Despite Trump calling big game hunting ‘horror’ council promotes killing

On Friday, a federal government council met for the first time to begin efforts to advise Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on how to improve public awareness concerning the benefits of big game hunting here and abroad; addressing the controversial hunting of African elephants, rhinos and lions.

According to AbcNews,  the council originating in November and now referred to as the  International Wildlife Conservation Council, purpose is to provide recommendations and public awareness when it comes to animal preservation and the economic benefits of wealthy big game hunters traveling abroad to snag a trophy animal. What the council didn’t mention, however is the majority of the 16 council members have a connection to trophy hunting or groups that advocate for hunting as a way to support conservation.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently announced that it will now consider permits for elephant hunt trophies from African nations on a “case by case basis” – reversing President Trump’s earlier promises to maintain a ban on the practice. Each case, either to grant or deny permits to import sport hunted animals, will be on a “case-by-case-basis.” The department stated it will consider all information first prior to issuing permits relating to risk assessments of species vulnerability. The service also announced it will withdraw a number of ESA findings dating back to 1995 relating to African elephant trophies, bontebok and lions from African nations.

According to the database for government advisory committees, six of the member are active “U.S, hunters actively engaged in international and/or domestic hunting conservation.” Other members have affiliations with pro hunting organizations such as the Safari Club International described as having 50,000 members and advocating:

 “hunters dedicated to protecting the freedom to hunt. SCI has more than 50,000 members and 180 local chapters.”

Other committee members have a connection to firearm manufactures or the National Rifle Association. Advocacy groups call the council biased which does not include anyone with scientific expertise in the conservation of  animals. In addition, Zinke is an avid hunter and continues to expand hunting and fishing opportunities on United States public lands. The recommendations are expected to include:

“recommending removal of barriers to the importation of barriers into the U.S. of legally hunted wildlife, resuming the legal trade of those items where appropriate and streamlining import permits.”

President Trump has previously spoken out against hunting, after photos of his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, posing with trophies, provoked criticism. When a photo of Don Jr. holding a severed elephant tail went viral over social media, Trump addressed the issue on Twitter in March 2012.

“I’m not a hunter and don’t approve of killing animals. I strongly disagree with my sons who are hunters, but they acted legally and did what lots of hunters do,” Trump wrote.

In a statement on Thursday, President Trump has evidently done a complete about face; with Zinke stating the president is 100% in agreement. According to the New York Daily News,  council member, Steven Chancellor, a longtime Republican fundraiser, killed 500 animals including lions, leopards, elephants and two rhinos. In 2016, Chancellor filed for a federal permit to bring home skin, skull, teeth and claws from another male lion he intended to hunt in Zimbabwe. Chancellor also hosted a fundraiser for then candidate Trump and Mike Pence – pulling up to Chancellor’s mansion stood a pair of gilded lions.

“A review by the Associated Press found that the board is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Trump’s family, despite federal laws requiring that advisory committees be ‘fairly balanced.'”

And when one thinks it can’t get any worse, another appointee to the council is Chris Hudson, a lawyer and past president of the Dallas chapter of the Safari Club. Hudson attracted international attention in 2014 after filing a lawsuit for his client Corey Knowlton,  whose winning bid in a club of $350,000, allowed him to shoot an endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia. In 1995, there were only 2,410 black rhinos left in the world. Thanks to conservation projects, 2015 statistics extimate across Africa their current population has increased to between 5,042 and 5,458 individuals. Knowlton sued Delta Air Lines over its refusal to ship the carcass back to the United States.

Council member, Keith Mark had been hunting with Donald Trump Jr., prior to being appointed.

 Dr. Walter Palmer of Minnesota shot and killed a male lion wearing a radio collar named Cecil. Advocates claim the lion was lured out of the sanctuary area by food, shot with an arrow and suffered for eight to ten hours before he was killed and relieved of his suffering.

Lawsuits from advocacy groups demanding documents relating to the creation of the council have been filed this week.

Read previous coverage here.

Did you know that if you want to get updates from a Facebook page, you need to do more than “like” it? To get recent postings in your Facebook feed, you must also hover your mouse over the word “following” and then click “see first” from the drop-down menu. You may want to check back with your favorite pages on occasion because Facebook often changes your settings, no longer having your having your favorites among those to “see first.

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

More: United Airlines has another mishap with someone’s dog

German shepherd with leg hacked off left whimpering in the snow on the mend

After a brutal attack on an eight-year-old German shepherd last week, found on the streets of Bucharest with her leg hacked off, her teeth pulled out and her tail snapped off, is now on the mend announced the International Aid of the Protection and Welfare of Animals (IAPWA). The dog, named Spirit, who had been left for dead, had also been sexually abused; the knife used was left at her side, and it is suspected the egregious cruelty had been done by the “Bucharest Butcher” who still roams free.Spirit the GS2

Spirit was found by animal advocate Anneka Svenska who heard the dog softly whimpering in the snow.

“To have that in front of you was harrowing. We were all in shock. I couldn’t believe someone could do that, especially the way she had been sexually violated,” stated Anneka. “She was shaking. There were tears running down her face. The vet said they see this kind of thing all the time; it’s not a one off. They get horrific victims of abuse, and they can’t do anything about it.”

According to MetroNews, Anneka regularly feeds the strays in her neighborhood. She fears the attack on Spirit was personal, and who thinks the dog was abandoned in plain sight on purpose, with the intention of the crime being made public to serve as a message not to feed stray dogs. Spirit underwent emergency surgery at the rescue center of the Dog Rescue Romania and will be traveling to her new life in Britain as soon as she is able. Veterinarians, staff and animal advocates are amazed how trusting towards humans Spirit remains. An investigation remains active; it is hoped the responsible culprit(s) can be apprehended and brought to justice.

The charity “The Faith Project” emerged last year dedicated to saving dogs all over Romania. The project offers neutering and education across the country. Just a few days before Spirit was rescued, advocates made the grisly discovery of three puppies brutally killed on the same street. It is estimated there are more than 60,000 abandoned dogs in Bucharest. Donations to help these dogs can be made to the International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals. 

(Photos and video of German shepherd with her leg hacked off and accompanying info courtesy of Tom Ross and the IAPWA.)

Check out the video of Spirit’s recovery. There is a great reason she was named Spirit!