MUCC Statement on Anti-Hunting Initiative Regarding Wolf Management

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tony Hansen, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, (269) 420-9510 thansen@mucc.org

Out-of-State Animal Rights Extremists At It Again

Washington-based Group Attempting To Override Michigan's Democratic Process

LANSING – As expected, non-resident animal rights activists have announced their intent to challenge the authority of Michigan's voters and legislators.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, a front organization for the Washington D.C.-based animal rights extremist group, Humane Society of the United States, has announced its intent to use Michigan's flawed ballot referendum process to attempt to prevent state-led, science-based wildlife management from taking place in Michigan.
The group will now attempt to place its second referendum on Public Act 21 of 2013 on Michigan's ballot -- despite the fact that the first referendum on Public Act 520 of 2012 is frivolous and has no impact on any current laws.
As required by the USFWS, Michigan submitted a management plan to illustrate how the state would manage wolves using science-based wildlife management to ensure the longevity of the species in Michigan. That  plan was approved by the USFWS and was endorsed by a diverse group of stakeholders and serves as a model for other states for managing wolves. While groups like the Michigan Humane Society and Sierra Club supported this plan when it was approved, which includes public hunting and trapping as a tool to address conflicts where and when necessary, these groups are now going back on their commitment to manage wolves based on the plan.
After several lawsuits by the Humane Society of the United States, Michigan's wolf population was finally removed from the Endangered Species list in 2012. With a minimum population of nearly 700 wolves -- far more than required for recovery status as determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- Michigan's wolf population is a tremendous conservation success story and further proof that the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is an effective, science-based wildlife management tool. Late last year, the Michigan legislature designated wolves a game species and cleared the way for Proposal G and Michigan's wolf management plan to be implemented.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected then appeared and spent more than $500,000 to place the measure on the ballot, including $350,000 with a California-based group paid to gather signatures.
In 1996, Michigan voters overwhelmingly supported the passage of Proposal G, which was a ballot measure requiring Michigan to use science when making wildlife management decisions. Ironically, that measure was the result of another anti-hunting initiative aimed at ending bear hunting in Michigan. The leader of that failed effort? Wayne Pacelle -- current head of the Humane Society of the United States, the funding organization for the current attack on the rights of Michigan residents.
"This group has already shown that it has no concern for the time of Michigan's voters and no respect for Michigan's legislative process," said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of MUCC. "They chose to continue with an initiative that was defeated -- not once but twice -- knowing that it will cost Michigan taxpayers money and will waste their time at the ballot box. And now they are attempting to run another referendum over an issue that voters have already decided on through Proposal G and was reaffirmed by our legislature through Public Act 21 of 2013. Clearly, they aren't interested in what Michigan's residents want. They are interested in one thing: Forcing everyone to follow their radical, animal rights agenda."
In an effort to make sure that Michigan's support of Proposal G was not tossed aside, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved the Scientific Wildlife Management Package (P.A. 21 of 2013) with bipartisan support. Yet, once again, the Humane Society of the United States has determined that Michigan's residents and lawmakers just aren't capable of making their own decisions.
"It's time for Michigan's residents to say enough is enough. We've had enough of these deep-pocket, animal rights radicals constantly trying to step in and force their views on us," said McDonough. "If they truly are interested in the long-term viability of wolves in Michigan, they need to demonstrate that they understand science-based wildlife management and that they are interested in having a factual conversation about the issue instead of buying their way onto a ballot and conducting a campaign filled with lies, emotional rhetoric and outright deceit. They can't do that because their concern is not for wolves. Only science-based management can maintain wolves in Michigan. This group's concern is with forcing Michigan residents to believe in their animal rights agenda." ###

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