by Karen Mehall Phillips - Wednesday, September 18, 2019
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 has long been used by anti-hunters to try and shut down hunting, using manipulation and litigation to get species added to the list of those that truly are imperiled and in need of ESA protections. As NRAHLF.org reported in April and again in August, their latest attempt to sidestep scientific facts was the reintroduction of the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act, or CECIL Act (H.R. 2245). Scheduled to be voted on before the House Resource Committee at 10 a.m. today, the bill, if passed, will mark the end of hunting and the flow of hunters’ dollars outside our nation’s borders and lead to declining populations of numerous African wildlife species—including lions and elephants. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) respectfully urges legislators to stand with hunters, do the right thing and vote “NO.”
As explained by NRA-ILA, the international importation of sport-hunted wildlife is already heavily regulated by U.S. laws, regulations and international treaty. This bill cherry-picks certain species due to their popularity and has no basis in science or biological necessity. Legal, regulated hunting in Africa is what gives wildlife value. Hunters’ dollars support rural villages, provide a much-needed source of protein and fund counter-poaching efforts. Most importantly, the income generated through hunting provides an economic incentive for rural Africans to conserve and protect wildlife at a time when many wildlife species are considered a threat to rural human livelihoods as elephants destroy crops and homes and lions kill humans and livestock. Without the income from hunting, wildlife is often poached, poisoned or otherwise destroyed.
The United States has signed and participates in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The parties to this treaty, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), evaluate and help to set hunting quotas for countries with endangered and threatened species to ensure their conservation. This is based on population data and science and is then reviewed by the USFWS.
Due to the importance of this issue, the NRA says legislators’ votes will be considered in future candidate ratings and endorsements by the NRA Political Victory Fund.
Image: This 1912 oil-on-canvas painting is by the Dutch painter Wilhelm Kuhnert and is entitled "Growling Lions."
About the Author: Karen Mehall Phillips is the director of communications for the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum and senior editor of NRA’s American Hunter. An avid rifle and bow hunter, she has hunted for 30 years and in 29 states, Canada, Italy, Finland, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, Greenland and Africa, including for two of the Big Five.
Karen draws on her experience to educate non-hunters on the critical role that hunters play in wildlife conservation worldwide and to inform them of the dangers anti-hunting extremists present to the future of wildlife conservation. She is invested in fighting America's culture war on hunters and hunting and works to shed light on anti-hunters’ blatant attempts to tout emotion and misinformation over scientific facts.
An NRA Endowment member, Karen worked in the NRA public relations arena prior to joining NRA Publications in 1998. She is the founding editor of two NRA official journals: America's 1st Freedom and Woman's Outlook. National writing awards include being named the 2015 Carl Zeiss Sports Optics Writer of the Year. She actively promotes women and families in the outdoors. She is also a member of the Washington metropolitan area's Fairfax Rod & Gun Club, a founding member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, a member of Safari Club International and a Life member of the Dallas Safari Club and the Mule Deer Foundation.
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