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House overturns rule from professional wildlife management agency and sanctions killing hibernating bears and wolf pups in dens

Measure also allows aerial spotting and land-and-shoot killing of grizzly bears on national wildlife refuges in Alaska

The U.S. House of Representatives overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that stopped a set of appalling and unsporting predator control methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. These egregious practices include shooting or trapping wolves while at their dens with cubs, using airplanes to scout for grizzly bears to shoot, trapping bears with cruel steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares and luring grizzly bears with food to get a point blank kill. Republicans, with only a few dissents, provided the votes for the measure, which passed by a vote of 225 to 193.

“What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “If the Senate and President concur, we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens, bears chased down by planes or suffering for hours in barbaric steel-jawed traps or snares.”

While the backers of the measure claimed this was a state’s rights issue, a recent poll by Remington Research Group found that Alaska voters oppose these inhumane and unsporting methods by a 2-1 margin, and many Alaskans voiced support for the rule during the extensive public comment period.  Alaska’s inhumane and unsporting predator control practices have been roundly condemned by state and federal wildlife scientists.

These are federally managed lands, and with today’s vote, the House undid a rule years in the works that was launched by professional wildlife scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The practices in question are disallowed in almost every state, yet the House is seeking to revive their use in national wildlife refuges – the one category of federal lands specifically created to protect wildlife and promote the diversity of species. 

The HSUS, which aired a related television commercial in the Washington, D.C., area, urged lawmakers to oppose the resolution.  If approved by the Senate, H.J. Res. 69 would block the administration from ever issuing a similar rule on this topic, leaving the authority to prohibit these egregious trophy hunting methods solely in the hands of Congress.  

Alaskans for Wildlife, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Friends of Alaska Wildlife Refuges, Lynn Canal Conservation, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oasis Earth, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, Sierra Club – Alaska Chapter and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council joined The HSUS in opposing H.J. Res. 69. Last year, a group of more than 50 scientists sent a letter to Congress in support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule.

The full roll call can be found here. The HSUS expresses its gratitude to the lawmakers who voted “no” on this misguided resolution. 

Media contact: Samantha Miller: 301-258-1466; smiller@humanesociety.org