You knew something was up when many advocates for prairie dogs filed into the Longmont City Council chambers last Tuesday night to make pleas on behalf of the ongoing issue of prairie dogs at Longmont’s Vance Brand Airport. Others channeled world leaders and one was very persistent in being disruptive and placing signs within camera view of the live meeting.
But, speakers also stated that 3,500 people had sent emails and letters in support of the prairie dogs.
Recently, a petition generated by a national animal conservation group was made easily accessible and distributed amongst anyone on Twitter. Petition signers back in early November on Twitter were directed to sign a petition with this plea: “I need your help to protect prairie dogs from poisoning at the Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, CO.” A link followed to a generic petition that contained the email address contact information for our local city officials.
It’s pretty evident that if you state it’s for the children or animals…people will sign it. It sounds sincere and a heartfelt plea to prevent the harming of god’s creatures. But if you distribute a petition through anonymous people on Twitter with that appeal, you most likely will get people signing it who are uninformed about what the scope of the local issue is. It’s known that there also were people who were directed to this link who signed the petition in support of the AIRPORT and not the preservation of the prairie dogs. Those people also received the same generic thank you from the national organization.
There are plenty of people here in Longmont who are knowledgeable and know the true scope about the airport prairie dog issue. So, to state that 3,500 people have sent letters and emails in support of the airport prairie dogs is misleading. How many of those were from the national level group effort to distribute a generic petition regarding a city issue? This petition effort was unnessary and skews how local residents who are impacted at the local level feel about the issue.
And it didn’t work. News is out today that the prairie dog barrier fence located at Longmont’s Vance Brand Airport was removed and the airport prairie dogs will either be exterminated or given to a local raptor habitat.