Wildlife https://hslf.org/ en Breaking news: U.S. says grizzly bears should remain protected under Endangered Species Act https://hslf.org/blog/2021/04/breaking-news-us-says-grizzly-bears-should-remain-protected-under-endangered-species <span>Breaking news: U.S. says grizzly bears should remain protected under Endangered Species Act</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 04/01/2021 - 21:11</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>Grizzly bears in the lower 48 states should retain their current protections under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the primary federal agency that makes decisions on the conservation of wildlife species. This is encouraging news for these native carnivores who have been under attack from trophy hunting interests in the states they live in, and who need all the help they can get to survive.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/pressrel/2021/03312021-Grizzly-Bears-Lower-48-States-Retain-Threatened-Status-Under-ESA.php">report published yesterday</a>, the USFWS recommended that grizzly bears retain “threatened” status based on a five-year scientific status review.</p> <p>Under the previous administration, the USFWS, in 2017, sought to prematurely delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a handout to trophy hunters. We stopped this effort—and with it the first trophy hunting season on grizzlies in decades—in its tracks with a <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2018/09/victory-court-restores-endangered-species-act-protections-for-yellowstones-grizzly-bears.html">federal court victory in 2018</a> followed by an <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/victory-federal-appeals-court-agrees-yellowstone-grizzly-bears-should-remain-protected">appeals court victory in 2020</a>.</p> <p>There are fewer than 1,800 grizzly bears now in the lower 48 states—a small number, by any measure. These animals were nearly wiped out of existence in the United States between 1915 and 1975. Today they occupy less than 2% of their original range in the United States.</p> <p>Grizzly bear populations increase slowly. Female bears do not reproduce until they are between three and eight years of age and they produce small litters, with many years between each litter. Not all of the cubs survive to adulthood. That is why every bear must count, and why it may take a decade for a female bear to replace herself in the population. And the threats to their survival are many, including poachers, ranchers and state wildlife agencies who continually target these animals and kill them over fear and exaggerated claims that they kill cattle—claims we debunked using USDA data.</p> <p>In its report, the USFWS pointed to tremendous threats grizzlies continue to face, including “limited habitat connectivity, management of access by motorized vehicles, human-caused mortality and uncertainty surrounding future conservation efforts in some ecosystems.”</p> <p>The USFWS report also correctly recognized that the long-term survival of grizzly bears depends on establishing populations in parts of their historic range where they remain absent, like Washington’s North Cascades and Idaho’s Bitterroot ecosystem. We urge the USFWS to follow through by developing a comprehensive plan to achieve a truly interconnected, recovered population of grizzly bears.</p> <p>States that are home to these bears should be doing all they can to protect them but instead they have chosen to sell them out to trophy hunting interests. We recently told you about <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/americans-love-grizzly-bears-montana-and-wyoming-lawmakers-are-not-getting-message">Montana’s state legislature passing a host of bills</a> in anticipation of a federal delisting. Those bills would have, among other atrocities, allowed ranchers to shoot grizzly bears they “perceived” as a threat to their livestock. They included measures such as barring the relocation of grizzly bears to promote their recovery.</p> <p>These bills also allow hound-hunting of black bears in early spring and expanding wolf snaring and trapping, which could also harm grizzly bears and cubs. Fortunately, continuing federal protection will shield grizzlies from some of the worst impacts of these bills if they become law.</p> <p>The Montana and Wyoming delegations in Congress are also engaged now in efforts to delist these bears—a shortsighted approach because grizzly bears and other wildlife contribute heavily to these states’ economies, with thousands of tourists flocking there each year to catch a glimpse of these animals in the wild.</p> <p>We are encouraged by the USFWS recommendation today, but so long as these other threats to grizzly bears continue our work is far from done. You can rest assured we will keep a vigilant eye and continue to work hard to ward off efforts by bad state legislators, wildlife managers and members of Congress to hurt these iconic animals.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Thu, 01 Apr 2021 21:11:43 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21638 at https://hslf.org Breaking: U.S. courts issue four wins over 48 hours against trophy hunting, state-funded wildlife killing, fur and cage confinement of factory-farmed birds https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/breaking-us-courts-issue-four-wins-over-48-hours-against-trophy-hunting-state-funded <span>Breaking: U.S. courts issue four wins over 48 hours against trophy hunting, state-funded wildlife killing, fur and cage confinement of factory-farmed birds</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/31/2021 - 20:05</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>Animals are on a winning streak. Over just the last two days, we’ve had four terrific victories in U.S. federal courts that pave the way for progress for millions of animals. These include wildlife in the United States and overseas most often targeted by trophy hunters, animals in the fur industry, and farm animals confined in cruel cages on factory farms.</p> <p>These wins are important. Many of them confront policies made by federal and state agencies that are harmful to animals and the environment and force these agencies to act with greater transparency toward the American public and the spending of their taxpayer dollars. It is also heartening to see our courts issue rulings that are in tune with the vast majority of Americans who express a clear distaste for practices like factory farming and trophy hunting and unnecessary commodities like fur.</p> <p>Following are more details on the individual cases:</p> <ul> <li><strong>USFWS blackout of trophy hunting data:</strong> On Monday, a federal judge in the District of Columbia <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/us-fish-and-wildlife-service-must-turn-over-trophy-hunting-and-wildlife-import-data-public">ruled</a> that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can no longer withhold critical data on U.S. imports of hunting trophies and other wildlife parts and products from the public. HSI <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-03-29-LEMIS-Opinion.pdf">filed the case in 2016</a>, after the Fish and Wildlife Service suddenly began redacting huge swaths of data in response to public records requests, leaving the American public in the dark on the role that the U.S. plays in global trophy hunting and the wildlife trade. Following <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/us-fish-and-wildlife-service-must-turn-over-trophy-hunting-and-wildlife-import-data-public">Monday’s decision</a>, the agency will have to turn over the records, which we rely heavily on to petition for increased protections for species on the brink of extinction, such as <a href="https://www.hsi.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/pdfs/african-elephant-esa-petition.pdf">African elephants</a>, <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2017/04/hsus-petition-giraffes-endangered-esa.html">giraffes</a> and <a href="https://www.hsi.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/pdfs/legal-filings/2015/ESAPangolinPetition_07-2015.pdf">pangolins</a>. The U.S imports more animal trophies than any other country, and it is a leading destination for trafficked wildlife body parts.</li> <li><strong>San Francisco's history-making fur ban:</strong> On Tuesday afternoon, a federal court dismissed the fur industry’s legal challenge to San Francisco's <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2018/03/breaking-news-san-francisco-says-resounding-no-fur.html">pathbreaking ordinance</a> banning fur product sales. The HSUS had intervened to defend the ordinance and <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/07/victory-court-says-san-francisco-fur-ban-will-stay.html">successfully dismissed</a> the fur industry’s challenge to the ban last summer, but the industry sought to keep the case alive by tacking on new (and equally meritless) legal arguments. Yesterday’s opinion not only shuts the door on this case, it also builds on a growing body of precedent affirming the right of cities and states around the country to prohibit the local sale of fur and other cruel animal products. HSUS attorneys partnered with pro bono counsel from Riley Safer Holmes &amp; Cancila on the case.</li> <li><strong>Colorado's state-sponsored wildlife carnage:</strong> Also on Tuesday, a Colorado <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/court-halts-funding-unwarranted-colorado-mountain-lion-and-black-bear-cull">federal judge ruled</a> that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider the environmental impacts of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on cruel wildlife killing experiments conducted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Colorado set out to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears in a scientifically unsupported attempt to boost local mule deer populations to benefit trophy hunters. In the past few years, Colorado drastically increased its hunting quotas to implement the experiment, leading to an all-out slaughter of the state’s mountain lion population. Federal Wildlife Services agents were also deployed to kill animals using extremely cruel methods such as traps, snares and hounds. Killing mountain lions, especially at these high rates, causes increased conflicts with humans, pets and livestock. <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/court-halts-funding-unwarranted-colorado-mountain-lion-and-black-bear-cull">Yesterday’s ruling</a> will halt the use of federal taxpayer dollars—which account for more than 75% of the program’s funding—to pay for this state-sponsored slaughter.</li> <li><strong>USDA's dangerous bird flu response plan:</strong> <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/court-clears-way-lawsuit-against-usda-policy-rewarding-factory-farms-spread-bird-flu">We reported yesterday</a> on another important win, this time in a federal court in California, in our lawsuit against USDA’s dangerous bird flu response plan, which essentially subsidizes intensive confinement practices at factory farms. The <a href="https://hslf.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/dkt%2052%20Order%20Denying%20MTD.pdf">court refused</a> a USDA attempt to dismiss the case and gave our lawsuit the green light to proceed.</li> </ul> <p>These are phenomenal victories against special interests with deep pockets who spend millions of dollars each year attempting to stop the progress we make for animals, so they can continue their exploitative practices. They would not be possible without the expertise and talent of our in-house team of lawyers, who, working with leading law firms and coalition partners, are on the job every day. As we celebrate these victories today, we applaud them for their hard work and for their commitment to protecting animals from those who seek to hurt them. </p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Wed, 31 Mar 2021 20:05:46 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21637 at https://hslf.org African elephants are just a step or two away from extinction, new report warns https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/african-elephants-are-just-step-or-two-away-extinction-new-report-warns <span>African elephants are just a step or two away from extinction, new report warns</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/26/2021 - 19:18</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>Scientists and conservationists have long warned about drastic drops in African elephant populations because of habitat loss, conflicts with humans and poaching for ivory. Trophy hunters exacerbate the problem by mowing elephants down for fun. Yesterday, the International Union for Conservation of Nature <a href="https://www.iucn.org/news/species/202103/african-elephant-species-now-endangered-and-critically-endangered-iucn-red-list">sounded a dire warning</a> that these beloved animals could now be just one or two steps away from disappearing forever.</p> <p>In its Red List assessment of African elephants released yesterday, the IUCN, for the first time, classified elephants into two species based on new genetic evidence, as forest elephants and savannah elephants.</p> <p>The forest elephant, listed by the IUCN as “critically endangered,” is found in the tropical forests of Central Africa and in a range of habitats in West Africa, while the savanna elephant, listed as “endangered,” prefers open country and is found in a variety of habitats in sub-Saharan Africa including grasslands and deserts.</p> <p>The IUCN last assessed African elephants in 2008 as a single species and listed them as “vulnerable” at the time. The change in status came after an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/science/elephants-africa-endangered.html">assessment team</a> gathered data from 495 sites across Africa. The review found that the population of savanna elephants has fallen at least 60 percent and that of forest elephants by more than 86 percent since surveys first carried out by researchers in the 1960s and 1970s.</p> <p>These are shocking numbers and they highlight the urgency with which we need to address the problems elephants face before it’s too late.</p> <p>For the Humane Society family of organizations, protecting elephants is a priority and we are engaged in a number of efforts globally to fight threats to their survival. Humane Society International has been working to <a href="https://www.hsi.org/news-media/immunocontraception_elephants/">reduce conflicts and promote co-existence</a> with elephants in South Africa.</p> <p>The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund are fighting trophy hunting and wildlife trafficking here in the United States. Our nation is a thriving market for ivory products, as we have shown through our <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2019/09/as-massachusetts-considers-an-ivory-trade-ban-hsus-investigation-uncovers-thriving-market-for-ivory-in-state.html">investigations</a>, and it is also home to wealthy trophy hunters who pay tens of thousands of dollars to travel to African nations and kill endangered and at-risk animals, including African elephants, and import their trophies home. We are working hard to stop both.</p> <p>American trophy hunters imported an average of 460 African elephant trophies every year between 2005 and 2014—that’s more than one elephant trophy every day. In the last Congress, we helped introduce the ProTECT Act, a bill that would help stop the trophy hunting of any species listed as endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, including African elephants, and we hope to see it introduced again this Congress.</p> <p>In 2015, we submitted a petition with partner groups urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the African elephant as endangered. In light of these latest findings, we urge the agency to expedite its findings on our petition and give both species of African elephants the ESA protection they need so urgently.</p> <p>We have also been working with states to pass legislation to end wildlife trafficking, and 12 states, including California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington, and Washington, D.C., now have laws banning the trade in ivory and other wildlife body parts. There are now efforts in Massachusetts and Connecticut to pass similar laws.</p> <p>Last month, we successfully defended <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2021/03/victory-court-says-new-yorks-ban-on-ivory-rhino-horn-sales-will-stay.html">New York’s ivory ban in federal court</a> from a challenge by trade groups, and set a promising precedent for other states that have passed or are considering similar laws ending ivory and rhino horn sales.</p> <p>Elephants are cherished icons for adults and children the world over. But more importantly, they are a keystone species who shape the forests and lands they live in. Their very survival is tied to the wellbeing of our planet. The IUCN’s announcement is a terrifying one, but it is also an opportunity for range nations and for those that deal in trafficked and trophy hunted products to act swiftly and pull out all the stops to protect these gentle giants. A world without them is simply unthinkable.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Fri, 26 Mar 2021 19:18:45 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21634 at https://hslf.org Montana's governor killed a Yellowstone wolf. But he now has a chance to set things right https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/montanas-governor-killed-yellowstone-wolf-he-now-has-chance-set-things-right <span>Montana&#039;s governor killed a Yellowstone wolf. But he now has a chance to set things right</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 03/23/2021 - 21:35</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>Gov. Greg Gianforte should have known better. According to <a href="https://www.boisestatepublicradio.org/post/montana-governor-given-written-warning-after-trapping-killing-yellowstone-wolf#stream/0">news reports</a> today, the man Montanans elected just last November to lead their state and protect its vast natural resources trapped and shot an iconic black wolf just 10 miles north of the boundary of the Yellowstone Park in February. And he allegedly did it without completing a state-mandated wolf trapping certification course—a fact for which he apparently received a mere written warning from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.</p> <p>But what is even worse, and what the rest of us need to hold him accountable for, is the fact that he acted without a thought for how the residents of Montana, and a vast majority of Americans, <a href="https://sites.warnercnr.colostate.edu/wildlifevalues/results/">feel about hunting wolves</a>, whom so many of us see as a national treasure.</p> <p>Gianforte has a well-documented history as a trapper, and is a lifetime member of the Montana Trapper’s Association. But he is now the governor of a state where wolves have long been under the gun and where they desperately need protection. The federal government delisted wolves in Montana in 2011 as a nod to trophy hunters, trappers and cattle owners and in the years since more than 2,100 of these animals have been killed unnecessarily in some of the cruelest ways imaginable.</p> <p>The wolf Gianforte killed, numbered 1155 by researchers, was a collared animal who lived in Yellowstone, and was being studied by biologists since 2018. Wolves are protected within Yellowstone boundaries but it appears this wolf strayed out and was targeted by Gianforte on the private ranch of a wealthy businessman, who has donated thousands to the governor’s 2017 Congressional campaign, about 10 miles away. While it is not clear how Gianforte trapped the wolf, we do know that Montana allows trapping with leghold traps—an extremely cruel way of killing any animal. Wolves caught in such traps suffer in them for days, sometimes, injuring themselves severely and at times gnawing limbs off in an attempt to escape. Many give up and die during their struggle.</p> <p>It is a terrible thing for any animal to suffer so unnecessarily. We also expect our elected officials to act not just in their own interests and in the interests of their friends, but for the good of the entire state. Gianforte should consider the fact that wolves are worth far more alive than dead to this state: wildlife tourists eager to sight wolves flock to Montana, adding millions of dollars to the state's coffers each year and providing tens of thousands of jobs for the state's residents.</p> <p>Montana's wolves have suffered enough, but now some lawmakers are trying to intensify the persecution with a <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2021/02/three-montana-lawmakers-declare-war-on-wolves-bears-and-other-carnivores-with-flurry-of-bad-bills.html">slew of bills</a>, many of which are headed to Gianforte’s desk for a signature. The bills would make the use of neck snares to trap wolves legal, expand wolf trophy hunting and trapping, and bring back a wolf bounty system, among other atrocities. Montana residents oppose these bills and dozens of them have already testified in state legislative hearings to say so.</p> <p>Recently Gianforte received a <a href="https://bit.ly/312XJdz">letter signed by 3,307 photographers</a> asking him to veto these bills. We are saddened by the news today of the governor's own wolf trapping, but we believe he has an opportunity to do the right thing now by refusing to let other trophy hunters and trappers in his state commit even more cruelties against these iconic animals. If you live in Montana, <a href="https://svc.mt.gov/gov/contact/shareopinion">please urge Gov. Gianforte</a> to stand up and protect his state's residents and its wildlife by rejecting these bad bills as soon as they land on his desk.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Tue, 23 Mar 2021 21:35:17 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21632 at https://hslf.org Breaking news: Congress just passed the COVID relief package with funding for activities that would improve animal welfare https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/breaking-news-congress-just-passed-covid-relief-package-funding-activities-would <span>Breaking news: Congress just passed the COVID relief package with funding for activities that would improve animal welfare</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 03/10/2021 - 19:28</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>The COVID relief package Congress just passed includes a number of provisions that will improve surveillance and inspection of trades where animals often endure acute suffering and that also tend to be hotbeds for disease spread.</p> <p>The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is primarily designed to provide relief to the American people, protect them from further risks of infection, and prevent additional suffering, death and economic losses stemming from the pandemic. We are excited that members of Congress, at our urging, also acknowledged the close link between public health and animal welfare by allocating millions of dollars to properly regulate or restrict businesses and trades that exploit animals most susceptible to contracting and spreading diseases. This includes the wildlife trade, in which millions of wild animals, including endangered and at-risk species, suffer every year, and mink fur farms. Since the onset of the pandemic last year, nearly 20 million mink have been gassed to death globally on infected fur farms.</p> <p>Here are some of the significant funding reforms included in the bill:</p> <ul> <li>$300 million for U.S. Department of Agriculture monitoring and surveillance of animals susceptible to the virus. We are pushing for a portion of these funds to be allocated for data collection and monitoring at fur (and especially mink) farms, and for that data to be made public. Four U.S. states and 10 nations, in addition to the United States, have reported infected mink on fur farms, leaving no doubt that these facilities, where these wild animals spend their entire lives in tiny cages before being killed cruelly, are dangerous reservoirs for zoonotic diseases and mutations.</li> <li>$95 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for activities to proactively prevent pandemic spread by wildlife and crack down on wildlife trafficking, including endangered and at-risk species. This funding was included thanks to the leadership of Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. <ul> <li>Of this, $20 million would go toward wildlife inspections, interdictions and investigations, as well as related activities to address wildlife trafficking;</li> <li>$30 million would be allocated for the care of captive species listed under the Endangered Species Act, rescued and confiscated wildlife, and federal trust species living in facilities that have lost revenue due to the pandemic;</li> <li>$45 million would go toward strengthening early detection, rapid response, and science-based management for wildlife disease outbreaks before they become pandemics, and expand capacity for early detection of zoonotic diseases that might jump the species barrier in the United States.</li> </ul> </li> <li>$10 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for certain COVID-19 prevention, preparation and response activities, including vaccinations, economic and food security stabilization, and disaster relief. These activities can also include zoonotic disease monitoring and surveillance. Congress is now considering the Preventing Future Pandemics Act (H.R. 151/ S. 37) (H.R. 151/ S. 37), which would bolster similar USAID and State Department programs to address the threats and causes of zoonotic disease outbreaks. With the COVID relief package assigning significant funding to conduct these activities, we urge Congress to quickly pass the Preventing Future Pandemics Act so these agencies can get to work.</li> <li>$10 million for the USFWS to continue listing certain species as injurious under the Lacey Act, which would prohibit their import and restrict the movement or acquisition of these species. Species listed as injurious are deemed to be harmful to the interests of human beings, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife or wildlife resources in the United States.</li> </ul> <p>The bill is now headed to President Biden, who is expected to sign it. We are grateful to members of Congress who worked with us to include these reforms, and we look forward to their continued support. Last year, the Humane Society family released an 11-point policy plan targeted at reducing animal suffering and helping prevent future national and global pandemics. We are proud of the progress we have made so far, including with this relief package, and we will continue our work with lawmakers and business leaders globally to ensure we continue to move forward on a path of meaningful reform that will benefit public health and animal welfare.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Wed, 10 Mar 2021 19:28:03 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21624 at https://hslf.org Americans love grizzly bears, but Montana and Wyoming lawmakers are not getting the message https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/americans-love-grizzly-bears-montana-and-wyoming-lawmakers-are-not-getting-message <span>Americans love grizzly bears, but Montana and Wyoming lawmakers are not getting the message</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/04/2021 - 22:59</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>Grizzly 399, often called the world’s most famous grizzly bear, has a fan base of wildlife watchers that numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Each year, dozens of paparazzi attempt to record her every waking moment, from the time she emerges from her den in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the spring until the time she goes back into hibernation in the late fall. She even has two entire books devoted to her.</p> <p>This week, 399, as she was named by scientists who study grizzly bears, made news again when a photographer spoke to the media about how he documented her in a rare photograph taken last June that shows her protecting her cubs after another bear got too close for comfort. The photo shows 399 standing on her hind legs while her four cubs hide behind her. “My adrenaline was going when I saw her stood up, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime shot,” photographer Kunal K. Singh told <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/great-outdoors/photographer-shares-story-of-photo-that-shows-a-grizzly-bear-protecting-cubs-at-grand-teton-national-park">South West News Service</a>.</p> <p><figure role="group" class="align-center"> <img alt="Photo by Kunal K. Singh" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5d4d9e63-4a1e-41ba-8b90-926dbee32ddf" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/grizzly-mom-cubs_0.jpg" /> <figcaption>Grizzly 399 shown protecting her cubs after another bear got too close for comfort. Photo by Kunal K. Singh</figcaption> </figure> </p> <p><a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/grizzly-bears-under-the-gun">Grizzly 399’s</a> popularity shows just how much Americans love grizzly bears. While sighting a bear like her, one of the world’s oldest grizzlies, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, many Americans flock to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks each year for a rare glimpse of any grizzly bear. Those who do return home with photographs and memories they will cherish for a lifetime.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it appears that some lawmakers and appointed officials in the states these parks are home to would rather offer these charismatic animals to trophy hunters shopping for grizzly bear heads and hides for their living rooms.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.powelltribune.com/stories/commission-grizzly-bears-have-more-than-recovered,29543">news reports</a>, wildlife managers in Wyoming are now pushing for delisting grizzly bears, who are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act, with the false claim that the species has “more than recovered”. Also, lawmakers in Montana are now considering a bunch of terrible bills, including one that would allow the state to open season on grizzly bears were these animals to lose their ESA protections and another that would allow a longer wolf-trapping season and a snaring season, which could also be detrimental to grizzly bears who could be caught in these snares. Yet another bill in Montana would allow a black bear hound-hunting season which could likely result in the deaths of grizzly bear cubs.</p> <p>It is estimated that there are fewer than 1,800 grizzly bears now surviving in the lower 48 states, including the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which spans Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Although their numbers have slowly increased since they were listed under the ESA, they have far from recovered. Grizzly bears are notoriously slow to reproduce, and the threats they face, mostly from human causes, have only increased in recent years. These animals are also grappling with dwindling food resources and state wildlife managers who unfairly malign bears based on perceived threats to cattle, even where there is <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/HSUS-Grizzly-Livestock_6.Mar_.19Final.pdf">little evidence</a> that individual bears actually pose a significant threat to cattle or other animals grazing on federal and private land.</p> <p>In 2017, the Trump administration attempted to prematurely delist grizzly bears in Yellowstone, as a handout to trophy hunters, but we stopped this terrible effort in its tracks with a federal court victory in 2018. In 2020, an appeals court upheld the ruling, ensuring Yellowstone grizzly bears continue to be protected from trophy hunters. The courts agreed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cut corners and ignored science when it rushed to remove federal protections for these animals. The courts also recognized that the government failed to consider the impacts that removing protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem would have on other, even more imperiled, grizzly populations in the United States. We hope the Biden administration follows the science and keeps these iconic species protected.</p> <p>Grizzly bears still desperately need our protection. These are immensely intelligent animals who form strong family bonds. 399 is known to have raised as many as 20 cubs, although many did not survive and some were killed by people, further illustrating how fragile grizzly bear populations are. She is, by all accounts, an extremely devoted mother who has learned to skillfully navigate busy highways around the park as she moves around with her cubs. According to one anecdote, those skills were further sharpened after one of her cubs, Snowy, had a fatal car collision a few years ago. She will now come to a road, stop, wait for her fan club to stop moving vehicles, and when the vehicles come to a halt, “she beelines it across the road with her cubs,” says Kristin Combs, executive director of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, who calls herself one of 399’s biggest fans.</p> <p>Wyoming and Montana lawmakers need to remind themselves that Yellowstone’s grizzly bears are far more valuable alive than dead to their constituents, and to the hundreds of thousands of tourists who flock to the national park each year. Irresponsible wildlife management will only result in these iconic animals being lost forever. We are now asking wildlife photographers to <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeniOgaZ_ntzZgCKUjc_dkQGH-L1YrlbyQUGog-IB7Wjbdtng/viewform?usp=send_form">join us in a letter to Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana</a>, asking him to protect grizzlies and other precious wildlife in Yellowstone. If you live in Montana, please <a href="https://governor.mt.gov/">urge Gov. Gianforte</a> to veto the bevy of bills that may be headed for his desk and that would harm grizzly bears as well as other wild animals, including black bears and wolves.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Thu, 04 Mar 2021 22:59:03 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21618 at https://hslf.org Trophy hunters kill 216 wolves in Wisconsin bloodbath https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/trophy-hunters-kill-216-wolves-wisconsin-bloodbath <span>Trophy hunters kill 216 wolves in Wisconsin bloodbath</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/01/2021 - 20:31</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>A no-holds-barred carnage of wolves in Wisconsin last week, which ended with trophy hunters killing nearly twice the sanctioned quota of animals in just under 60 hours, offers a terrible glimpse into just what lies ahead for these beloved native American carnivores unless the Biden administration moves swiftly to restore their federal protections.</p> <p>Wisconsin’s wolf hunt was, from start to finish, an example of the worst wildlife management practices. The state was not prepared for a February hunt and was forced by a court ruling to rush into one without a clear, updated, scientific plan.</p> <p>A whopping 2,380 wolf hunting permits—twice as many as are typically issued for hunts in the state—were made available for a quota of 119 wolves over what was supposed to be a week-long season. Little if any input was sought from Wisconsinites and tribal nations, which have opposed the hunts, or from the scientific community. The hunt also occurred during the breeding season for wolves, putting pregnant females in the crosshairs.</p> <p>In less than 60 hours, 216 wolves had been slaughtered and all of the hunting zones had to be closed. We now know that nearly half the wolves killed were females. Entire wolf families were likely destroyed. And worst of all, nearly 85 percent of the animals killed were hunted down by packs of dogs—an extremely cruel and unsporting practice that no other state allows for wolf hunting.</p> <p>"The swift pace of the wolf kills, mostly by hunters using trailing hounds, took the DNR by surprise. And the overage was made worse by a state statute that requires 24-hour, rather than immediate, notice of the season closure," Paul A. Smith, the <em>Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's</em> outdoors editor, <a href="https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/outdoors/2021/02/25/wisconsin-wolf-hunt-harvest-surpasses-200-much-higher-than-quota/6813334002/">wrote in an article critical of the hunt</a>.</p> <p>We have issued many warnings predicting exactly such a horrific scenario since the federal delisting of wolves last year by the Trump administration. In Wisconsin, where some state officials and lawmakers had begun plotting a wolf hunt even before the federal delisting was finalized, we led a strong campaign to stop a February hunt, convincing the state’s Natural Resources Board and Gov. Tony Evers, <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/11/with-wolves-about-to-lose-esa-protections-wisconsin-officials-push-to-open-trophy-hunt.html">in a letter</a>, that such an early hunt would be unscientific and illegal, with disastrous consequences for the wolves. Shortly after receiving our letter, the DNR announced they would not open a trophy hunt until November 2021 and committed to transparency and broad public engagement before doing so. Soon after, <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2021/01/breaking-news-efforts-to-open-an-early-wolf-trophy-hunting-season-in-wisconsin-defeated.html">we helped thwart another attempt</a> by some lawmakers to open a February hunt.</p> <p>Unfortunately, an out-of-state trophy hunting group sued the state to open season earlier this month—<a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2021/02/court-grants-kansas-trophy-hunters-request-to-open-season-on-wisconsin-wolves.html">a request the court granted</a>, opening the door to a bloodbath.</p> <p>In amicus briefs we filed with the court, we argued this hunt was not only scientifically unjustifiable but illegal under the state’s own law. The consequences of the court's misguided decision underscores the importance of our fight—in <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/groups-challenge-trump-administration-over-gray-wolf-delisting">federal court</a> and elsewhere—to return Endangered Species Act protections to wolves.</p> <p>We already know that Wisconsin is planning to open another hunt in the fall. And it is not the only one.  In the Northern Rocky Mountains, where wolves had already lost their federal protections prior to the January national delisting, states are trying drastically to expand their trophy hunting seasons. Some <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2021/02/three-montana-lawmakers-declare-war-on-wolves-bears-and-other-carnivores-with-flurry-of-bad-bills.html">lawmakers in Montana</a>, for instance, are pushing forward numerous bills that would radically increase the number of wolves killed by trophy hunters and trappers. Wolves also continue to face grave threats in Idaho and Wyoming.</p> <p>Wildlife agencies in other Great Lakes states, like Minnesota and Michigan, have committed to working to update their state wolf management plans and consult with scientists and tribes prior to considering a trophy hunting or trapping season. But in Minnesota some state lawmakers are trying to force a hunt, and bills were recently introduced that would require a season for wolves. However, another bill that would prohibit such a season was recently introduced as well. And in Michigan, the Senate Natural Resources Committee recently passed a resolution to urge the Natural Resources Commission to hold a wolf hunt even prior to updating their state management plan.</p> <p>We have even seen a bill introduced in the 117th Congress by Rep. Thomas Tiffany, R-Wisc., that would remove gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming from the Endangered Species Act indefinitely. The bill seeks to preempt any litigation that could potentially lead to federal protections being restored to wolves.</p> <p>If you live in one of these states, it is crucial that you keep a watchful eye on decision-makers and continue to speak up for wolves. With trophy hunters raring to go after America's wolves, and given the clout they have, in many cases, with state DNR officials and some lawmakers, this is a tough fight. But we have the majority of Americans, who are opposed to wolf trophy hunting, on our side and we are working to stop this cruel pastime on several fronts.</p> <p>We are now suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service over the delisting decision to remove gray wolves in the lower 48 states from the Endangered Species Act, and we will continue to press the Biden Administration’s Department of the Interior to restore federal protections for this species. We will also continue to fight state plans to open and expand wolf trophy hunts. Wolves need all of our help, and yours. These gorgeous animals today occupy only 15 percent of their historic range in this country: they are far from recovered, and in no state to withstand more carnage, in Wisconsin or anywhere else they call home. </p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Mon, 01 Mar 2021 20:31:43 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21613 at https://hslf.org House approves COVID relief package with historic funding commitments for animal-related pandemic prevention https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/house-approves-covid-relief-package-historic-funding-commitments-animal-related <span>House approves COVID relief package with historic funding commitments for animal-related pandemic prevention</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Sat, 02/27/2021 - 01:24</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p><em><strong>Update (3/6/2021): </strong>The Senate has just passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and it includes almost all of the provisions we supported and pushed for that would benefit animals. Next, the House is expected to vote on the Senate-passed package, following which the bill heads to President Biden who has confirmed he will sign it.</em></p> <p>Late Friday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the reconciliation package that incorporates the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. As a result of our efforts, the package includes significant funding commitments for public health surveillance, inspections, investigations and other preventative measures centering on domestic and wild animal species.</p> <p>The American Rescue Plan Act is designed to provide relief to the American people, protect them from further risks of infection, and prevent additional suffering, death and economic losses stemming from COVID-19. That’s all the more reason for funding key programs to address the challenge of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, and for taking account of the connection between animal welfare and human health and safety.</p> <p>The measure designates $300 million for USDA monitoring and surveillance of animals susceptible to the virus. We urge Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to allocate a portion of these funds specifically for data collection and monitoring at fur (and especially mink) farms which have emerged as <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/fur-farms-prepare-breed-mink-global-health-bodies-issue-warning-high-coronavirus-risk">dangerous reservoirs</a> for zoonotic diseases and COVID-19 mutations.</p> <p>Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, the stimulus package also designates $95 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for inspection, interdiction, and research related to certain species and COVID-19. These funds include:</p> <ul> <li>$20 million for wildlife inspections, interdictions, and investigations, as well as related activities to address wildlife trafficking,</li> <li>$30 million for the care of captive species listed under the Endangered Species Act, rescued and confiscated wildlife, and Federal trust species living in facilities that have lost revenue due to COVID-19, and</li> <li>$45 million to strengthen early detection, rapid response, and science-based management for wildlife disease outbreaks before they become pandemics, and expand capacity for early detection of zoonotic diseases that might jump the species barrier in the U.S.</li> </ul> <p>Finally, the House approved an additional $10 million for the USFWS to produce regulations concerning the listing of injurious species on an emergency basis if they transmit a pathogen deemed to pose a risk to human health, which will help track and restrict the movement of zoonotic disease in the U.S. and globally.</p> <p>We’ve been making the case for the interconnection between human and animal health and safety for many years, but the pandemic has made our national and global responsibilities in this arena much clearer. These funding commitments raise the ante in our nation’s efforts to protect both humans and animals and set the stage for a future in which the interests of animals figure more completely in public policy concerning pandemic and other threats to the well-being of all.</p> <p>The U.S. Senate is the next stop for this package. Over the next few days, Senators will deliberate on the fate of these animal-related measures. And we’ll be there to make the case again and urge swift passage of this crucial bill. </p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Sat, 27 Feb 2021 01:24:23 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21612 at https://hslf.org 'Pet' Tiger rescued from freezing San Antonio gets forever home at Black Beauty Ranch https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/pet-tiger-rescued-freezing-san-antonio-gets-forever-home-black-beauty-ranch <span>&#039;Pet&#039; Tiger rescued from freezing San Antonio gets forever home at Black Beauty Ranch</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/24/2021 - 20:05</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>The freeze in Texas this month turned up a surprise for authorities in Bexar County as they scrambled to get people and pets out of harm’s way: a tiger cub wearing a harness and living as a “pet” outdoors. A neighbor had reported what sounded like a crying tiger. When they came upon Elsa—as the sheriff’s office named the cub after a character in the movie “Frozen”—she was freezing in the Arctic temperatures.</p> <p>Yesterday, Elsa made a six-hour trip from Bexar County to her new home, our <a href="https://www.fundforanimals.org/blackbeauty/">Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch</a> in Murchison, Texas, where she will be able to live out the rest of her life not as a pet but as the wild animal that she is.</p> <p>This morning, Noelle Almrud, director of Black Beauty Ranch, went <a href="https://www.facebook.com/humanesociety/videos/835757793644166">live on Facebook</a> to give the world the first glimpse of Elsa settling in. The cub, who at six months and 60 pounds is barely larger than a golden retriever, frolicked energetically in the ranch’s quarantine habitat where she will remain for a month while Noelle and her team assess her and run medical tests to ensure her well-being. “She is just a little spitfire,” Noelle said.</p> <p>Elsa appears to be in relatively good health despite the ordeal she has endured since her birth in captivity, but she also shows some signs of the stress she has been under: she is missing fur on the top of her head, probably from rubbing against the small cage she was confined to, and her fur is worn down where the harness rubbed against her body.</p> <p>At the Black Beauty Ranch, once her evaluation is complete and she is a little bigger, Elsa will be moved to a spacious, multi-acre enclosure with trees, woods and platforms to climb and areas to sun herself, similar to what other resident tigers at the ranch enjoy. Among them is Loki, who was <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2019/05/tiger-left-in-deserted-houston-house-is-now-at-home-at-black-beauty-ranch-owner-arrested-and-charged-with-animal-cruelty.html">rescued two years ago from a cage in an abandoned garage in Houston</a> where he was sitting on rotting meat, mold, maggots and his own waste.</p> <p>There are 800 residents at the Black Beauty Ranch, a 1,400-acre state of the art sanctuary created for animals who have endured suffering of the worst kind. The animals here belong to over 40 species, and at the ranch they are safe and nurtured and well cared for. The team's dedication to their well-being was in full evidence during the recent deep freeze and power outages. Noelle and her team had planned ahead and were well-prepared with back-up heating sources, generators, propane and other winter supplies. Some staff members couldn't make it to work because roads were not cleared of ice/snow but some essential staff had stayed on the property (for as long as six nights in a row), and did hourly temperature checks on the animals, including non-human primates, reptiles and avian species, who required the supplemental heat to survive. Thanks to their efforts, the animals made it through the catastrophic event unscathed.</p> <p>We are happy that Elsa is now in such good hands and that we are able to give her a forever home. But it is also important that we work toward the day when no tigers are born to suffer in the pet trade and at the hands of irresponsible people who have no idea how to care for a wild animal. Each year, in the United States, countless tigers and other exotic animals are bred for the pet trade and readily available to anyone who wants to buy one. There is no federal law or regulation determining who can possess big cats or other dangerous wild animals.</p> <p>Black Beauty Ranch, along with the Humane Society of the United States, is a founding member of the <a href="http://www.bigcatalliance.org/">Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance</a>, an association of more than 20 reputable sanctuaries and partner organizations working to end the exploitation of big cats. The HSUS and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are also working to secure passage of the <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/protect-big-cats">Big Cat Public Safety Act</a> in Congress, which would ban the possession of big cat species like tigers and lions by unqualified individuals and prohibit their exploitation by facilities that allow public contact with big cats.</p> <p>The bill <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/us-house-passes-bill-prohibit-keeping-big-cats-pets-and-public-contact">passed the House</a> in the last Congress with a wide majority of members voting for it, and it has been <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/01/house-members-reintroduce-bill-ban-cub-petting-keeping-big-cats-pets">reintroduced in the House</a> this Congress.</p> <p>At Black Beauty Ranch, caregivers will not physically interact with Elsa; they will do positive reinforcement training through the fence. The only other interactions will be for basic medical procedures and disaster preparedness and response, Noelle says. “Our goal for Elsa is to grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted wild tiger…she will not be played with, she will not be handled by humans. She will be respected for the wild animal she is.”</p> <blockquote><p><a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/protect-big-cats"><strong>Tell Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act so wild animals like Elsa don't end up as pets &gt;&gt;</strong></a></p> </blockquote> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> <div style="text-align: center;"> <iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PUv9CJ_QEKQ" width="560"></iframe></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Wed, 24 Feb 2021 20:05:38 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21609 at https://hslf.org Deb Haaland, President Biden’s pick for Interior Secretary, has a track record of fierce advocacy for animals https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/deb-haaland-president-bidens-pick-interior-secretary-has-track-record-fierce-advocacy <span>Deb Haaland, President Biden’s pick for Interior Secretary, has a track record of fierce advocacy for animals</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/23/2021 - 18:44</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p><em><strong>Update (3/15/2021):</strong> The Senate has voted to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Department of Interior by a vote of 51-40.</em></p> <p>Rep. Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of the Interior, has a proven track record of working on the side of animals. Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed her history-making run for the U.S. House in 2018, and she has since worked swiftly to not only move the ball forward for several key animal protection issues but also to oppose some of the worst decisions made by the Department of the Interior under President Trump. Her advocacy for animals earned her a perfect score of 100 on HSLF’s 2020 Humane Scorecard.</p> <p>As her Senate confirmation process begins today, we look forward to a return to U.S. Interior policy that protects our most vulnerable wildlife, both here in the United States and around the world.</p> <p>Under Haaland’s predecessors—Ryan Zinke and then David Bernhardt—the Department of the Interior, in many instances, set the clock back on progress made for wildlife, especially imperiled species, although they did attempt to tackle the challenges of managing wild horses and burros on federal lands. Both Zinke and Bernhardt showed a distinct preference for playing into the hands of trophy hunting interests and some of their worst decisions included dangerous changes to <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/08/federal-government-finalizes-changes-weaken-endangered-species-act">dismantle the Endangered Species Act</a>, stripping <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/10/breaking-news-us-just-delisted-gray-wolves-so-trophy-hunters-can-kill-them">ESA protections for wolves</a>, and reinstating<a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/06/trump-administration-opens-alaskas-national-preserves-cruel-practices-trophy-hunting"> cruel hunting practices on national preserves</a> in Alaska.</p> <p>In contrast, Rep. Haaland has spent her last two years, as chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands striving to protect wildlife by pushing for an increase in the use of fertility control to manage wild horses and burros, pushing to create a transparent and science-based permit system for the import of trophies of imperiled animal species, and ensuring that protections for species on the brink of extinction are restored.</p> <p>Rep. Haaland was a <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/4348?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22Haaland%22%5D%7D&amp;s=7&amp;r=3">cosponsor of a House bill </a>that would have stopped some of the most dangerous changes to the ESA from taking effect. She signed on to a letter opposing the delisting of gray wolves. And she cosponsored a bill, <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2245/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22trophy+hunting%22%5D%7D&amp;r=1&amp;s=10">Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies (CECIL) Act</a>, which would have amended the Endangered Species Act to prohibit import and export of any species listed or proposed to be listed as a threated or endangered species.</p> <p>Among her many achievements for animals, she has:</p> <ul> <li>Led the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2532?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22grizzly+bear%22%5D%7D&amp;r=1&amp;s=9">Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act</a> with Representative Grijalva.</li> <li>Cosponsored the<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2918?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22haaland%22%5D%7D&amp;r=61&amp;s=6"> Extinction Prevention Act of 2019</a> to provide financial assistance for the conservation of key endangered species.</li> <li>Signed member letters to House appropriations leadership requesting increased funding for ESA implementation in FY20 and FY21.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Preventing Future Pandemics Act which would, in part, end commercial wildlife markets and mobilize 50 new United States Fish and Wildlife Service attaches to combat wildlife trafficking.</li> <li>Signed a letter opposing opening up Alaska’s Kenai Wildlife Refuge to additional extreme hunting practices.</li> <li>Cosponsored <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7876?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22haaland%22%5D%7D&amp;r=66&amp;s=3">legislation </a>that would prohibit oil and gas activities within one mile of polar bear habitat on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.</li> <li>Cosponsored the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5552?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22haaland%22%5D%7D&amp;r=236&amp;s=4">Migratory Bird Protection Act </a>that reaffirms longstanding federal protections for migratory birds.</li> <li>Introduced <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1050?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22antiquities+act%22%5D%7D&amp;s=1&amp;r=2">legislation</a> that would have reversed the Trump administration’s actions to shrink and eliminate some National Marine Monuments.</li> <li>Advocated for wild horses and burros and opposed surgical sterilization—a point of view we agree with. She also supported an amendment in the House appropriations omnibus bill that would have required the Bureau of Land Management to spend $13 million on PZP fertility control treatments for wild horses and burros.</li> </ul> <p>In coming weeks and months, we hope to work with her in her new role to realign the agency’s management regime for wild horses and burros to create a humane, long term, sustainable program that halts and abandons any attempts to use surgical sterilization on mares and instead focuses the agency’s resources on using all proven safe and humane fertility control vaccines to manage these animals.</p> <p>We also look forward to working together to ensure that ESA protections are restored to wolves, dangerous changes to the ESA are reversed, and the <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/12/in-2020-we-helped-disband-a-trophy-hunters-advisory-panel-retained-protections-for-grizzly-bears-and-ended-more-wildlife-killing-contests.html?credit=blog_post_022321_id12094">import of trophies of listed species </a>like African elephants, lions and leopards, all currently threatened with extinction, is halted.</p> <p>Rep. Haaland promises to be a formidable force for the planet and the animals. She was one of the two first female Native Americans to be elected to Congress and she is once again on the verge of making history as the first Native American to head the Department of the Interior, which is also home to the Bureau of Indian Affairs that has responsibility for the management of more than 50,000,000 acres of land held by the U.S. government in trust for federally recognized tribes, and the animals on those lands.</p> <p>In a tweet soon after her nomination <a href="https://twitter.com/DebHaalandNM/status/1339722046373130241">she wrote</a>, “Growing up in my mother’s Pueblo household made me fierce. I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land. I am honored and ready to serve.”</p> <p>We wish her all the best, and we call on the Senate to confirm her swiftly so she can begin this important work.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/33" hreflang="en">Equines</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Tue, 23 Feb 2021 18:44:02 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21608 at https://hslf.org