The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Why Trump’s New Trophy Hunting Council Is a Disaster
By Elly Pepper
In early November—the same week the Trump administration announced its disastrous decision to allow elephant and lion trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia—the administration decided to create an advisory committee, the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC), to advise Trump on how to enhance trophy hunters' ability to hunt internationally.
Yup, that means the administration now has a council dedicated exclusively to promoting the killing of more imperiled species, like elephants and lions, for sport. The council's mandate includes counseling Trump on the economic, conservation, and anti-poaching benefits of trophy hunting, of which there are very few. Sadly, Trump doesn't want advice on the many drawbacks of trophy hunting.
The committee's duties are similarly biased. They include "educating" the public about trophy hunting; ensuring that federal programs support hunting; making it easier for U.S. citizens to import trophies; ending trophy import bans and suspensions (despite the fact our country heavily favors them, as shown recently), and using the pretext of "regulatory duplications" to eviscerate protections for foreign species under both the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (even though the U.S. law and the global treaty do different things).
Many conservation groups—including Natural Resources Defense Council, World Wildlife Fund, Humane Society, Center for Biological Diversity, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare—urged the administration to abandon this dangerous proposal. Many also urged the council to, at the very least, include members from the conservation community. Instead, the Department of Interior went ahead with this flawed idea.
Even more shocking, all but one of the 16 discretionary members the administration chose hunt foreign species that are subject to import permits, represent an organization that promotes hunting of such species, guide hunts for such species, or is a "celebrity hunter" who glorifies hunting of such species. Yes, I'm talking about people that head the NRA and Safari Club International. This insanely biased membership ensures that all committee decisions will benefit hunters at the expense of iconic species already on the brink.
Oh, did I mention that we, the public, will pay for these members to travel to Washington, D.C. twice a year for meetings?
The IWCC was created under a statute called the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which was promulgated to ensure that advice by the various advisory committees is "objective and accessible to the public." The law states that advisory committees must also be "essential," "in the public interest," "fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented" and "not be inappropriately influenced by . . . any special interest." Clearly, the administration forgot to read the law when they formed this committee as it violates each and every requirement!
The first meeting of this council was scheduled for March 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. While advance RSVP was required—the council is clearly trying to shield its actions from the public eye—we will keep everyone posted on what occurs.
Unfortunately, there's one thing we all know without attending: this council spells disaster for elephants, lions and other imperiled foreign species that we all treasure.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
According to the new research, published in the journal Nature Communications, melting permafrost caused by accelerating Arctic warming would add close to $70 trillion to the overall economic impact of climate change if the planet warms by 3°C by 2100.
The New York City Council on Thursday overwhelmingly passed one of the most ambitious and innovative legislative packages ever considered by any major city to combat the existential threat of climate change.
Earth Day 2019 just passed, but planning has already begun for Earth Day 2020, and it's going to be a big deal.
Is your closet filled with clothes you don't wear (and probably don't like anymore)? Are you buying cheap and trendy clothing you only wear once or twice? What's up with all the excess? Shifting to a more Earth-conscious wardrobe can help simplify your life, as well as curb fast fashion's toll on people and the planet.