SCI Opposes CBD Attempt to Shut Down Hunting Access

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS). Aiming to take down the recent decision to expand 2.3 million acres across 147 wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries.  The suit cites concerns that lead ammunition and tackle could harm animals such as the grizzly bear, jaguars, ocelots and whooping cranes and, claims that the USFWS has failed to protect endangered species and violates the National Environment Policy Act. It also attests that expansion could cause more vehicle-animal collision due to increased refuge traffic. This has implications for multiple wildlife refuges in Arizona, Florida, Montana, Texas, and South Dakota. 

“We’re going to court to ensure that our nation’s wildlife refuges actually provide refuge to endangered wildlife,” said Camila Cossio, senior attorney at the center’s Endangered Species Program. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is shrugging off the main risks that sport hunting and fishing pose to endangered animals.”

Cassio’s comment is referring to lead ammunition, which is a far cry from a “main risk” to wildlife. It must be understood that lead ammunition poses little risk to species, habitat, and consumptive use. Rather, a main risk to wildlife is the lack of funding for species and habitat protection that is sure to result should hunting and fishing be prohibited. Additionally, non-lead ammunition alternatives are more expensive and harder to find, potentially pricing out some hunters who already cannot find ammo in stores. With ammunition manufacturers struggling to meet the current demand for traditional ammunition, they do not have the capacity to increase production for non-lead ammunition – creating another layer in the ammo shortage. A decrease in the purchase of traditional ammunition has the potential to adversely affect conservation funding in all states. Hunters are the largest supporters of conservation through excise taxes levied on ammunition, firearms, and hunting equipment by the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937, which has generated more than $14 billion in funding for wildlife conservation programs.

Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, which required that hunting and fishing receive priority consideration in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since that time the USFWS has worked with hunters, anglers, and other conservationist to improve and protect fish and wildlife species. SCI continues to fight to ensure this law is followed. 

Safari Club International is always First for Hunters and will continue to promote pro-hunting legislation. Help keep our lands that hunters and anglers have funded open and sign our “No-net-loss” petition today to let your voice be heard!

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