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May 9, 2013

Governor Signs Bill that Takes Away Rights and Michigan’s Traditional Wildlife Protections

Political power grab puts fragile wolf population at risk

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into a law a bill that nullifies the voice of voters in deciding whether the state’s fragile and declining wolf population can be designated as a game species for hunting and trapping. SB 288 effectively prevents ballot referendum efforts by citizens to protect traditional non-game and endangered wildlife in their state from trophy hunting and commercial trapping.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States said: “It is shameful that Governor Snyder has thumbed his nose at the constitution and the will of the people. This is an extreme power grab and an attempt to silence the quarter-million Michigan voters who signed petitions asking to exercise their right to participate in protecting wildlife. We will continue our efforts to safeguard Michigan’s wolves.”

SB 288, introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, cedes authority to seven unelected, political appointees of the Natural Resources Commission to list animal, such as wolves, as game species directly, and circumvent the 253,705 signatures gathered to allow the state’s voters to decide whether the recently passed law listing wolves as a game species should stand.

A hunting and trapping season on Michigan’s declining wolf population is not supported by science, and is opposed by preeminent wolf experts Dr. Rolf Peterson and Dr. John Vucetich at Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula.

The legislation was amended in the Senate to prevent the Natural Resources Commission from adding the mourning dove to the list of game species, in recognition of the landslide vote in 2006 rejecting the legislature’s dove hunting bill. The same recognition needs to be given to the more than quarter-million Michigan voters who signed petitions to place the wolf hunting referendum on the statewide ballot, and to voters who don’t want to be silenced on other wildlife protection measures. 

Media Contact: Heather Sullivan: 240.477.2251; hsullivan@humanesociety.org

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