The United States House of Representatives overturned an Alaska-specific wildlife regulation on Thursday previously issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service which protected shooting and trapping wolves with cubs, shooting grizzly bears from airplanes, luring grizzly bears with food to kill them and using inhumane steel leg hold traps and snares to trap animals.
Proposed by Alaska Republican Representative Don Young, shortly before President Obama’s term ended and using the Congressional Review Act which allows Congress to revoke a regulation within 60 days of its passage with a simple majority vote, the measure passed 225 to 193 along party lines. The Obama administration called it a “withering attack on bears and wolves entirely at odds with America’s long tradition of ethical, sportsmanlike, fair-chase hunting.” Young, however has been a constant foe of the regulations saying it will “fundamentally alter not only how national wildlife refuges and the fish, wildlife, and habitats on them will be managed” but also affects the state and federal relationships. According to the Humane Society of the United States, president and CEO Wayne Pacelle calls the action shocking:
“What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America. If the Senate and President concur, we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”
Affected by this ruling are federally managed lands, and the Alaska Board of Game has launched an attack on bears and wolves contending they want to increase the populations of caribou and moose. Somehow the age old natural predator and prey animal rules of the wild have now been deemed the responsibility of man. Pacelle states the practices in question are disallowed in almost every state, however the House is seeking to revive such animal cruelty on federal lands specifically created to protect wildlife and promote the diversity of species.
“While the backers of the measure claimed this was a state’s rights issue, a recent poll by Remington Research Group found that Alaska voters oppose these inhumane and unsporting methods by a 2-1 margin, and many Alaskans voiced support for the rule during the extensive public comment period. Alaska’s inhumane and unsporting predator control practices have been roundly condemned by state and federal wildlife scientists” stated Pacelle on the organization’s press release.
Alaskans for Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, Lynn Canal Conservation, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oasis Earth, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club – Alaska Chapter and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council joined The HSUS in opposing H.J. Res. 69. Last year, a group of more than 50 scientists sent a letter to Congress in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule. The full roll call can be found here. The HSUS expresses its gratitude to the lawmakers who voted “no” on this misguided resolution.
Weigh in on this ruling please. Is this a foreshadowing of what is to become of our wildlife for hunters having fun?
(Photos of bears via Bear.org. Photo of wolf pups via takepart.com)
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