Students debate wolf hunting laws

Published: May. 15, 2017 at 7:01 PM EDT
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Students at Pembine High School in Wisconsin held a debate at the school Monday morning. The topic? The controversial wolf hunting laws.

For the past two months, students in a speech class have been preparing for Monday's debate. At one end of the room, sat the affirmative side, arguing that wolves should be protected and the current law prohibiting the hunting of the species should remain in tact, while the negative side argued that a controlled hunt should be allowed.

"We're hoping to just get the word out that there are two sides to this, and it really is a serious issue that needs to be considered," said Pembine High School english instructor Geana Papp.

Both sides agreed that wolves are good for the ecosystem, however, the negative debated that the devastation they have on cattle and livestock is why they need to be controlled through seasonal, targeted hunts.

"We're not eradicating wolves, we're just simply maintaining the population, so it does not become an issue; that's something we tried to really, really hit home," said student on the negative side of the debate Elisha Heath. "Our biggest argument was their effects on cows and how they don't just kill cows, but how they cause them to be less healthy and worth less to each farmer."

"Wolves need to be controlled, just like any other major predator," said retired wolf tracker for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Dennis Marcely."With that being said, I do believe that there should be a very controlled harvest of wolves in the Great Lakes area, depending on the locale."

On the other hand, the affirmative side argued that, in actuality, wolves only play a small role in the death of cattle and are a vital part of our environment, necessary for the survival of other plants and animals.

"What they actually do for us, even in Yellowstone National Park, which I've been to and it's beautiful..." said student on the affirmative side of the debate Russell Massey. "Just to actually see in physical representation what they do for the biological factors, but also the environmental factors of our ecosystem."

While it appeared the win could go to either side, in the end, the panel of judges sided with the negative.