Centreville, Mich. – The Animal Rescue Fund (ARF), a St. Joseph County-based non-profit organization that supports the work of local animal shelters and rescues, has joined a coalition of animal welfare, conservation groups and Native American tribes in a referendum campaign to prevent the trophy hunting of wolves in Michigan.
The referendum campaign, called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, intends to gather 225,000 signatures of Michigan voters by late March in order to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot. They hope to stop legislation that the Michigan legislature approved in the waning days of the 2011-2012 lame duck session to allow the trophy hunting of wolves in Michigan for the first time in nearly 50 years. The group has launched a website for volunteers and voters at KeepWolvesProtected.com.
“Animal Rescue Fund supports the campaign to keep our state’s wolves protected from trophy hunting and trapping,” said LeeAnn Farmer, board president of ARF. “Our members are out there now, helping to collect the signatures that are needed to get this on the ballot.”
“Wolves have been protected in Michigan for nearly 50 years,” said Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for The Humane Society of the United States and director for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “With fewer than 700 wolves in Michigan, it’s not right to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport.”
It’s already legal in Michigan to kill wolves that attack livestock or dogs, making a trophy hunting season unnecessary. People don’t eat wolves, and they would be killed just for fun and trophies. Trophy hunting and fur trapping of this still-recovering species is premature, inhumane, and unnecessary.
“There is no scientific evidence to suggest that wolves need to be hunted,” said John Vucetich, associate professor of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, and director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project. “It’s not common sense to spend decades bringing the wolf back from the brink of extinction only to turn around and allow them to be killed for sport.”
Wolf hunting may involve especially cruel and unfair practices, such as painful steel-jawed leghold traps, hunting over bait and even using packs of dogs to chase down and kill wolves.
Successful kickoff events have been conducted in Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Marquette, Saginaw Lansing, Kalamazoo, Flint Ann Arbor, Plymouth, and Utica, and volunteers are now busy collecting signatures across the state.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is supported by southwest Michigan organizations including the Kalamazoo Humane Society, Barry County Humane Society, Up-Cycled Pets, Richland Animal Rescue, Companion Cats of Battle Creek, Southwest Michigan German Shepherd Rescue, Free Roaming and Feral Cat Coalition of Southwest Michigan, and the Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance in Saugatuck, as well as statewide animal shelters, rescues, businesses and Native American tribes and national animal protection and environmental groups.
Source: News release from Keep Michigan Wolves Protected