Senate resolution would permit horrific hunting practices on Alaskan refuges

Keywords: stock, wolf, pup, wildlife Confirmed wild by Alamy

Photo by Alamy

For reasons I will explain, this post is directed more toward readers who live outside of Illinois, but if you have friends or family who live out of state who care about animals and wildlife, please read on and share this with them!

There is a resolution working its way through the Senate, that could be up for a vote as early as next week, that would allow unimaginably cruel hunting and killing practices to resume on Alaska Wildlife Refuges. These are federal lands that belong to all of us, whether we live inside or outside of Alaska. With all the crazy stuff going on in the news these days, there has been no media coverage of this that I am aware of, not that there ever is much coverage of these issues even during “ordinary” times.

Here’s the lowdown:

The Alaska Congressional delegation is attempting to revoke a 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that prohibits cruel and controversial killing methods on over 76 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge lands in Alaska.

On February 16, the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 69 that revoked the FWS’s rule, and now a companion joint resolution in the Senate (S.J. Res. 18), will do the same.

S.J. Res 18 would permit the following egregious hunting methods that the FWS rule bans:

  • Using airplanes to scout grizzly bears for trophy hunters to shoot on land
  • Luring grizzly bears with rotting meat, grease and pet food to get a point blank kill
  • Killing wolf and coyote mothers and their pups at den sites
  • Killing hibernating black bear mothers and their cubs at the den
  • Trapping of grizzly bears and black bears with cruel steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares

S.J. Res. 18 would also prevent the FWS from ever issuing a rule on this topic, unless Congress passes a new law that prohibits (the above) egregious killing methods.

The FWS rule does not apply to subsistence hunting (hunting for food) or restrict the taking of wildlife for public safety purposes or defense of property.

These are federal lands, maintained with taxpayer funds. Millions of tourists from around the world travel to Alaska each year for the unique opportunity to see bears, wolves, river otters, wolverines and lynx in national parks, preserves, and refuges. Wildlife watchers outnumber hunters by nearly five to one in Alaska, and they spend five times more than hunters for recreation.

Primary support for this resolution comes from the NRA, trophy hunters, and the politicians who receive campaign contributions from them. The supporters want to reduce the population of these predatory animals in order to increase the numbers of moose and caribou that they naturally prey upon. In other words, they want to kill these animals in order to have other animals for hunters to kill.

According to polls, the majority of Alaskans support banning these cruel methods of killing on federal lands in their state.  The methods at issue are contrary to FWS predator control policies and are disallowed on federal lands just about everywhere else in the United States. Biologists and scientists have come out overwhelmingly opposed to it.

Because both Illinois senators are liberal Democrats, it is highly unlikely that either of them would vote for this resolution, and their voting records on animal and wildlife issues bear that out. But as I said at the beginning, if you care about these issues and know people outside of Illinois who care about them, no matter their political affiliation, please share this with them and ask them to contact their senators’ offices to urge them to oppose this terrible action.

YouTube video about what the resolution would do can be viewed here.

You can locate your federal elected officials from this Humane Society page.

HSUS Action Alert to write to your senator about the resolution is here.

Blog post by HSUS President Wayne Pacelle going into more detail about the resolution can be read here.

Thank you!

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