Howl-Ins Set in Five Cities

TOURISM BOYCOTT: Animal-rights group to protest, hand out postcards

Mary Pemberton / Associated Press / Anchorage Daily News / December 10, 2003

An animal-rights group is planning "howl-ins" in at least five cities the weekend after Christmas to protest a predator-control program allowing wolves to be shot from airplanes in Alaska.

Using the Internet to spread the word, Friends of Animals is planning protests for Dec. 27 and 28 in New York; San Francisco; Sacramento, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Lansing, Mich.

Priscilla Feral, president of the group, said Tuesday that the response from wolf advocates to launch a protest targeting Alaska's $2 billion tourism business has been enthusiastic.

"They are saying Alaska's state-sponsored wolf shooting program is a national disgrace and an ethical outrage," she said.

More protests will follow on coming weekends in dozens of cities, Feral said.

Protesters will be handed postcards to send to Gov. Frank Murkowski, saying they won't choose Alaska as a tourist destination as long as the state insists on going forward with its wolf-killing program.

Thirty-thousand cards have been printed so far, she said.

The Darien, Conn.-based group, which has 200,000 members, was responsible for a successful tourism boycott about a decade ago that resulted in then-Gov. Wally Hickel imposing a moratorium on wolf control. The group held howl-ins in 51 cities around the country. Something similar is planned this time around, Feral said.

"If the tourism boycott needs to go forward, we're organizing for it," said Feral, who added the group hopes to hold at least one protest in each state.

Friends of Animals needs to tell its members that the plan to kill wolves near McGrath is so that people have food to eat, said Nance Larsen, spokeswoman for the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, adding that she felt it was unfair to punish an entire industry.

"Wolves are not an endangered species in Alaska," Larsen said.

On Monday, Friends of Animals and seven Alaska plaintiffs filed a motion in Anchorage Superior Court asking a judge to reconsider her decision allowing the program to go forward.

Judge Sharon L. Gleason wouldn't stop the program and lifted a temporary restraining order, clearing the way for pilot-hunter teams.

Feral said she was told by McGrath officials Monday that no teams were hunting yet and weather conditions didn't look good for several days.

"Therefore, it is not too late for this court to reconsider its Dec. 5 decision," Friends of Animals told the judge in its motion.

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