In December, Friends of Animals organized 32 protests across the United States to object to a decision by Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski to allow the aerial shooting of wolves by wildlife control officials in that state.
In order to reduce the population of wolves, which Alaskan officials claim are preying on moose in the McGrath area, Alaska plans to kill about 40 wolves from aircraft over the next 2-3 years.
In response, Friends of Animals is trying to organize a nationwide tourism boycott of Alaska. From Dec. 27-28 it held 32 “Howl-Ins” in various cities to get its message across.
According to the Associated Press, for example, in New York Friends of Animals workers carried placards reading,
Alaska is planning a heart-stopping wildlife spectacle,” the placard read. “They call it ‘management.’ We call it murder.
The group also handed out postcards to send to Alaskan government officials asking them to stop the planned hunt as well as pamphlets urging a tourist boycott of Alaska.
Alaskan officials say they have received about 15,000 e-mails and 1,000 letters protesting the hunt, but that the scale of the protests so far don’t match a similar protest against a wolf hunt in 1992 when state officials received more than 100,000 letters and phone calls opposing a wolf hunt. That protest forced then-Gov. Walter J. Hickel to call a wolf summit that eventually rescinded plans for the hunt.
Murkowski told the Associated Press that the wolf hunt is the right thing to do and that he won’t be swayed by the protests,
We think we addressed this in a responsible manner. We have a state to manage and game populations to manage, and we’re not going to do it on emotion.
The 1992 campaign, by the way, featured some familiar tactics according to the Associated Press,
State officials recall receiving death threats in 1992, and employees were trained to detect mail that could contain explosives. At one point Alaska State Troopers had to provide security at the state Department of Fish and Game.
Wolf-kill foes stage protests across country. The Associated Press, December 29, 2003.
Friends of Animals Launches “Howl-Ins” for the Wolves of Alaska. Press Release, Friends of Animals, December 19, 2003.