An online petition is asking the White House to label the National Rifle Association (NRA), Safari Club International (SCI), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and other sportsmen’s organizations “domestic terrorist groups.”
The petition, created on November 20 on the White House’s petitions portal We the People, accuses the “anti-predatory animal organizations” of “decimating predators to the brink of extinction.” Specifically, the petition states:
Groups like Lobo Watch, Big Game Forever, Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, NRA, Safari Club, etc., are a menace in our midst. Not only do many of them want our native predators like bears, wolves, wild cats, and the like decimated to the brink of extinction, but some of them have the nerve to harass, threaten, and downright intimidate anyone who dares to oppose them, even the government. And they’ve got some powerful people in their corner, too. They throw their mammoth monetary weight around, and think they can buy their way into power in America and put down anyone who’s got a backbone and might provide resistance. It’s time to put these groups in their place and strike them down. Time to protect our carnivorous wildlife from those who seek to decimate them!
The petition has been called “loony” and “ridiculous” by the organizations it seeks to defame.
“It’s a stupid petition. Plain and simple. But, it does give hunters insight into the mindset of the anti-hunting extremists and the extent that are willing to go to in their determined effort to dismantle our hunting heritage,” says J.R. Robbins, managing editor of NRAhuntersrights.org. “There is in fact no single group that has done more for wildlife in this country than hunters. We pay for wildlife conservation through the licenses, permits, and stamps we buy. If hunting were banned, as these radicals want, where would the funding come from for habitat work? Land acquistion? Predator and disease control? Research? Wildlife management is a science in which hunters and fishermen pay a key role–and pay to do so.”
“The NRA has always actively supported science-based wildlife management using regulated hunting,” added Darren LaSorte, manager of hunting policy for the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action). “Loony threats from radical anti-hunting organizations will not change this. The fact of the matter is that America’s sportsmen are most responsible for the restoration of countless species, including predators. [...] It will be interesting to see if the petition is amended to include every state and federal wildlife agency in the country since they all promote the management of predator populations through regulated hunting and trapping.”
Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) expressed their disappointment with the petition as well.
“Our hope is that the American public sees past these absurd attacks, and recognizes that wildlife management is based on science,” said Melissa Simpson, SCI Foundation Director of Science Based Conservation. “Hunters are the lifeblood of conservation funding in the U.S.A, and around the world. [...] SCI Foundation has spent millions of dollars in North America conducting predator-prey dynamics research, which is being used across the continent to determine appropriate harvest methodology; all based in defined science.”
No single animal rights group has been identified to be behind the petition. At the time of publication, 518 people have signed, but the petition needs 25,000 signatures by December 20 to even be considered by the White House.