With the passage of the Omnibus spending package that keeps the U.S. government funded until September 30, 2014, America’s hunters and ranchers received a welcome surprise that eliminates government restrictions on the hunting of U.S. populations of scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle, and addax (three antelope species). The legislative fix, first written by Safari Club International’s Washington, D.C. staff, reinstates a 2005 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulation that facilitates U.S. conservation of these species.
“This great achievement will eliminate burdensome restrictions which have harmed three antelope conservation and hampered overall population growth for the scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle, and addax. This legislative action overcomes obstacles created by anti-hunting litigation that forced the FWS to impose unnecessary permit requirements for the hunting of these captive animals,” said SCI President Craig Kauffman. “A special thanks to the members of Congress, particularly from Texas, who understand that government restrictions, no matter how well intentioned, can actually work against the benefit of certain wildlife.”
The original regulation, issued in 2005 by the FWS, allowed U.S. private ranchers to raise, breed, and sell hunts for members of their herds without permit by permit oversight from the FWS. However, groups including Friends of Animals, HSUS, Born Free USA and others pursued nearly 5 years of litigation to eliminate the privately funded and successful conservation and management of these species. Their lawsuit led to a court order requiring the FWS to impose burdensome permit requirements which resulted in declines of the U.S. based populations.
“Since the first Friends of Animals lawsuit in 2005, SCI has continually been involved in litigation and lobbying to protect these species, the ranchers who conserve them, and the hunters who ultimately fund the management costs associated with these species. Whenever and wherever anti-hunting groups attempt to undermine the sustainable conservation in this country or aboard, SCI will be there to fight them,” concluded Kauffman.
Logo courtesy Safari Club International