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Wildlife is Held in the Public Trust: Why isn't the Public Trusted to Have an Opinion?

Wildlife is Held in the Public Trust: Why isn't the Public Trusted to Have an Opinion?

Authors: Melissa Tedrow, Wisconsin State Director, Christine Coughlin, Minnesota State Director and Jill Fritz, Michigan Senior Director of The Humane Society of the United States

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  1. Melissa Tedrowe, Wisconsin State Director Christine Coughlin, Minnesota State Director

    Jill Fritz, Michigan Senior State Director Wildlife is Held in the Public Trust: Why isn’t the Public Trusted to Have an Opinion on Wildlife?
  2. Minnesota Wolf Management Plan Authorized the MN Department of Natural

    Resources to consider hunting and trapping seasons no sooner than five years after wolves were removed from the federal Endangered Species List.
  3. 2013 Minnesota polling • 53% of Minnesota voters favor reinstating

    a five-year waiting period for wolf hunting and trapping in Minnesota • 66% of voters oppose allowing the use of traps and snares to hunt Minnesota’s gray wolves.
  4. Native American opposition "Many Ojibwe believe the fate of the

    wolf is closely tied to the fate of all the Ojibwe. For these reasons the Fond du Lac Band feels the hunting and trapping of wolves is inappropriate.'' Karen Diver, chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa "How can you ignore governments that have co- management authority of much of the wolf range and come up with a plan without their input?'‘ Steve Mortensen, Leech Lake Band's Division of Resource Management
  5. Attitudes of Michiganders toward wolves 2010 MSU statewide public opinion

    poll: “Most residents, including hunters, Northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) residents and minorities, highly value wolves, are not interested in hunting them and support the role of science in making decisions.” Mertig, A. G. (2004). Attitudes about wolves in Michigan, 2002. Final report to Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Michigan State University: East Lansing, Michigan: Overall high support for wolf recovery efforts; the majority of residents supported a “hands-off” approach as long as wolves did not injure people, Michiganders do not support consumptive uses of wolves.
  6. Testimony for/against SB 1350 50 opposing documents : • U.P.

    and L.P. residents • Native American tribes • Scientists • Hunters • Conservation groups • Humane organizations 4 supporting documents: • Michigan United Conservation Clubs • Michigan Bow Hunters Association • Upper Peninsula Sportsman Alliance • Cattle farmer
  7. Native American Tribes • The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of

    Chippewa Indians • The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Council • The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians • The Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
  8. I own a camp in the midst of the Ottawa

    National Forest. I am a hunter. I have reverence for the wolf. I have had several close encounters with wolves in the wild…. In my opinion misunderstanding, fear and greed is why SB 1350 was introduced. Richard Sloat, Iron River Mr. Casperson's statement that Michigan residents live in fear of the wolf is just a gross exaggeration! Amy Froiland, Marquette We…urge you to do more research about wolf predation and survey all your constituents for their views before proposing a remedy that may not be needed. Sharon and Anthony Zoars, Watersmeet The wolves themselves are wildlife management tools. I don't see proponents of the hunt acknowledging the rather obvious fact that wolves serve to dispose selectively of sick deer and other game animals, thus limiting the spread of such diseases as "chronic wasting.” That alone should justify protection. Jack Parker, Baltic (South Range) We own a sled dog touring business. We have hosted many visitors from near and afar. They are excited to hear about our region’s wild animals—none more than wolves. They have enjoyed seeing wolf tracks in the snow and finding territorial markings. Jacqueline Winkowski, Gwinn My family lives in the Upper Peninsula and we have seen wolves as we enjoy the wooded areas around our homes and camps. Never have any of these animals bothered our homes or us. I urge you to protect this wild animal from a useless death. Linda Roncaglione Brecheisen, Negaunee Leave Michigan alone, as a safe haven for the wolves where people who simply enjoy the fact that they can exist, or at the most be photographed by people like me. Judith Kreiger, Baraga Wolves pose no threat and play a valuable role and maintain natural balance. Wolves are not vicious killers as some tout them to be. Quite the opposite. They are peaceful pack animals and only kill what they need to survive, (unlike humans) like any other animal does. Joanna Tomacari , Gwinn So far CWD has not spread into areas inhabited by wolves, anywhere in the United States, and the logical hypothesis is that wolves simply cull out diseased animals. The public health significance of CWD is hotly debated. However, based on my conversations with many wildlife veterinarians, I will gladly consume venison from the U.P. but I won’t eat deer from the CWD district in central Wisconsin. Rolf Peterson, Houghton Animals that aren't eaten should not be hunted. …Please do not abide by the wishes of a small, vocal group of sportsmen who do not represent mainstream hunters. James Winkowski, Gwinn Does it make any sense at all to try so hard for so many years to get a species reintroduced and then kill it? Constance Sherry, Atlantic Mine Just from U.P. residents…
  9. April 9, 2013: SB 288 introduced • Allows NRC to

    designate game species • Bypasses referendum • $1 million appropriation to prevent 2nd referendum
  10. Ignoring  dismissal  open contempt • Citizens mocked and

    belittled in hearings • “emotional,” “anti-hunting,” “urban,” “uninformed,” “not from the U.P.” (even if they, in fact, were, or if most of the legislators voting on the issue were not)
  11. Value judgment  codified into law Monumental leap: “Those who

    have a different opinion on this issue than we have will no longer have the right to vote on it.”
  12. “Only 13 of the 3,650 Michigan submissions favored the hunt,

    the remainder opposed such an action. What’s more troubling is that within the pile of comments, an email from the NRC chairman was found stating that he trashed an additional 2,000.”
  13. • Nearly identical to Public Act 21 • $1 million

    appropriation (referendum-proof) • Free hunting/fishing licenses for military
  14. Both laws overturned • Proposal 2… o rejected in 69

    of Michigan’s 83 counties o rejected in all 15 Michigan Congressional districts • More than 1.8 million “no” votes…more than for any statewide candidate who won election
  15. The people spoke: The citizens of Michigan do NOT support

    handing the unprecedented power to designate game species to an unelected commission.
  16. Post-election poll: • 85% of voters: “Michigan citizens should not

    lose their right to vote on wildlife issues.” • 2/3 of voters: “The legislature and the NRC should heed the will of the people on wolf hunting.”
  17. Being invited to speak is not the same as being

    listened to and heard. The citizens of Michigan were not invited—nor were they welcome—to the conversation on wolves. But they made sure they were listened to.