Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends 38 members of Congress for signing on to a letter to Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke requesting that the Department of Interior (DOI) not establish a council to promote trophy hunting.
The International Wildlife Conservation Council, announced by DOI on November 8, aims to increase public awareness of the "benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling to foreign nations to engage in hunting." The congressional letter, led by Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) and House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), disputes this characterization of trophy hunting and states that it is unethical, unpopular, and of questionable conservation value.
“The intended goal of the International Wildlife Conservation Council is not to protect rare and vulnerable species,” said Rep. Beyer. “Rather, it is to accommodate the desires of a miniscule subset of wealthy hobbyists who find entertainment in killing endangered wildlife. The majority of Americans want to see beloved species conserved through nonlethal methods, and Secretary Zinke should prioritize those effective and humane strategies instead.”
“The council would use taxpayer dollars to make it easier for President Trump’s sons and their rich big game hunter friends to kill species at risk of extinction,” Ranking Member Grijalva said. “It’s extremely disappointing and sickening that Secretary Zinke is prioritizing the interests of a small group of wealthy hobbyists over the voices of the more than 85 percent of Americans who oppose big game hunting. I strongly urge Secretary Zinke to take the potential extinction of species more seriously, and to terminate the creation of this superfluous council.”
“Secretary Zinke is creating this council as a smokescreen to advance the interests of wealthy big game hunters,” said Cathy Liss, AWI president. “With the populations of so many species plummeting, this is not the time to elevate trophy hunting above activities that actually protect vulnerable wildlife. Thank you to the members of Congress who are speaking out against this disingenuous council.”
Amey Owen, (202) 446-2128, firstname.lastname@example.org