Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for

 

Date of this Version

April 1991

Abstract

I am pleased to be here with you today to discuss Animal Damage Control (ADC). I am also very pleased to see the number of ADC people attending this conference. It is an important indication of our professionalism. During the past several months, I have spoken to many of our people in ADC to challenge them to think about the future of our program. I have also spoken to many of our cooperators such as livestock organizations and resource management agencies about the same thing. This has been done in an effort to broaden our thinking about animal damage control as a service or profession, and as a program delivering that professional service. We are controlled by our paradigm which might be described as the lens of our mind's eye. It might also be called the sum total of our experiences that govern how we see things or interpret what our eyes see. Over the'years, a paradigm has been created about ADC which to the "non-user" or observer of our program has been extremely negative. This in turn has resulted in another paradigm by the service beneficiaries and professionals within the program which has become competitive with the other. Over the years, this has produced highly independent thinking and action by each group operating within the constraints of their own paradigm. In ADC, this independence has produced a mind set so strong that it has become life-threatening to our program and the profession. We have to realistically confess that in maintaining this independence we have been narrow-minded, even close-minded to new ideas. Our thinking had become so homogenous that new ideas or thoughts which did not meet our "tradition test" or were outside our paradigm were viewed with suspicion, and those who harbored such thoughts were ostracized by their peers. Our thinking was so inbred and our defense mechanism so strong that opportunities for change could not even be seen, much less acted upon. We became so independent and caught up in our paradigm that anyone who criticized the program or its actions was viewed with the same suspicion; we made no distinction between constructive professional or scientific critique and the views of animal welfarists or animal rightists. We were so programmed to act within the ADC paradigm that it began to act as a rope around our necks; the more we struggled, the tighter it got to the point we almost hanged ourselves.