Wow…we have a big #cheer for France today which made history by becoming the first country in the European Union to ban the import of lion hunt trophies. Officials decided to make the import of lion heads, paws and skins a crime nearly four months after the recent killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, Cecil, by an American trophy hunter.
According to an article by The Guardian, France’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal, said that she had instructed officials to stop issuing permits for lion trophies and was considering stricter controls on trophies from other species. In March, Australia also banned the import of lion trophies.
A spokeswoman from Lionaid, a UK-based charity told The Guardian: “Within the EU, France was a major importer of such trophies and we expect that wild lions will now find themselves safer without the presence of French trophy hunters. We trust that France’s decision will create a domino effect within the EU and that we will soon hear about other member states joining together to say no [to trophies].”
We applaud France for this timely decision, and hope that this will precipitate like-minded decisions from many other EU Member States. We also are hopeful that this ban encourages France to extend such protections to other species of animals that are also frequently targeted and killed by trophy-hunters.
In order to put a stop to the the import animal parts, like lion trophies, as commodities Friends of Animals has also been working diligently to help stop trophy hunting in its tracks and drafted a New York bill called “Cecil’s Law”, to implement a statewide ban on the importation, possession, sale or transportation of the remains of the five big game species native to Africa (the African elephant, lion, leopard, black rhino and white rhino, all of whom are threatened by illegal poaching and sport hunting and are currently facing extinction.) Passage of the bill in 2016 would halt the five African animal trophies through New York’s airports or by land and sea, thus discouraging trophy hunting.
We have a huge jeer today to the proposed plan by Yellowstone National Park which involves killing roughly 1,000 wild bison this winter in an effort to reduce the animals’ annual migration to Montana. The bison, mostly calves and females to reduce the population’s reproductive rates, would be sent to Native American tribes for slaughter.
The herd at Yellowstone was estimated to number about 4,900 this summer. The slaughter would bring that number closer to the park’s target population of 3,000 bison.
Every winter and spring, snow and ice cover the bison’s food and hunger pushes them to lower elevations across the park boundary in Montana. When they cross this arbitrary line, the buffalo enter a zone of violent conflict with ranchers. In 2014, 737 bison were slaughtered, and back in the winter of 2007/2008, the largest scale wild buffalo slaughter, claimed the lives of 1,631 animals. At the turn of the 20th century, similar reckless behavior nearly drove bison to extinction.
Attempts to relocate bison to avoid these killings have largely failed, due to ranchers and landowners expressing a concern about disease, as well as fears that bison would graze on land needed for livestock. This excuse, however, is completely ludicrous and cannot even be considered to be “disease risk management” because there has never been a documented case of a wild bison transmitting brucellosis—a bacterial disease that affects livestock and wildlife—to cattle.
In an effort to avert the bloodshed last year, Friends of Animals (FoA) and the Buffalo Field Campaign filed an emergency rulemaking petition Sept. 15 with the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to protect the genetic diversity and viability of the bison of Yellowstone National Park. The petition was denied, but Friends of Animals is continuing the fight to protect these animals from cruel and unnecessary slaughter. Leave Yellowstone officials a message on their Facebook page denouncing this plan to murder helpless animals and tell them they should be conserving nature instead of killing wild animals.
Jeers to the Ohio Division of Wildlife for its recent slaughter of the mute swans who called Lake Logan, a 400-acre body of water in Hocking County, home. The bloodshed is part of the agency’s Ohio Swan Management Plan that will eliminate mute swans on public lands by 2020 and simultaneously stop the species’ growth on private lands.
“Competition between mute swans and the state-threatened trumpeter swan occurs frequently in the Lake Erie marshes,” the agency claims in it’s 11-page plan. “Mute swans establish territories (3-15 acres) and initiate nesting about 13 weeks earlier than trumpeter swans and then successfully defend these areas against trumpeter swans. With only about 100,000 acres of marsh existing in Ohio, competition for limited habitat has the potential to negatively impact the success of (the) Division of Wildlife’s trumpeter-swan restoration program.”
Let’s get real—humans have destroyed Ohio’s wetlands not mute swans. And once the agency gets the trumpeter swan population to a certain point, it will promote swan hunts to sell hunting licenses.
In New York, a bill that would protect NY’s mute swans from a similar elimination plan has been delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for his signature, which would turn it into law. He has until the 21st to do so, so please contact his office this week and urge him to sign this bill into law. It will be vetoed if he doesn’t take action so your voice is so important right now. Visit https://www.governor.ny.gov/contact to send Cuomo an email.