HSUS Threatening More Ballot ReferendumsMay 23rd, 2013
You didn’t think they’d just go back to D.C., did you?
Michigan’s hunters, anglers and trappers won a big battle two weeks ago when Gov. Snyder signed Public Acts 21 and 22 of 2013 (SB 288 and 289), making hunting and fishing a right and allowing the Natural Resources Commission to designate game species using sound science, but the war is not over.
If we know one thing about the Humane Society of the United States, it’s this: They don’t accept defeat gracefully.
In 2004, HSUS tried to ban bear hunting in Maine using bait or trapping. Maine voters defeated it, and now HSUS is running an almost identical ballot initiative in Maine for the 2014 ballot. To understand the level of hypocrisy in doing this, remember that HSUS – which was behind the 2006 dove hunting ban here in Michigan – ran television ads claiming that SB 288 was trying to subvert the will of the voters who voted for that ban, even though the bill specifically excluded doves.
If the bear hunting ban HSUS is trying to run in Maine sounds familiar, it should. Anti-hunters funded by the Fund for Animals tried to ban bear hunting with hounds or bait in Michigan in 1996. The national director for the Fund for Animals at that time was Wayne Pacelle – the same Wayne Pacelle who is now executive director for HSUS. Michigan voters soundly rejected the antis in 1996 and instead adopted Proposal G, which mandated that game decisions be made by the Natural Resources Commission using sound science.
Now that we’ve fully implemented scientific wildlife management by passing SB 288, HSUS is threatening another referendum on that bill. HSUS’s front group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP), which is behind the moot referendum of the bill that designated wolves a game species, said this in an e-mail yesterday:
“We are looking at all options, and are considering another referendum campaign to place S.B. 288 on the ballot in November 2014.”
For context, keep in mind that KMWP paid California-based PCI Consultants more than $300,000 for signature collection in their wolf bill referendum, which would mean another referendum on SB 288 could run their expenses for paying people to collect signatures to over half a million. Further, we’ve heard that HSUS threatened to spend $3 million in negative ads against Governor Snyder for signing SB 288, in addition to the cost of the ads they already ran during primetime lying to people about SB 288 before it was signed. That is one expensive temper tantrum!
Here’s the thing: HSUS has a lot of money because many people still think they’re somehow associated with their local humane society (they’re not). They use this money to attack hunting rights in states like Michigan, Maine, California and Colorado that allow out-of-state special interests to buy their way onto the ballot.
And they know that they have more money than state-based groups – like MUCC – which protect the rights to hunt, fish and trap in these states because they have a national fundraising base, many of whom think they’re donating to an animal shelter, not the largest anti-hunting organization in the country. The reason they’re going back into Maine to try a do-over of their 2004 defeat is that Maine hunting groups don’t have the financial backing they had in 2004 to fight it.
And now they’re poised to run two ballot referendums in Michigan to repeal the bill that makes sure they won’t be able to spend their way into overruling game decisions that we decided long ago should be made by biology, not politics.
There is something you can do, though. For one, if you haven’t already, write a letter to the editor of your local paper – or to Governor Snyder directly – thanking him for ensuring scientific wildlife management by signing SB 288. Second, if you haven’t already, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs to help us continue to protect the rights to hunt, fish and trap that we’ve fought so hard to earn.
HSUS isn’t going away, because they are committed to ending your rights to hunt, fish and trap, one species at a time, one state at a time. We have to be equally committed to defending those rights, or else we will lose them. It’s that simple.