On behalf of the Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca Association (GALA).
All camelids have been banned from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, based on an unfounded disease risk. To understand how important getting this ban rescinded is, U.S. llama users need only look north to British Columbia, CA where this initiative began.
Provincial Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Helen Schwantje, manufactured a hypothetical disease risk for llamas carrying the diseases of domestic sheep and goats and transmitting them to wild sheep. Dr’s Fowler and Johnson, luminaries of camelid medicine, exposed her flawed premise. The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), in an effort to consolidate their hold on the hunting of wild sheep, has promulgated the false science narrative, influenced legislation, and ultimately destroyed the fledgling BC llama industry. Many BC llama owners have ceased breeding and are hesitant to venture onto trails where they are subjected to criticism about endangering wild sheep.
The ANWR ban is the toehold for this same disaster to happen in the Lower 48 states. Llamas have proven to be the best back country pack animal in terms of much lower impacts, versatility, compatibility with other users, and compatibility with wildlife (particularly in terms of disease risk). Llamas make back country access possible for a wide array of outdoorsmen with a wide array of capability. Military, the blind and other disabled hikers, hunters, families with children, trail crews, fishermen, photographers, elderly, and counselors all find their outdoor experience and work enhanced and enriched when using llamas. Epidemiologists and immunologists are increasingly looking to the unique antibodies of camelids as the likely source of enhanced vaccines and palliatives for human diseases, most notably, Covid 19. This underscores the false premise of disease on which the ANWR ban is based and the detriment this ban could be to ongoing research.
All Americans will find their access to public lands and llamas’ positive public perception threatened if the WSF uses this regulation as a template to advance their 2015 “No Contact in the North” initiative and their 2020 Conservation Vision. “Based on recommendations of the September 2017 BC Camelid Risk Assessment, advocate for no use of domestic sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, etc. as pack animals used in thinhorn (bighorn) sheep range for hunting, trekking, weed control, or other purposes.”
Supporting the legal challenge to the ANWR ban is the most effective way to defeat this attempt by WSF to insinuate BCs aristocratic hunting policies on sovereign U.S. public lands and limit the U.S. public’s free access. WSF is a private 501-C- 3 special interest group attempting to control public assets (wild sheep) and the public lands on which they reside for the purpose of their exclusive hunting interests. This legal challenge is essential to preserve the integrity of our public lands and the legacy purpose for which they were set aside with great foresight years ago.
Funds for this legal challenge are being collected by GALA's treasurer, Katrina Capasso.
Please support it with your donation. Your help is greatly appreciated!
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