House Committee Hearing on “CECIL Act”

US Capitol

Safari Club International vehemently opposes H.R 2245, the “Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act” or “CECIL Act,” which was the subject of a hearing today in the U.S House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife.

“The number of co-sponsors for the ‘CECIL Act’ has been cut in half every time it has been introduced in Congress, yet Chairman Raúl Grijalva insists on wasting the Committee’s time on a bill that contradicts proven conservation strategies and would only hurt the very wildlife species it claims to protect,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “That’s why SCI joined with more than thirty other hunting and conservation groups in a letter to the committee opposing H.R. 2245. We should leave the decisions on African wildlife management to the respective African authorities in range countries instead of pretending that politicians in Washington know better.”

Several members and guests of the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, who understand the importance of well-regulated hunting programs and the role they play in conservation, also called out the hearing for what it truly was: a misguided and blatant attack on hunters.

“African nations in whose affairs we are meddling… they highly depend on healthy animal populations for a significant part of their economic development,” said Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA-4) in his opening statement. “They have every incentive to protect these populations and have extensive programs to do so. Regulated trophy hunting is an essential part of that equation. If we collapse trophy hunting, we destroy the very incentives that underpin their conservation efforts.”

“[W]e have to be careful to look at the revenue that is generated under these…hunting programs,” said Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA-6). “Look at the fact that the revenue that’s generated actually is invested back into the CAMPFIRE Program and other programs that benefit these species and benefit the communities.”

Rep. Graves also asked one of the witnesses, Ms. Patience Gandiwa, the Executive Technical Advisor to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, what would happen if the CAMPFIRE Program and similar programs ceased in Zimbabwe.

“It would be really unfortunate because the American people contributed significantly in the establishment of this flagship initiative [the CAMPFIRE Program] and from the five million rand in revenue I mentioned in my statement, approximately two million goes directly back into local communities… five million hectares lies in communal areas… what value would that land service to the community if it was removed?,” said Gandiwa.

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