“I’ve got news for the Trump men: In 2019, we will build a wall. Not a border wall to immigrants, but a legal wall banning the importation of trophy animals,” said NY State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal at the Worldwide Rally against Trophy Hunting (WRATH) hosted by Friends of Animals and Compassionworks International Saturday at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in NYC.
Supporters stood across the street from Trump World Tower and United Nations Plaza to send the Trump Administration and the world a clear message: Trophy hunters are really just wealthy poachers, so New York needs to ban the importation of the trophies of Africa’s Big 5—giraffes, lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos, by passing the Big 5 African Trophies Act, co-sponsored by Rosenthal and Senator Luis Sepulveda.
New York is the busiest port of entry for imported animal trophies of all the 18 designated U.S. ports. From 2005 to 2014, 159,144 animals were imported as trophies—including 1,541 lions; 1,130 elephants and 83 pairs of tusks; 1,169 leopards as well as 110 white rhinos and 3 pairs of rhino horns.
“New York has allowed itself to become a trophy warehouse for the world’s highest stakes blood sport,” Rosenthal said.
Looking up at Trump World Tower, she added: “We are standing here not just because the building’s namesake is one of the world’s leading advocates for open borders on importation of slaughtered trophy animals, but because his boys, Don Jr. and Eric, have stumbled their way into becoming the poster children for this horrific, soulless blood sport.
“I want you all to just think for a minute about the type of person who might sit comfortably up in the penthouse of a building like this and decide that, above all else, their time would be best spent travelling to the opposite side of the globe, traversing through plains, woodlands and underbrush of another nation’s land, all for a chance to kill. And not just to kill, but to push creatures with millennia of history on this great planet, closer and closer to the brink of extinction.”
Friends of Animals is adamant the only difference between “illegal” poachers and trophy hunters like the Trump sons with permits from Fish and Wildlife Service is wealth and public perception. Poachers slaughter to make a buck, while well-heeled American trophy hunters spend thousands just for bragging rights and prizes from the Safari Club International. In either instance, money doesn’t make killing ok.
“As soon as you put a price tag on vulnerable animals, you send a mixed message about whether or not they need to be protected at all, and that’s detrimental to actual conservation. Shooting animals full of bullets does not increase their population or expand their habitat, no matter what Safari Club wants the public to believe,” said Nicole Rivard, correspondent for Friends of Animals.
The rally coincided with the Safari Club’s annual convention in Reno, where, hunters were booking their killing sprees and shopping for the latest guns and hunting equipment. Thirty cities across the globe participated in WRATH.
“Safari Club likes to dupe the public into thinking that without their money, conservation efforts in Africa would not exist. If they are helping these animals as they claim, then why are Africa’s Big 5 moving closer to extinction,” said Rivard.
Friends of Animals was sickened to learn last year that the U.S. is a major importer of giraffe parts and American trophy hunters are the ones supplying the market. According to USFWS, between 2006 and 2016, the U.S. imported 21,402 bone carvings, 3,008 skin pieces and 3,744 hunting trophies.
Only about 97,500 giraffes remain in Africa compared to more than 150,000 in 1985.
“Experts are calling what’s happening to giraffes the silent extinction. Today we break the silence,” Rivard said.