Wolf Supporters Tell Lawmakers: Don't Silence Voters Again

 Wolf Supporters Tell Lawmakers: Don’t Silence Voters Again

LANSING, MI - In response to state certification of initiative petition signatures submitted by wolf hunting proponents, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is urging legislators to stop interfering with fair elections and allow Michigan citizens to vote on this issue on the November ballot.
 
 “Legislators need to trust the voters who put them in office by allowing a fair vote of the people on this initiative,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “They should reject the cynical attempt to get the legislature to rubber-stamp this measure and undermine the referendum process once again, before the people are even allowed to vote. If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our two petition drives, it’s that Michigan residents value their right to vote and don’t want their voices silenced by extremist politicians and special interests in Lansing.”
 
 The just-approved initiative, misleadingly called the “Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act,” would give the Natural Resources Commission authority to open new hunting and trapping seasons on wolves and other protected species—mirroring a measure the legislature passed 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, refused 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 to prevent wolf predation at taxpayers’ expense.
 
 “The NRC ignored the science and caved into political pressure, but legislators have no excuse to make that mistake again,” said Fritz. “Approving the Scientific Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act would once again cut the voters out of the process and be a slap in the face to fair elections and democratic decision making.”
 
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 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 choose 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 should be rejected with a “no” vote.
 
 “Our message is clear: Legislators must allow the Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management initiative on the November ballot so Michiganders can maintain their right to vote to protect wildlife. In November, we urge a NO vote on all three ballot measures,” added Fritz.
 
 Volunteers have been going door-to-door in targeted legislative districts this summer to inform voters about the potential for another end-run of the referendum process and to urge them to vote NO on the November 2014 ballot measures. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has also joined the Let Michigan Vote coalition to draw attention to legislative chicanery on referendum and initiative ballot measures involving other issues.
 
 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...


Endorsements

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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