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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 26, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Barred owls in Pacific Northwest targeted by feds

Think outside the box

A barred owl soars through the trees. [Gregg Thompson, The Seattle Times.]

A barred owl soars through the trees. [Gregg Thompson, The Seattle Times.]

I am responding to the article about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan to kill barred owls to help spotted owls. [“Feds advance plan to kill barred owls in Northwest,” NW Wednesday, July 24.]

While the Audubon Society and timber industry are opposed to the plan because it might not work and won’t address the greater problem of habitat loss, I am opposed to it for moral reasons.

We say we’re doing this to help a species (spotted owls), but barred owls are a species too, and we shouldn’t be deciding who lives and who dies. From an environmental standpoint, the barred owls may need to be controlled, but the owls are living creatures with a will to live, and can’t help who they are. We shouldn’t punish them for just being owls.

There also may be unconsidered alternatives. I understand that relocation won’t work, but there are several humane ways to get rid of starlings, including a bait that sterilizes them, rather than poisoning them. If sterilizing works on starlings, it might work on owls, too.

If we think outside the box, I’m sure it is possible to find a way to help the spotted owls that’s practical, effective and respects all the animals.

Hannah Marschell, seventh grade, Hamilton Middle School, Seattle

Comments | More in Environment | Topics: audobon society, barred owls, habitat

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