Target: Michigan State Senators
Goal: Prevent Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) from obtaining authority to designate animals as game species.
Game hunting is a controversial topic. Hunters want to hunt, and animal protection groups want to preserve the well being of America’s delicate wildlife. A recently proposed bill would grant Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC), a committee made up of seven members, sole authority to designate any animal of their choosing as a “game species.” It would render the public powerless to stop hunts should they oppose them, and The Humane Society of the United States opposes the measure for this reason. Sign this petition and urge Michigan senators to oppose this injurious bill.
At present, Michigan’s law requires the designation of game species to be determined by the state’s legislature, allowing multiple people to weigh in on the decision before it is made. After game species are approved, the NRC is then given permission to carry out hunts, and public voters can also contribute to the process. Such distribution of power prevents interest groups from carrying out their wishes at the expense of others. The proposed legislation, however, would not only bypass the legislature, but it would also strip Michigan voters of their right to weigh in on these important causes. Humane societies would have no rights of representation should they disagree with the animals that are classified as game species, as hunting and wildlife issues would be the territory of the NRC alone. In addition, the legislation includes a one million dollar appropriation, meaning it could not be overturned by a voter referendum.
Animal protection organizations fear that the law could result in a large-scale wolf hunt, a practice often detrimental to an already waning wolf population, but it also threatens doves and other potential game species. The NRC can approve any animal they like without the permission of other groups, and so if hunting methods prove damaging to animal populations, opponents of their decisions will be at a loss. Wayne Pacelle, the president for The Humane Society, calls the bill a “short-sighted and unprecedented usurpation of power,” noting the dangers of giving ultimate power to a small group of people.
Understandably, the NRC wishes to control wolf populations due to recent complaints of nuisance behavior. Wolves are frequently traveling into cities, chasing pets in residential areas, as well as posing threats to small children. Those who support the hunt claim that current combat methods – such as shooting wolves that attack livestock – are ineffective. Still, no legislation should grant so much authority to one organization. It would be just as devastating if an unrestrained hunt resulted in a disrupted ecosystem.
While protective methods are certainly required to ensure the safety of Michigan residents, giving too much power to Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission could result in damaged animal populations, an injured ecosystem, and a public rendered voiceless by the power of a single group. Urge Michigan Senators to oppose legislation that would allow the NRC to designate animals as game species.
Dear Michigan State Senators,
A bill was recently passed by the Republican-led Senate Committee that would give the state’s Natural Resources Commission the authority to, on its own, designate animals of their choosing as game species. Such a measure would bypass the contribution of the legislature in the process, and it would also render the public voiceless to stop hunts should they prove to be detrimental. Humane societies are given no rights of representation should they oppose the NRC’s game species selection, and therefore this bill simply gives the NRC too much power. In addition, wolf hunts would be the likely result of the bill’s passing, and waning wolf populations would suffer if the group was allowed to control hunting and wildlife issues at the expensive of the ecosystem.
While wolves often frustrate Michigan residents by encroaching on suburban territories and threatening livestock, surrendering hunting authority to one organization made up of seven members is irresponsible. Hunters, voters, and animal welfare advocates should have a say on such important matters, and so I urge you to oppose this bill and distribute power justly. Do not grant the NRC sole authority to designate animals of their choosing as game species.
[Your Name Here]