ALDF Protests Government ProposalOctober 24th, 2003
Hunters are anxious to begin killing endangered animals, like the cheetah. Now the government wants to let them.
(Washington, D.C.) On behalf of itself and seven other organizations, ALDF has submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) protesting proposed policy changes that would strip endangered species of government protection. FWS wants to allow the commercial exploitation of endangered species in other countries, saying the only way to help these animals is to make them profitable.
If enacted, the new policy would allow American hunters to import “trophies” (i.e., body parts) from endangered animals they’ve killed abroad; allow circuses and zoos to capture rare Asian elephants to put on display in the U.S.; allow the leather industry to import the skins of the endangered Morelet’s crocodile; and even allow partial resumption of the trade in elephant ivory.
“The Endangered Species Act was created because the free market simply doesn’t protect endangered species. Strong government action was needed,” says ALDF President Steve Ann Chambers. “Now FWS is saying that to save these animals we have to allow people to make money from their capture and killing. That’s not just illogical, it’s a betrayal of everything the Endangered Species Act stands for.”
In its comments on the proposed changes, ALDF argued that the new policy would encourage poaching, thin already dwindling animal populations and condemn thousands of rare animals to death or captivity, all while producing only nominal, difficult-to-track funds for conservation programs.
“What the government is proposing would be, quite simply, a disaster for endangered animals around the world,” says Chambers. “I have no doubt that it would make it much, much harder for already struggling species to survive.”
ALDF submitted its comments to FWS on behalf of the Chimpanzee Collaboratory, Ape Alliance North America, the Center for Captive Chimpanzee Care, the Doris Day Animal League, Friends of Washoe, the Great Ape Project and the Jane Goodall Institute. FWS is now reviewing the comments it received from ALDF and other interested parties and will announce in the near future whether the policy changes will be enacted.
You can voice your opposition to the proposed changes by sending an e-mail to ManagementAuthority@fws.gov. You can also click here to find the e-mail addresses of your representatives in Washington. Write them to let them know you support the continued protection of rare animals through the vigorous enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.
To read ALDF’s comments on the rule change in their entirety, download this document. (PDF)