Sportsmen’s Act, or Poachers’ Act?

By on May 20, 2015 with 40 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

If you thought the Senate version of the Sportsmen’s Act – which was the subject of a recent hearing – was awful, the House version that was examined in committee today is even worse.

The House version is called the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (SHARE Act), H.R. 2406. Yet it includes language to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from adopting a rule to restrict the illegal ivory trade in the United States. What does that have to do with sportsmen who hunt deer, ducks, and other traditional prey? The answer: it has zero to do with sportsmen, and everything to do with AK-47-wielding poachers slaughtering elephants and sawing off their faces, destroying the economies of Africa in the process, and financing terrorists who are a threat to African and western nations.

That’s a good starting point for a bill that’s careened off course and has almost nothing to do with its title.  H.R. 2406 helps no rank-and-file hunters. It’s a grab bag of items largely unrelated to, and disconnected from, hunting.

In addition to the elephant poaching provision, the bill provides an opportunity for a handful of ultra-wealthy trophy hunters to import sport-hunted polar bears killed in northern Canada. This is a special-interest provision, which carves out an exemption in the Marine Mammal Protection Act, that has no bearing on regular hunters who fill their freezers with venison. None of these millionaire trophy hunters, who paid as much as $50,000 to shoot a polar bear, ate the meat. They just went on a head-hunting exercise, and paid a fortune to do so.

The bill is also a boon to the small fraction of the U.S. population that engages in trapping live animals. The SHARE Act adds “trapping” to the definition of hunting. This provision would open up millions of acres of land to trapping: an inherently cruel and inhumane means of ensnaring animals like beavers, bobcats, and foxes. Each year, millions of animals, including pets, are killed in painful traps, and they try desperately to free themselves for hours or days before they succumb to dehydration, predators, or the trapper’s bludgeon. Recreational trapping with the worst body-gripping traps is banned or severely restricted in nine U.S. states and over 80 countries, and Congress should be working to end this cruel practice, rather than expanding it.

The House bill also goes a step further than its Senate companion bill on the issue of toxic lead ammunition. It takes away the regulatory authority of the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect wildlife – and the public – from toxic lead ammunition. These agencies have already taken positive steps in requiring the use of non-lead alternatives for hunting certain species. In 1991, they put in place a nationwide measure requiring non-toxic shot for migratory waterfowl, after biologists estimated that millions of ducks were dying from lead poisoning. That federal rule has saved millions of birds annually from death by exposure to toxic lead, and it’s not put a dent in duck hunting. Now members of Congress want to take away the opportunity to build on this success  – handcuffing federal agencies that have a duty to address ammunition that poisons millions of wild animals.

The SHARE Act, just like its Senate companion , will not benefit rank-and-file hunters, and will destroy years of work done by animal protection advocates, environmentalists, and conservationists to protect endangered species and other wildlife. It is a special interest bill masquerading as a measure for sportsmen. Rank-and-file sportsmen, and the lawmakers who care about them, should not be deceived. Please call your members of Congress to ask them not to support these cruel bills.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Sylvia Lewis says:

    It is sickening that Americans seem to be more barbaric every day. “Sports hunting” is a disgrace and any endorsement of the activity is shameful.

    • Carole Dorsey says:

      Like many I was suckered in to believing that this was humane and a good thing for the endangered species all other species. I feel betrayed once again. What makes people want to go out and kill. .What happened to humanity.? If the killing of one of four endangered rhinos makes the hunter feel good I pity him. This must stop.!

    • Jocelyn Slater says:

      Most everyday Americans are becoming more and more humane each day. Even the “rank and file” hunters are becoming more of a special interest/fringe grp. Of course, it doesn’t help that the few cruel Americans are also some of the most influential Americans after our Supreme Court opened up unlimited political spending to corporations… Sometimes, I think those who are supposed to be protecting us (and the other species we share the planet with) from stupidity are part and parcel of the same stupidity. I smell something rotten in modern day ancient Rome (aka. the USA). So thought of by me as such because I see the similarity b/w the govts and those few people who, through power or brainwashing, simply go along w/ it. Ironic that in the USA, the govt and people are becoming less and less humane overall, especially the rich/powerful, while in other countries, people’s eyes are being opened to the cruelty/stupidity that their govts condone and are making more of a stink about it, regardless of the consequences. What’s hardest to figure out is where the USA’s concerned, are the people who refuse to make a stink apathetic/cold-hearted pricks, cowards, or just plain stupid? Bleh. Stories like this make me ashamed to be an American.

    • Darryl MacMullen says:

      Americans, can’t soak up all the blame on this one…… we are just as guilty here in Canada for the atrocities going on to the wildlife. It is mind boggling how little respect we have for the NATIVE WILDLIFE which consider these territories theirs. Their rights and protection should come first (sadly, it does not). But then we have proven time and time again that WE are the worst of the animals on the planet……….

    • Trish says:

      Americans?? This is WORLD WIDE. Stupidity is everywhere, as your comment proves.

    • Patricia Stoco says:

      It’s not only Americans. Look at Canada, Japan, China, parts of Europe,Vietnam, Korea and etc… It’s worldwide and governments are pushing this agenda

  2. David Bernazani says:

    I’m glad someone is keeping us informed of outrageous bills like this making their way through Congress. I haven’t read a thing about this in the San Francisco Chronicle or anywhere else except right here. Keep up the good work, HSUS!

  3. LUCY TAYLOR says:

    we are many animal lovers trying to save all from the grasp of insensitive ones who relish the killing of animals for their own glory of pointing a gun and BANG I killed it. Until these idiots learn what a life means we will never be able to stop them in their “MACHO” ignorance.those who are sitting in their suits in government etc offices do not feel or know of animals being slaughtered for FUN I believe these SUITS need to be taken out to the animals and made to shoot one and watch as it dies in agony if these persons have any feelings then perhaps they will sign laws to prevent these useless killings. I hope and pray one day this will be and not too late for future generations to see live animals not stuffed. thank you

  4. Dodie Shepard says:

    PLEASE The poaching and killings of wild animals must stop. They are not finite, and must be protected from greed, and ignorance. Is the concept of balance in this universe so remote. Everything on this planet is necessary.

  5. Margaret says:

    I tried to find how my representative voted. It was time consuming because the actual number of the bill is H.R. 3590. I’m happy to say he was a “Nae”. I see no reason for a bill of this type to be bipartisan. Yet it appeared to be so. All Republican votes were for the bill with forty-one Democrats voting for and one hundred and fifty-four against. I have been a registered Republican for over fifty years and plan to change party affiliation. I’ve discovered I can’t be a Republican and an environmentalist at the same time.

    • marilyn miller says:

      I Agree. It’s hard to be a republican knowing they approve of such killing. Do people really need to hunt and kill animals? Why not use this new convenience we have now called a “supermarket”(and hope those animals dye humanely – I think I need to go vegan). Need to shoot a gun? use paper targets at the shooting range, not some sweet innocent animal.

      • Taylor says:

        Apparently you need to do a little research. Yes, it’s necessary to hunt and kill animals. As humans, we’re now part of the ecosystem and the checks and balances of Mother Nature. In addition, hunters and fishermen contribute to wildlife conservation exponentially more so than keyboard warriors not only by practice, but financially through the costs of licenses and other means.

  6. michael guest says:

    That’s terrible. Traps are lethal and deadly to animals and wildlife. They don’t deserve this type of cruelty. Failing to take action is not acceptable. Our wildlife needs protection, not harm. They deserve better.

  7. Randy says:

    Never Ever Vote Republican,Or moderate Democrat.

  8. Tony sgroi says:

    we are descriptive & cruel.
    Why can’t we live in harmony with all living creatures?
    Answer: Greed

  9. Roxana Cazares says:

    This is horrible! Stop the export of US fur to China. Ban trapping and killing for fur. Disgusting poachers are destroying American wildlife to make a few bucks from greedy Chinese fur industry. Make trapping illegal in the US!

  10. Darlene Abbott says:

    Sportsmen/Sportswomen should be illegal because these sports people on killing for their own sick pleasure their actions is violent.Our wild has a partnership with the ego System to keep our Earth healthy.All animal was put here for that purpose not for poaching and cutting off parts of their Bodies so please stop taking ivory from the Elephant,horns from rhinos, land from our wild,ETC. just let them live and do what they was meant to do.Thank You

  11. GreenConsciousness says:

    I thought the Bi Partisan Sportsman’s act passed last year – Introduced
    Passed Senate
    Passed House
    To President
    Became Law

    • margie anne says:

      No. This is their third— yes, third– attempt to help their millionaire trophy hunter friends.

      The hunting lobby and the NRA are pushing this bill

      Millionaires that are obsessed with killing animals are intent on remaining free to brutalize wildlife with impunity.

  12. Brenda Blanchard says:

    I am against this sportsman act. It is inhumane and cruel. Can you please heed the call of the ppl and not just an chosen few? Thank you.

  13. Ian Giles says:

    This disgusting approach to wildlife can be changed by kicking hunters out of conservation. The head of the USFWS is a hunter and is in bed with hunting organizations. Hunters organizations like Safari Club International and Dallas Safari Club have tentacles that extend into the shadowy world of congress and Washington.
    When will the majority of Americans stand up and stop this sickness?

  14. TehachapiGal says:

    Most Americans are so busy with their own lives, working long hours and raising their children they’re oblivious to anything else. The Republican party is absolutely insane and the Democrats aren’t far behind them. They couldn’t care less about the necessity for biodiversity and the intimate relationship with nature. It’s is a failing of the human race that will be the cause of man’s extinction. Unfortunately we’ll take everything else down with us. Caring brings frustration, hate and a sense of complete hopelessness.

  15. Elizabeth knox says:

    I’m shocked the share act passed. Aren’t we concerned for animal welfare. Is the hunting lobby that poweful that the people’s voice is not heard, I’m shamed of our government

  16. Lucy Muller says:

    I believe that to have a kinder, more sensitive next generation, we need to end this macho attitude of hunters who are just legal killers. They might kill people if it were legal. But that is not the point; no matter who they kill is a sickness and a terrible weakness of some human beings. It should be banned altogether.

  17. Shahida.cole says:

    Why not suppory poachers as well? Hunters and poachers both kill. The poacher kills for money..the hunter has more brawn than brain and kills for bloodlust. They sre wolves in sheep’s clothing..trot out the sickening excuse that they are conservationists. They have to learn to spell..they are not conservatiomists but CON SERVANTS…conning the public. No other crime had the protection of the law as hunting has…once man hunted for the man hunts to boost his cowardly ego and show his drinking buddies how he shot the poor unarmed..most likely canned beast..cannot pull the wool over our eyes..come on give a thought to the animals..

  18. julie e harvey says:

    the U S A is so behind the times in mentality that it is making me sick guns killing wiping out precious animals…going the way of syria or china?

  19. Shirley Kelly says:

    We need to vote out these Congressman and Senators. Unless American voters stand up and Vote our beliefs, the people will eventually destroy us all.They only care about money and the views of a few. Stand up America and make you voice heard.

  20. Yolanda says:

    It’s never ok to hurt, poach, kill or capture animals. I still haven’t got over the killing of Cecil the magnificent lion.

  21. Yolanda Dugan says:

    It’s never ok to poach, kill, capture, maim animals of any kind.

  22. Sheldon Kreger says:

    Bad news, it passed the house!

  23. margie anne says:

    I have a petition – now closed – to stop the sportsman act. It has about 25k signatures. I also have a FB page dedicated to stopping this bill. Do you have any updates on the progress of this odious piece of legislation ?

  24. KORBYN DIEHM says:

    Let’s pull together and get this thing approved!

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