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April 16, 2013

Anti-Wolf Bill Would Also Enable Repeal of Voter-Approved Ban on the Target Shooting of Mourning Doves

SB 288 Is Attack on Citizen Participation in Democratic Decision-Making

A bill introduced to derail a citizen referendum to prevent the state’s declining wolf population from being subjected to trophy hunting and commercial trapping would also enable a small, hunter-dominated commission to overturn the state’s 2006 ban on the target shooting of mourning doves. SB 288 would cede authority to the seven political appointees at the Natural Resources Commission to establish a hunting season for any animal they want, including doves and wolves.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for The Humane Society of the United States said: “Reasonable people can disagree about matters of wildlife protection, but the foundation stone of our democracy is the respect for the right to vote and an adherence to the rule of law. Some Michigan lawmakers are prepared to creep right up to the edge of responsible representative government and to dismantle citizen lawmaking in order to further their ambitions to kill wildlife. This is intolerable.”

SB 288 violates Michigan’s traditional values and would circumvent the 2006 vote to protect Michigan’s mourning doves as well as the 253,705 signatures gathered to allow the state’s voters to decide whether to list wolves as a game species.

Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for The HSUS said: “In 2006, 69 percent of Michigan voters banned the shooting of mourning doves, with people in all 83 counties opposing the idea of opening up a target shooting season on the gentle birds. SB 288 is a de facto repeal of that citizen referendum, and it amounts to an unprecedented transfer of wildlife-policy making authority from the legislature to a handful of political appointees.”

Julie Baker, campaign manager for the 2006 Committee to Keep Doves Protected said: “Michigan’s wildlife is held in trust for the people of the state of Michigan and there needs to be accountability – that accountability comes through elected representation and the right to petition and vote fairly on wildlife related issues. Senate Bill 288 clearly violates these rights.”

Last week, the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee voted 5-2 on SB 288, introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and the legislation now moves to the full Senate.

The HSUS is urging all Michigan residents to call their state representative and Gov. Snyder and ask them to reject SB 288. 

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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