The system sucks

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:

DENVER––Gay Balfour, 54, and David
Honaker, 34, of Cortez, Colorado, are in their fifth
year on the road with Dog Gone, a device that vaccuums
unwanted prairie dogs out of their holes and
into a padded cage without harming them. Dog
Gone itself has been certified humane by all investigators
to date, including Animal Rights Mobilization
president Robin Duxbury.
But then there’s the question of what to do
with the prairie dogs, known to ecologists as the
most important species in maintaining nutritious
grasslands along the Rocky Mountain ridge, yet
widely considered a pest and even subject to bounties
by ranchers who don’t understand that a field full of
prairie dogs and biodiversity produces more calories
for cattle than a field of undisturbed grass.

According to Allan Turner of the Houston
C h r o n i c l e, who profiled Dog Gone on June 2,
Balfour and Honaker “have on occasion killed the
animals they captured,” but they “normally donate
the prairie dogs to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
program to propagate blackfooted ferrets,” who eat
prairie dogs. Recently some have also been sold to
the pet trade, including for export to Japan.
Commented Barry Kent MacKay, program
director for the Animal Protection Institute, “The
mind boggles to think of the effects that they could
have on the Japanese countryside were they to
escape, and what retaliations would be taken against
them.” Further, MacKay said, “Some of the most
ghastly pet shops I’ve ever encountered were in
Kyoto, Japan, where odd animals from around the
world were jammed into tiny, dark and filthy cages
for sale to anyone with the money. Anything
Americans can do to convince the government not to
allow these exports should be done.”
The Prairie Ecosystem Conservation
Alliance has recently prepared appropriate prairie
dog relocation sites in and around Thornton,
Westminster, and Littleton, Colorado, and is
reportedly working on a site at Cherry Creek Park.

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