain Zoo for their animals. The head of the zoo at that time refused to take the meat for fear of harming the animals. It was eventually discarded.

Then in the mid-1990s when BOW attempted to whitewash the killing of Canada geese by turning them over to food banks, we spoke with some food pantries about the dangers of taking goose flesh. In one case, I was told that the recipients of the center refused the donation for fear of lead. Another center said that it had taken some flesh but that their clients refused to eat it due to the bad taste. They had to mix so much regular hamburger in with the goose flesh that it obviated the purpose of accepting the flesh.

Hunters for the Hungry is comprised of hunters who risk the health of the public to give themselves a good name. C.A.S.H.’s investigation revealed that the meat wasn’t used by anyone we know of, nor have the people been followed up to know if they were sickened or affected.

One other BOW connection to moose is that they can and do eat 20 lbs of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) daily. As one of the reasons given for eliminating the mute swan is because they eat about a pound of SAV daily, you can see how moose might be on BOW’s hit list a well if they are trying to grow a trumpeter population.




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