The Board of State Canvassers certified a second referendum for the November 2014 statewide ballot today, giving Michigan voters the opportunity to protect wolves from trophy hunting. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (KMWP) initiated two petition drives for the referendum, netting nearly 500,000 voter signatures in the process.
“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.”
KMWP points to multiple DNR reports as support for its stance:
* 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
It’s already legal to kill problem wolves when livestock, pets, or human safety are at risk. KMWP officials believe the system works and allows for selective control of wolves causing any problems.
KMWP officials also believe wolves are an economic and ecological boon to the state, promoting tourism to the Upper Peninsula and checking excessive growth of deer populations. They go on to say that wolves help maintain a healthy deer population and cull weak and sick animals, preventing the spread of dangerous diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease. According to KMWP, wolves also lower the risk of deer-auto collisions and depredations on crops, saving humans lives and tens of millions of dollars for the state.