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The Big Bad Wolf Lobby

Wal Disney

Wal Disney

If Little Red Riding Hood has relocated to Michigan, she should be afraid – very afraid. Why? Because the Big Bad Wolf and his ever-growing family is being financially supported by a humongous Washington lobbying group that preys on the good deeds of your local Humane Society.

Here’s the deal: there are too many wolves living in Michigan. Too many wolves leads to farm animals being killed, people being attacked, traffic accidents, the spread of disease among the wolf population, and the eventual starvation of wolves.

Nothing about this scenario is good.

Enter three participants. First, the Michigan Legislature which has introduced legislation – the Scientific Management Package (okay, a traditional B.S. government name, but stick with me) – building on voter approval of Proposal G in 1996 that tells the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to regulate the “taking of game” based on sound scientific management. In a nutshell, they want to manage Michigan wolf numbers before people, cows, dogs, and cats (more on them later) are entrée du jour for these magnificent creatures. The bill tells the NRC to provide a specified hunting season – and issue specific hunting rules.

This is much like the regulated hunting of deer in Michigan. Ban hunting Bambi and the little suckers starve, spread disease, and cause turmoil on our roads. License and tax it and the deer (that don’t get shot) thrive – from my old Franklin suburb to the highest regions of the U.P. (Michigan deer hunting season brought to you by Anheuser Busch, Miller Lite, and Jose Cuervo.)

The bills, Senate Bill 288 and House Bill 4552, are thoughtful and concise. They should pass. Despite the protestations of two groups spreading so much fear and misinformation that it makes President Obama’s sequestration scare-mongering look like child’s play.

Enter the alleged wolf lovers trashing the bill: the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition and the behemoth Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

HSUS opposes virtually all hunting while claiming that they care for animals in pet shelters. HSUS spends very little money on pet shelters – as little as one percent of their $100 million budget goes toward the care of animals.

I’ve had a problem with HSUS for years, even as I supported local Humane Society branches that do phenomenal work. Alongside Bob Lutz, I helped lead the 2008 pet march in downtown Detroit in support of the Humane Society – that is, the local chapters.  I walked my second rescue dog Chopper along Woodward   Avenue with hundreds of other animal lovers. (Chopper passed last year and Sammie, a weird beagle-collie mix, is my third.)  Anyway, I asked one of the local Humane Society leaders, “What’s the deal with the wacky Humane Society of the United States?”

She didn’t hesitate: “They are not us.” Whoa.

Not to pile on the HSUS, but what the hell. A few years ago, as the Michael Vick dog scandal wound down, the Atlanta Falcons star QB held a press conference and apologized for his heinous acts against dogs. After he left the podium, a senior member of HSUS retrieved Vick’s speech and auctioned them off on eBay. They brought in $10,200. Sure, the HSUS claimed the funds would be used to protect animals, but really. Thank goodness the HSUS didn’t have access to Dr. Kevorkian’s diary.

Says HSUS: “As a matter of principle, The HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport because of the animal trauma, suffering, and death that result. A humane society should not condone the killing of any sentient creature in the name of sport.” But, they seem to have no problem with large packs of wolves in Michigan hunting cattle, sheep, hogs, dogs, cats (OK, I admit I am OK with this one, so sue me), and minivans.

Finally, enter The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected coalition into the wolves’ den.

This group claims that it is not an anti-hunting lobby funded by the anti-hunting HSUS. However, its advocacy has been twinned with HSUS save-the-wolf television ads. The Keep Michigan Wolves Protected folks claim the proposed legislation will allow aerial shooting of wolves. But aerial hunting is illegal in Michigan. So, the only way a poor little wolf can get whacked from the sky is if it is collateral damage to a purported terrorist targeted by a Washington drone.

Be smart: Protect Michiganians against wolves while protecting the wolf population: They are treasures like lions and tigers and grizzly bears – as long as you or your dog is not on their menu.

Jason Vines
Jason Vines is the former head of communications at Ford, Nissan, Chrysler and Compuware. Automotive News named Vines the auto industry’s top PR person in 1999, 2005 and 2006. When he still had a head full of hair, he was a standup comic and regular on The Dick Purtan Show as Andy Rooney, Dr. Dworkis, and PeeWee Herman. He currently lives in the D.C. Metro area and works as an auto consultant.