The IFAW goes for a reindeer ride

That $100-million-a-year fundraising business known as the International Fund for Animal Welfare has now set its sights on the Peary and Dolphin-Union caribou herds. The Peary caribou range lies entirely within Nunavut, while the Dolphin-Union herd’s range straddles the boundary that divides Nunavut from the Northwest Territories.

These two sub-species of caribou, which the IFAW refer to as “reindeer” in their press release, are already listed in Canada as “endangered” and “of special concern.” But those little details aren’t stopping the IFAW from petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of two wildlife groups whose range lies entirely outside the borders of the U.S.

This appears to be a monkey-see, monkey-do imitation of that other petition a couple of years ago that produced a ban on the importation of polar bear trophies into the U.S.

Of course, the IFAW’s caribou petition has nothing to do whatsoever with environmental protection or sustainable development, but why should they care? This group’s got money to burn. Check out their annual reports, and you’ll find a fat, healthy commercial enterprise.

Globally, they raised $105.9 million in 2007-08, from a long list of gullible contributors. And their U.S. tax statement for 2007-08 shows they own a tidy little investment portfolio worth about $23.9 million, composed of stocks, bonds and other securities.

Groups like the Government of Nunavut, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and so on, cannot compete with this kind of financial power.

As a direct consequence of the caribou petition, most Inuit will end up feeling even more insecure and embattled than they are now, intensifying the identity politics culture war between aboriginal peoples and the animal rights movement.

Of course, everyone will lose.

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