The U.S. Senate sanctions the unsportsmanlike killng of iconic wildlife on public lands

“What the Senate did today should outrage the conscience of every animal lover in America,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The passage of this bill means that we’ll see wolf families killed at their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

The U.S. Senate overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that stopped a set of appalling and unsporting hunting methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. From the Humane Society of the U. S.

Measure also allows aerial spotting and land-and-shoot killing of grizzly bears on national wildlife refuges in Alaska
Humane Society Legislative Fund

The U.S. Senate overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that stopped a set of appalling and unsporting hunting methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. These cruel and unsporting practices include shooting or trapping whole families of wolves while at their dens with pups, using airplanes to scout for brown and black bears to shoot, trapping bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares and luring grizzly bears with food to get a point blank kill.

Republicans provided the votes for the measure, which passed by a vote of 52 to 47. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation last month. The bill now goes to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

“What the Senate did today should outrage the conscience of every animal lover in America,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The passage of this bill means that we’ll see wolf families killed at their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

 

This legislation blocks the administration from ever issuing a similar rule on this topic, leaving the authority to prohibit these egregious trophy hunting methods solely in the hands of Congress.

 

While the backers of the measure claimed this was a state’s rights issue, a recent poll by Remington Research Group found that Alaska voters oppose these inhumane and unsporting methods by a 2-1 margin, and many Alaskans voiced support for the rule during the extensive public comment period. Wildlife biologists have roundly condemned Alaska’s inhumane and unsporting hunting practices.

These are federal public lands supported by all Americans who greatly value these iconic and majestic wildlife, and with today’s vote, the Senate undid a rule years in the works that was launched by professional wildlife scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The practices in question are disallowed in almost every state, yet Congress has made it clear these inhumane practices will once again be used in national wildlife refuges in Alaska – the one category of federal lands specifically created to protect wildlife and promote the diversity of species. 

The HSUS, which aired a related television commercial in the Washington, D.C., area, urged lawmakers to oppose the resolution.

 

The HSUS along with 70 other groups, including Alaskans for Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, Lynn Canal Conservation, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oasis Earth, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club – Alaska Chapter and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council opposed H.J. Res. 69. Last year, a group of more than 50 scientists sent a letter to Congress in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule.

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Make the call to your members in congress today to save Alaska’s iconic wildlife! 

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Action Alert: Stop the inhumane and scientifically unjustified killing methods on Alaska’s grizzly bears and wolves 

Oppose H.J. Res. 69 Humane Society of the U.S. February 14, 2017

Congress seeking to unwind decision by professional wildlife managers and restart inhumane and unethical hunting practices on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska

Congressional Review Act used to put American wildlife icons in line of fire

The Humane Society of the United States launched a hard-hitting television advertising campaign to stop a movement in Congress to allow egregious killing methods targeting grizzly bears and wolves in Alaska on National Wildlife Refuges – the one category of federal lands specifically set aside for the benefit of wildlife.

A commercial depicting the wolf cubs and bears killed in their dens or scouted by planes or baited and killed in other cruel ways under Congressional Review Act Joint Resolution H.J. Res. 69 will run on CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC in the first go-around for this campaign.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=H2F6BjJCQcs&feature=youtu.be

“Killing hibernating bears, shooting wolf pups in their dens, and chasing down grizzlies by aircraft and then shooting them on the ground is not the stuff of some depraved video game,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “It is exactly what Don Young is trying to restore on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. No decent person should support this appalling, despicable treatment of wildlife.”

Specifically, H.J. Res. 69 would overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rule prohibiting inhumane and scientifically unjustified killing methods – including shooting or trapping wolves while at their dens in the spring when they are rearing pups, using airplanes to scout for grizzly bears to shoot, trapping of bears with cruel steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares, and luring grizzly bears with food to get a point blank kill – on over 76 million acres of special federal lands in Alaska. The rule does not apply to subsistence hunting or restrict the killing of wildlife for public safety purposes or defense of property. The professional wildlife managers within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service drove this policy, after attempting to work with Alaska’s Board of Game for years.

H.J. Res. 69 would also block the Administration from ever issuing a rule on this topic, leaving the power to pass a law prohibiting these egregious hunting methods solely in the hands of Congress.   

Most Alaskans favor the rule and object to these barbaric practices. A 2016 poll conducted by Remington Research Group showed that Alaska voters strongly support eliminating these cruel and unsporting practices used to kill bears and wolves on National Wildlife Refuges in their state. “Driving down grizzly bear and wolf numbers on refuges is a prescription for drying up tourism and starving the gateway communities that benefit immensely from tourist dollars,” added Pacelle.  

Alaskan non-profit organizations including Alaskans FOR Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, Lynn Canal Conservation, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oasis Earth, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club – Alaska Chapter and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council support the FWS rule and oppose H.J. Res. 69. 

Media Contact: Anna West: 301-258-1518; awest@humanesociety.org

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Featured image by John E Marriott

Breaking news: Obama administration grounds aerial hunting, other inhumane predator-killing practices on refuges in Alaska

Source: A humane Nation, Wayne Pacelle’s Blog  

This is a landmark day for some of the nation’s most majestic, recognizable, and woefully mistreated wild animals. And “landmark” barely says enough.
I’m delighted to report that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has followed the National Park Service in prohibiting some of the most wanton and misguided methods utilized to slaughter grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, and coyotes on our public lands in Alaska. The new protective regulations were promulgated this day, and cover all of Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges.
These are vast lands, in many ways among the most important wildlands remaining in the world, and they belong to all 300 million-plus Americans. Each of us holds a piece of the deed to these 76-million refuge acres.
With ownership comes responsibility. Meaning that each of us is responsible for the management—the treatment—of the animals who live on these lands.
For years, that’s been a story of unremitting barbarism—shocking comes to mind. Untold numbers of bears and countless thousands of wolves have been gunned down, shot from the air, killed over bait barrels of meat scraps and jelly donuts, clubbed or shot in their dens, hunted down with lights at night in Alaska. Slaughtered in the name of a stated government mandate of “intensive predator management.”
A glance at the biographies of the seven members of Alaska Board of Game explains the singular and obsessive vision that rules this body: A Safari Club trophy hunter, a trapper, a hunter and guide, an NRA member with a background in hunting and trapping, an “actively involved” member of the NRA, a trapper and bowhunter, and finally a hunting lodge manager.
Still though, why such an assault on these grand animals?
Famed outdoor writer Ted Williams put it this way: The Alaska government has waged war on bears and wolves in “a vain attempt to convert the state to an ever-expanding Stop-and-Shop for moose and caribou hunters.” That’s right, fewer wild predators were supposed to mean more moose and caribou for human hunters like those on the Board of Game—or so the cockeyed thinking went.
The fact that credible scientists have shot holes in that line of reasoning has not stopped the Board of Game from pressing on with its bloody war for decades. The fact that wildlife watchers bring far more money than trophy hunters into the state economy has not stopped it. Common sense and changing public values have not stopped it.
But now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stopped it—on federal wildlife refuges. Those millions of us who take seriously our responsibilities to these animals can lift our eyes. Yes, ordinary hunting is still permitted on these “refuges” and some biologists say the regulations have a shortcoming here and there that will need fixing, but some of the most chilling abuses of these great creatures will no longer occur in our names, and Alaskans resoundingly agree.
But…
Yes, there is a “but” to this story. As regular readers here know, some die-hard reactionaries are trying to engineer a congressional coup to deprive the Fish and Wildlife Service of its responsibility to manage national lands in the national interest.
No deal. We need to uphold these regulations. Contact your federal lawmakers (you can find their contact information here). Politely state the obvious: Public lands are meant to be managed in trust for all of us, not for state boards, not exclusively for trophy hunters, not for any single interest.
Back in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt designated Pelican Island in Florida as the inaugural national wildlife refuge. Today, there are more than 560 refuges and related wetland management districts. They encompass an area of 150 million acres.
Alaskan refuges account for just over half that total. Together, they are an endowment we share, and which we all pay to support. The animals who live there deserve better than they have been receiving. I’m happy that they’re getting a real measure of protective justice now, and I send our thanks to President Obama and his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for adopting this new, humane, scientifically-sound, and ecologically-minded policy.

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Featured image: John E Marriott Photography