Is Ashley Judd's wolf ad about more than wildlife?

Ashley Judd is the narrator of an ad for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund which portrays Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a heartless enemy of warm, furry critters. Actually, the ad is not a new one, but simply a refresh of a video which has long been used to attack Gov. Palin:

Defenders of Wildlife launched similar attacks against Palin soon after she was selected as former GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s running mate, but until Judd’s appearance the spots garnered little attention.

The governor has released a statement in which calls the ad campaign “reprehensible and hypocritical.” It is that… and much more.

If you’re not familiar with the issue of predator control in the 49th state, read Lynette Long’s post of the FactCheck.org analysis here. The Cliff Notes version is that in Alaska, wolves are such efficient predators that they had nearly decimated the moose and caribou populations in parts of the nation’s largest state. That’s important because most of the small villages in Alaska have no large grocery stores, and in those which do have mom and pop stores, the price of meat is very expensive. Native populations in these small communities rely on hunting to feed their families, and the herd animals are what they hunt. Unfortunately for the natives, wolves and bears are much more efficient hunters than they are. When the wolves drive down the moose and caribou populations, the Eskimos can’t catch enough fish to make up the difference. If they can’t afford to buy the meat, their kids will go hungry.

Noel Sheppard has a post up with a video of the ad embedded. Not only is the ad generally misleading, but it also tells some specific lies. In just one expample, Ashley Judd’s somber voice tells us, “Now back in Alaska, Palin is againcasting aside science and championing the slaughter of wildlife.” In truth, Alaska Game & Fish Deptartment biologists, using scientific principles, are responsible for the design and implementation of the predator control plan.

The script, as read by Judd, also tells us that the wolves “die a brutal death” as video footage of one of the animals is shown. Take a look at this BBC video. It only shows the chase as a wolf runs down a caribou calf. It doesn’t depict the grisly scene as the predator shreds and eats its prey. Such fare is considered too gruesome for our sensibilities, but footage of wolf control is not.

The ad would also have you believe that Sarah Palin alone is responsible for the harvesting of wolves, when in the real world predator control policies are determined by the legislature and also by Alaskan citizens in ballot initiatives. The group which pays for the ad has clearly made Palin the focus of evil in the furry world, and Sheppard observes that the ad seems to be more about damaging the governor politically than helping Canis lupus:

More recently, the Alaska legislature expanded the practice in March 2000, and reinstated it in 2003 with the signature of then Gov. Frank Murkowski. As such, given the history — and the wildlife preservation component — Judd’s hysteria is rather preposterous.

Yet, that shouldn’t be surprising, for the attack on Palin might be much more political than animal protection oriented given the following posted at the Action Fund’s website Monday concerning this issue (emphasis added):

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund today launched a national campaign to expose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s renewed anti-conservation agenda. The Action Fund first highlighted Palin’s record in Alaska during last fall’s presidential campaign when it ran TV ads across battleground states, highlighting Palin’s championing of the brutal and unnecessary aerial killing of wolves and other carnivores.

“Sarah Palin isn’t fading into the background, so neither are we,” commented Defenders Action Fund President Rodger Schlickeisen. “Given her known political aspirations, the American public deserves to know what she’s doing in Alaska, and about her extreme anti-conservation policies. The list is long, and we will document it all, from her continued promotion of the aerial slaughter of wolves and bears, to her lawsuit to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, even as the sea ice melts beneath it.”

Fascinating. So, if Palin faded into the background and didn’t have national political aspirations, this group wouldn’t consider it necessary to inform the public about this? Doesn’t that imply the entire campaign is about bashing the Governor and NOT saving wolves?

A visit to the group’s Palin-bashing website tends to support that implication.

Doug Powers makes a related point:

I’m glad Ashley has taken time out from fighting for a woman’s “right” to kill her unborn child and celebrating the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade in order to protect the wolves

Nice to know that the Left and its celebrity activists still have their priorities straight.

– JP