[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/04/art.getty.ashley.judd.jpg caption="Ashley Judd appears in an environmental ad campaign for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund."](CNN) – Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s support for aerial wolf-hunting has sparked a heated cross-country war of words between the governor and an environmental ad campaign fronted by the actress Ashley Judd, with Palin calling the organization funding the ads an “extreme fringe group.”
The squabble began Tuesday when the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund unveiled a campaign called “Eye on Palin,” targeting the governor for what they call her “extreme anti-conservation policies.”
The group is highlighting “Palin’s championing of the brutal and unnecessary aerial killing of wolves and other carnivores” - a controversial practice allowed by permit in Alaska since 2003, with the goal of protecting populations of moose and caribou.
Judd, who has in the past lent her voice to AIDS prevention and reproductive health campaigns, signed on with the group and is featured in a YouTube video. “It is time to stop Sarah Palin, and stop this senseless savagery,” she says in the clip.
Palin struck back in a statement Tuesday night, calling the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund a fringe group that “distorts” the goal of Alaska’s predator control programs.
“Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices which can’t be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations,” Palin said in the statement.
She added: “Shame on the Defenders of Wildlife for twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans struggling with these rough economic times.”
Palin addressed predator hunting on the campaign trail last September in off-the-cuff remarks at an Ohio fundraiser, calling the practice “kind of a big darn controversial deal up there in Alaska.”
"A lot of the far east coast politicians think it's just so politically incorrect," she said.