Two U.S. Congressmembers Introduce Wildlife Conservation & Anti-Trafficking Act Of 2018; Shocking Since One of The Congressmembers Is Don Young An Avid Hunter

Yesterday, Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) and Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018, which would strengthen federal enforcement against poachers, traffickers, and the global trade in illegal wildlife and seafood products.

The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 builds on the bipartisan Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act of 2016 to provide the United States with the tools necessary to fight these global crimes, which are perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations and extremist groups.

Specifically, the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act reclassifies serious wildlife trafficking offenses as violations of federal racketeering and anti-organized-crime statutes, directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to station law enforcement officials in high-intensity wildlife trafficking areas abroad, encourages whistleblowers to report crimes, and directs funds collected from criminal violations to be put toward wildlife conservation efforts, among other provisions.

“Cracking down on wildlife trafficking and poaching has long been a bipartisan effort, and I applaud Congresswoman Bordallo and Congressman Young for continuing and strengthening that tradition,” Cathy Liss, President of Animal Welfare Institute, one of many organizations supporting the bill said in a statement. “The slaughter of elephants, rhinos, tigers, and other imperiled species is a devastating crisis, and demands the strongest enforcement efforts and penalties that our nation can employ.”

“This bipartisan bill confronts the global black-market trade in illegal wildlife and seafood products driving iconic wildlife to extinction and is responsible for countless human rights abuses,” Congresswoman Bordallo said in a statement. “Poachers, traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations are unyielding in their illicit activities, and Congress must be equally aggressive in tackling these global challenges head-on.” 

“As an avid sportsman, I have long supported legislation that strengthens our ability to conserve wildlife and stop wildlife traffickers,” said Alaska Congressman Don Young. “The provision to strengthen our ability to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in U.S. waters is particularly important. I believe that protecting wildlife requires a unified and strategic approach to put an end to poaching worldwide.”

While WAN appreciates the effort of the “avid sportsman” to “conserve wildlife” and “stop wildlife traffickers,” we can’t help but point out that this is the same man behind a host of controversial legislation including last year’s barbaric bill-turned-law that overturned an Obama-era rule that protected wolves, bears, coyotes and other animals on more than 76 million acres of national wildlife refuges in Alaska.

It is unfathomable that the same man who claims to be seeking to “conserve wildlife” also advocated for a resolution that allows trophy hunters to legally access den sites to shoot wolf pups, use painful steel-jawed traps on innocent animals, and hunt grizzlies with aircraft in Alaska.

Young also supported Trump’s highly-controversial flip-flopping decision earlier this year to consider allowing elephant “trophies” into the United States on a case-by-case basis.

While news of the introduction of the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2018 is positive, it is next to impossible for animal advocates such as myself to shake the negativity surrounding Young and his pro-hunting, NRA, and Safari Club International backed beliefs.

Hunting and killing animals is wrong and should be illegal, period.

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