[CC wolf photo by ElfenLied333 | DeviantArt]
After Michigan wolf hunt opponents gathered enough signatures earlier this year to put the issue on the 2014 ballot, Republicans, in their typical anti-democratic fashion, passed a law that would make the vote moot. The group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is now embarked on a second petition drive that would overturn this law, as well. If they are successful, you could actually see TWO wolf hunt ballot referendums on your ballot next year.
Rock icon Iggy Pop has now gotten involved. Earlier this week, he sent Governor Rick Snyder a letter taking him to task for signing the bill that prevents Michigan residents from having a voice in the matter:
Dear Governor Snyder,
As a Michigan native and someone who has cared about animals, both wild and domestic, for as long as I can remember, I was dismayed to learn from my friends at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign, that a bill you signed last May – SB 288/PA 21 – gave Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) the authority to decide which types of animals can be hunted (an authority which used to reside solely in the Legislature), which resulted in the first authorized wolf hunt since wolves underwent state protection in 1965.
Especially disturbing is that this hunt has been authorized despite the fact that there are currently only an estimated 658 wolves in your state (a decline from 673 just a year ago), 43 of whom will now be targeted by trophy hunters. Can you truly believe that bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to allow them to be hunted for trophies is the right think to do? It’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves in order to protect livestock or pets, yet despite this, the NRC has authorized a wolf hunting season against the recommendations of Michigan’s own wolf experts.
It is shameful the lengths to which the legislature and the executive branch will go to hunt this iconic creature while at the same time opening the door for other species to be hunted, like the Sandhill Crane. Allowing the NRC to list wolves, and other animals, as game species with no oversight from voters circumvents Michiganders’ long established right to be a check and balance on the legislature. THe legislature’s actions are nothing more than an attempt to shield their actions and take away voters’ rights. And truly, if the 255,000 signatures gathered by the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign to support putting PA 520 (which designated wolves as a game species by the legislature) to a referendum vote isn’t a perfect example of what the voters in Michigan want, I don’t know what is.
To further compound the issue Mlive.com just unveiled several investigative reports that reveal the “half-truths” and “falsehoods” to support authorizing a hunting season on wolves in Michigan. The reports make clear that the decision to approve wolf hunting was based on fraudulent information and not sound science.
I am asking all of my fans in Michigan to sign up and help gather signatures to reverse this decision and protect the wolf from future hunts. The senseless killing of these majestic animals for sport is a disappointment to the people of Michigan and a stain on its Government. I implore you to do the right thing by staying the hunt and allowing the people’s voice to be heard on PA 520.
One of the bits of “fraudulent information” that Pop refers to is a blatant lie told by Senator Tom Casperson on the floor of the Senate during the discussion about the new law. He told a riveting story of a how wolves threatened children at an Ironwood day care center, a story that became part of the resolution passed by the legislature (pdf):
The potential ramifications of this imbalance are exemplified by a recent incident in Ironwood, Michigan. Wolves appeared multiple times in the backyard of a day care center shortly after the children were allowed outside to play. Federal agents disposed of three wolves in that backyard because of the potential danger to the children…
Casperson has since admitted his lie and apologized for it. Too little, too late, of course, since it is now an on-the-books law.
If you’re interested in learning more, visit the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected website HERE.
And, thank you, Iggy Pop. It’s nice to know some of our hometown celebrities are willing to go to bat on behalf of our state from time to time.
“Paging Michael Moore. Michael Moore to the white courtesy telephone please…“