WSU Researcher Investigated by Washington Legislators

Silencing Science Tracker

WSU Researcher Investigated by Washington Legislators

In March 2017, Washington State Representative Joel Kretz and State Senator Mark Schoesler filed a scientific misconduct complaint against Dr. Robert Wielgus, a professor at Washington State University (WSU). The complaint related to a study, titled “Effects of Wolf Mortality on Livestock Depredations,” conducted by Dr. Wielgus in 2014. The study, which was based on 25 years of data, found that the killing of wolves did not reduce and may actually increase predation of livestock by wolves in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. That finding was highly controversial, particularly among livestock groups.

Shortly after publication of the 2014 study, Washington State Representative Joel Kretz, reportedly on behalf of the state’s livestock lobby, accused Dr. Wielgus of falsifying his results. Representative Kretz wrote to then-WSU President Elson Floyd demanding that Dr. Wielgus be fired. President Flyod refused to comply with the demand.

In March 2017, Representative Kretz, along with Senator Schoesler, filed an academic misconduct complaint against Dr. Wielgus with WSU. Following a review, WSU dismissed the complaint, and issued a statement indicating that “[t]here is no evidence of research misconduct in this matter.”

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