by Karen Mehall Phillips - Saturday, November 5, 2016
As reported by NRAHLF.org earlier this week, on November 1 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the Humane Society on all imports and exports of hunting trophies for the years 2002-2010, 2013 and 2014 along with their declared value. Because such reports are required for hunting trophies, we American hunters had good reason to be concerned that our personal information could be made public within 21 days unless we contacted the USFWS to object. But as of yesterday, Nov. 4, we have some good news, though we would caution that the situation remains a bit murky.
After NRA-ILA reached out repeatedly to the USFWS, the agency clarified it will not make public any identifying information on private individuals. The Federal Register notice, however, is a call to action for the many business entities that are identified in the wildlife importation reports. Affected businesses must file a “detailed written statement” objecting to the release of their information by November 22. Details on how and where to submit this written statement are available in the Federal Register notice.
Humane Society Strikes Again
In case there was any doubt, this is all being brought to us by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its global arm, Humane Society International. The group has tried to access individual hunter's records via FOIA requests for more than a decade. The fact it currently seeks a list of every import and export of wildlife into and out of the United States as noted above is now the subject of ongoing litigation between the Humane Society and USFWS.
While individual hunters do not need to act, please note this is a developing situation. We at NRAHLF.org are merely sharing the information we have at this time and will keep you advised. In the meantime, American hunters and business owners affected by the USFWS announcement who have lingering questions can contact NRA-ILA at [email protected].
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