FoA sues FWS for partnering with the anti-wildlife NRA

Friends of Animals has filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Rifle Association to assist in the recruitment, education and retaining of hunters through NRA’s education and outreach programs.

The agency entered the long-term agreement less than one week before the end of the Trump administration.

“The Trump administration couldn’t resist one more hail Mary attempt to prop up the pro-hunting NRA, an organization that filed for bankruptcy Jan. 15 and is headed for extinction as the number of hunters has been plummeting for three decades—only a measly 4 percent of the population hunts,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.

“We won’t stand by while a federal agency whose mission it is to preserve and protect wildlife tries to help a desperate group notorious for its hostility toward wildlife. The trigger-happy, NRA only wants animals alive so they can shoot them dead.”

Congress never envisioned that the federal agency tasked with conserving this nation’s wildlife would enter into an agreement with the nation’s most powerful gun lobby. In fact, Congress never gave FWS the authority to enter into a binding agreement with any private organization, the lawsuit states.

Even if the agreement was legal, FWS violated the law by executing it without undertaking any reasoned and detailed analysis of its potential consequences and before it provided the public the opportunity to weigh in.

The truth is most Americans want to observe, photograph and peacefully co-exist with wildlife. Wildlife watching was enjoyed by 86 million people 16 years and older, according to the most recent FWS National Survey taken in 2016. And they spent $75.9 billion on wildlife watching.

“Killing is not conservation. Training more people to carry guns onto public lands to kill more and more animals each year is not protecting them, it’s protecting the NRA,” said Michael Harris, director of FoA’s Wildlife Law Program. “We need to be serious about looking elsewhere for funding conservation and stop perpetuating the myth about the importance of hunting.”

Read the full, filed comments here.