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Actress Jessica Lange to Gov. Dayton: Suspend the wolf hunt

Last year, 400 wolves were killed when the state opened a hunting and trapping season for them. This year’s quota is 220.

Actress Jessica Lange, a Minnesota native who lived for many years in Stillwater, has jumped into the state’s wolf hunt controversy with a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton urging him to suspend the coming hunting and trapping season.

She wrote in the letter made public on the Howling for Wolves website:

Minnesota’s wolves have been on my mind. I first became concerned last year when I learned of the Minnesota DNR’s plan to hunt and trap these native and iconic animals. We both know the vast majority of Minnesotans’ views were not fairly represented in the legislation that authorized our state’s first regulated wolf hunting and trapping season. Nearly all Minnesotans believe the wolf is an asset that should be protected for future generations.

Soon after area wolves came off the endangered species list last year, the Legislature authorized a hunting and trapping season for them. Last year, about 400 wolves were killed during the season. The DNR lowered the quota to 220 for the coming season, which opens in November.

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Last month, Dayton defended the hunt, saying state officials were trying to control the wolf population. He also said that it’s the Legislature’s decision, not his.

But Lange wrote:

More than anything else, the cruel methods allowed for hunting and trapping wolves are deeply disturbing. The majority of Minnesota voters oppose these inhumane and unethical, yet legally sanctioned practices: Metal leg-hold traps that crush limbs, wire choke snares that cause painful brain bleeding, and bait like food and the calls of wolf pups in distress that lure adult protectors to their death.

As you again ask Minnesotans for the opportunity to lead our state, I ask that you show leadership on this issue by suspending the 2013-14 wolf hunt and direct all concerned state government bodies and agencies to get back to their stated goals of ensuring the long-term survival of the wolf in Minnesota, and reducing conflicts between wolves and humans.

Thursday afternoon, Dayton responded to a question about Lange’s letter:

“Since Ms. Lange no longer lives in Minnesota, it is understandable that she is not familiar with all of the considerations in the legislature’s decision to establish a wolf hunting season in Minnesota. That decision was written into law; thus only the legislature can change its terms.”