Every few years some politician from an east coast state tries to push a piece of legislation that would affect wildlife refuges in Montana. Time it comes by way of New York.
New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, a longtime opponent of hunting rights, has introduced legislation that would ban trapping on national wildlife refuge lands. House Resolution 1438 known as the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, would ban body gripping, foothold and snare traps on more than 150 million acres of federal land.
In a statement released on her website, Lowey writes: “We must restore the true meaning of ‘refuge’ to the National Wildlife Refuge System.” Additionally, Lowey also quotes Born Free USA, a long-time anti-trapping organization. Their quote incorrectly states that “The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is clear: to be an inviolate sanctuary for our native wildlife.”
Despite the lofty rhetoric and misleading statements, the National Wildlife Refuge System was not designed to be sanctuary for animals; instead, it was specifically designed to include hunting, fishing and trapping. Moreover, in 1997 Congress approved the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act, which identified hunting, which includes trapping, as a priority use of refuge land. The law was signed by President Bill Clinton. In addition, trapping is an effective tool for controlling predators, which can negatively impact other wildlife on refuge lands.
“It’s clear from her statements that Representative Lowey does not have a firm handle on the purpose of these lands, or how the funds used to manage them for the benefit of all species are derived, ” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It’s not surprising that such a distorted view would lead to legislation like this. And it’s no surprise that Representative Lowey is rated a ‘Humane Champion’ by the Humane Society of America’s Legislative Fund.”
Trapping is utilized across the United States, by both federal and state wildlife managers. Refuge land is managed in cooperation with state fish and wildlife agencies. HR 1438 would put a one-size-fits-all federal ban in place for refuges rather than allow state biologists do what is best for individual refuge properties. The traps that would be banned by HR 1438 are the most common and effective devices used by trappers. HR 1438 is a first step to ban hunting on all federal land and should be rejected.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance:
Much of this article originated from a news article from the website of The Sportsmen’s Alliance. The Sportsmens Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.