(Washington, D.C.) Today marks the conclusion of Safari Club International’s (SCI) 2nd Annual Virtual Advocacy Week – an exclusive opportunity for our members to engage and communicate directly with members of Congress to discuss the most pressing legislation and regulatory issues facing sportsmen and women across the United States.
SCI members took part in a “Grassroots Advocacy 101” training to see how SCI’s Hunter Advocacy Action Center (HAAC) plays a direct role in influencing public policy decisions at the state and national level.
“This week attendees saw firsthand how impactful our collective voice can be through our grassroots advocacy,” said Ben Cassidy, EVP of International Government and Public Affairs. The most recent HAAC campaigns included supporting the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Hunt Fish Rule” – a proposal to expand or open million of acres of public lands to sportsmen and women – and helping to bolster opposition to the nomination of gun control lobbyist David Chipman to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). During the week, SCI advocates across the country sent thousands of emails directly to their Senators opposing Chipman’s nomination.
SCI leadership also provided a detailed federal affairs update with featured guest Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR). Congressman Westerman focused on issues ranging from the Biden Administration’s 30×30 initiative, the Trillion Trees Act, to legislation that would ban the import, possession, and transport of wildlife species legally hunted abroad.
“(SCI) over the years has become much more than about big game animals in Africa and what great champions we have for hunting around the world, for conservation around the world… Great activity is taking place all across the country where true conservation is being employed. Get involved. Get more of your friends involved in it and keep being a voice and be educated,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman. “Understand the science behind it. Understand what real conservation is and be a voice for it.”
SCI members also had an opportunity to listen to an impressive panel of speakers including SCI Legal Counsel Jeremy Clare and Regina Lennox and NRA-ILA Office of Litigation Counsel Director, Mike Jean, on the status of gray wolf delisting litigation.
Last month, a federal court in California granted Safari Club International (SCI) and the National Rifle Association (NRA) motions to intervene in three lawsuits challenging the removal of gray wolves from the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) lists. The delisting of gray wolves, in response to population recovery, lifts management from federal control and returns it directly to the states. This has beneficial implications not only for hunters but also for farmers, ranchers, and communities who live alongside stable wolf populations.
“SCI’s Virtual Advocacy Week is a crucial component of our organization’s larger advocacy efforts and we owe its success to both our allies in Congress and the tireless efforts of our members,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin at the conclusion of this week’s events. “Ensuring the voice of conservationists and sportsmen and women is heard on Capitol Hill is essential to protecting not only the rights of the outdoor sporting community but also the long-term health of wildlife species across the globe.”
To get a full recap of Virtual Advocacy Week, including all the presentations and campaigns, visit https://safariclub.org/virtual-advocacy-week/