Sample letter:Stop the Bush Administration from Pacifying Trophy Hunters, Zoos and Circuses!
- You can send your comments using the email/postal address below, or go to: http://action.fund.org/action/
to send a letter from the Fund for Animals action center. Either way, time is running out, and comments must be sent before Oct. 17. Thanks.
Stop the Bush Administration from Pacifying Trophy Hunters, Zoos and Circuses!
Your letters are urgently needed before October 17 to stop the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) from rolling back the clock on endangered species protection. Capitulating to intense lobbying efforts by the zoo, circus and trophy hunting industries, the FWS is attempting to significantly weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, to protect animals facing extinction in the wild. The ESA prohibits the capture, import, sale, and killing of endangered species without a permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Parties requesting permits must demonstrate that their proposed activity enhances the survival of the species in the wild and that the animals will not be used primarily for commercial purposes. In effect, the law largely prevents zoos and circuses from importing endangered foreign species for the purpose of caging them and training them to perform for human entertainment. It also protects endangered species from trophy hunters.
The FWS's recently published "Draft Policy for Enhancement-of-Survival Permits for Foreign Species Listed Under the Endangered Species Act" would essentially allow zoos and circuses to buy exotic endangered species, such as Asian elephants, by simply claiming that the money spent to purchase the animals would be used for "conservation" efforts. No criteria are provided to define the parameters for adequate conservation programs, and no enforcement mechanisms are suggested to ensure that money used to buy endangered species is actually spent on conservation of that species in the wild. In effect, any party that wants to "take" an endangered species has merely to claim that the money they pay to capture or kill an elephant, leopard, crocodile or other endangered animal, will be used by the range country for "conservation" purposes. Any country or private reserve, therefore, can make such claims, whether or not they are based in reality.
Similarly, the proposed policy change would allow the FWS to issue permits to trophy hunters who wish to gun down endangered species, such as the Canadian wood bison, if they claim that the animals are from a "managed population" where conservation measures are in place. It would also allow the import of endangered animal parts, such as the skins of endangered crocodiles - which could show up in American stores as items like shoes and handbags - if similar claims were made. This proposed policy change represents a major gutting of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the captive display industry and the hunting lobby get their way, animals endangered in foreign lands will no longer be protected from harm and exploitation by commercial interests in the United States. Comments on this disastrous policy change are due October 17.
It is critical that we flood the administrative record with comments opposing this change. Please write today and get your friends and family to write as well. A sample letter is provided below, but please personalize your comments as much as possible. For example, are you a parent concerned with preserving endangered species for your children and grandchildren? Are you a teacher with students concerned about preservation of endangered species? Do you work in the tourism industry that will be hurt by the accelerated demise of endangered species like elephants and leopards? Please let the government know your personal connection to these issues.
While all animals deserve protection, whether they are endangered or not, the special laws in place to protect endangered species must at least remain intact or, even better, be strengthened.
Please write today!
Chief, Division of Management Authority
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Rm. 700
Arlington, VA 22203
Reference your opposition to the "Draft Policy for Enhancement-of-Survival Permits for Foreign Species Listed Under the Endangered Species Act" 68 Fed. Reg. 49512 (August 18, 2003). Again, comments are due by October 17, 2003.
(Special thanks to In Defense of Animals for providing much of the information in this alert.)
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