Led by The Humane Society Of The United States, several animal rights groups filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in Virginia to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to post routinely elephant and lion trophy permit applications, the agency’s permitting decisions and related findings regarding the sustainability of hunting various species.
“The antis are losing ground in the court of public opinion, so they now go to the court of law and pick on a government agency over otherwise minor legal points as an effort to raise more money for themselves,” said Safari Club International President Paul Babaz. “Wildlife does not benefit from this latest legal maneuvering of the antis.
“When the antis can’t defeat hunters and hunting, including SCI and its allies, in the greater world, they file lawsuits,” Babaz continued. “The money they are spending on nuisance lawsuits like this one would be much better spent actually helping wildlife around the world. But the anti-hunting groups are not about helping wildlife. They are about helping themselves.
“There is a total difference between what SCI does and what the antis do when it comes lawsuits,” Babaz noted. “When we win a lawsuit, we put the proceeds toward our mission, which includes wildlife conservation, versus the antis who use the proceeds from their lawsuits to line their own pockets.”
“The Fish and Wildlife Service needs to come clean and let the public know how many elephants and lions are killed to decorate rich Americans’ living rooms,” said Tanya Sanerib, the legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s international program, in a press release announcing the lawsuit. “With huge threats facing Africa’s imperiled wildlife, the unlawful secrecy about these bloody imports is totally unacceptable.”
This recent lawsuit follows a pending court case filed by the same plaintiffs contesting the merits of the administration’s decision last November to lift an import ban on Zimbabwe elephant trophy imports and to allow imports of lion trophies from Zimbabwe to the U.S., and its March 1 decision to shift to a “case-by-case” process for making trophy import findings.
“SCI will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of hunters and hunting. This includes being involved in meaningful wildlife conservation so that there will be wild things in wild places forever,” said SCI President Paul Babaz.