Government corruption related to pandering to special interests is now capturing headlines more than ever. As a scientist with a specialization in canid and predator biology, I’m greatly concerned about an issue within my field that receives little if any meaningful media coverage. State wildlife agencies cater almost exclusively to narrow user groups despite changing demographics of public trust resources, and when my work as an independent scientist challenged the status quo policy positions within the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife my career was essentially terminated.
The attached testimonial is my “coming out”. It’s intended to give readers a specific, informed first-hand account of the power that state agencies wield on obstructing productive field work and discriminating against freedom of speech when scientists challenge their authority and policies. I hope that others may find the courage and inspiration to document similar discrimination and abuses, and that much needed reform may be jump-started within wildlife institutions.
To read the document in its entirety please see:
Way, J. G. 2016. Blackballed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife: Research Obstruction Testimonial by an Independent Eastern Coyote/Coywolf Biologist. Eastern Coyote Research Publications 5: 1-15. URL: http://easterncoyoteresearch.com/downloads/ResearchObstructionTestimonialSept2016.pdf.
Please consider contacting the Governor of Massachusetts to voice your opinion. Thanks in advance.
Added: April 10, 2017. Outrage: Video of eastern coyote hunts on Sandy Neck Beach, Barnstable, Cape Cod, MA. No wonder why I have a tough time getting research permits as the state of MA and town of Barnstable would rather have people trampling over the dunes and shooting at and killing wild canids (see video for the up-close graphic accounts) while making videos of coyote hunts in the area rather than learning about them.
Added January 24, 2018: Here is the first coyote hunting contest that I am aware of in MA, and here on Cape Cod, MA. Spread the word about who really gets to “manage” our wildlife. Of course, MA Wildlife and local town laws do nothing to prevent this “tragedy of the commons”. This is outrageous: https://www.facebook.com/PowderhornOutfitters/. Article from Jan. 24 post: February 2, 2018. Cape-based coyote hunt spurs debate. The comments by MassWildlife are beyond telling. I think they live in a bubble and believe these things are acceptable and normal. These contests are done by a super-minority of people. The time is now to call them out and reform these agencies… February 7, 2018. Group plans protest of coyote-hunting contest. In some good news, many people have spoken out and are planning on vocalizing their displeasure to coyote hunting contests. February 11, 2018. Animal rights activists and hunters face off in Hyannis over coyote hunting contest. I am glad to see that the writer correctly identifies many of the hunters in their audience as “part of an anti-government extremist movement”. Yes that occurs even here on Cape Cod. Gee, I wonder what their political views are!
In Praise of ‘Blackballed’:
“Jon’s testimonial is beautiful, and reflects what I see going on in so many places within wildlife agencies. It takes a lot of courage to do what Jon did by ‘coming out’. I have huge respect for him and glad there are people like Jon in this world.” Cristina Eisenberg, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute and author of The Carnivore Way and The Wolf’s Tooth.
“For years wildlife managers have abused the public trust by catering to hunters and people with an anti-carnivore mindset. Science and predators have been devalued as a result. It is wonderful to see Jon Way take on these agencies by publishing his testimonial of the obstruction and discrimination that he has faced as a biologist studying eastern coyotes/coywolves. With Jon’s lead, it is due time for more scientists to come forward with their own abuses in the hope to reform wildlife agencies to the respected public institutions that they should be.” Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predator Defense.
“This is an infuriating story of the stifling of Dr. Way’s career. While I have published about research interference at TheWildlifeNews.com before, I am still surprised at how bold Mass Wildlife has been about it and that nobody has helped him break through this interference. This is not only unfair to Dr. Way, it suppresses important research into coywolves and wild canids in general.” Ralph Maughan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Idaho State University.
Related stories to my research obstruction experience:
Added: April 28, 2017. ACADEMIC FREEDOM FIGHT ON REPRISALS OVER WOLF SCIENCE. Washington State U. Scientist Says Official Restraints Due to Political Pressure. This is fascinating as it is so similar to what I have experienced. This is a very important read to get perspective to my situation. Fortunately for Dr. Wielgus, the group PEER is representing him. Also, here is a copy of Dr. Wielgus’ Testimonial detailing his ‘Complaint of Academic Freedom Violations‘. Update August 11: Here is a detailed expose story from the Seattle Times on Dr. Wielgus and what has happened to him. It’s always ironic how the supposedly anti-government Republicans seem to always lead the charges of maximizing government interference when they don’t like science that goes against their anti-science stance. Update Aug. 28: ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST RABID ANTI-WOLF LEGISLATOR. Note: This is great news to take on anti-science legislators and other politicians. Update Jan. 24, 2018: Researcher criticizes WSU at Profanity Peak film screening: Wielgus joined environmental organizations to discuss state wolf management policy. His career has essentially been terminated by WSU because of his pro-carnivore viewpoints.