Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Letter: Restore our right to vote on wildlife management issues

Dear Editor:

I sure am having a hard time understanding how people can object to the participation of an animal protection group in Michigan's wolf hunt issue, while at the same time endorsing the involvement of large, avid pro-hunting groups such as Safari Club International, U.P. Whitetails, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. This is neither fair nor logical.

For argument's sake, let's pretend we can eliminate all organizations from lobbying for or against the hunt. What would we have left?

Individuals, of course! Voters!

What started as a disagreement over how to handle wolves in Michigan has turned into something even more serious than the fate of a single species. Misled by Senator Casperson -- our state Legislature, Governor, DNR, and Natural Resources Commission have terminated the right of Michigan voters to challenge wildlife management decisions. Groups supporting the recreational hunting/trapping of wolves have organized themselves into a coalition that aims to make this permanent, claiming their right to hunt is being threatened, but by whom? Voters?

Opposition to the wolf hunt, both in Michigan and elsewhere, does not come solely from animal or wildlife protection groups. On the contrary, it includes individual wildlife watchers, deer hunters, Native American tribes (whose culture, incidentally, is based on hunting), and some of the country's leading wolf experts. Others have joined in as they've seen the process politicized, corrupted, and based on incorrect information.

Hyperbole and scare tactics have no place in this debate. This is not about taking away your right to hunt and fish, or removing science from wildlife management. The issue here is that many people believe that it is currently neither necessary nor appropriate to hunt wolves in Michigan.

Repealing PA 21 will restore our right to vote on wildlife management issues. Put it on the ballot.

Catherine Parker

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