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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Steve Ecklund's Savage Killing of a Cougar and Vainglorious Gloating, Strutting, and Preening Are Resoundingly Applauded by Canada's Ever Obliging Media and Complicitous Universities

Killing the Cougar Gave Steve Ecklund Immense Joy

"What a creep. Chasing a cougar with dogs until they are exhausted then shooting a scared, cornered and tired animal. Must be compensating for something, small penis probably."

-- Laureen Ann Harper.

It often has been observed that man is the only animal that kills for the pleasure of doing so and confirmation of that disturbing characteristic was perhaps nowhere more vividly demonstrated than in the recent abhorrent conduct of Ontario native Steve Ecklund. The specifics have not been divulged, but in early December he and at least three other individuals used a pair of beagles in order to track down and kill a very large male cougar in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains somewhere between the small towns of Rocky Mountain House and Drayton Valley in southern Alberta.

Given that between one-hundred-twenty-five and one-hundred-eighty-five of these magnificent cats are killed in a similar fashion each year in Alberta alone, that hardly was news in itself. Rather, it was Ecklund's notoriety as a host of the popular television show, The Edge, that automatically transformed this all-too-common senseless killing into a newsworthy event.

Not contented with merely snuffing out the forever nameless cat's precious life, he then went on social media in order to gloat. In particular, he wasted no time in posting photographs of himself, delirious with joy and self-importance, parading before the camera all the while holding up the lifeless body of the cat.

In that respect, his bloodthirsty, egomaniacal behavior was reminiscent of that displayed by archers Zach "Shaggy" Slattery and Aaron Wilksch after they had gunned down innumerable domestic cats on Kangaroo Island in 2015. (See Cat Defender post of November 18, 2016 entitled "A Clever Devil at the University of Adelaide Boasts That he Has Discovered the Achilles' Heel of Cats with His Invention of Robotic Grooming Traps as the Thoroughly Evil Australians' All-Out War Against the Species Enters Its Final Stages," the Daily Mail, February 24, 2016, "Man Who Shoots Feral Cats with a Bow and Arrow Posts Pictures of His Kills Online Gets Death Threats for His 'Animal Cruelty'," and the Australian Broadcasting Company articles dated February 24, 2016 and March 13, 2016 and entitled, respectively, "Bow Hunter Targeted with Global Hate Campaign for Shooting Feral Cats in Australia" and "Bow Hunting of Feral Cats Is Cruel and 'Not Part of the Strategy,' Threatened Species Commissioner Says.")

Ecklund did not stop there, however, but instead he went on to even outdo Slattery and Wilksch by skinning the cougar and cooking at least some of its flesh. The implication to be drawn from that is that he was hungry but there is not any evidence that he actually consumed any of the cat. Besides, he has money to burn and there most assuredly is not any shortage of food in Canada.

What he did with its luxuriant pelt has not been disclosed but he could have sold it to someone connected to the fur industry. It also is entirely conceivable that he took it, along with the cat's head, to a taxidermist in order to be mounted. The latter expedient accordingly will allow him to not only bask in the glory of his gore until his own hide rots off of his malignant bones but to show off his trophy to his like-minded friends and colleagues.

Press reports have not broached the matter but more than likely the entire chase, kill, celebration, and feasting were filmed for future broadcast on Wild TV of Edmonton which hosts The Edge. After all, professional and monetary considerations usually go hand in hand with a lust for the shedding of innocent blood, the thrill of killing, and runaway egotism.

"...not only is hunting his passion, but a motivational life-saver," either he or, more likely, one of his subordinates, declares on his web site in reference to a trip that he made not too long ago to Alaska in order to kill a Dall's Sheep. He furthermore credits that totally inexcusable killing with enabling him to defeat cancer.

While there is not any known scientific connection between the killing of a sheep and the curing of cancer, some folks in Victorian England purportedly believed that having it off with a virgin was a sure-fire cure for venereal disease. It would be nothing short of stupefying if there were any causal connection in either case; rather, Ecklund simply gets a huge thrill out of slaughtering animals whereas some diseased men enjoy deflowering and infecting clean and healthy young girls.

Be that as it may, the good thing about cancer is that it has a long and checkered history of not only recurring but with a vengeance. Furthermore, when it does return it has been known to wipe the smirks off of maps uglier than Ecklund's and of humbling even those more full of themselves than him.

The second thing that has distinguished Ecklund's killing from the thousands of other cougars that are eradicated each year, for one reason or another, in Canada and the United States has been the unprecedented debate that it has spawned. Predictably, his boss at Wild TV, Ryan Kohler, was thrilled to his back teeth by his underling's actions.

"We fully support the ethical and legal kill that Steve Ecklund has presented to us," he gushed to CTV on December 21st. (See "TV Host's Cougar Hunt Was Legal 'as Far as We Know': Alberta Environment.") "Unfortunately he is getting some huge backlash, but that won't change the fact that we love our hunting heritage in Canada."

Paul Frame of Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) in Edmonton was quick to put his stamp of approval on the kill. "Did the hunter have a proper license? Was the quota still open in that specific management area? Was everything done legally?" he postured to CTV in a backhanded, exaggerated fashion. "As far as we know, that was a legal hunt."

Ecklund Finally Let Go of the Cat but There Was Not Any End to His Gloating

According to data supplied by CTV, Alberta residents are allowed to legally massacre one-hundred-fifty-five cougars each year whereas outsiders, such as Ecklund, are permitted to gun down another thirty of them. For example, during the 2016-2017 hunting season, one-thousand-twenty-five licenses were issued which resulted in the deaths of one-hundred-twenty-five cougars.

During this hunting season, which began on December 1st and extends through the end of February, seven-hundred-seventy-five licenses have been sold so far. CTV purposefully neglects, however, to reveal how many cats have been liquidated to date.

The Daily Mail claims in its December 20th edition, however, that under Alberta law it is illegal to use dogs, such as Ecklund did, in order to track big game animals during the winter hunting season and Frame has conveniently failed to address that important issue. (See "Grinning Canadian TV Presenter Bags a Huge Mountain Lion -- but Some Animal Rights Activists Are Not Happy.")

Ecklund also likes to pass himself off as a so-called fair chase hunter, as opposed to being a participant in the canned hunts staged by the likes of Ted Turner, Theodore Anthony Nugent, and others, but it is difficult to see so much as a speck of fairness in a gang of bloodthirsty men, armed with high-powered rifles and bows as well as dogs, going after a defenseless cougar. "The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of a gun," Anglo-American novelist P.G. Wodehouse once astutely pointed out.

If Ecklund were a real man instead of the cowardly impostor that he is he would leave his guns, bows, dogs, and buddies at home and hunt cougars by his lonesome and mano a mano. The petit fait that he is far too craven to do any of that just goes to show that his idea of a fair chase amounts to little more than an extended version of a canned hunt.

Frame furthermore agrees with Kohler that killing cougars is a fine old, time-honored Canadian way of life. "There's a long-standing tradition of hunting cougars in Alberta," he proudly declared to CTV. "It's been regulated since 1969, with a quota in place since 1990. We adjust quotas based on the environmental conditions of the time, so we review them annually or biannually."

Demonstrating writ large once again that no atrocity perpetrated against cats, no matter how heinous, will ever fail to receive the wholehearted endorsement of those utterly despicable moral degenerates who rule the roost in the world's temples of academic excellence was sixty-seven-year-old wildlife biology professor Mark Stephen Boyce of the University of Alberta in Edmonton. "Cougar hunting is popular, especially with hounds," is how that he began his defense of Ecklund to CTV.

From that starting point he went on to ludicrously claim that dispatching cougars to the devil was a form of public service that would not adversely affect the health of the species. "There is considerable concern about rising numbers of cougars because they are dangerous...and occasionally they kill livestock," he pontificated. "Hunter harvests are low enough that they do not threaten our cougar populations and sustainable harvests are possible."

First of all, as a wildlife biologist Old Boyce Bird is surely aware that cougars were present in Alberta and elsewhere in North America long before he and the sportsmen, ranchers, and other economic interests that he stooges for ever arrived on the scene. He and his fellow murderers therefore are guilty of invading and trespassing upon their turf, not vice-versa.

Secondly, cougar attacks upon humans are extremely rare even in the densely populated areas that surround the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains near Los Angeles. They accordingly surely must be even less common in a remote and thinly-populated area such as Alberta.

Finally, after stooping about as low as an academician can without coming eyeball to eyeball with a termite, Old Boyce Bird chucked off the mask of all intellectual respectability and finally revealed his true colors. "This is an anti-hunting rant," he bellowed like a stuck pig to CTV in reference to Ecklund's detractors. "There is nothing illegal about cougar hunting, but I understand that some people do not accept hunting. That's a personal choice."

There is not, arguably, anything quite as amusing as to sit back and listen to loudmouthed, pompous, and dogmatic professors cavalierly dismissing all opinions and values that they disagree with as being either rants or totally irrelevant. According to their modus operandi, telling lies, wallowing in prejudices, killing innocent cats, arousing irrational and unfounded fears in the uneducated masses, and pimping and whoring for economic interests is the one and only true way to live and think.

Furthermore, since he believes that killing cats is purely a personal choice, it would be interesting to know his thoughts on homicide. For instance, would he feel comfortable with the doing away of the laws against murder?

Wildlife biologist Adam Ford of the University of British Columbia in Okanagan not only endorsed Frame's and Boyce's opinions on the sustainability of cougar hunting but he ventured one step further by making it explicit that when it comes to cats individuals do not count. "It's seeing a much greater value on an individual animal rather than a population, but the system is set up for us to manage populations, not individuals," he told The Woodstock Sentinel Review of Ontario via The Canadian Press on January 8th. (See "Cougar Hunt in Alberta Sparks Debate Among Scientists, Hunters and Activists.") "The way hunting has been designed for a long time is not to have an impact on the population."

Ecklund and His Confederates Celebrate Their Evil Act

With such an ossified mindset his next utterance hardly came as any surprise. "My morals are different from yours, but facts should be facts," he barked like the hound of the Baskervilles to the Woodstock Sentinel Review.

In regard to his first admission, it would have been far more honest for him to have declared that he does not have any morals at all. If the lives of individual animals do not count for anything at all, there can scarcely be any morality in keeping alive a few members of a given species just so that Ford and his like-minded henchmen can subjugate, debase and, sooner or later, wipe out altogether.

On those occasions when such morally bankrupt thinking has held sway over the minds of men it usually has resulted in fascism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing and the so-called management, electronic monitoring, and culling of species amount to pretty much the same thing. The only real difference that separates the two is that the hideous crimes perpetrated by Ford and his supporters are carried out over a longer period of time and on a piecemeal basis.

Such a distinction nevertheless fails to substantially alter the reality that both groups travel a road that leads to the same cul-de-sac for both animals and humans alike. (See Cat Defender posts of April 17, 2006, May 4, 2006, February 29, 2008, and May 21, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Hal the Central Park Coyote Is Suffocated to Death by Wildlife Biologists Attempting to Tag Him." "The Scientific Community's Use of High-Tech Surveillance Is Aimed at Subjugating, Not Saving, the Animals," "The Repeated Hounding Down and Tagging of Walruses Exposes Electronic Surveillance as Not Only Cruel but a Fraud," and "Macho B., America's Last Jaguar, Is Illegally Trapped, Radio-Collared, and Killed Off by Wildlife Biologists in Arizona.")

It is way too much for minds like Ford and Boyce to comprehend, but not a single animal is born to serve as sport and prey for mankind. "Every creature is better alive than dead, man and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve life than destroy it," Henry David Thoreau once said.

Ford's dishonest reliance upon facts amounts to little more than an unsupported assertion of authority. That is because facts do not exist in a vacuum and therefore can never be completely divested of the value judgments that are inherent in both their creation and accumulation.

"As politics have gotten more and more polarized, everyone has to claim their views are objective, pure and factual, which means they are pulled into the scientific side," David Goldston of Princeton University was honest enough to admit to USA Today on August 6, 2007. (See "Science Versus Politics Gets Down and Dirty.") "Most of these issues are largely values questions, but no one wants to discuss those, so we end up with baroque debates about science."

Tom Shakespeare has stated the case even more forcefully. "...I am not sure philosophers are so different from the lay public (that relies upon intuition), it's just that the former are trained to cover their tracks with an impressive edifice of arguments and logic," he told the New Scientist on July 23, 2008. (See "A World Based on Reason.") "It is hard to be truly objective, to eliminate our history, and culture and psychology from our thinking."

C'est-à-dire, the question of whether cougars are to live or die is preeminently a moral one that has absolutely nothing to do with science. Why, the very idea that either science or logic should be employed in order to justify the killing of animals is simply monstrous as well as being disingenuous.

Moreover, treating individual cougars as disposable and of no inherent value fails to take into consideration the injustice of robbing them of their right to exist as well as the fear and suffering inflicted upon them through the commission of such crimes. Such warped thinking likewise fails to take into consideration their intrinsic value to their mates, offspring, the species, and the health of the ecosystems to which they belong. Killing them also robs their supporters of the pleasure of seeing and photographing them.

Wildlife biologists additionally are guilty of incorrectly doing their sums. For example, hunters like Ecklund kill only the fittest animals because they want trophies but that is not how nature operates. In the wild, it usually is the sickly and less fit animals that serve as prey for those that are stronger and healthier.

By removing the fittest representatives of a species from the environment, hunting has been shown in some cases to lead to the birth of smaller and less fit animals. Consequently, the proper management of any species involves considerably more than counting heads as Frame, Boyce, and Ford would have the world to believe.

One of the Cougar's Organs That Ecklund Cut Out

Hunting also produces a large number of orphans who, in most instances, are left to die. Removing a species from any environment can also upset the ecological balance and thus lead to all sorts of destructive and unintended consequences.

That sort of imbecility has been demonstrated time and time again by wildlife biologists who attempt to return areas, primarily islands, to some pristine ideal that may or may not even have existed in the past. There is good money in such undertakings and countless so-called non-native species for them to hideously eradicate but that is all. (See Cat Defender post of September 21, 2006 entitled "The Aussies' Mass Extermination of Cats Opens the Door for Mice and Rabbits to Wreak Havoc on Macquarie.")

Over the course of the last one-hundred years or so all sorts of species, some of which that had been around for millions of years, have either gone extinct or become endangered and that has occurred under the management of wildlife biologists. They therefore are not only guilty of being on the payrolls of hunters and other economic interests but grossly incompetent to boot.

In its full court press designed to legitimize the killing of cougars, the Woodstock Sentinel Review next dredged up Wayne Lowry, a former president of the Alberta Fish and Game Association in Edmonton, in order to contribute his two cents' worth to the debate. "As an outdoor enthusiast, we look for opportunities to get into the outdoors," he gassed to that scurrilous rag. "The cougar season offers a very late-season hunting opportunity."

First of all, who ever knew that Canadians so dearly loved being out in the cold and snow? Even if against all odds that should be true, they could play ice hockey or go sledding. If, on the other hand, they should be looking for something to do that is considerably more challenging, they ought to go skiing in British Columbia and in doing so perhaps they would be lucky enough to get caught in one of the province's famous avalanches.

While he was busily blowing it out both ends, Lowry paused in order to fondly reminisce about a cougar that he killed and mounted fifteen years ago. "It took me two years. For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event," he oozed with nostalgia. "It was a great experience...you see the dogs get excited and you get excited as well."

The torrent of outrage directed in Ecklund's direction was spearheaded by, of all people, Laureen Ann Harper, the fifty-four-year-old spouse of former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper. "What a creep. Chasing a cougar with dogs until they are exhausted then shooting a scared, cornered and tired animal," she wrote on Twitter according to CTV's December 20th edition. (See "Laureen Harper Slams Cougar Hunter as 'Creep' Who 'Must Be Compensating'.") "Must be compensating for something, small penis probably."

Her tweet took many Canadians by surprise and that prompted her to go back online in order to confirm that it was indeed her and that she did use the language attributed to her. "Wasn't hacked," she told CTV on December 20th. "I was really angry that some guy flies all the way to Alberta to kill a magnificent cougar, so he can make a stir fry."

If her tweet accomplished nothing else it provided Ford with another opportunity to take a broad swipe at those individuals who have the temerity to question his authority by defending the inalienable right of individual animals to live. "You see this come up when the individual-focus conservation people see a dead cougar and call people out for having a small penis (sic)."

Even that salvo amounted to little more than beating a dead horse in that Harper already had compromised her moral and intellectual integrity by publicly admitting that her family, and by implication she herself, are avid hunters and fishers. She next lamely attempted to deflect such criticism by arguing that she was only opposed to killing for sport.

Such a distinction is pure nonsense in that it is hard to believe that someone with her affluence ever would need to kill animals in order to feed herself. Much more importantly, the motivating factors behind such killings are irrelevant; the offense lies in the taking of innocent lives.

Chris Darimont, a geography professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia nonetheless seconded that distinction. "They (opponents of hunting) cannot accept the idea that people kill carnivores not to feed families, but to feed their egos," he opined to the Woodstock Sentinel Review. "Wildlife managers for decades have acknowledged that these (animals) are not killed for their meat, but for their trophy items."

No sooner had those words escaped from his lips then he slipped into the same moral sinkhole as Harper by admitting that he slaughters either one elk or one deer each year, allegedly, in order to eat. He also, apparently, is of the opinion that it is permissible to kill ruminants, such as deer and elk, because their flesh is tasty as opposed to that of predators, such as cougars, whose meat is reportedly anything but pleasing to the palate.

Kid Rock Killed a Cougar with the Help of Ted  Nugent

Although the making of such a ridiculous distinction is just one more example of his self-serving hypocrisy, he nevertheless does possess the bon sens to realize that the hunting of cougars needs to be reconsidered. That is because it is difficult to arrive at an accurate count of their numbers and with that being the case there is always the fear that hunting could lead to a precipitate decline in the species.

"There's lots of uncertainty," he admitted to the Woodstock Sentinel Review. "(Wildlife) managers can and do make mistakes, and then we are just starting to learn of the evolutionary and social costs of killing large carnivores."

Given that this is the information age, opposition to Ecklund's killing of the cougar was not confined to Canada. "Whether legal or illegal, and whatever country it occurs in, hunting for sport is morally reprehensible and has no place in a so-called civilized society," Lee Moon of the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) of London told the Daily Mail in the December 20th article cited supra. "Links between animal and human abuse are well documented and it's beyond our comprehension what makes people think this kind of barbaric act is deemed acceptable."

While what he says is on target as far as it goes, he is guilty of falling into the small moral quagmire that snared both Harper and Darimont. If one is going to gas about morality, there cannot be any justification whatsoever, except in extremely rare cases of self-defense, for the killing of any animal and that most definitely includes operating an abattoir.

As it always is the case whenever any controversy arises concerning animals, the no-account, twenty-four karat fraudsters at PETA were quick to chime in with their warped logic and morality. "Only someone dead in heart and head could fail to see that mountain lions, wild boars, deer, and other animals are thinking, feeling individuals -- not 'things' to blow away for amusement," a spokesperson for the organization told the Daily Mail. "All most of us see when we look at a photograph of a hunter who gunned down an animal for 'pleasure' is photographic evidence of a small person with deep-seated insecurities."

That was the same tune that PETA was singing back in 2014 when San Diego called in the USDA's Wildlife Services in order to hideously eradicate its population of homeless pigs. "No animal should be killed for doing that (simply trying to provide for its family and to survive)," the charity's Kristen Simon declared to The San Diego Times-Union on September 17, 2014. (See "City Aims to Kill Feral Pigs.")

Those are lofty sentiments indeed but when it comes to domestic cats PETA's heart is as cold as ice and its intentions every bit as ruthless as those that Jack the Ripper harbored toward women. Specifically, it seldom passes up any opportunity to either defame the species or to slaughter its members en masse. (See Cat Defender posts of January 29, 2007 and February 9, 2007 entitled, respectively, "PETA's Long History of Killing Cats and Dogs Is Finally Exposed in a North Carolina Courtroom" and "Verdict in PETA Trial: Littering Is a Crime but Not the Mass Slaughter of Innocent Cats and Dogs.")

Like Ecklund, it gloats and preens like a peacock every time that either it or someone else kills a cat. (See Cat Defender posts of October 7, 2011 and August 24, 2017 entitled, respectively, "PETA Traps and Kills a Cat and Then Goes Online in Order to Brag about Its Criminal and Foul Deed" and "The Brutal Murders of a Trio of Atlantic City's Boardwalk Cats Provide an Occasion for the Local Rag and PETA to Whoop It Up and to Break Open the Champagne.")

With the likes of Harper, Darimont, HSA, and PETA wallowing in both sottise and hypocrisy up to their eyeballs and bolstered by the unfailing support shown him by Kohler, Frame, Boyce, Ford, Lowry, and the Canadian media, it is not surprising that Ecklund is really feeling his oats these days."If you can guess what post has nine-hundred likes, four-hundred-fifty comments, thirteen confirmed death threats, seven-hundred-fifty-four swear words and one very happy hunter in it...I will enter your name into the draw for the new cougar cookbook, filled with mouth water (sic) recipes for your next mountain lion hunt," he is quoted by the Daily Mail as taunting his detractors.

To sum up, the hunting of cougars, or any animal for that matter, cannot be defended on ethical and moral grounds. Secondly, although it may be legal, laws can be changed.

Thirdly, to say that it is traditional is hardly a valid argument in its favor. For instance, at various times and locales throughout history child abuse, incest, cannibalism, slavery, genocide, and a million other evils have been considered to be traditional but none of them are embraced today by any halfway civilized society.

Fourthly, as far as the sustainability of cougar hunting is concerned, it is absurd for wildlife biologists to claim that to be the case when the best that they can do is to estimate that between two-thousand and thirty-five-hundred of them currently live in Alberta. Moreover, in addition to the carnage inflicted upon the cats by licensed hunters, others are killed by non-licensed hunters and motorists while still others succumb to starvation, disease, and other maladies.

Fifthly, as the international uproar over Ecklund's killing and preening has more than amply demonstrated, attitudes are changing somewhat in that many individuals do in fact care greatly about what happens to individual members of the species. Plus, they are becoming more and more less inclined to allow wildlife biologists, eggheads, hunt associations, and those individuals and organizations that profit from their destruction, such as those who sell hunting licenses, bows, guns, shells, and Wild TV, to continue to have an exclusive right in deciding their fates.

Daniel W. Richards with His Trophy Kill

For example, Ecklund is far from being the first cougar killer to have sparked international outrage. In January of 2015 Kid Rock, assisted by Nugent, killed one of the animals at an undisclosed location believed to have been somewhere in the western United States and then went online in order to gloat.

In April of last year, both of them were invited to the White House in order to break bread with Donald John Trump. (See The Mirror of London, January 21, 2015, "Kid Rock Angers Fans by Posing with Dead Cougar -- Grisly Snap Was Posted Online after Hunting Trips" and Cat Defender post of April 28, 2017 entitled "Trump Not Only Exposes Himself for What He Is but Also Disgraces the Office of the President in the Process by Feting Cat Killers Theodore Anthony Nugent and Kid Rock at the White House.")

Earlier in February of 2012 Daniel W. Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, shot and ate a cougar in Idaho. As Ecklund and Rock would later do, he subsequently posted photographs online of himself grinning from ear to ear with the dead cat. Even though the sport hunting of cougars is legal in Idaho, as opposed to California, in August of that same year he was ousted as president and is no longer a member of that body. (See the LA Weekly, August 18, 2012, "Dan Richards Loses War to 'Enviro-Terrorists': Mountain Lion Killer No Longer President of Fish and Game" and KQED-TV of San Francisco, August 8, 2012, "Cougar Hunter Dan Richards Is Out as Fish and Game Commission President after Vote.")

In order to get an idea of just how difficult it is to keep these big cats alive it is illustrative to remember that in 1990 the voters in California approved Proposition 117 which outlawed their recreational killing. Yet, instead of saving lives, that measure has led to a quadrupling of their deaths.

That is because the initiative contained a very huge loophole that allows for the issuance of depredation permits on demand to livestock and domestic pet owners who claim to have been aggrieved by the cats. Accordingly, since 1990 ninety-eight cougars have been killed on the average each year, mostly at the behest of the owners of sheep, goats, and cows.

In 2016, that number soared to one-hundred-twenty. During that same time period, hunters in Oregon killed two-hundred-sixty-eight of the cats for pleasure while livestock owners systematically liquidated another one-hundred-fifty-one of them. (See The Sacramento Bee, November 3, 2017, "Why We Still Kill Cougars.")

On January 2nd of this year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it was ending the practice of automatically issuing depredation permits. Aggrieved applicants now are supposed, for what it is worth, to attempt to shoo away the cats before the licenses to kill will be issued.

It is highly doubtful that such a policy is either enforceable or that it is going to make much of a difference when it comes to reducing cougar fatalities. Besides, it pertains only to those cats that live in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountain ranges and that act of beau geste has been introduced only because their continued existence is threatened due to inbreeding. (See The Sacramento Bee, January 3, 2018, "State Lifts Automatic Death Sentence for These Mountain Lions That Prey on Pets and Livestock.")

Those cats that reside in Canada do not have any hope at all because any nation that is so bloodthirsty as to club to death more than three-hundred-thousand baby seals each winter for their valuable pelts and to slaughter hundreds, if not indeed thousands, of sled dogs once their services are no longer needed is not about to spare the life of a solitary cougar. (See Cat Defender post of March 27, 2006 entitled "Six Protesters Arrested as Baby Seal Slaughter Gets Under Way in Canada," Daily Mail articles of February 1, 2011 and May 3, 2011 and entitled, respectively, "Pack of One-Hundred Huskies Shot and Knifed to Death Before Being Tossed in a Mass Grave by Tour Operator Trying to Save Money" and "War Game Experts Exhume Bodies of One-Hundred Sled Dogs Killed by Tour Operator in Post Winter Olympics Massacre," plus The Globe and Mail of Toronto, November 22, 2012, "Fawcett Spared Jail Time in Sentencing Related to Sled Dog Killings.")

Canadians additionally gun down service dogs. For example, on September 18th of last year a hunter shot and killed a four-year-old Tamaskan named Kaoru just south of Squamish in British Columbia. Kaoru's killing was made all the more reprehensible in that she not only worked with autistic children but also adults going through emotional difficulties, such as bereavement.

Her killer never was either publicly identified or charged with any crime. That was in spite of the fact that the only animals that it was legal to hunt in that area and at that time of the year were black bears and mule deer which are easily distinguishable from dogs. (See the CBC, September 19, 2017, "Hunter Shoots and Kills Therapy Dog in Front of Owner.")

From all of that and more, it thus seems fair to conclude that the vast majority of Canadians are backward thinking, sticks-in-the-mud whose only interest in animals consists of their extirpation for both fun and profit. Moreover, that simply abhorrent attitude is best reflected in the inherent dishonesty of the country's media and its intellectual community. By contrast, the Daily Mail is forthright enough to recognize that there are at least two sides to every story.

"An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be," is how that Ambrose Bierce defined man in his 1906 seminal work, The Devil's Dictionary. "His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada."

That was true back then and it is even more so the case all these years later. Tomorrow is not soon enough for many individuals in that if they could they would have done with all the animals and Mother Earth to boot today and without so much as smidgen of remorse.

As things now stand, however, they are going to have to still their killing hands for just a little bit longer. That is because there are still beaucoup bucks for some of them to make off of the naked exploitation of animals, lies to be told by the eggheads, and countless thrills and ego trips to be had by the likes of Ecklund, Rock, Nugent, and Richards.

In this world, the beautiful and the noble most of the time serve as fodder for the ugly and base but that sobering reality cannot obliterate the eternal truth that the life of just one cougar is worth that of at least ten billion of their killers and those who so shamelessly defend them.

Photos: Facebook (Ecklund with the dead cougar and a piece of its flesh), The Mirror (Rock and Nugent with a dead cougar), and the LA Weekly (Richards with a dead cougar).