Senate Again Undermines Michigan Voters

Wolf supporters urge House to reject power grab, allow fair election

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Senate once again thumbed its nose at Michigan voters by approving the so-called Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act, rather than allowing it to appear on the November statewide ballot. It’s the latest in a series of political shenanigans to undermine the right of Michigan citizens to vote on the issue of wolf hunting.  The House of Representatives is expected to take up the issue on August 27.
 
“Politicians relied on exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf incidents, and nearly two-thirds of all wolf incidents in the U.P. occurred on a single farm, where the farmer baited wolves with cattle and deer carcasses,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “They can’t be trusted on this issue, but the voters can be trusted, and should be allowed to hear the arguments from both sides and make an informed judgment this November. We call on House members to end this abuse of power, and restore respect for the democratic process by letting the people vote.”
 
Earlier this year, Senator Tom Casperson, the leading champion of the wolf hunt, made false claims about incidents involving wolves, and was later forced to apologize for those false statements and misrepresentations.  He made a series of additional false claims today on the Senate floor, restating a fabricated “quote” from the president of The Humane Society of the United States and also falsely saying that there are no people objecting to the trophy hunts of wolves in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
 
The MLive Media Group, the Battle Creek Enquirer and the Lansing State Journal have urged lawmakers to reject the initiative and allow voters to settle the debate on wolf hunting. Conversely, there has been no editorial support for the initiative seeking to shut the people out of the process.
 
The new initiative gives the unelected, politically appointed Natural Resources Commission the power to designate game species and includes two separate issues — an appropriation establishing an emergency fund to fight Asian carp, which is designed to make the measure referendum-proof, and a provision for free hunting and fishing licenses for active military members. Those licenses for members of our armed forces are currently $1.
 
The Senate-approved initiative, misleadingly called the “Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act,” would give the Natural Resources Commission authority to open a hunting and trapping season on wolves and other protected species—mirroring a measure the legislature passed in the spring of 2013 to circumvent a public vote on wolf hunting. The seven, unelected members of the NRC are political appointees and are not accountable to voters.
 
Last year, the NRC ignored testimony from wildlife experts and deleted thousands of emails from the public before designating the wolf as a game species and establishing Michigan’s first wolf hunt in more than four decades. In their rationale for the wolf hunt, NRC members used wolf-cattle depredation figures to justify their decision—even though two-thirds of the incidents occurred on one poorly managed Upper Peninsula farm. The farm owner pocketed more than $33,000 in reimbursements for livestock losses, failed to use fencing provided by the state to protect his animals, and recently pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges for the death of two guard donkeys provided to him at taxpayers’ expense to prevent wolf predation.
 
In March 2013, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted more than 255,000 signatures to overturn a wolf-hunting law (Public Act 520 of 2012) that was approved during the 2012 lame duck session and was based on fabricated stories about wolf incidents in the U.P. Public Act 520 will be on the November 2014 ballot, and should be rejected with a “no” vote.  The Legislature, ignoring the people, then passed a second law (Public Act 21 of 2013) to give the political appointees on the Natural Resources Commission the power to designate game species.  In March 2014, Keep Michigan Protected submitted more than 225,000 signatures to place Public Act 21 on the November 2014 ballot, and that measure should also be rejected by residents with a “no” vote.
 
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is supported by humane organizations, more than 100 Michigan veterinarians and veterinary hospitals, Native American tribes, conservation groups, faith-based organizations, the Detroit Zoological Society, leading wolf biologists including Michigan Tech professors Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich, rank-and-file hunters and many other concerned Michiganders. Learn more about our coalition at keepwolvesprotected.com.
 
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Press Releases: Dec 14, 2016

In the 2014 general election, Michigan voters soundly rejected two referendums on the trophy hunting and trapping of the state’s small population of wolves. But now, the Michigan legislature has rushed through another bill, SB 1187, to once again designate wolves as a game species to be hunted and trapped—in spite of that public rejection of an almost identical measure at the ballot box just two years ago...


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Keep Wolves Protected is endorsed by a number of organizations and citizens including:

  • Kalamazoo Humane Society
  • Pamela Graves, DVM
  • Detroit Audubon Society
  • Michigan Animal Shelter Rescue Network
  • Aaron Payment, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
  • Voiceless-MI
  • Humane Society of Huron Valley
  • Detroit Zoological Society

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