The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to approve a federal appropriations bill, HR 7608, a bill that combined appropriation bills HR 7608, HR 7609, HR 7610 and HR 7612. This legislation would ultimately fund a number of federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior. The bill, unfortunately, included language under Section 436 from HR 7612 that would harm sportsmen and African conservation efforts.
Section 436 of this legislation would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from using any appropriated funds for processing or issuing import permits for African lions or elephants that are lawfully harvested in Tanzania, Zimbabwe or Zambia. HR 7608 passed the House by a vote of 224-189 and will now be sent to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.
Take Action Today! Sportsmen’s Alliance members should contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to vote no on H.R. 7608 if the African Species Permit Prohibition is not removed. Members can find their representatives by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
This language attempts to prohibit the import of taxidermy of internationally harvested species, and in doing so ignores sound science and necessary wildlife management practices. Under current law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues import permits for hunts that occur in countries that maintain sound conservation policies to protect threatened and endangered wildlife. The specific language used is the first step in eventually outlawing all forms of African hunting.
African big-game hunting funds efforts that protect plentiful, threatened and endangered species from poaching, and gives local communities incentive to tolerate conflict with them. These hunts occur within the scope of the law of the listed African countries, comply with international treaties and adhere to United States import regulations. The dollars spent on these hunts provide a lifeline for many endangered and threatened species as they fund the anti-poaching and conservation efforts throughout the countries that would not be possible otherwise.
Rep Duncan (R-SC) introduced an amendment that would have struck Section 436 from the bill and received support for the amendment from Rep Armstrong (R-ND). In their floor speeches they raised concerns about how this language would harm conservation efforts and disproportionally impact African people, but ultimately Rep Duncan’s amendment was voted down.
“The language the House voted to include in this appropriations bill will only serve to undermine the reality and necessity for sound wildlife management in Southern Africa,” said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It makes no sense to undermine anti-poaching and true wildlife management efforts for any reason other than for personal political gain. This provision does nothing but harm African people, African wildlife and does not serve the best interests of the American people.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram