Benjamin Vogt writes "In The Deep Middle":
The legislature of Nebraska in their infinite wisdom and control of all things,
"passing a bill--LB473--that will allow the government to go on to private land and poison prairie dogs, which are being classified as noxious weeds (don't ask, you know how government works). If pdogs on your land spread to adjacent land, then the government has the right to go poison your animals and then bill you later. Not only is private property being disregarded, but more importantly, so is the health of a keystone Great Plains species.
"Prairie dogs are what biologists call a keystone species, much like the bison were--that is, such a large number of other species depend on their existence that without them whole vast ranges of the ecosystem simply vanish."
"If we poison prairie dogs, we poison the health of the land we depend upon, and we erode our very own culture."
and from a letter to the editor of the Journal Star
"It seems to me, in view of all the concerted efforts of our state’s elective officers to enact a set of morals for every Nebraskan to live by -- especially relative to marriage and reproduction -- they could take a lesson from prairie dogs, rather than passing a law requiring the poisoning of entire colonies at the whim of an unhappy neighbor.
For the record, prairie dogs are strictly heterosexual, don’t engage in divorce, don’t practice birth control or chose abortion, and otherwise behave better toward their neighbors than do many citizens of our state. Adult males remain with their family living group while the young are being raised, often acting as lookouts to warn of possible danger.
Prairie dogs are highly tolerant of uninvited guests that may not speak prairie dog, such as burrowing owls, and never threaten to send them back to their ancestral Mexico or elsewhere.
In view of all these Christian-like attributes, I would think our senators would aspire to place the industrious and peace-loving prairie dog on our state flag -- as a symbol of what we all should emulate, rather than conspire to facilitate killing as many as possible."
Paul A. Johnsgard, Lincoln
If this interests or concerns you, visit Vogt's blog at the link above or the Prairie Dog Coalition site here.