State Board Approves Petitions for Second Wolf Referendum
The Board of State Canvassers certified a second referendum for the November 2014 statewide ballot, giving Michigan voters the opportunity to protect wolves from trophy hunting and protect their right to vote on wildlife policy issues. With two petition drives totaling nearly 500,000 voter signatures, Michiganders have made it clear to their politicians and bureaucrats that facts and not falsehoods should dictate wildlife management. However, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected expects exaggerated and fabricated stories, falsehoods about wolf incidents and overall public deception about wolves to continue before the November ballot.
“The $64,000 question is: Are Michigan lawmakers going to thumb their noses again at voters in an election year?” asks Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “The people have demanded a fair vote on this issue twice, and the politicians should stop playing games and trying to subvert our voting rights. In order to stop the sport hunting of wolves and stop this abuse of power, we urge Michigan citizens to vote NO on both proposals.”
Within the past month, the Department of Natural Resources reported:
· Michigan’s wolf population declined for the second consecutive year, from 687 in 2011 to 636 in 2013;
· There were only 13 wolf-livestock incidents in Michigan in 2013, a more than 80 percent reduction of such occurrences in the past two years;
· One pup and two elderly wolves were among the 22 killed during last year’s inaugural hunt that the DNR claimed was to target “problem” animals.
An independent investigation by MLive exposed politicians and state officials who made up stories out of whole cloth in order to prompt Michigan’s first wolf hunting season in half a century. There were stories about wolves showing up and being killed outside daycare centers, and staring at people through glass doors, and none of them were true. It shows government at its worst, using half-truths, falsehoods, fear-mongering, and distortion to make policy decisions, and trying to cover up the mistakes by denying Michigan voters the opportunity to weigh in on the issue.
After voters demanded a say on the issue, state legislators then handed off the decision on wolf hunting to seven, unelected members of the Natural Resources Commission whose collective opinion was in line with the state legislature’s view. These seven individuals are political appointees. The sole scientist on the commission proved to be the only dissenting vote against their plan to open a trophy hunting season for wolves.
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. It’s already legal to kill problem wolves in the rare instances when livestock, pets, or human safety are at risk. This system works and allows for selective control of wolves causing any problems.
Wolves are an economic and ecological boon to the state, promoting tourism to the Upper Peninsula and checking excessive growth of deer populations. Wolves help maintain a healthy deer population and cull weak and sick animals, preventing the spread of dangerous diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease. Wolves also lower the risk of deer-auto collisions and depredations on crops. This can save humans lives and tens of millions of dollars for the state.
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.