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May 2, 2013

Governor Urged to Veto Bill that Threatens Voting Rights and Michigan’s Wildlife

Political power grab puts fragile wolf population at risk

The Michigan House passed legislation Thursday to block voters from having a say in whether the state’s fragile and declining wolf population can be designated as a game species for hunting and trapping. SB 288 is an attempt to prevent 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’s shameful that Michigan’s elected officials are doing everything in their power to undermine a fair vote of the people. But there will be a public vote on wolf hunting, and the Natural Resources Commission should be held accountable to honor the people’s wishes. Every Michigan resident should pick up the phone and tell Governor Snyder to reject this attack on the democratic process.”

SB 288, introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, would cede authority to the seven political appointees of the Natural Resources Commission to establish hunting and trapping seasons and circumvent the 253,705 signatures gathered to allow the state’s voters to decide whether to list wolves as a game species.

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.

Added Pacelle, “Lansing politicians went on and on about scientific wildlife management, yet there is no scientific justification for trophy hunting and trapping of wolves. The wolf population spent decades recovering from the brink of extinction, and is still on the decline. It’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves that are threatening livestock or pets, and this would just be pointless trophy hunting. The Michigan House and Senate have allowed politics to trump science, and have ceded their own authority to an unelected panel dominated by sport hunting interests, just for the sole purpose of stopping voters from participating in the public process. And it may not stop with wolves, but what happens when this group wants to hunt sandhill cranes or other protected non-game species?”

The HSUS is urging all Michigan residents to call Gov. Rick Snyder at 517-373-3400 and ask him to reject this political power grab. 

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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