Ah, it must be getting close to summer again. The temperatures are inching upwards; the days are getting longer - and the animal rights crazies are cranking up again to boycott Alaska.
In the past, the Connecticut-based Friends of Animals called for a boycott of Alaska's $2 billion-a-year tourism industry and helped with "howl-ins" across the country in an effort to halt Alaska's predator control programs.
It was wonderful theater, with people in costumes howling about Alaska, but the net effect? Zilch. Zero. In fact, the effort may have backfired, actually helping the tourism industry.
The group suspended its boycott effort - did anybody really notice? - and, instead, went to court to challenge the predator control program that is aimed at killing as many as 400 of the state's 7,000 to 11,000 wolves.
The program, scheduled for conclusion at the end of April, involves the use of aircraft in five different areas of the state - Aniak, McGrath, the west side of Cook Inlet, the Nelchina Basin and the Tok area. The acreage involved comprises about 8.7 percent of Alaska's land mass. As of early this week, 40 wolves had been eliminated.
Despite its effort, Friends of Animals lost in court on virtually every substantive count.
It lost when it claimed the state did not comply with the law in setting population and harvest goals. It lost when it claimed the Department of Fish and Game moose population estimates were off. It lost its claim that the Game Board did not have sufficient data on moose numbers when it established its population objectives. It lost its claim that the Game Board had not adequately considered habitat in establishing its population objective. And it lost its claim that the state violated the federal Airborne Hunting Act.
Nonetheless, a Superior Court judge suspended the program because of minor technicalities, but it was quickly reinstated after they were fixed. In the past few days, the Alaska Supreme Court also refused to halt the program.
It would appear that, unable to prevail in court, the group is falling back, regrouping, pulling out its tired boycott threat. Unfortunately, there has been no talk about reimbursing the state for the time and money it was forced to waste on this case.
As sure as spring, one thing is certain. The group will be back, costing Alaskans even more.