For Immediate Release
May 18, 2012
Contact: Marty Fittante
Senate committee to take testimony on wolf-related legislation via videoconference
LANSING, Mich.—The Senate Agriculture Committee will take testimony on legislation that will highlight problems caused to Michigan residents and farmers by wolves. The hearing will be held on Thursday, May 24.
Upper Peninsula residents will be able to participate in the committee via videoconference from Gogebic Community College in Ironwood.
While the hearing will spotlight the growing problems Michigan is having in managing its wolf population in general, it will also specifically focus on legislation to ensure livestock owners receive fair and timely compensation for animals killed by wolves, coyotes or cougars. The legislation was recently introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, who said he has been working with property owners and interested individuals in the U.P. on the bill.
“With wolf numbers far exceeding population goals, I continue to hear of the impacts they are having on people’s lives and businesses,” said Casperson. “Ensuring that property owners are fairly compensated when their animals are killed by predators is a common-sense policy that needs to be strengthened, especially when those property owners are just trying to make a living.”
Senate Bill 996 would build upon provisions in current law that provide payments to livestock owners when livestock are killed by wolves, coyotes or cougars. However, the payments are not only slow in being made but routinely less than what the animals are worth. The bill would impose timelines for payment and follow the policy Wisconsin has implemented to establish an animal’s value. In addition, the bill would allow dog and cat owners to be compensated when wolves kill their dogs or cats, subject to certain limitations.
“More must be done to control the growing wolf population and mitigate their impacts in the Upper Peninsula,” Casperson said. “The committee hearing and videoconference opportunity will be a great way for senators in Lansing to hear from my fellow U.P. residents on this important issue.”
The Agriculture Committee is scheduled for Thursday, May 24, at 9 a.m. in room 210 of the Farnum Building in Lansing, with simultaneous videoconferencing at Gogebic Community College, Room B21 of the Solin Business Center, E-4946 Jackson Road in Ironwood at 8 am.