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Before Wolves May Be Hunted, Science, Faith and Politics Clash

Once again, science, religion and politics have become entwined in a thorny public policy debate. This time, however, the discussion is not about abortion, birth control or health insurance mandates.

It’s about wolves.

Specifically, a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature to authorize a hunting season on wolves. The State Senate has approved it, and the Assembly is set to consider the bill on Tuesday.

Hunters approve of the season, and Republicans are all for it, as are some Democrats. Wildlife biologists have a number of criticisms and suggestions about the bill involving how, when and how many wolves should be killed.

But the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Game Commission, which represents 11 tribes of the Ojibwe (also known as the Chippewa, or Anishinaabe) in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, opposes the hunt on the basis of religious principle and tradition.

In written testimony presented to both legislative houses, James Zorn, the executive administrator of the commission, said, “In the Anishinaabe creation story we are taught that Ma’iingan (wolf) is a brother to Original man.” He continued, “The health and survival of the Anishinaabe people is tied to that of Ma’iingan.” For that reason the tribes are opposed to a public hunt.

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TAGGED: POLITICS, RELIGION, SCIENCE


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