The House of Representatives has approved a joint resolution that invites Alaskan hunters to engage in unimaginable acts of barbarism.
House joint resolution 69, introduced by Alaska’s Republican Rep. Don Young, overturns a federal rule written by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that bans denning – the practice of killing baby wolves in their dens. The rule also prohibits hunters from killing hibernating bears, using helicopters to locate grizzly bears and then kill them, and using steel-jawed leghold traps to snare grizzly and black bears.
The rule applies to animals on Alaskan national wildlife refuges, which cover 76 million acres.
The vote in favor of repealing the wildlife protection rule was 225 to 193. Only 10 Republicans refused to vote in favor of the resolution. Shamefully, five Democrats voted with the Republican majority.
The resolution was passed at the behest of the NRA, the Safari Club, and the hunting lobby. It certainly is not in line with the will of most Alaskans, who overwhelmingly oppose the barbaric practices that the resolution threatens to resurrect.
Only one other state – Idaho – allows shooting wolves in their dens. And only Maine permits bear trapping. No state allows using helicopters to hunt grizzlies.
Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) recently spoke out about the resolution on Twitter, calling it an “astonishing” piece of legislation.
GOP is pushing for a vote to allow people to kill wolves & pups sleeping in dens & hibernating bears—this is wrong. We need your voice: pic.twitter.com/OhUVqZEnm6
— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) March 15, 2017
Environmental groups have been swift to condemn the legislation. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote an impassioned article last month just before the resolution was approved in the House:
“…The peddlers of this effort in Congress are trying to cast this measure as ‘pro-sportsmen.’ That’s like a chicken farmer defending cockfighting by saying it’s part of American agriculture. These are extreme practices, beyond the pale of decency, and no true sportsmen would ever defend or participate in this conduct.”
Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, said:
“Is running roughshod over public lands and targeting mother bears and wolves and their young on lands specifically set aside as wildlife refuges really a priority for legislators given the many challenges facing our country? Americans expect our national wildlife refuges to be managed for their conservation values for all wildlife, not just those species of particular interest to a few.”
The measure now goes before the Senate for approval as Senate joint resolution 18. Defenders of Wildlife has a handy online petition you can use to tell your senator to oppose this senseless brutality.
Featured image via YouTube video.