Washington, DC—On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015 (H.R. 2406)—a sweeping pro-trophy hunting and trapping bill—by a largely partisan vote of 242 to 161. The Obama administration released a statement strongly opposing H.R. 2406 earlier that same week.
If enacted, the SHARE Act will have devastating consequences on wildlife, conservation efforts, and public health and safety. The bill includes provisions that would:
- Expand the use of body-gripping traps on public lands and define trapping as a form of hunting in federal law;
- Halt the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to protect elephants from poaching and curb the demand for ivory;
- Put bison within Grand Canyon National Park in the crosshairs of private hunters;
- Remove federal protections from wolves in Wyoming and in the Great Lakes region, thereby subjecting these imperiled animals to hunting and trapping;
- Weaken existing law to make it easier to shoot, over bait, otherwise protected migratory birds;
- Block the Department of Interior from implementing policies to protect predators in Alaska from rampant killing on national wildlife refuges and national preserves;
- Codify an “open until closed” policy that expands hunting and trapping across public lands with no consideration for whether such increased consumptive use promotes sound conservation policies;
- Prevent numerous agencies from regulating or even assessing the risks to the environment, wildlife, and the public posed by lead ammunition and fishing tackle; and
- Allow trophy hunters who raced to kill polar bears after the species was proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act to import the trophies into the country.
In response to the SHARE Act, Joanna Grossman, federal policy advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), stated the following:
“AWI urges the Senate not to take up consideration of this harmful bill that would surely be vetoed by the president. Making it easier to kill bear cubs and coyote pups in their dens or capture animals using cruel and indiscriminate steel-jaw leghold traps can hardly be described as sportsmanlike. The bill represents a clear assault on wildlife both at home and abroad and provides no benefit to the overwhelming majority of Americans who visit our nation’s public lands to enjoy the outdoors and watch wildlife in their natural habitats.”