Democracy Tree: Michigan lawmakers squeal over wolf hunt ruling

DSCN0444-150x150by Amy Kerr Hardin

Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) is crying wolf again. He and two fellow state lawmakers are howling mad over last month’s federal court ruling in favor of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), returning the gray wolf to the endangered species list in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The court cited the intent of the Endangered Species Act:
“This law reflects the commitment by the United States to act as a responsible steward of the Earth’s wildlife, even when such stewardship is inconvenient or difficult for the localities where an endangered or threatened species resides.”
This week, Casperson introduced a resolution to the Michigan Senate (SR-7) calling for:
“[L]egislative action by the U.S. Congress and an appeal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in an effort to remove the Western Great Lakes gray wolf population from the endangered and threatened species list.”
Among the arguments found in the resolution is that the ESA prevents farmers from protecting their livestock. Kristi Lloyd of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected explains that “farmers themselves can’t kill wolves, but DNR, Wildlife Services can”  if the wolf is a threat to humans. Livestock depredation had been a key rationale behind the Michigan wolf hunt, however support for that line of reasoning dwindled when it was discovered that the farmer who reported nearly two-thirds of the 158 livestock losses was leaving cattle carcasses in the field, essentially baiting wolves to enter his property, and collecting handsomely in damages from the state.

Nutty claims that pets will soon become illegal in Michigan

A few weeks ago, Casperson, along with Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette), Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) were interviewed on the topic.
When asked about the ruling, McBroom responded with “Outrageous. I think it’s outrageous and it continues to show the very selfish drive of some groups, especially the Humane Society of the United States. He’s upset because “groups from out-of-state decide they know better how the wildlife in the U.P. should look.”
Kivela asserted the HSUS “is a special interest group, whose motivation is not protecting the wolf. It’s motivation is to cease all hunt3-pigs-2-300x230ing, all fishing, and eventually domestic pets.” McBroom piped-in support with “It’s their stated goals”, and continued with a rant accusing the organization of not working to actually help animals, but instead spending all their money on salaries, lobbyists and lawyers.
Combing through the HSUS website produced no such “stated goal” or anything close to it. Additionally, the organization received recognition from Worth Magazine as one of “The 10 Most Fiscally Responsible Charities.” As for keeping pets — Fido and Fluffy are just fine with the HSUS, they simply don’t want “dangerous wild animals” to be kept as pets. No tigers or bears folks, but squealing pigs — still okay.

Some more disingenuous whining

Members of the leading group in favor of wolf hunting, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, complain they are being out-gunned in the courtroom. MUCC Policy Manager Amy Trotter posted a blog this week carping about the legions of lawyers on the side of HSUS and the Center for Biological Diversity. In a twist of intellectual dishonesty she additionally noted that the latter group had a deceptive name. Seriously, this from the “conservation” group?
Trotter’s blog described a recent banquet with the Lansing Chapter of The Safari Club International where the keynote speaker was Anna Seidman, chief SCI litigator, who spun a bleak David and Goliath tale. Trotter described the “otherside” thusly:
“[T]he Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has about 13 lawyers on staff and the Center for Biological Diversity (another anti-hunting, litigation heavy group with an almost innocent sounding name) has about 28 legal beagles, not to mention smaller anti-hunting, animal rights groups with 3-4 paid lawyers each. But they also have among their ranks more than 1,000 pro bono attorneys that they work with to try to circumvent sound wildlife management and sue the pants off of our state and federal agencies at every turn.”
Wowser, over 1,000 lawyers, and all pro bono? Please, kindly show your math, ladies. A list of any kind would be great, doesn’t even have to alphabetized.
Trotter concluded with this insight:
“I’m just glad to have Anna, SCI, USSA, RMEF, MUCC, UPSA, MTAPC, MHDF, UPBHA, MBHA, MBH, DU, NWTF, MSSFA, Michigan B.A.S.S., and every hunter, angler, and trapper out there on my side.”
Hey wait, some of MUCC’s supporters appear to be “groups from out-of-state.” Does Rep. McBroom know about this? He’s gonna be soooo pissed-off. Also, listed among MUCC’s “conservation partners” are Enbridge and Nestle Water — two corporations not known as particularly stellar environmental stewards in the Great Lakes State.
The list of those who support protecting Michigan’s wolf population doesn’t include 1,000 lawyers (try three), but there do seem to be plenty of veterinarians, animal shelters, local humane society chapters, individuals and businesses.

UPDATE: On Jan. 28, 2015, SR-7 was voted favorably out of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Sen. Casperson.
CORRECTION: The DNR may only kill a wolf that is a threat to humans.

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