Michigan lawmakers passed a law this week that will allow the state’s wolf hunt to continue unhindered this fall.
The Michigian House has passed a citizen-initiated law that reaffirms state’s Natural Resources Committee the authority to name wolves as game species and set wolf hunting seasons.
According to Mlive.com, the law was set to appear with two anti-wolf hunting referendums on a November ballot, but a statewide petition that gathered 297,000 signatures swayed the state Senate to pass the law two weeks ago. The House approved the law this week.
“It’s crucial to Michigan’s future that we respect and honor the fishing and hunting heritage by maintaining a factual, science-based approach,” state Rep. Andrea LaFontaine told Mlive.com.
Opponents of the bill say the proposal should have been included on the November ballot for voters to decide on.
“If they are so certain that this is the correct way for Michigan to go, what do they have to lose by letting the people of the state of Michigan vote?” state Rep. Vicki Barnett said.
Wolf hunting is a hot-button issue in Michigan right now. The state’s first public wolf hunt in 53 years opened last year in select regions of the Upper Peninsula, which is home to some 636 grey wolves.
Several hunters and hunting organizations support the hunt, arguing that wolves are an becoming an increasing threat to livestock in the region.
Environmentalists and animal-rights advocates argue the hunt is unnecessary. Opponents of the bill are already preparing a legal challenge to the new law.
“Once again, the Legislature has stomped on the voters of this state, but we will be overturning this unconstitutional initiative in court,” said Jill Fritz, of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected and state director of the Humane Society of the United States, according to Mlive.com.
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