The American Public Was Lied To! Pro-Trophy-Hunting Committee Holds First Public Meeting This Morning In Washington Supported By The Safari Club International & The NRA

Today, the recently formed International Wildlife Conservation Committee (IWCC) is holding its first public meeting at Interior Department’s headquarters in Washington.

The committee was formed to “advise the Secretary of the Interior on the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs, and other ways in which international hunting benefits human populations in these areas.” Really?

As noted by ABC News, research by the Associated Press on the backgrounds and social media posts of the board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates that “they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans to shoot some of them.” Unbelievable!

The 16 member committee is comprised of the likes of Safari Club International President Paul Babaz, Indiana coal executive and Trump donor Steven Chancellor, Erica Rhoad, a lobbyist and former GOP congressional staffer who is the NRA’s director of hunting policy, and retired Oklahoma congressman, and lobbyist Bill Brewster, who has served on the board of the Safari Club and the NRA. According to the Associated Press, Brewster was lauded in an NRA profile for his and “his wife’s five decades of participation and support of hunting, and his purchase of a lifetime NRA membership for his grandson when the boy was three days old.”

While members of the IWCC do not receive a salary, the department has budgeted $250,000 in taxpayer funds to fund the committee.

“In creating the IWCC to advise on the ‘benefits’ of Americans going abroad to hunt, the Department of the Interior is operating under the premise that trophy hunting has significant benefits for wildlife conservation,” Prashant Khetan, CEO and general counsel for Born Free USA said in a statement after the group filed a complaint against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this week noted that “the council was formed under the guise of conservation with no balanced perspectives on the negative impact of international trophy hunting.”

Born Free launched the suit after its November Freedom of Information Act requesting for more information about the IWCC’s formation and purpose, which went unaddressed, following a deadline imposed by the law, as well as the committee’s own self-extended deadline.

During this morning’s public meeting, Born Free, along with several other groups, plans to read a statement to the IWCC challenging its purpose.

“In addition, we reached out to our base for their comments and questions about the IWCC, and in a span of days, received over 600 responses, which we collated and submitted on their behalf; the central theme being that hunting does not constitute compassionate conservation,” Khetan said. “We believe, and have the facts to support the idea, that killing is not conservation. The species that will be most affected, including lions, elephants, and white rhinos, are already in such decline that hunting them under the guise of conservation is no longer a valid excuse.”

Amid the growing controversy over imports of elephant and lion trophies, the Center for Biological Diversity will also attend the meeting to protest against the new federal wildlife advisory committee that is stacked with trophy hunters and gun-industry representatives.

A list of the members of the controversial International Wildlife Conservation Committee can be found HERE!


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