Grazing in the City of Light
~ Samantha Lewis
Yes, that is ‘grazing’ and not ‘gazing’, before you begin to wonder if the editor perhaps consumed too much turkey on gobbler day and can no longer correct articles properly.
As we all know in the United States protests are going on everywhere. But when it comes to the protests of nature, the wolves of Yellowstone and how they’re being handled is of great debate to this day. First the wolves were moved there to be saved, just so now they can be hunted and killed instead of being moved once again to a location that can deal with the wolves and keep the species going strong. Well…in The City of Light their protest against the ‘Big Bad Wolf’ is basically the same. Although recently their protest took an entirely different turn when farmers decided to raise their voices to a very loud BAAAAAH! — turning a historical, regal site into a strange, unruly world.
Although I have never personally seen the magnificence of the Eiffel Tower, a whole bunch of sheep did when they protested their life amongst the wolves. French farmers brought the cute, messy little flocks to Paris allowing 20 sheep to graze on bales of straw in front of the famous site. Apparently in their neck of the woods shepherds say that wolf attacks are increasing as fast as Black Friday shoppers ran into Walmart to get the new TV’s half-off. The ecology ministry of France has a wolf plan in place that apparently is too lenient on the canines according to both farmers and ranchers. ‘Plan Loup’ is being protested because of the immense growth of wolf attacks on flocks; they have increased dramatically because of the government’s ministry that wants to do their best to protect the species.
This is no joke, even though it may seem to be because one of the protestors dressed as a wolf and carried a lamb in their arms. Banners were seen that quite simply stated: “Today farmers, tomorrow unemployed.” The farmers and shepherds will have their say when they meet with French Agriculture Minister LeFoll. But it is a fact that wolf endangerment is a large issue in France, just as it is in the U.S. When it comes to France, wolves were actually hunted to complete extinction. As it stands now their number is approximately 300 and are, rightfully so, protected.
There are two sides to every story. Attacks on sheep are up 1,000 more this year than last. And the constant and continued threat of wolf attacks is certainly placing a large amount of stress on both financial livelihood as well as fear for human lives seeing as that the wolves are getting closer and closer and could become a threat.
At first the wolves were confined to an area near the Italian border, but they have now migrated to central and southwestern France. Instead of protection for the wolves, farmers believe that what the government is doing for the wolves is overprotection. In addition, the farmers say that France’s wolf plan is a complete waste of money. They are not looking for compensation for lost sheep, these hard workers are looking to keep their farms going. The farmers are not simply killing the creatures. In fact, they are requesting that the wolves be removed from sheep breeding regions and placed elsewhere (exactly the treatment that many people are asking for the Yellowstone wolves). Unfortunately, as it is here in the U.S., they are ALSO asking for the right to kill the wolves on sight if their flock is attacked.
This is a large issue with a lot to work out. There are some true friends of the wolves out there in all places around the globe. This is an amazing creature that is necessary and even in France there is an organization that was explicitly set up to protect wolves, bears and lynxes. Ferus is its name, and their mission is to make people understand that when it comes to areas that are rocky and steep, farmers should simply leave that type of area to the wolf. In other areas, they feel that the farmers can learn to cohabit with the wolf…without bringing out the guns (as always seems to be the case), and once again turning the creature into nothing more than a beautiful, elegant memory.