February 07, 2022
Safari Club International and the hunting community had some big fights – and won many – in 2021. Unfortunately, many of these are carrying into the New Year. From ballot box biology, to No-Net-Loss, to international trophy bans, the threats are at every level: state, federal, international, and in the media. Here are the big issues ahead:
Ballot Box Biology: State ballot initiatives are often rooted in emotion over science and leave wildlife decisions to the public, removing management from experts and wildlife professionals. For example, see the wolf reintroduction initiative from Colorado; not only have wolves naturally been back in Colorado, but it only passed by 50.58% of the vote. We expect to see more of these ill-founded initiatives in the coming year.
State Wildlife Commission Makeup/Structure: There have been various attempts over the years to add non-consumptive and non-paying users to commissions. This is another example of emotional efforts or partisan politics driving regulations over sound science.
Trophy Bans: Last year, several state legislatures introduced international trophy bans. While Connecticut’s passed with neutering amendments included, states such as California and New York will doubtless pick up the fight again.
No-Net-Loss: Following significant access expansions from the Trump Administration, Safari Club International is fighting for a No-Net-Loss commitment from the Biden Administration. A No-Net-Loss policy means maintaining the current level of hunting and fishing access on federal public lands across the country. This is particularly relevant to the 30×30 initiative, and SCI is fighting to ensure the participation of hunters in conservation. In recent news, the Federal Subsistence Board is considering a proposal to shut down 40 million acres of hunting access in Alaska. While SCI was able to help defer this proposal by a year, we continue to fight against this in 2022.
Trophy Bans: Last year, the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill was pushed by a continuing resolution into 2022 with a deadline of February 18. Section 436 of the House bill included a defacto trophy import ban on hunted elephants and lions from Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. There is no question that this ban will have detrimental impacts on species conservation and the livelihoods of rural African communities. Regulated hunting provides irreplaceable funding for conservation, biodiversity, and habitat protection in southern Africa and, without it, these wildlife species, and the communities of Africans who live with them, are put at tremendous risk. SCI is diligently working to ensure Section 436 is not included in the final bill.
CBD Lawsuit: Safari Club International, the National Rifle Association, and the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation are seeking to defend expanded hunting and fishing access on National Wildlife Refuges against a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). CBD’s suit challenges a 2020 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) rule expanding hunting and fishing access on millions of acres. CBD attacks this expansion and the rights of hunters and anglers to use lead ammunition and tackle, among other things. CBD’s arguments stand in direct opposition to multiple use practices and proven conservation principles.
Legal, Regulated Wildlife Trade: Animal rights groups have petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop all imports, exports, and interstate shipping of wild mammals and birds, whether alive or dead. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council asked the Service to impose this countrywide ban, citing concerns about the transmission of animal-borne diseases. SCI has started its own petition to counter the request made to the Service. SCI will not sit by and let these groups present a false narrative to the Service.
Trophy Bans: The United Kingdom’s Animals Abroad Bill seeks to protect wild and domestic animals by declaring them sentient beings. Of particular note is the radical trophy ban in the bill, which will prohibit the import of thousands of hunted species, particularly from Africa, to the country. This is in direct opposition to proven conservation strategies in Africa, the testimony of the scientific community, and the pleas of rural African communities. Parliament was scheduled to vote on a private bill, but has since been postponed without a date. Over 100 scientists, conservationists, and African community leaders wrote a letter describing the negative impacts of the bill to conservation and local communities. SCI will continue to oppose this bill and work with Africans to promote proven conservation strategies.
Big Tech: Big Tech Censorship is nothing new to the hunting community. Safari Club International (SCI) knows this is a critical issue for hunters as the primary conservators of land and wildlife. Facebook, Instagram and now YouTube are perpetuating stigmas against hunters, and it is vital for everyday Americans to understand the value of the contributions from our community. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is the most effective method of species and ecosystem conservation in the world. SCI has launched a petition against this censorship and speaks out on behalf of hunters and conservationists.
Here’s how you can help: Sign our petitions below!
Stand Up to Big Tech
Protect Legal, Regulated Trade in Wildlife
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