Source: The Daily Mining Gazette (Michigan) January 7, 2017
To the editor:
What gives politicians the right to function unilaterally and particularly when it is directly against the will of their constituents? Doesn’t this reflect, at the minimum, an erosion of our democratic process? Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature passed very swiftly (during the holidays) Bill 1187, which not only paved the way for trophy hunting and commercial trapping of Michigan’s wolves, but as well circumvents the people’s right to vote in the future by transferring full authority to the politically appointed Natural Resource Commission’s members, none of which have a background in science. Their decisions cannot be overturned by the voters in Michigan, despite a majority objecting (by 1.8 million) to two previous bills.
Despite rhetoric from politicians, livestock losses caused by wolves are low, especially when compared to other causes of livestock mortality.
Livestock owners are not required by law to implement non-lethal measures (livestock guardian dogs, flagging, animal rotation, detecting alarm systems) to minimize losses by wolves, and yet they are compensated for any losses caused by wolves.
Livestock losses caused by wolves are minimal. In 2016, there were about 24 verified conflicts. Most occurred at one of the approximate 900 working farms in the U.P.
Wintering deer yards have been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer, and then following a particularly harsh winter, mass starvation of the deer occurs. Weather and habitat loss, have the greatest impact on deer, not wolves. Severe winters increase adult mortality, reduce fawn survival and impact antler growth the following year in bucks.
The culling of wolves is based on non-science, greed, fearmongering and political agendas and is unacceptable.
The passing of this bill may be devastating to our wolf population in Michigan, but it will be even more devastating for the future of democracy.
Voters elect lawmakers to represent the will of the majority. Under the public trust document, states and lawmakers have a legal obligation to conserve wolves for the benefit of all citizens.
It appears that our current elected officials are more concerned with appeasing special interest groups rather than serving the interests of the people. Whatever happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people?
How can we be confident with this type of leadership? Whatever happened to the democratic process?