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May 09, 2014

Mourning Mowat, Extending His Legacy

On May 6, the world lost a giant presence in the defense of animals and the environment, Farley Mowat. The Canadian author denounced some of the worst cruelties and abuses in the wildlife sector, rising to the defense of bears, seals, whales, and wolves, among other species.  Mowat was a courageous, heroic figure who will long be remembered for his principled stands against the mistreatment of Canada’s indigenous peoples, and for his stalwart resistance to the wanton killing of wildlife.  He was a true-blue animal person and we mourn his passing. 

Farley Mowat
Photo: George Pimentel /Getty Images
Farley Mowat wrote with hope and clarity for a future in which wild animals would be safe from the depredations of thoughtless humankind.

The beautiful thing about Mowat’s legacy is not simply that his works will live on and continue to inspire future generations of wildlife protectionists.  It’s also that every time we speak up or take action for the world’s wild creatures, we’re extending his compassionate vision. Mowat wrote with hope and clarity for a future in which wild animals would be safe from the depredations of thoughtless humankind, and it’s our job to extend his vision and build upon it. 

Indeed, at The HSUS, we’re doing all that we can to achieve still greater gains for the animals that Mowat so loved and sought to help.  Right now, The HSUS is engaged in some of the most important contemporary battles to protect wolves. It is work that rests substantially upon the re-envisioning of wolves Mowat undertook in Never Cry Wolf (1963), a book that sought to overturn prevailing negative stereotypes about these animals.  We’re fighting on their behalf in Michigan and campaigning to allow the states’ voters to overturn the legislature’s trophy-hunting season of wolves, a ballot measure campaign that could propel a national effort to end the trophy hunting and trapping of these animals nationwide.  We’ve also filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in connection with its delisting of the western Great Lakes wolf population, and are working through litigation to restore federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for wolves in the state of Wyoming.

Prior litigation brought by The HSUS and other organizations has stopped previous attempts to eliminate federal protections for wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains and western Great Lakes regions.  In 2006, The HSUS won a court battle to prevent the broad-scale killing of wolves in Wisconsin under the cynical and contrived theory that allowing the killing of some wolves would increase social tolerance for the species on the whole. We’re vigilant in defense of these remarkable animals, and our campaign operates on multiple fronts.

We’re also actively working to help seals, whales and other marine mammals whose cause Mowat took up in A Whale for the Killing (1972) and Sea of Slaughter (1984).  Our campaigns against commercial killing and exploitation of marine mammals are long-term commitments, designed to check, curtail and eliminate every human-caused threat to these long-persecuted species.

There is no greater tribute we can pay to a champion like Farley Mowat than to see his work through to the finish, redoubling our efforts to secure the future of remarkable animals everywhere.

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